Bryce Canyon National Park with Kids | Hiking the Navajo Loop Trail

by Shelly Rivoli
toddler and father hiking bryce canyon

UTAH, Hiking Bryce Canyon National Park with Kids –  The Navajo Loop trail is short, vertical, and offers some gorgeous hiking with changing vistas within Bryce Canyon. With the rim elevation varying between 8,000 and 9,000 feet and intense summer sun, we planned to take it slow and easy with the kids.

To our surprise, they did great on the hike and we didn’t even have to carry the 4-year-old out (not very far anyway…). Starting out at Sunset Point, near the Visitor Center, and near the historic Lodge at Bryce Canyon, the Navajo Loop is a good bet for many families visiting Bryce Canyon National Park with kids.

Follow along on our journey in photos!

Shortly after breakfast, before the temperature rises too high, we begin our quest to find the bottom of Bryce Canyon.

father and toddler hiking in Bryce Canyon

Just a short distance into our hike, the Navajo Loop trail leads us right through a kid-size tunnel.

kids on a Bryce Canyon hike

More layers of switchbacks weave in and out of increasingly precious shade as we descend farther into Bryce Canyon.

switchbacks on Navajo Loop trail at Bryce Canyon

Looking up as we descend into the canyon, only fellow hikers on the Navajo loop can make sense of the tremendous scale of things here.

view looking up at Bryce Canyon from hiking trail

Looking up at the crags and hoodoos against the sky becomes even more spectacular than viewing Bryce Canyon from above.

Looking up becomes even more spectacular than viewing Bryce Canyon from above.

At last we reach the canyon floor, or so it seems. The shade is sumptuous.

a kid enjoys shade at the bottom of Bryce Canyon

When you think it can’t get any narrower, the sky nearly disappears for a stretch.

hikers contemplate narrow cave-like bottom of Navajo Loop Trail in Bryce Canyon

While we stop for a water break, the kids discover the rocks will crumble with ease into a pinkish powder. Assuming this is what was worn as prehistoric sunscreen, they rub the powder all over their legs before continuing the hike.

kids crumbling rocks into powder at Bryce Canyon

Trees stretch high through the canyon slot, absorbing what light they can.

Trees stretch high through the canyon slot

Just as it begins to feel like the walls are closing in, an enormous doorway opens before us.

Opening in Bryce Canyon

As the canyon opens up, more trees appear along our pathway.

kids hiking at Bryce Canyon National Park

At last, we reach the bottom of the Navajo Loop trail. The kids explore the parched riverbed before beginning the slow work of our ascent.

kids exploring dry riverbed at Bryce Canyon

Three kids hiking in desert with guidebook promotion for Hiking with Kids Southern California by Shelly Rivoli
Hiking with Kids Southern California includes hikes in Sequoia NP, Kings Canyon NP, Joshua Tree NP, Death Valley NP, and Channel Islands NP — and many more great hikes for families. (And yes, those are MY kids!) Thank you for your support! – Shelly

Find more family travel inspiration in these posts:

Five Great National Park Vacations for Families

Zion National Park with Kids Family Vacation Guide

Dinosaur National Monument with Kids: Tips from our Jurassic Pilgrimage

Fourth Graders FREE in National Parks with Every Kid Outdoors Pass

Mount Rushmore with Kids & The Black Hills Family Vacation Guide

Glacier National Park with Kids Family Vacation Guide

Yosemite National Park with Kids Family Vacation Guide

Sequoia National Park with Kids Family Vacation Guide

California with Kids: Ten Unforgettable Family Vacation Ideas

Hiking to Whiskeytown Falls – Shasta County, California


Some things you might want to bring:

Ten Things You Should Pack for a Road Trip with Kids

Review of Merrell Siren Sport 2 Women’s Hiking Shoes

Tips for Buying Sunglasses for Kids

Anatomy of a Great Travel Hat for Kids

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gogogirl October 2, 2014 - 7:21 am

I once experienced a sudden March snowfall at daybreak on Sunrise Point in Bryce National Park. It was absolutely mystical. At that time I couldn’t hike into the canyon. Thanks for the inspiration to go back and do it! Your pictures are gorgeous.

Shelly Rivoli October 2, 2014 - 6:30 pm

Wow! That sounds amazing! I’d love to get photos of THAT. 😉

Shelly Rivoli September 29, 2014 - 4:46 pm

Thank you! It was hard to choose the photos, but in the end, it felt like these definitely told the story. 😉

Jessie Voigts September 29, 2014 - 3:51 pm

Love this – SO gorgeous!!!

Comments are closed.

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