Hiking the Fairyland Loop Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park


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Bryce Canyon is a gem of the Southwest area. I consider it like Zion’s underrated sister that’s much less crowded, a little bit quirkier, and simply as stunning with steep cliffs, beautiful hoodoos (gigantic towers of purple rocks left standing by erosion), and distinctive trails. One of these trails is Fairyland Loop: a 7.4-mile trek that delivers wildly epic views of the canyon, together with sweat.

While Bryce Canyon is finest recognized for the Navajo/Queens Garden Loop and Peekaboo Loop, Fairyland Loop isn’t fairly as well-known (but), which is part of its magic. Its longer size additionally deters some guests who don’t have time or aren’t prepared to place within the work.

I hiked the Fairyland Loop as a part of a Bearfoot Theory group tour that I organized a couple of years again. Everyone on our journey agreed that this path is effectively definitely worth the effort.

Below I’m sharing all the things you must know concerning the Fairyland Loop Trail in Bryce Canyon, together with the place to park, when to go, and what to deliver. Plus, I’ve sprinkled in a couple of tricks to make the expertise as particular as attainable.  

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Important Reminder: As it goes in the entire locations we share, please apply good path etiquette and bear in mind to Leave No Trace. This means packing out your whole rubbish (together with bathroom paper), being respectful to others, and following the established guidelines.

Fairyland Loop Trail: The Basics 

The Fairyland Loop is a not-to-be-missed hike in Bryce Canyon National Park. It’s a kind of trails that makes you’re feeling very far-off and in a unique world with out having to enterprise off too far. 

Trail Basics

  • Section: Outside the Bryce Amphitheater
  • Distance: 7.9 miles
  • Type: Loop
  • Elevation Gain: 1,555 ft
  • Time: 4 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Fairyland Point
  • Map: AllTrails

Located within the northern area of Bryce Canyon National Park, this path supplies views of the standard spiraling hoodoos and quite a lot of beautiful landscapes with out as a lot foot site visitors because the Navajo Loop Trail and Peekaboo Loop talked about above.

Fairyland is a well-marked path. The path is usually clear and simple to observe, particularly because it’s a loop. 

The Fairyland Loop Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park

Unlike many hikes that begin on the backside and take you to the highest, this hike begins on the high and takes you down into the canyon and round. 

The Fairyland Loop Trail affords you a unique perspective from what you see on the canyon rim and units you as much as see the hoodoos from excessive and under, which exhibits the sheer magnitude of their measurement. They look huge in footage and really feel much more huge in individual.

There are good stretches of flat sections, particularly within the backside of canyon, however the downhill and uphill sections can really feel steep, particularly on a scorching day with little shade.

Tip: Most of the path is uncovered with little shade, so make sure you pack much more water than you assume you want. 

What Direction Should I Hike the Fairyland Loop?

The path will be hiked clockwise or counter-clockwise. Generally, it’s really useful to hike it counter-clockwise to keep away from the steep climb on the finish (which totals to about 850 ft in 1.6 miles). Counter-clockwise offers you a steep downhill initially and a extra light and gradual uphill trek on the finish. If your knees don’t love a steep downhill, you might wish to go clockwise.

Against the favored advice, I personally hiked it clockwise the place you encounter a gradual downhill stretch initially and steeper incline on the finish.

Where to Park for the Fairyland Loop

You have a couple of choices of the place to park for Fairyland Loop. There’s a really tiny parking zone on the official Fairyland Point trailhead. This is the place I began. If you may’t discover a spot (or it’s closed for the winter), you can begin your hike at Sunrise Point which connects to the Fairyland Loop.

If you’re visiting Bryce Canyon throughout a busy season and the thought of combating for a parking spot stresses you out, the customer’s middle affords parking contained in the park’s gate and you are taking the park’s shuttle to Sunrise Point. Note that the shuttle doesn’t function within the winter. 

How Long Does It Take to Hike the Fairyland Loop?

I’d suggest giving your self a minimum of 4 hours to finish the loop. Could you do it sooner? Absolutely. But if you wish to absorb the expertise, take some photographs alongside the way in which and benefit from the stellar views — you’ll want a few half day of mountain climbing. 

Short on time? Consider beginning on the Tower Bridge Trailhead and hike the primary quarter of Fairyland Loop. Once you attain “Tower Bridge” you may head again within the path you got here from as an out-and-back hike. This will provide you with a style of the surroundings in half the time. Alternatively, you may hike the shorter Peekaboo Trail or one of many different superior trails in Bryce Canyon

Tip: Start the Fairyland Loop hike early within the morning to get unmatched dawn views. You’ll additionally beat the mid-day summer time warmth.

How tough is the Fairyland Loop?

When it involves issue, because of its 7.9 mile size and 1,500 ft of elevation achieve, I take into account this a reasonable path with a couple of difficult sections. Also if you’re coming from sea stage, you’ll discover the altitude and should end up extra out of breath than typical. 

The path signal warns of unfastened rock, however I wouldn’t say it’s overly slick. Most of the path is gravel/eroded sandstone, so so long as you might have mountain climbing sneakers with good traction, I wouldn’t let the indicators make you too nervous. You can even hike with trekking poles to offer extra stability on the steeper sections.

Fairyland Loop Trail Guide 

If you’re searching for an epic hike in Bryce Canyon, that is it. Fairyland Loop isn’t a fast hike, however it’s THE option to see Utah’s panorama in all its glory. The views are unbelievable on this hike. You’ll see hoodoos, the Bryce Amphitheater, the “Tower Bridge,” a number of purple rocks, twisty bushes, and simply beautiful sights in each path.

Views of hoodoos at  Fairyland Loop in Bryce Canyon
Scenic views of hoodoos at Fairyland Loop in Bryce Canyon

Here’s a peek at a number of the path highlights (going counter-clockwise, because it’s the extra standard selection):

Mile 0 – Fairyland Point & Rim Trail

You’ll begin by heading Southwest (counter-clockwise) from Fairyland Point on the Rim. The starting portion of the path is pretty flat, with a couple of ups and downs, gaining ~300 ft over the primary 2.5 miles. This part is an opportunity to let your legs heat up whereas overlooking the canyon’s bowl and hoodoos whereas peering down into the place you might be headed.

Our group on the Fairyland Point trailhead earlier than beginning our hike

Tip: Use the restroom beforehand. There are not any loos on the path and since there’s little or no protection, there are few spots to go discreetly. 

Mile 2.5 – Sunrise Point

After about 2.5 miles, you’ll attain dawn level – probably the most iconic overlooks in all of Bryce Canyon. Take all of it in, as a result of quickly you start your descent down in the direction of the canyon flooring, saying goodbye to the crowds on the Rim. After leaving Sunrise Point, for the following 1.5 miles, you’ll drop almost 800 ft down into the canyon. You’ll go the picturesque Chinese Wall (a shocking wall of purple rocks) and also you’ll discover some stunning vegetation modifications.

Descending down into the Canyon

Mile 4.0 – Tower Bridge

At 4.0 miles, you’ll attain the bottom level of the hike the place there occurs to be a really cool rock formation aptly named the “Tower Bridge”. It’s about .2 miles off the path and effectively price visiting, particularly when you’ve by no means been to Arches National Park. If you introduced snacks, it’s an incredible lunch spot to pause for a chunk. 

Tower Bridge on the Fairyland Loop Hike

Past tower Bridge, for the following 2.5 miles, you’ll expertise some gradual uphill and downhill sections as you weave your approach by means of the forest and round large hoodoos, also referred to as “fairy chimneys” and “tent rocks.” 

The canyon flooring on the Fairyland Loop Trail

Mile 6.6 – Begin your Ascent

Over the ultimate 1.3 miles of the Fairyland Loop, you achieve simply over 600 ft as you climb up and out of the canyon, again to Fairyland Point. As you attain the tops of the hoodoos, you’ll as soon as once more have sweeping views of Bryce Canyon and the landscapes surrounding the Park.

This is the ultimate part of the Fairyland Loop. Since you’re mountain climbing counter-clockwise, you’ll be mountain climbing uphill (as a substitute of downhill like we have been on this picture)

Mile 7.9 – Return to Fairyland Point

You’ll finish proper again the place you began! Once you’re again to your automobile, head to the General’s Store for a chilly beverage or a tasty deal with.

Best Time to  Hike Fairyland Loop Trail

Fairyland Loop is usually accessible year-round. As you’d anticipate, fall and spring will provide you with the mildest, most snug local weather. I particularly love visiting Bryce in autumn so I can recognize the autumn foliage as the colours flip to vibrant shades of purple, yellow, and orange. It’s magical. 

Additionally, fall and spring are normally rather less busy in comparison with the summer time. However, Bryce Canyon is comparatively snug for mountain climbing in summer time in comparison with Utah’s different National Parks. With an elevation of about 7,000 ft, the highs in the summertime are sometimes within the 70s and 80s. However, there isn’t lots of shade, so bear in mind to remain hydrated, put on sunscreen, and convey a hat. 

I hiked the Fairyland Loop in early June

If you’re visiting Bryce Canyon within the winter, you may nonetheless hike the Fairyland Loop, however you’ll want to start out at Sunrise Point because the Fairyland Rd. to the trailhead is closed throughout the winter months. The chilly climate additionally means you’ll doubtless cope with fewer crowds. 

Especially for mountain climbing in winter, you’ll need waterproof mountain climbing boots with good traction, further winter mountain climbing layers, and perhaps even trekking poles with baskets to offer you an additional help. Unless you’re the first hiker after a giant storm, you gained’t doubtless want snowshoes because the path will get packed out by different hikers. However, the path can get icy, so microspikes can turn out to be useful. 

Bryce Canyon is beautiful in winter. I took this image in mid-November after a snowstorm.

What to Bring on the Fairyland Loop Hike

When making ready in your Fairyland Loop hike, try the 10 Essentials for Hiking. One vital factor to notice is there isn’t any water out there on the path and the solar will be intense, so deliver loads of water to remain hydrated. 

Bryce Canyon in the summertime
Keeping my face protected whereas mountain climbing Bryce Canyon in Utah

Of course, relying on the season, you’ll want totally different gear. Below is a fast glimpse at what you’ll want exterior of the winter season. Check out our full record of what to put on mountain climbing within the desert

You’ll additionally need closed-toe mountain climbing sneakers with good grip, enough solar safety, and snacks.  Trekking poles can even turn out to be useful to take the strain off your knees. 

Tip: Bring binoculars! The rock formations are so intricate and distinctive, you’ll desire a close-up look to see the mesmerizing particulars. Even when you don’t deliver them on the hike, it’s good to have them in your automobile for afterwards.

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Heading to Utah? We’ve acquired you coated with ideas for backpacking, mountain climbing, and extra. 

Have you hiked Fairyland Loop in Bryce Canyon? Did you go clockwise or counter-clockwise? Let us know any of your favourite path ideas within the feedback!



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