Peekaboo Loop

Round Trip Distance: 5.5 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous
Elevation: 7429 - 8315 feet
Cellphone: 0-4 bars
Time: 3 hrs. 30 mins.
Trailhead: Bryce Point
Fee: $15 individual, $25/vehicle, $35/annual pass
Attractions: Scenic canyons and hoodoos

The Peekaboo Loop trail is located in Bryce Canyon National Park. This steep but exceptional trail takes you from the rim down through the heart of the Bryce Amphitheater traveling through canyons, tunnels and narrow passes along the way. Hikers get to experience the wonders of Bryce Canyon and see it as most visitors to the park can only imagine. With almost 1600 feet of elevation change there are very few, if any, flat sections of trail.

The Peekaboo Loop trail can be approached from several directions. Many people access the trail from Sunset Point via the Navajo Loop trail. For this post the hike begins at Bryce Point, descends into the canyon, follows the loop in the clockwise direction and then climbs back to the rim.

Just below Bryce Point the trail comes to a junction where the 'Under the Rim' trail branches off to the right and the Peekaboo Loop trail follows the left fork.

A good set of switchbacks takes hikers down the steep cliffs below the rim making easy work of the otherwise precipitous mountainside.

Excitement begins building as the trail transitions from white to red and comes closer and closer to the land of hoodoos.

The switchbacks give way to longer stretches of trail where the descent becomes more gradual.

The trail passes through its first tunnel afterwhich a new wonderland opens up before you.

And the secret is out on how the Park Service manages to keep the nice wide Bryce Canyon trails in such good condition.

Just over a mile into the hike the trail comes to the beginning of the loop. This post follows the loop to the left in the clockwise direction.

Descending further into the canyon the trail comes to a pseudo horse corral with a watering trough that says it is strictly for the livestock. Horse and mule rides are handled through a concession but private stock is also permitted. More information is available from the Park Services website.

Tucked away in a secluded location a short distance off of the main trail you will find a restroom.

At this point the trail passes beneath the 'Wall of Windows' which has undoubtedly already caught the attention of your gaze over the last half mile of hiking.

Continuing around the loop the trail begins working its way through various canyons of spires and hoodoos dotted with ponderosa pines and manzanita bushes. Hikers now begin to explore and become part of the beautiful maze of the Bryce Amphitheater that others can only look at with wonderment from above.

Getting over to the next canyon requires climbing a series of switchbacks...

and going through another tunnel. (peek-a-boo)

The trail progresses through the hoodoos with a few more climbing sections but with an overall drop in elevation until it comes to its closest point to the Navajo Loop and Queens Garden junction. From here the trail bends to the right back toward Bryce Point. A short connecting trail brings hikers coming from Sunset Point onto the loop.

The trail begins gaining back some elevation as it heads back towards the beginning of the loop. This is the shorter side of the loop and although it has a few downhill sections where it gives back some elevation only to have to gain it back later, this side of the loop is probably a bit easier to hike.

A couple more tunnels and a whole lot more beautiful geology to keep hikers both amused and amazed.

After about 3 miles of circling through the Bryce Amphitheater the loop comes to a close.

The climb back out of canyon isn't as tough as some might imagine it to be. The trail has a moderate slope with all the climbing spread out over more than 1 mile which eases the effort somewhat.

Many people only hike down to the first tunnel and turn around at that point. Everyone has to judge for themselves what they can handle. The hike is exciting enough that most of the effort seems to go unnoticed. The wide smooth trails in Bryce Canyon are much easier to hike than what you might be used to in the Southwest so it is hard to compare the distance and elevation gain with other places. The Peekaboo Loop is one of the funnest hikes that you will find anywhere. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.