ElevationAscent: 4,284' 1,306 m
Descent: -3,549' -1,082 m
High: 9,043' 2,756 m
Low: 6,753' 2,058 m
GradeAvg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 37% (20°)
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“A lengthy point-to-point endeavor that explores all of Bryce Canyon's hidden corners and hoodoos.”— Mike Harcarik
If you're thinking this is a stroll through the red desert sandstone, think again. The trail winds its way up, down, across, over and through a literal forest of delight. Young trees, old trees, big trees, small trees, short trees, tall trees, green will be the color dominating your senses. Remember to look up however, because the looming red/white hoodoos and pink cliffs high above make sudden appearances around many a corner.
The trail offers challenging terrain with loose rocks, sand, brush, snow (seasonal) and the occasional downed tree. At an average elevation above 7,000 feet and with more than 4,000 feet of gain/loss, hills are steep and tough on the quads, the knees, the ankles and the lungs. In addition, while marked, some trail sections can be long and difficult to follow w/o proper navigation equipment and skill.
That said, those who seek adventure will find it, along with a vast array of other nice surprises including hidden campsites, surprising views, fellow adventurers and an intimate, close-up look at many of the parks less-seen arches and hoodoos. Enjoy!
While descending, the urge to look skyward may overtake you, but keep one eye on the ground for safety. Arriving on the main forest floor you may assume it's flat and steady the rest of the way, but runner beware; the trail from here embarks upon mile-after-mile of steep passes and hogback ridges that may leave your legs shaky and lungs breathless. For this reason, the park offers 7 additional campsites along the way for maximum rest and refueling time.
About 10 miles in, just about when you've grown tired of the ups and downs, you'll reach Sheep Creek, another campsite, water source and the first of three connector trails allowing escape for those ready to raise the white flag ( Sheep Creek Connecting Trail). The good news is from here the trail finally lets up and provides several miles of easier terrain as you continue south past the Swamp Canyon and Natural Bridge campsites, and the Whiteman Bench Connecting Trail and Agua Canyon Connecting Trail.
This section is worth slowing down for, as the straight trail, easy grades, and open views are a welcome experience from the constant climbs, descents and traverses of the previous hours/days. From Agua canyon there is no turning back or escape. The remaining 7 miles or so offers a heart-pounding ascent to the trail's finish and the park's highest elevation at Rainbow Point at 9,115 feet.
Plant life here carries the same diversity and the only thing that's different is that you're sure to see it all along this trail. Of the many different trees and bushes you'll find include aspen, ponderosa/pinyon pine, cottonwood, willow, birch, douglas fir, blue spruce, juniper, manzanita and more. Together they make a beautiful contrast to the red-spired hoodoos above.
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Land Manager: National Park Service - Bryce Canyon National Park