Hiking the Navajo Loop Trail

What have I gotten myself into this time?

The Navajo Loop Trail at Bryce Canyon National Park is only 1.3 miles, but don’t let that fool you; it drops straight down over 500 feet into a slot canyon through short sharp switchbacks.

This is my second visit to Bryce, but my first time hiking one of its scenic trails. Each visit draws me in to explore more of this uniquely wonderful wonder. The titan colored pillars towering to the big open blue sky is breathtaking. You gaze out into the horizon, and it seems to never end. Bryce will always be one of my top favorite national parks.

Shortly after starting the hike, I questioned my sanity. The switchbacks had my legs shaking like an earthquake every step of the way. Gravity was pulling me down faster then I could keep up. Oh, did I mention the rocky cliffs with bone-chilling drop-offs – yikes! By the time I reached the bottom, my legs were giggling like j-e-l-l-o! The views were absolutely gorgeous just as I imagined it would be and so much more.

The hike was tough; I can’t even pretend like it wasn’t. I took more rest breaks and heart rate checks than I can remember. I wanted to turn around and head back to the top, but the awesomeness of what I saw kept pushing me to keep going. Once I reached the bottom and looked back at how far I had come, I knew I had to keep going. So I wiggled and jiggled my way to the top, completing the entire loop. It took me longer than most, but slow and steady stills win the race, right. Ha!

I was determined to experience these spectacular limestone pillars from the bottom up, and I did!

These pillars are called hoodoos. Created over time by ice and rain. Weathering and erosion cause the rocks to break down into walls, windows, and then individual hoodoos. It was a humbling experience standing next to these magnificent giants.

On day two, at the park, I took it easy. I hike one small trail at Rainbow Point, drove to the top of the 18-mile scenic loop stopping at a few viewpoints, and my personal favorite, Natural Bridges, on the way down. The scenic loop is another way to enjoy the park if you’re not able to hike the trails. It’s an easy drive, and the viewpoints are a few feet away from the parking area. I do hope you add Bryce to your list of national parks to explore. You won’t be disappointed.

Two years apart – same shirt, same smile!

I still can’t believe I hiked down into a canyon. I walked on a canyon floor!It blows my mind every time I think about it. Oh, did I mention I took a 2-hour nap in the parking lot afterward? My age is catching up with me. Ha!

“To walk in nature is to witness a thousand miracles.”

– unknown

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