Have you ever been on a hike and been surprised at the beauty of it? That happened to me a couple of weeks ago, when I hiked the Peek-A-Boo loop in Bryce Canyon National Park, while I was celebrating my 29th Birthday.
I have been Bryce Canyon a handful of times in the last few years. I am always excited to go, but by the end I am bored with the same views of the amphitheater from the roadsides view points. In years past I hae done a couple short hikes but nothing blew me out of the water. Peek-A-Boo loop did it for me. I truly felt like I was wondering through a movie set, or Disneyland’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride (I just read on wikipedia that Bryce’s hoodoos were the inspiration for the ride).
The hike begins as a steep down hill from Bryce Point, which affords gorgeous views of the amphitheater as you are making your way down. I started out my hike at about 8:30am and was one of only a hand full of groups out hiking. After about 1 mile you reach the junction for the Peek-A-Boo Loop. Choosing which direction to hike may not seem like a big deal, but a thing to remember about this trail is that it is also used as a horse trail, with 1-2 groups of horses an hour walking clockwise. Choosing to hike against the horses (counter-clockwise) means you will not have to follow packs of smelly horses.
The loops length is not crazy long, topping off at 5.5 miles long. One of the great things about the hike is that it has easy access to the Navajo (1.3 miles), and Queens Garden (1.8 miles) trails which you can add-on to your hike if you want to be out longer. Navajo and Queens Garden are two of the busiest trails in Bryce. There was a noticeable difference in people on these two trails, than any of the other trails that I hiked in the park. While being on a busy trail may make for some great people watching (I am always flabbergasted at what people hike in), but they never give me the sence of solitude that I look for in National Parks.
I did brave the crowds of the Navajo trail and hiked up to sunset point, refilled my water bottles (Bryce has awesome water bottle stations) and headed back down to continue on the Peek-A-Boo.
One of the best and worst things about the Peek-A-Boo loop is it goes up and down, up and down, the entire loop (see trails profile below). This is awesome in the it affords great perspective of the hoodoos and amphitheater, but it is a killer on the glutes and calfs.
If you have ever been to Bryce Canyon you know that it is a busy park. But I was pleasantly surprised at the lack of people out on the trail. There were still plenty of groups out hiking, but I never had to feel embarrassed if I stopped to huff and puff or if I set of a tripod selfie. It does help if you hike counter-clockwise, not only do you not have to follow the stinky horses as I mentioned above, but most people hike clockwise so you also skip over them!
The Peek-A-Boo loop is not to be missed if you are in Bryce Canyon! If you have a morning free get your hiking boots on and enjoy the prettiest hike the park has to offer!
Length: 5.5 miles Elevation Gain: 1555 feet (473 m)
Have you hiked Peek-A-Boo loop?
Do you think it is the prettiest hike in Bryce Canyon?