Navajo Loop Trail, Bryce Canyon

May 29, 2011

As we walked toward the entrance to the Navajo Loop Trail which leads from the rim of Bryce Canyon, we could see the trail snaking downward through the hoodoos.

As we look down, the trail we will take loops around to the right. They are working on the left trail with interesting miniature machines. We found out later that the closed trail was the return of the Navajo Loop Trail.

I was interested in the miniature tracked construction machines they had down on the trail. The one nearest has a wheeled miniature concrete mixer.

OK, so even though we will not wind up covering this particular part of the trail, it is intriguing to see it snaking off through the formations, down into the canyon.

Ashleigh finally gets to see the trail we are actually going to be hiking on as we reach the trailhead on the rim of Bryce Canyon. It is the one shown above with switchbacks dropping steeply into the canyon.

We also got another view of the more distant trail snaking off through the hoodoos.

Elyse is ready to head down the trail. Even though it was 11 am, it was windy and cool on the canyon rim and our windbreakers felt good.

Darla and Mark head down the switchbacks.

The beginning of the Navajo Loop descends into the canyon in a set of probably 20 tight switchbacks. Jeff was keen on getting a stairstep shot like that which we did on the 1982 trip.

Here we have on descending levels Ashleigh, Darla, Mark, Jordan, Elyse and Jeff.

It appears that there are more switchbacks now than before, as they have apparently reworked the switchbacks and extended them deeper into the canyon. The surface looked like clay but felt as hard as rock.

We head on down the switchbacks. We are spread out on several levels on these short segments.

The switchbacks get shorter and shorter as we approach the floor of the canyon. We can now look back up the switchbacks and see how far we have come down from the rim of the canyon.

I liked the shot of Darla below because of its apparent solitude, but that solitude could only have been in spirit. The trail was actually very crowded.

We paused at the end of one lower switchback in the shade of this high red rock wall. And then the girls were off again down the switchbacks.

We have now come down probably more than twenty switchbacks and are approaching the bottom of the narrow canyon.

The last few switchbacks.

We are now at the bottom of the narrow canyon, which is jumbled with all kinds of rocks, large and small. This suited the girls just fine, so they started climbing on them.

We wandered through the bottom of the narrow canyon, with rock walls towering over our heads.

Jeff and Darla and Jordan in the bottom of the canyon by the red rock walls. The stone looked very crumbly, so I guess that's why it tends to weather into all these shapes.

There are tall trees growing in the narrow canyon, and all sorts of strange rock shapes. It is a weird place.

Elyse and Jordan found some dry logs at the bottom of the canyon and were jumping between them. Here I caught Jordan in mid air.

Having reached the bottom of the canyon, we took off on an almost horzontal trail along the canyon.

It was interesting to see tall trees growing in the narrow confines of this canyon, and even up on rock ledges.

With all kinds of rocks, ledges and overhangs along this trail, there were plenty of places for the girls to play.

Jordan runs among the hoodoos. They are like towering spectators above the trail.

There were some trees that looked like ancient cedars along the trail. They were inviting places to play.

We had a pleasant walk along the bottom of the canyon, surrounded by the formations of Bryce Canyon.

Jordan is standing in front of some formations of the red color that we had seen mostly up until this point. But as the photo above right shows, there is a transition to formations of more pastel to white rock. It was at about this point that we encountered the return path of Navajo Loop and found it closed. We talked to a hiker who had come from the next entry point from the rim and he said it was over an hour, so we decided to retrace our steps over the about 0.7 mile trail that we had followed to this point.

Navajo Loop Return

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