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FATMAP difficulty grade
Figure 8 trail hike combines two of the most visited and photographed trails, Navajo and Peekaboo, in Bryce Canyon Amphitheater.
Navajo Trail - The most popular trail in Bryce Canyon National Park is the 1.3 mile Navajo Loop, which begins at the busy overlook of Sunset Point, and descends through some of the tallest fins and pinnacles in the park, down over 500 feet into the upper end of the main valley of Bryce Canyon amphitheater.
Both sides of the loop follow narrow ravines, one of which is very enclosed for about 300 feet, resembling a slot canyon, while the whole trail encounters contrasting scenery above and below - the upper sections have grand views over several miles of the Bryce Canyon formations, while the lower reaches are through sheltered, sandy basins, filled with large pine and fir trees. Although the ground is steep in some parts, the trail is wide, well used and descends via gentle switchbacks, so the hike is relatively easy.
The western half, which is known as Wall Street owing to the particularly high, vertical cliffs and narrow passages, is closed during winter due to the dangers of falling rocks and compacted ice, but the eastern half is officially open all year, though may still be difficult at times of deep snow. A junction at the far end of the loop allows for longer walks - south to the Peekaboo Trail (another 3 miles), or north along the Queens Garden Trail, a 1.6 mile route that when combined with part of the Rim Trail makes for a 3 mile circuit, using either side of the Navajo Trail.
If hiking all the Navajo Loop, counterclockwise is the usual direction since the elevation changes more gradual on the return (eastern) section. Peekaboo Trail - is one of the longer routes through the largest area of hoodoos in the national park, around the upper end of Bryce Canyon; it drops down very steeply from the plateau edge then winds amongst innumerable colorful formations.
The path is shared by horses, which can sometimes cause delays for hikers.
The route may also be accessed from Sunset Point via the Navajo Trail, or by a longer walk from Sunrise Point along the Queens Garden Trail. The most spectacular part of Bryce Canyon National Park, with the largest and densest formations, is the two-mile section between Sunrise Point and Bryce Point, centered on the upper drainage basin of Bryce Creek.
A network of hike and horse trails wind through the ravines and ridges, accessed from three points on the rim, so a variety of loop hikes are possible, but the best path is probably the Peekaboo Trail, itself a 3-mile loop, but viewable via a minimum hike of 5 miles if starting from Bryce Point; as well as giving many amazing views of the main collections of hoodoos, both near and far, the path also crosses forested terrain, lower down the hillside, where the more isolated formations contrast with the green and shady surroundings. In addition, this trail is the furthest from the trailheads hence receives the fewest visitors, so hiking is more peaceful; in this respect the route is second only to the longer Fairyland Loop Trail to the north.
Although fairly level overall, the Peekaboo Trail has many short, steep climbs and descents and is a little more strenuous than might be expected.
It may be hiked all year but is easiest once most of the winter snows have melted, usually by mid April.
The only negative aspect, for hikers, is that the trail is also used by mules.