Fairyland Loop Trail, 8 miles, 2300 ft gain
Pass required: America the Beautiful, optional day pass $20
I only had a half day for Bryce Canyon so I chose something to kick my butt while keeping me in awe. Normally a 2300 ft gain over 8 miles is not a bun burner…I like to take photos. This had me stopping for more than just my normal photo ops. Sea level is my normal level. Bryce Canyon is at 8,000 feet. If you are used to high elevation hiking, this would be an easy trail. If not, this will be hard. Just have your camera out and ready for all the breaks you will need to take.
The park strongly encourages using their free shuttle system. I didn’t choose that option. The park opens at 8. I got there before 9. No issue with parking. The trailhead is near their lodge and bathrooms. There are also showers available if you are roadtripping through, or just need to wash off the dirt from your trek. Leave the parking lot and head for the rim.
Views start immediately. You can do this trail either clockwise or counterclockwise. I chose counterclockwise. Going this way you will descend, ascend, descend, ascend, then slight descend back to the car.
Little to no shade on this trail. If there is shade, it’s just you hugging the slightly cooler space made by the heated rock next to you. So bring water. It gets hot.
Soon you will get to this spot where everyone sticks their head out. It is the opposite view that you see in the top photo.
There is a little spur trail to see Tower Bridge. There are a few trees here and some rocks nicely arranged to resemble a chair. I ventured around like many other people for a different view of the hole. I did not see a safe way to get to the top of the tower. I did see an unsafe way that people may have tried. There are cairns and look for the path well traveled to see how far you can get.
You can get some really great photos just starting from the rim and getting to this point. The rest of the trail is just more of the same. I wanted the full experience of hiking through the hoodoos. Hoodoos are those tall thin spires. The trail goes back up meandering through the canyon.
This is point where the trail descends again. It’s also a great stop for snacks. This is the highest spot you’ll be in the canyon, and the views are 360 here. The final bit of the trail follows the optional rim trail back to the parking lot. Happy hiking.