Bryce Canyon – Fairyland Loop

The day after Mossy Cave, it was time for some alone time.  I wanted to get a decent day hike in and decided to do the Fairyland Loop in Bryce Canyon National Park.  The loop itself is about 8 miles and begins and ends at Fairyland Point.  Due to time, I cut off a couple miles by starting on the west side of the loop and hiking counter clockwise to Fairyland Point.  You can see a detailed topo map on the NPS website.  The loop itself was an awesome walk, with a ton of interesting rock formations in every direction.

As you’d expect in a canyon, the hike started with a descent.  The trail was well maintained and clear enough to follow without markers / cairns.  It wove around the various hoodoos and other rock formations so there were plenty of opportunity for great pictures.  The day was absolutely beautiful and while I started off with a coupe layers on, I shed most of it by the time I hit the lower levels of the canyon.  The trail was a little busy for my taste but wasn’t too bad.  I probably passed 20 or so people in the 5 miles.  I’d assume that would vary widely with the season.

There are two notable rock formations at the start of the loop – the Chinese Wall and the Tower Bridge.  I didn’t get a good picture of the Chinese Wall because the best shots are from far away – at least that’s what a quick google shows me.  This is someone else’s shot from the web – it does look like the Great Wall!

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The Tower Bridge was down a little side trail, less than half a mile, if I recall correctly.  It was a neat formation and it did look very much like the Tower Bridge in London.  The side trail brings you near the base – there may be better angles for pictures but I shot these from below.

I also got one from above but Tower Bridge is kind of obscured as it blends into the background.  I like the pic though so here you go:

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From Tower Bridge, I proceeded back to the main Fairyland Loop Trail.  It was a long ascent back up to Fairyland Point.  Unlike the Grand Canyon, the walls in Bryce aren’t near vertical.  The trail is fairly steep in some places but in general, the descents and climbs are gradual.  The variety of the hoodoos that I saw was amazing.  They were some of the coolest rock formations that I’ve ever seen up close.  They age over time and seem to turn more white the older they are.  You can see that at the tops of some in the shots below.

I met my family at Fairyland Point.  If you don’t have time to take the hike, you can still drive to Fairyland Point and I recommend it because the views are fantastic.  There is an observation point that is right on the edge of the canyon.  It gives you a fantastic perspective looking out over the canyon.  While my fam wasn’t into hiking, they did enjoy the views!

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