Bryce Canyon- Fairyland

Bryce Canyon

Fairyland Point and the Fairyland Loop Trail offer some the most impressive scenery in Bryce Canyon National Park. They are located in the northern part of the park and provide superb views of Boat Mesa, Fairyland Canyon, the Sinking Ship formation, Tower Bridge, China Wall and other interesting rock structures.

The Park Shuttle does not stop at Fairyland Point and so it does not get as many visitors as other scenic areas. The main viewpoints along the Bryce Rim draw the crowds. People going to Fairyland Point think it is a big plus to explore an area where there are fewer tourists. Whether you are looking for spectacular views from the roadway or a fun hike into the heart of Bryce Canyon, this spot is worth a stop.

Location
A 1-mile-long spur road extends from Hwy 63 (the main Bryce Canyon Road) out to Fairyland Point. The turnoff is clearly marked and the trailhead is easy to find. The turnoff is located about 200 yards inside the park boundary, just before you get to the fee station and visitor center. There is a parking area at the trailhead.

Bryce Canyon Fairyland

 

Fairyland Trail Overview
The Fairyland Loop Trail runs for some 8 miles (round trip). It is considered strenuous because of its length, and because some stretches are steep. From the trailhead at Fairyland Point, the trail drops about 950 vertical feet down into Fairyland Canyon and then climbs 950 feet as it returns to the rim. The route then follows the Rim Trail back to Fairyland Point. Most hikers need 4-5 hours to complete this route.

You can hike the trail in either direction, but most people go from Fairyland Point down into Fairyland Canyon and then loop up to the rim. The route intersects the Rim Trial just north of Sunrise Point. Some hikers start at Sunrise Point, hike north along the Rim Trail to the Fairyland Trail, then complete the Fairyland Loop and return to Sunrise Point. Sunrise Point is a stop on the park shuttle route.

Hike Details
From Fairyland Point you can see Boat Mesa riding proud and tall above the area's hoodoos. As you start down the trail you hike along the edge of the mesa, a layer of hard rock caps that have been resistant to erosion. While rock on all sides has eroded into fanciful shapes, the mesa remains a solid mass rising to an elevation of 8073 feet above sea level.

From Fairyland Point, and from some vantages along the trail, you can see the Sinking Ship formation in the distance. It is located east and just a bit south of Fairyland Point. It is composed of rock layers that have been tilted by earth's unrest. Beginning some 15 million years ago, tectonic activity pushed the Paunsaugunt Plateau up to its present elevation, dragging sections of rock along the faults. The Sinking Ship looks, well, like a ship with bow tilted upward, stern sinking into a sea of hoodoos.

The trail continues down to Fairyland Canyon, winding between hoodoos, to the lowest point on the hike. It then turns a westerly direction and follows the contours of the land.

At about the halfway point on the hike, a well-marked short spur trail leads to Tower Bridge. Tower Bridge is an impressive structure, a rock formation that looks like a castle, complete with steeple, with solid rock spanning windows on either end. It is only about 0.2 miles off the main trail.

From the Tower Bridge Junction, the Fairyland Loop Trail continues westward, gaining elevation. It follows along the enormous China Wall, a bulwark of hoodoos and rock protruding out from Bryce's Pink Cliffs.

From there, the trail climbs up to the rim, and then follows the Rim Trail back to Fairyland Point.


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