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Fairyland Loop Trail

  • Difficulty
  • 13.2km
  • 379m
  • 1.75-2.25h

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This beautiful half-day loop meanders through some of the most stunning hoodoo formations in the park yielding a fantastic atmosphere to enjoy the splendid beauty of Bryce Canyon – without the huge crowds usually following the classic hikes in the region.

Getting there

Enter Bryce Canyon National Park, just south of the town of Bryce. Shortly after you pass through the park payment gates, you will see a sign towards Sunrise Point. Turn left here and follow signs for the point, parking in the large parking area.

elevation

Total Gain: 379m

About

Type of Hike Out and back
Crowd Levels Moderate
Route Signage Excellent
Toilets At Sunrise point trailhead
Family Friendly Yes if they can hike this long
Backcountry Campgrounds None
When to Do Spring, early summer and fall, avoid summer heat and winter snow

 Detailed Description

From the parking lot at Sunrise Point, head out towards the rim of the canyon. To your right will be Sunrise Point, however our trail goes left. You can complete the loop either clockwise or counter-clockwise, we will describe clockwise.

The first leg of the loop is therefore traversing along the Rim Trail towards Fairyland Point. This path ungulates up and down for approximately 2.5 miles, yielding fantastic views down into the orange-walled canyon. As you hike you will be able to see the obvious – and massive – Boat Mesa jutting out into the canyon.

When you reach Fairyland Point follow the signs for the Fairyland Loop, veering to the right. Here the trail will start to descend rather sharply, switchbacking down until it reaches the main valley bottom. This can be steep, and the gravel loose, so stay cautious and try to maintain good footing.

Once you reach the bottom of the canyon you will be totally surrounded by the red hoodoos. These awesome rock formations were not totally carved by erosion, as you might find in the Grand Canyon or Zion Canyon. The freezing and thawing of snow and ice every winter in fact, principally causes them!

The trail winds through several clusters of hoodoos and other formations, slowly gaining and losing elevation. As you near the end of the loop, you will gain a steep crest. Following this, continue to traverse along a sub canyon for approximately one mile, contouring around the ridges and reliefs.

Finally you will begin the final – and grueling – climb to the ridge. A dozen or so switchbacks later you will arrive at the rim. Turn left as you match up with the rim trail and follow it for a hundred yards or so back to the Sunrise Point parking lot.

Insider Hints

  • Hiking poles can be useful for the ascent and descend.
  • Complete this loop is whichever direction allows you to hike the rim trail when it is least busy. For example if you are hiking in the morning, hike the rim trail first and complete the loop clockwise.