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Bryce Canyon National Park - Queens Garden-Two Bridges Loop


Star Star Star Star Star

Distance: 3.1 miles

This stout but very popular 3.14-mile loop takes you through the most beautiful of Bryce's famed pinnacle gardens. It's well worth the effort for photos and jaw-dropping geology, but go early or late for better solitude. Here, it is described from Sunrise Point, a lower-traffic trailhead.
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Sheer geologic scenery doesn't get any crazier than this short but steep trail loop through the bizarre, twisted 'hoodoo' pinnacles of Bryce Canyon's Pink Cliffs. The routefinding is easy, since the route is well-signed.

From the Sunrise Point parking lot walk southeast to a large bench at the rim of the Bryce amphitheatre, then turn right and follow the rim south to a trail sign and junction (QTB004). Take the left option, descending toward Queens Garden. You'll follow a ridgeline above a series of pinnacles that offers good views south along the rim of the Paunsagunt Plateau. About .6 miles in,  you'll begin seeing the densely-ranked pinnacles of the Queens Garden, then make a hard right switchback and descend off the ridgeline into the garden proper.

The path takes you across a broad ridgeline and through several short tunnels in the rock. Climbing another short ridge you'll encounter a signed junction with the Navajo Loop Trail.  Turn right/north and walk several hundred yards up a spur trail to get a good view of the Queen Victoria pinnacle, and the Queen's Castle, a small mesa with intricately curtained sides.

Descend back down the spur trail, turn right/south at the sign, and follow the trail past a large overhand with a bench underneath it. This makes an excellent rest spot in hot, sunny weather.  The trail heads southeast around a pinnacled ridge, entering open groves of ponderosa pine, then curves back westward to a signed junction that offers two choices: The Two Bridges trail or the Wall Street Trail. Stay right and climb the Two Bridges Trail (the Wall Street Trail makes an excellent start to the Peekaboo Loop). Roughly a quarter mile of gentle climbing will lead you into a narrow canyon hallway and the Two Bridges, twin natural stone bridges that span a hallway-wide slot.

Above this, the trail climbs steeply into the open slopes of the upper amphitheatre. Enjoy the views eastward across the orange hills of Bristlecone Point and the broad Tropic Valley to distant Escalante Mountain. Some of the best pinnacle photo opportunities occur on the last switchbacks of the loop, at places like Thor's Hammer, a club-shaped hoodoo that makes a great foreground for scenic photos - when the lighting's right.

The Bryce amphitheaters are best as morning photo shoots, or during a two-hour period before sundown, when shadows help outline and define the pinnacles.

If you hike these trails in winter, consider taking crampons along. The continual foot traffic makes snowshoes superfluous on Bryce's shorter hikes, but continual freeze-thaw cycles often turn the boot-packed trails slick with ice.

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