Fairyland Loop Trail
The Fairyland Loop Trail is the perfect way to experience the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park and get away from the crowds at the rim. While its collection of hoodoos may not be as vast as other parts of the park, hikers are rewarded with solitude and time to admire these natural sculptures. Stepping up to the rim at Fairyland Point, the breathtaking viewscape drops away suddenly at your feet. The trail winds down into Fairyland Canyon among towering hoodoos and cathedral walls. Around the end of Boat Mesa, a jaw-dropping panorama of Bryce Amphitheater awaits out of breath hikers. Stop by for a snack at the Tower Bridge formation, then begin the gradual uphill back to the rim. A hike back along the rim through ponderosa and aspen groves will take you back to Faiyland Point.
Getting to the Fairyland Loop Trailhead
Starting either direction from Utah Scenic Byway 12, turn south onto UT-63 heading south toward Bryce Canyon National Park. At 3 miles, turn left onto the Fairyland Point Road. After 1 mile, you will have reached the Fairyland Point parking area. It is best to get there early, as parking is very limited at this trailhead. The Fairyland Loop Trail begins at the rim of Fairyland Canyon just above the parking lot. Go left to hike the trail clockwise immediately dropping into the canyon. Alternatively, go right to hike it counter clockwise starting with the Rim Trail portion of the hike. If you are unable to find parking, you can start the hike at Sunrise Point. Walk to the rim of the canyon at Sunrise Point and go left (north) to the junction of the Rim Trail and the Fairyland Loop Trail.
3 Best Day Hikes Near the Fairyland Loop Trail
If you’ve still got enough energy after hiking the Fairyland Loop, or if you are looking to maximize your visit to Bryce Canyon National Park, try some of these other fantastic trails.
|Mossy Cave Trail||1 mi||100 ft||Easy||Out and Back|
|Queens Garden Trail||2-3 mi||400-600 ft||Moderate||Out and Back or Loop|
|Rim Trail||5.5 mi||500 ft||Moderate||Thru-hike|
1. Mossy Cave Trail
The Mossy Cave Trail is the perfect hike for those looking to experience the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park without major elevation change. A quarter mile hike along a coursing waterway brings you by beautiful Turret Arch and to a fork in the road Go right to see a small waterfall, part of the canal cut by the pioneers in the late 19th century. Go left to sneak a peek at the shaded grotto of Mossy Cave where giant icicles form during the winter months. Whether you are after a fun hike with the family or you just need to stretch your legs, the Mossy Cave Trail is perfect for you.
2. Queen’s Garden Trail
The Queen’s Garden Loop Trail is the ideal short distance hike to experience Bryce Canyon’s spectacular hoodoos. Descending from Sunrise Point, hikers are instantly immersed in hoodoos of all shapes and sizes. Look out to the horizon on a clear day and you can see the 80 miles distant peak of Navajo Mountain. Closer inspection of the hoodoo formations reveals a palette of vermillions, yellows, pinks, purples, and white. Pose for photos in the hand-carved tunnels that go right through the walls of Bryce Canyon’s many fins of sedimentary rock. At the end of the trail, her majesty awaits. See if you can spot her among the pillars of oddly-shaped white rock, and have fun guessing what she is standing on. Your imagination can truly run wild looking for faces, animals, and shapes in the hoodoos on the Queens Garden Loop Trail.
3.The Rim Trail
The Rim Trail is the perfect way to experience Bryce Canyon National Park without dropping into the canyon. Visitors start from Fairyland Point or Bryce Point and hike the jaw-dropping 5.5 miles along the rim of Bryce Canyon’s amphitheaters. Peer over the edge, if you dare, into the chasms of the Silent City. Stroll among the stoic ponderosa and ancient bristlecone pines on your way from Bryce Point to Inspiration Point. From Sunset Point, watch as hikers wind their way up the steep switchbacks of Wall Street. Listen to the whispering of aspen trees between Sunrise Point and Fairyland Point. All the while, the largest collection of hoodoos in the world is at your feet. In the winter, strap on snow shoes for an unforgettable winter hike high above the frosted pinnacles and spires of Bryce Canyon. The vistas are never-ending along the Rim Trail at Bryce Canyon National Park.
Maximize Your Visit to Bryce Canyon National Park on a Hiking Tour
Guided day hike tours and multi-day packages allow visitors the opportunity to make the most of their time in Bryce Canyon National Park and to do it hassle-free. Guided tours include gear (backpack, trekking poles, crampons or snow shoes in winter), meals, accommodations on multi-day tours, local transportation, and a professional Utah hiking guide. Through their knowledge, stories, and personal passion, guides can bring a place to life in a way that’s much more difficult to do on your own. Read more about Bryce Canyon National Park.
3 Bryce Canyon Area Backpacking Trails
Experience something that few other visitors to the Bryce Canyon area never get the chance to on these unbelievable Southern Utah backpacking trails.
|Under the Rim Trail||23-31 mi||Strenuous||Bryce Canyon National Park|
|Coyote Gulch Trail||26 mi||Strenuous||Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument|
|Paria Canyon to Lee’s Ferry||40 mi||Strenuous||Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness|
1. Under the Rim Trail (2-3days)
Backpacking in Bryce may be limited due to the size of the park and available water sources, but it makes for the hike of a lifetime. Starting at Rainbow Point or Bryce Point, the Under the Rim Trail is 23 miles of breathtaking panoramas, clean air, and absolute solitude. If camping under the stars is your thing, enjoy the thousands of stars that can be seen like few places on Earth. Get ready for a lots of elevation change on this hike as you climb to open vistas and coast downhill through evergreen forests and meadows. Carry or cache water on this trek, as water sources are often unreliable. Add on the 8 mile Rigg’s Spring Loop if you’ve got a little extra time. Cool summer temperatures and Bryce’s spectacular hoodoos make this an epic backpacking trip.
2. Coyote Gulch Trail (3-4 days)
Coyote Gulch is the quintessential trek for those seeking the Utah canyon hike of a lifetime. 26 miles of neck-craning, disorienting twists and turns characterize the snaking path of Coyote Gulch. Camping beneath a massive overhanging alcove is an experience like no other. A mind-blowing arch, a spectacular natural bridge, and waterfalls are just a few of the surprises waiting in the canyon. The icing on the cake is a fun-filled scrambling ascent through Crack in the Wall to the rim of the unbelievable Escalante Canyon. Coyote Gulch is a place of beauty that awakens powerful emotions. Are you ready for the adventure?
3. Paria Canyon to Lee’s Ferry (3-5 days)
The trek through the Paria Canyon to Lee’s Ferry on the Colorado River is 40 miles of jaw-dropping canyon scenery. Each day builds upon the next as you descend through rock and time, following the highway of the Ancestral Puebloan people millennia ago. Water levels vary from bone-dry to a knee deep, and in some places waist deep, 38-mile splashathon. One thing is for sure, you’ll get in plenty of river wading and crossing, so bring sturdy water shoes. You might want to schedule a chiropractor’s appointment. The mind-bending narrows and monstrous canyon walls will have you craning your neck for days on end. Ancient rock art, the deepest and longest slot canyon in the world, and unparalleled solitude are just a taste of what Paria Canyon is all about.
Join a Guided Backpacking Trip
Joining a Backpacking Tour near Bryce Canyon National Park is a worry-free, adventurous way to experience the Bryce Canyon area. With your gear, meals, local transportation, permits, and fees taken care of for you, you can travel light and focus 100% on enjoying the hiking experience, while the guide company takes care of everything else. Also, by going with local experts you’ll enjoy a greater level of safety and gain a much better understanding of the history and ecology of this remarkable region. Read more about guided backpacking trips near Bryce Canyon National Park.
When to Hike and Seasonal Considerations
The Fairyland Loop Trail is best hiked late spring through early winter. Dependent upon snowfall, the road to Fairyland Point may be closed during the winter months to allow for winter activities such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Additionally, the portion of the trail below the rim of the canyon is subject to closure when avalanche danger is present. Be aware of the weather. Hiking along the rim of the canyon is extremely dangerous during stormy weather. Carry plenty of water, and check trail conditions before you hike.
A permit is required for all overnight backpacking trips in Bryce Canyon National Park. It is also highly recommended to bring a bear-resistant food canister for your night under the stars. For more information on Bryce Canyon National Park’s permit system and to learn more about backpacking in this amazing park, click here.
Suggested Packing List
Day Hike Packing List
- 2-3 liters of water (more in summer)
- Salty, calorie-rich snacks
- trekking poles
- crampons or snowshoes (in winter)
- wide-brimmed hat
- sunscreen and sunglasses
- cotton t-shirt (spring-fall)
- non-cotton t-shirt (winter)
- rain jacket
- warm non-cotton layer
- 1st-aid kit
Backpacking Packing List
- all items listed for day hikes PLUS
- extra water (water sources in Bryce Canyon are unreliable
- multi-day backpack
- 3-season tent
- sleeping bag
- sleeping pad
- backpacking stove and fuel
- backpacking meals
- bear canister
- 2 pairs wool socks
- extra t-shirt
Please Respect Our National Parks – Leave No Trace
We strongly recommend abiding by all Leave No Trace ethics guidelines and practices so that our national parks and public lands are preserved for the enjoyment of future generations and for the people and animals who call these places home. Simple things like packing out your trash, obeying national park rules, and respecting the peace and quiet of our national park trails is a great start. If you’re going on a backpacking trip, you can read about more about the 7 Leave No Trace Principles.