Fairyland Loop

Round Trip Distance: 8.2 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous
Elevation: 7142 - 8075 feet
Cellphone: 0-4 bars
Time: 4 hrs. 30 mins.
Trailhead: Fairyland Point
Fee: $15 individual, $30/vehicle, $35/annual pass
Attractions: Spectacular scenic canyons and hoodoos

The Fairyland Loop trail is located in Bryce Canyon National Park. This amazing trail travels through mile after mile of beautiful canyons and hoodoos with more peace and solitude than most of the other trails in the park. This post describes following the loop in the clockwise direction beginning at Fairyland Point. Many hikers simply begin from the North Campground or lodge, if that is where they are staying, or from Sunset or Sunrise Points.

The turnoff to Fairyland Point is just outside of the Entrance Fee Station which means that it can be accessed without paying the normal admission fee. Of course, there is no restroom, water or any other services available so you will end up getting just what you didn't pay for.

Fairyland Loop is a very exciting hike and the excitement begins building right from the start when you stand on the rim of the canyon and gaze over the land of hoodoos that awaits you below.

The trail itself is the same broad easy to hike path that is common to the inner canyon trails in Bryce Canyon. These are without a doubt some of the best unpaved hiking trails that you will find anywhere in the country. The 8 mile length of the trail might seem a little daunting to some, and with the overall elevation change it is strenuous, but it is much easier to hike than trails that are strewn with rocks or that require scrambling over boulders.

The feeling of awe and adventure is as though one is entering a land of enchantment. The towering mountain that separates the two canyons that the Fairyland Loop travels through is called Boat Mesa.

Some sections of the trail are forested with ponderosa pines. Areas on some of the hills where growing conditions are a little more meager have good specimens of bristlecone pines with their drooping branches and bushy looking needles.

Hoodoos and spires line the canyon walls. The outside world seems far away in the serenity of the Bryce Canyon Wilderness. This part of the canyon is called the 'Palace of the Fairy Queen'.

After crossing over to the south side of the canyon the trail continues its gradual descent for a little longer still surrounded by beautiful hoodoos and canyon walls. The total drop in elevation adds up to just over 600 feet at this point.

Eventually the trail begins climbing over to the next canyon gradually gaining back about 400 feet of elevation until it tops out on the ridge below Boat Mesa.

From here the trail follows the contours of the side of the mountain meandering around each side canyon while continuing generally in the direction of the rim.

This canyon seems somewhat different than Fairyland Canyon but there are still plenty of scenes to treat your senses. The first section that the trail passes by is called 'The Colosseum'.

As the trail loops back toward the rim it tends to gain elevation at a slow but steady pace until it approaches Tower Bridge where it descends into the bottom of the drainage that cuts through the canyon. A short out and back side trail leads over to a viewing area beneath Tower Bridge.

After leaving Tower Bridge the trail continue back up the wash and begins climbing steadily again at a little steeper rate than before.

The trail travels along the base of a white cliff with gorgeous views of the China Wall a short distance away.

The Fairyland Trail ends at its junction with the Rim Trail. Taking a left at this fork would lead to the lodge area and Sunrise Point. The right fork will lead to the North Campground and back to Fairyland Point.

The last 2.5 miles of the loop follows the Rim Trail. There is still about 200 more feet of elevation gain on the Rim Trail section of the loop with some sections that are just a little steep.

There is also more geological eye candy to enjoy along the way.

Fortunately the trail cuts across the back of Boat Mesa rather than following around its rim.

As you continue on around the rim you can see the trail that you just came up in the canyon below. This picture gives a good idea of the rate at which that trail climbs. The steeper sections are mitigated by short switchbacks.

After hiking around the loop the section that followed the Rim Trail back to Fairyland Point seemed a little tedious. We still had enough energy left that we hiked the 3 mile Queens/Navajo Loop afterwards. Bryce Canyon has some very nice hikes and so far the Fairyland Loop is by far our favorite. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.