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Navajo Trail in Bryce

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May 7th, 2011, 07:44 PM
  #1
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Navajo Trail in Bryce

The Trail is currently closed due to rock slides. Doesn't sound like it will be open when we are there in 3 weeks. We will still hike Queens Garden. Any other trail that we should hike?
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May 8th, 2011, 02:35 AM
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I highly recommend the mule rides for a half day. It's fun and you cover a lot of ground.
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May 8th, 2011, 03:57 AM
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The Fairyland Loop is excellent.
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May 8th, 2011, 05:00 AM
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This has happened before.

Let me suggest a few strategies.

In general Queen's Garden is an out and back. What most people do is go down Navajo Loop (I'll describe this in a minute) as it's somewhat steeper and up Queen's Garden.

Somewhere at the bottom they both meet.

Also meeting there is Peek-a-Boo trail (some photos of this on my web site in the 2007 trip - www.travelwalks.com). It goes up the other side and gives nice view of parts of Bruce where you cam from (some of the viewpoints). The only negative about this is that it's shared with horses (I didn't come across any riders) so watch out for what you step in.

Now back to Navajo Loop. As the name implies, it's a loop. You go down one side and go up the other. Both sides are quite different.

If you're going down Navajo Loop and up QG, you have to choose one way down.

In the past, the rock slides have been on the Wall Street side. Call and find out if both sides are closed or only one side.

Obviously if one side is closed you'd go down the other side.

Also, just because one side is close it doesn't mean you can't go part way down that side. It depends on the cause and whether or not it's still dangerous.
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May 8th, 2011, 05:49 AM
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From the NPS website, it appears that 3 areas are closed. Thors Hammer area, the are where the tree area, and maybe Wall Street. Their desciption was a little confusing. Also it said they would evaluate it next week and then in another place it said it could be months before it is open.

The horses sounded like something I would do, not sure that my wife and daughter would want to do it. I would probably go for the full day ride.
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May 8th, 2011, 08:16 AM
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I just read what they wrote at the end of March.

It appears that the Thor's Hammer side has the problem.

Possibly the Wall Street side will be open by the end of May when you're there. If it is, you can go down that side and connect to Queen's Garden for the hike up.

If it's close on both sides then you would go down Queen's Garden and continue across and onto Peek-a-Boo. It's a very nice trail. I did it on my second day in Bryce after being in elevation for a day.

The first time I was in Bryce the Wall Street side was still closed from a rock fall. However, people were going down until the blockage and then back up.

There are a lot of options. Also, you don't know how far down you can go before it's blocked. It's a beautiful hike even part way down and then back up.

I'd call for a full and current explanation.
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May 8th, 2011, 10:28 AM
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If you want to do the mule/horse back ride IN Bryce Canyon National Park you have to book thought the park service. If you book at a place outside, then you ride outside the park. Also there is a 230 pound limit for the horses and they did have a scale behind the counter. I know this because by BIL wanted to do a ride and he couldn't.

Utahtea
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May 8th, 2011, 10:32 AM
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I think I will for sure do what I can of it and probably just "play it by ear" when I get there. Myer, I just might get Willis Creek in yet. We are actually going to have more time along the way than I anticipated.

Basically we are flying into Moab on a Thursday night. We will spend Friday at Arches(my daughter and I have been there but not my wife). We plan on getting up at 5:00 and hike Delicate Arch, Landscape, see Double Arch, Windows, and Balanced Rock. Then we are going to head over to Goblin Valley(neither of them have seen this). If we have time and energy we will hike Little Wildhorse slot canyon there.
On Saturday we will stop at Gifford House for pies, then head to Calf Creek Falls. After the falls we will drive HWY 12 into Bryce stopping at Hell's Backbone Grill for dinner.
We are staying at Bryce lodge Saturday and Sunday night. We leave out of St. George at 7:00pm Monday night(daughter is taking a couple of summer college classes that start Tues, this will be her first experience with college- she is a junior but decided to take some classes this summer rather than to work). So we have all day Sunday and Monday at Bryce-not sure if we will do Willis Creek, ride horses, see Cedar Breaks or what exactly.
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May 8th, 2011, 03:58 PM
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"The horses sounded like something I would do, not sure that my wife and daughter would want to do it. I would probably go for the full day ride."

You will be very tired and sore after a half day ride unless you are an active rider.

We made our reservation after we got there and had no problems. They have a desk inside the lodge. You make your reservation and check in on ride day there then go to the corral.
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May 8th, 2011, 07:20 PM
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spiro,

If you have the time definitelt add Devil's Garden Escalante (not to be confused with Arches). It's an easy, flat 10-12 mile dirt road drive down Hole-in-the-Rock Road.

I like to think of it as a grown up Goblin Valley.

I'd also like to get other's opinions of Willis Creek. The drive there is a bit of an adventure with 10-12 miles of dirst road that sandy, hilly and somewhat curvey. Not as bad as I'm making it out to be.

They now have a sign at the parking lot. The walk/hike is very, very easy. There's only one spot where you have to walk around because of a small waterfall. Unless you want to climb it.

There are at least 8-10 slots each of which are not more than a 100-200 yards or so. Make sure you do at leat 5 or 6 of them as they get taller as you go.

I was there with my daughter last September and she's glad we added it to our day. We didn't go as far as we should have since we tried to get to Bryce in time for sunset (just missed it).
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May 9th, 2011, 07:31 AM
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Myer, I think you've about talked me into your options.

Utah, I'm 170lbs, wife and daughter far less, so we'll be fine.

Connie, I'm very active so I don't think the horses would be a problem, although I'm sure I'd be sore in different areas than what I'm used to. Iv'e riden horses a few times the last few years for a couple of hours and didn't really notice much soreness.
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May 9th, 2011, 10:02 AM
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Myer... you mentioned doing a hike in Bryce after being at elevation for a day.

As flatlanders, we will be arriving in Vegas July 1... then off to Zion, GCNR and Bryce for 2 nights each. At what point (all of us are in reasonably good shape) will we become acclimated to the altitude, if at all?
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May 9th, 2011, 10:32 AM
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wrongfoot,

That depends on your body.

I live at sea level. Also, I didn't stop in Zion (went after Bryce). If you spend a day or two in Zion you'll be in some elevation at about 4,000ft. Zion will probably be quite hot. Sunscreen and wide-brimmed hats are an idea.

Bryce is 8,000ft. Not high enough for most people to get sick but high enough to drain your energy.

I jogged from the car to a viewpoint the first day and really felt it.

My first day in Bryce I hiked down Navajo Loop and back up Queen's Garden. The last part of QG became an effort.

The next day I started at 10AM (it snowed overnight), hiked down Navajo Loop, then crossed over and hiked Peek-a-Boo and then crossed backed and hiked up Queens Garden.

I finished close to 4PM and the end was getting to be an effort. But it felt good when I got up to the top.

Just make sure you have plenty of water, lather on sunscreen and stop whenever you feel winded. The trails in Bryce are very good. They're not steep, they're quite wide and not rocky so don't require jumping around. Stopping to rest a bit doesn't get in anybody's way.
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May 9th, 2011, 10:46 AM
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spiro,

Cannonville is a little town just east of Bryce. For Willis Creek turn down (south) on the main street.

There's a good visitors' center on the right hand side of the street. You can go in there for driving instruction to Willis Creek.

I'll give them anyway. Continue driving south for a couple of minutes. There's a fork in the road. The left fork goes to Grosvenor Arch (don't bother if you've been to Arches) and Kodachrome Park (nothing there). The right goes to Willis Creek and beyond.

It's about 10-12 miles. There won't be a lot of traffic so if you decide to go up some sandy hills on the left side you'll be ok.

The first time I was there they didn't have a sign at the parking lot. At the visitors center they told us that if we went down a little hill and drove across a small stream we passed it and should back up. We did.

Now you can see the sign and parking lot on the right side of the road. park and just go in the direction of the sign.

In less than 100 yards you'll go down a little hill and be on the stream bed. Very shortly after you walk thru the first slot. Remember that they get taller and more impressive as you go on.

I think people who only stick to National Parks are missing a lot. Lower Calf Creek Falls always seems to have quite a few people on the trail and at the falls. But Goblin Valley, Devil's Garden Escalante and Willis Creek will be very quiet and peaceful.

All are definitely worth the stop and will give you a varied experience of the area.
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May 9th, 2011, 10:54 AM
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Thanks for the advice Myer... I planned it this way so each park would be at higher elevation... we won't be doing any jogging.

Hoping to do a couple of easy trails each day. Sunscreen, water, hats, good shoes... check.
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May 9th, 2011, 12:40 PM
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When we were at Bryce in April the entire Navajo/Wall Street loop was closed. The trail was blocked at the top of the rim. We went down Queens Garden and met some folks who had walked to the lower end of the closed trail and said it was completely shut off from the bottom of the valley too, no partial opening of either side of the loop at that time. The ranger said it was a big slide then. Not sure if any more rock has fallen since then.
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