Into the Canyon: 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.

Shortly after breakfast, before the temperature rises too high, we begin our quest to find the bottom of Bryce Canyon.
Shortly after breakfast, before the temperature rises too high, we begin our quest to find the bottom of Bryce Canyon.
Bryce Canyon hike
Just a short distance into our hike, the Navajo Loop trail leads us right through a kid-size tunnel.
More layers of switchbacks weave in and out of increasingly precious shade as we descend farther into Bryce Canyon.
More layers of switchbacks weave in and out of increasingly precious shade as we descend farther into Bryce Canyon.
Looking up as we descend into the 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.
Looking up becomes even more spectacular than viewing Bryce Canyon from above.
Looking up at the crags and hoodoos against the sky becomes even more spectacular than viewing Bryce Canyon from above.
More layers of switch-backs weave in and out of increasingly precious shade as we descend farther into Bryce Canyon.
At last we reach the canyon floor, or so it seems. The shade is sumptuous.
When you think it can't get any narrower, the sky nearly disappears for a stretch.
When you think it can’t get any narrower, the sky nearly disappears for a stretch.
As we stop for a water break, the kids discover the rocks will crumble with ease into  a pinkish powder.
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.
Trees stretch high through the canyon slot, absorbing what light they can.
Trees stretch high through the canyon slot, absorbing what light they can.
Opening in Bryce Canyon
Just as it begins to feel like the walls are closing in, an enormous doorway opens before us.
As the canyon opens up, more trees appear along our pathway.
As the canyon opens up, more trees appear along our pathway.
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.
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.
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Shelly Rivoli

Founder, Editor, & Chief Adventure Officer at Family Travel 411 and Travels with Baby
Shelly Rivoli is the award-winning author behind the Travels with Baby guidebooks and Travels with Baby website and blog, and is the founding editor of Family Travel 411. When she isn't traveling with her husband and three children, she hangs her hat in the San Francisco Bay Area. Follow her on Twitter: @travelswithbaby and Facebook: Shelly Rivoli.
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4 thoughts on “Into the Canyon: Hiking Bryce Canyon National Park with Kids”

  1. 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.

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