time: 5 1/4 hours
950 ft. loss/gain
Fairyland Trailhead (start): 7,760
Fairyland Canyon: 7,150 ft.
Rim Trail: 8,100 ft.
Excellent, well marked trail
to mid-fall. The trail is covered with snow
during the winter months. Also the road
to Fairyland Point is used as a cross-country
ski trail in the winter. For current conditions
call the Visitor Center, Bryce Canyon National
Park, at (801) 834-5322.
Bryce Canyon National Park
area below the rim of Bryce Canyon National
Park is a fantasyland of strange and wonderful
geologic formations. Stone spires and pinnacles
with fanciful names like the Chinese
Wall and Seal Castle surround
the trails, making them delightful places
to hike. The Fairyland Loop Trail provides
a particularly fine opportunity to examine
some of these natural sculptures and, as
it is somewhat of the beaten path, it is
not as crowded as other trails in the park.
sculptures of Bryce Canyon, whimsically
called hoodoos, have been eroded
from a thick layer of soft sedimentary rock
called the Claron Formation that was deposited
in Utah some 60 million years ago. As the
canyon rim erodes, new hoodoos are formed.
They begin first as tall thin fins, then
serrate to form pinnacles and spires. The
colors are caused primarily by iron and
manganese impurities in the rock that oxidize
into colorful hues of red, pink, orange,
yellow, and purple. The carving action is
still continuing, and it is estimated that
today the rim of Bryce Canyon is receding
at the rate of about one foot in 65 years.
In another hundred thousand years it will
have receded by a third of a mile, and a
whole new display of artwork will be ready
for viewing in natures gallery.
trail descends immediately from Fairyland
Point, winding down the north side of Boat
Mesa for a distance of 1.5 miles to Fairyland
Canyon, the lowest point on the hike. From
there the trail turns south and west, following
the contour of the land and climbing slightly
for another 2.5 miles until it reaches the
Tower Bridge trail junction. Tower Bridge
is at the end of a short, well marked trail
that branches off to the left. It is only
0.2 miles from the main trail, and it makes
a nice lunch stop. From the Tower Bridge
trail junction the path starts its climb
back to the canyon rim. It winds to the
west, with Campbell Canyon on the right
and the Chinese Wall on the left, finally
arriving at the canyon rim 1.5 miles later
after a climb of 770 feet.
At the top
of the rim the trail intersects the Rim
Trail. Turn right here and walk along the
rim for 2.7 miles back to the Fairyland
Point parking lot.