• Length: Approximately four miles
  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Why we love it: This winding gravel path dips into Bryce Canyon and slithers past other-worldly rock formations. It concludes at Sunrise Point, where you get the satisfaction of viewing the canyon you just traversed from above.
  • When to go: Spring and fall offer the most agreeable temperatures. During summer, you can enjoy the coolest weather of the day and the least tourists by taking the first morning shuttle to the trailhead.
  • Pre-hike buzz: Bryce Canyon Coffee Company is about a 20-minute drive from the park, located in a log cabin in Tropic, Utah.
  • Restrooms: Use the restrooms and fill water bottles at the Visitor Center at the entrance to the national park (where you’ll leave your car), before hopping on the shuttle to Bryce Point.
  • Dogs: Not allowed on this trail

If you’re going to do one thing in Utah’s Bryce Canyon National Park, let this hike be it. The trail begins at Bryce Point, off U.S. 63, and dips immediately into the canyon. The gravel trail first passes the Wall of Windows, a towering wall of distinctive rock streaked with hues of beige and red, and the Cathedral, a ruinous butte made from the park’s characteristic hoodoos, colorful spires of dry, brittle rock that rise from the the Colorado and High Plains plateaus.

Bryce Canyon is known for its unique mountain vistas, busied with countless red and pink hoodoos. As you wind down the first leg of Peek-A-Boo, you’ll glimpse hoodoos, sandy canyon walls, and to the east, undulating mountain hills smothered in deep green pine forests that stretch out below the backcountry’s tremendous sky.

Views from Bryce Canyon National Park. Photo by Louisa Pitney

When you come to the north fork of Peek-A-Boo in the canyon basin, keep left (you’re not making a whole loop on this trail). Then, at the next junction, head right. You’ll make your way toward Queens Garden and continue to Sunrise Point on the Queens Garden trail. The aptly named group of vibrant red and white formations lord over hikers below, dwarfing them with their size, bizarre shapes, and vibrant color. You’ll also have an opportunity to wind through a swath of sandy desert-like land that is speckled with gnarled, bark- and leaf-less trees before making your ascent on the bright pink gravel out of the canyon.

At Sunrise Point, aim your camera straight ahead for a clear shot of the mountainous Utah backcountry, but be sure to turn your gaze left, too, to take in the satisfying view of the canyon you just conquered. By now, you’re sufficiently sun-soaked. Snag a cool ride back to the Visitor Center via the Bryce Canyon shuttle system—but don’t put away your camera just yet. There’s more stunning scenery to be captured on the passage back.

Getting there: Located about 539 miles from Denver near Utahn towns by the name of Bryce and Tropic, most of the pavement traversed en route to Bryce Canyon National Park is on I-70 W. Heads to a navigation app for full directions.

Haley Gray
Haley Gray
Haley Gray is a Boulder-based freelance journalist. Her work has appeared in 5280, Roads and Kingdoms, Boulder Magazine, and the Albuquerque Journal.