The Tropic Trail is located in Bryce Canyon National Park, but starts on the East side of the park in the amphitheater, as opposed to the rim and the main park entrance.
There are several advantages to hiking the Tropic Trail:
Free! As of 2021 there is currently no cost to enter from this trailhead.
Way less crowded!
You can access trails that are closed from other trailheads in winter.
You start from the bottom and hike up, rather than start by going down
The biggest downside is of course, is that it’s not dog friendly. You are still hiking within the National Park area, so the pups will have to sit this one out. Since we were dog-free on this trip we took advantage of that and hiked from the Tropic Trail and ended up doing the PeekaBoo loop! We didn’t see any people for the first 1.5 miles, then once we got on the PeekaBoo loop we passed at least 50 people, but no one else came from the Tropic Trailhead.
The Tropic Trail is accessible year round, however you do have to drive down a dirt road for about 3 miles and it may be impassable after a storm. 4WD is not required, as it is well graded since there are a few homes in the area.
It’s easiest to type in “Tropic Trail” into your Google Maps app. From the town of Tropic, UT, head West on W 100 N/Bryce Way toward N 200 W for 3.2 miles until you reach the end of the road. It’s marked by a dead end with a cattle gate with stairs over it, and the trailhead sign. Parking is free & available along the dirt road. Here is a driving map.
Distance: 6 miles RT
Elevation gain: 1,100 ft
Time: 2-4 hours
Dog friendly? No, dogs are not allowed in BCNP
Kid friendly? Yes, all ages
Fees/Permits? None starting from the Tropic TH
The trailhead is marked by a gate with stairs over it.
Views of Bristlecone Point is off to the right (North).
The trail is very flat the first 1.5 miles. At 3/4 mile in, cross the wash.
At 1.0 mile pass the sign on your left. When you reach the Navajo Trail junction, it’s not up to you for which trail you want to hike. We chose to do the PeekaBoo loop, so we stayed left again.
We opted to hike the PeekaBoo Loop in a clockwise direction. We really liked going this way.
Lots of switchbacks.
There are several stopping points along the trail perfect for pictures.
I couldn’t believe how warm it was for mid-November! It was around 61F & perfect t-shirt weather. I wished I had shorts on.
Continue on the PeekaBoo Loop. In winter there is a 1 mile connector trail to Bryce Point, but it’s closes around late October.
Wow! What a cool place.
The loop gradually works its way through red, orange, and white hoodoos.
“Wall of Windows” – this was my favorite section of the trail.
Making our way back on the loop. In the shade it was still cold.
What a great day to be out.
Ending with a bang! From here, just keep following the loop back, and take the Tropic Trail back to your car.
Check out my video on Youtube!