Completing the Hike the Hoodoos Challenge

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I was at the Bryce Canyon National Park Visitor Center waiting for the park movie to start.   I am turning the pages of the hiking guide trying to decide what trail to hike.  A small article titled “Hike the Hoodoos Challenge.”  To complete the challenge, one needs do one of two things to hike at least 3 miles of on benchmark trails and/or collect a picture or rubbing of 3 benchmarks. Once completed return to the visitor center and collect “a special reward.”  It didn’t say what the award was or limit it to only kids.  Therefore, challenge accepted since I planned on hiking more than 3 miles.

To complete the challenge, there is  18.4 miles of trail and 9 benchmarks to choose from. The previous night, I had driven out to Rainbow point to watch the sunset.  I hadn’t taken a rubbing of the benchmark there, but I decided to hike “The figure 8 combination.  This combination is 6.4 miles in the Bryce Amphitheater and combines Queens Garden, Peekaboo, and Navajo loops.  This combo would meet both the mileage and benchmark requirements for my reward. If you like hiking and camping look at this website

Completing the Hike the Hoodoos Challenge

I parked my car at Sunrise Point.  I hiked down the canyon. It is a nice slopping downgrade.  The trail takes me around and through different hoodoos and  small canyons.

Completing the Hike the Hoodoos Challenge

After about a mile, there is a small spur trail that leads to the Queen Victoria hoodoo and my first benchmark. I take a quick rubbing on my drawing pad and return to the main trail.

Completing the Hike the Hoodoos Challenge


It was another mile to the to the Navajo and Peekaboo trail junction.  I stopped for lunch here.  I was sitting on a log eating my sandwich when a large shadow passes over me.  I glance up and watch the bird flying away.  It is brown with white patches under its wings.  I  finished my lunch and started around the Peekaboo loop. I was stopped at the Peekaboo split wait for a donkey train to pass when it hits me.  Those white patches under the arm only occur on one type of bird in this area.  I had seen the elusive California Condor.  I regret not reaching for my camera to snap a quick picture.

Completing the Hike the Hoodoos Challenge

I decided to go the opposite direction of the donkeys so they wouldn’t sneak up behind me.  I hiked uphill on the Peekaboo loop until I reach the Peekaboo Loop benchmark and collect my second one.


I came to the Wall of Windows.  I collected my third benchmark rubbing here.  I stopped and enjoyed the view through the windows.

Completing the Hike the Hoodoos Challenge


I from the Windows the trail heads downhill and back towards the Navajo junction.  The hoodoos in seem to change colors as  I hike.  I keep my camera at the ready and hope to that Condor again.

Completing the Hike the Hoodoos Challenge

Alas, no sighting as I reach the junction and there are about 20 kids waiting to get their picture with the Navajo junction.  I already have my three benchmarks so I don’t bother to wait and it’s getting late in the day so I need get back to by car if I want my reward.  I head up the trail towards Thor’s Hammar.

Completing the Hike the Hoodoos Challenge

The sun is lowering on the horizon as I make the half-mile hike to my car at Sunrise Point.  This section is along the rim of the amphitheater.  I look down on the hoodoos I had passed this moring.  Each hoodoo is different than the one next to it

Completing the Hike the Hoodoos Challenge

I walk into the visitor center excited to claim my reward.  “I finished the  Hike the Hoodoos Challenge,” I said to the ranger.  “Ok, let me see the pictures,”  he respond,  “I usually only get kids who completed the challenge.” “No one mentioned an age limit.  I just wanted the special reward,” I say as I show him my rubbings.  “Here is your special reward,” as he hands me a pin.  A pin! All that work and I get a pin. Not sure what I expected but I put the pin on my pack and off I go.

Completing the Hike the Hoodoos Challenge

Hike the Hoodoos Challenge Trails


  • Mossy Cave ~ 0.8 miles
  • Rim Trail ~ 2.5 miles
  • Queens Garden ~ 1.8 miles
  • Bristlecone ~ 1.0 miles


  • Navajo Loop ~ 1.3 miles
  • Tower Bridge ~ 3.0 miles


  • Peekaboo (from Sunset Point) ~ 2.4 miles
  • Wall of Windows (from Bryce Point) ~ 1.6 miles
  • Sheep Creek ~ 4.0 miles

Would you or have you completed the Hike the Hoodoos Challenge? Bryce Canyon was my 26th National Park. Share you national park adventures with #59USNP.

Completing the hike the hoodoos

25 thoughts on “Completing the Hike the Hoodoos Challenge”

  1. What a cute souvenir! And those Views look amazing! Ive never been, but one day we will road trip the USA and hopefully they will still give out the pins haha!

    1. I don’t know how long the program will be around but since it’s a sponsored by the Let’s Just Move program I would bet it last until 2017. Just another reason to do the road trip sooner rather than later.

  2. With all the road trips I’ve done around the American west you’d think I’d have visited Bryce. Got to the gate once during peak season when it was dreadfully hot and my companions couldn’t handle it. I’ve promised myself to visit during the cool fall months… another year.

    1. Yea, it was hot in the late afternoon. This is one reason I enjoy travelling along. I don’t have to worry about them complaining its too hot.

  3. Wow, Bryce Canyon is on my list now. Your pictures are stunning! I love hiking so I would like to try this challenge. Although I might need more time. Better slower than never:)

    1. There isn’t a time limit on completing the hikes. There are several shorter hikes that can be done to complete the challenge.

  4. Sounds like some fun hikes! I wouldn’t be able to resist collecting the reward either–it’s not much, but at least it was a cute pin! 🙂 We didn’t have time to check out Bryce Canyon on our last Utah trip, so hopefully we can add it next time! Looks gorgeous!

  5. These pictures are awesome. I’d love to complete the hoodoos challenge! i’ve had Bryce Canyon on my list for a while! I think the pin is awesome!

  6. Bryce Canyon is so beautiful, I visited there a few years back. I didn’t know about the Hoodoos Challenge! I love the whole concept of collecting rubbings along the way, it adds another element of fun to the hike! I would love to visit this National Park again in the future, and I’ll be sure to complete the challenge! Thanks for the thoroughness of your article, I think these types of activities are often overlooked!

    1. I did too. I still have the rubbings and am thinking about framing them. It is a great program to get kids excited about hiking.

  7. Haha, that’s awesome! “A pin” is exactly what I would have said at that moment. I guess it’s like they say “it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” I don’t know who “they” are or if “they” even say that but it’s definitely true in this situation! Pin or no pin, your photos are stunning and that was worth the hike alone!

  8. This is hilarious! Mostly because I would SO be down for a little trek like that most of the kids do as well. Looks fun, and I wish I had more time when I was there. I just returned from that area a week ago. I wasn’t able to give Bryce nearly enough time! Cool pin:)

  9. jaja, the ranger must have thought it was amusing. Well its a nice pin at least! The photos are amazing, all those colors are impressive.

  10. Jennifer, your trip to Bryce Canyon looks absolutely amazing! We plan to visit the USA and Bryce Canyon in a few years time so your post and photos have definitely continued to inspire me to want to visit.

  11. At least you can hold onto the pin and it’s a physical memory of a wonderful day :D! Even if it’s not what you expected 🙂 But your photos are just stunning – Bryce Canyon National Park looks like it’s an amazing place to hike. Have to add it to our itinerary for the next time we pass through the USA. Thanks!!

    1. I am not even sure what I was expecting. Looking back, I shouldn’t have been surprised given junior rangers get a free badge for completion of their booklet. I was probably going to hike those trails anyway so you’re right it is a good way to remember the hiking.

      You should add a Utah National Park Road Trip to you itinerary. If you just visit Bryce, you have missed out on some other amazing parks

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