Utah: Bryce Canyon National Park – Fairyland Loop Trail 14km

Good Mrs and I have now moved on to Bryce Canyon National Park. And today we walked together for a while and then parted for the rest of the hiking. Part of Rim Trail for both us and then Fairyland Loop Trail for me. Good Mrs “just” walked home after the Rim Trail.

Here is an introductory picture of me ready to go down into the canyon.

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Today’s hike. Almost 14km in the end.

The Rim Trail follows… eh, the Bryce Canyon rim which you can walk on trails for up to 17.7km. We started off from Sunrise Point and walked the 4km or so together towards Fairyland Point. The trail was wide and well defined, but still a trail, not paved or fenced in.

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Spectacular views over the Bryce Amphitheater as they call it.

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Here we are on the trail. Another fantastic morning with subzero degrees over night and quite nippy as you may see.

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Good Mrs is all rugged up and keen to get cracking as well.

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OK dear reader. The scenery today was truly out of this world. I apologise already for an excessive amount of pictures. To my defence I say that there may have been even more pictures… Because I have more, much more…

Let the photos speak for themselves…

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Hoodoos is the name given to these tall upright standing structures. They are everywhere within Bryce Canyon National Park. The board also presents a bit of history.

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Look at our faces. The cold, the cold…

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An interesting combination of tree and sand cliff where the tree probably keeps it all together.

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Good Mrs and I hiked the Rim Trail from Sunrise Point to Fairyland Point where we were having a break. The distance is around 4km so a first sugar fix for the day as we arrived there would not go astray.

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It was also at Fairyland Point where we went different ways. I wanted to hike the Fairyland Loop which goes down into Bryce Canyon from Fairyland Point and up again just north of Sunrise Point where we had parked the car.

Good Mrs was unimpressed with the 523 meters elevation change of Fairyland Loop. She decided instead to walk back to our motel from Fairyland Point. A decent distance of another 7 km or so that took her day’s hiking to around 11 km.

I was on my way. Almost immediately after Fairyland Point you come to this. A narrow stretch of land which looked like a destination for many visitors wanting a small sample of hiking. The main trail to the left and the “tourist” destination to the right. I didn’t bother with the latter.

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I started my descent down into the canyon. The Fairyland Loop Trail was wide and well defined throughout and there would be almost impossible to get lost. At least in fair weather.

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More scenery… In fact, I will now let a number of photos just speak for themselves.

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The airstream from the jet looked great against the hoodoos.

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No wonder they called it Fairylands. That is what you felt that you were walking in.

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Bryce Canyon National Park was the most impressive park in Utah that we have visited to date. The scenery beats even what we had already seen, there are reasonable length hikes and loops and the trails are wide and well defined.

What is there not to like? Thumbs up from me.

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As you may note from the colour of my face and from the pictures, not much shade was provided for most of the trail. Below was the site for my 2nd break of the day, after the 1st break along the rim with Good Mrs.

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Back to regular programming, i.e. more pictures from Bryce Canyon National Park.

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The below was the most narrow section of the whole Fairylands Loop Trail. I didn’t find it scary as the drops on either side were not that dramatic. However, as I arrived on the other side, there was a French couple waiting there.

The bloke, who was big and taller than me and looked like a rugby player, suffered from vertigo. He asked how long this narrow tongue of land went on for. It appeared that he had attempted to cross the tongue but had to abandon that thought.

Well, what you see in the picture below was pretty much all there was to it and I told the Frenchman that. He still didn’t seem convinced when I left them there. Perhaps they later returned the same way.

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At one point, I chatted to a couple from Chicago. The bloke asked me where I came from and I said Melbourne, Australia. He said that he thought that I sounded Australian…

This has happened before in the U.S. and it may be because my accent these days would be a bit of everything, i.e. undefined. I went along with my Australianess.

Now follows… more photos.

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The visitor’s map lists two attractions along Fairylands Loop Trail (apart from the Fairyland Canyon itself which the trail circles).

Below to the right is a sign for the short detour to “Tower Bridge”. I arrived here from the trail to the left which then continued behind me.

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Why Tower Bridge? Well, this is it. I go with that.

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Another short break in front of Tower Bridge. Apart from the view, there was some shade here as well.

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Immediately after Tower Bridge, the ascent back up to Sunrise Point commenced. The 1.7 miles on the sign meant the first 1.5 miles or so went up and up and up. That would then conclude the Fairyland Loop Trail with the remainder being the distance on the Rim Trail back to Sunrise Point.

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I mentioned two attractions along Fairylands Loop Trail and below was the second of those. They call this formation the “Chinese Wall”. I suppose that is a fair enough comparison.

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The Fairyland Loop Trail now continued up…

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… and up (I am looking back to from where I came in this picture)

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There were still pockets of snow in various places along the Fairylands Loop Trail. This was almost next to the trail so I walked down and picked up some snow. And made myself a slushy snowball… It’s been a while…

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Soon enough though I was almost back at the Rim Trail. This sign is some 100 meters away from it.

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In summary, Fairyland Loop Trail was the best hike in the U.S. during this trip. They described the hike as “strenuous” in the Visitor’s Guide which I feel was a stretch. I would label it “hard” given its elevation changes.

Yes, there was a long ascent in the end, but it was gentle and there were no steps or any rock hopping. In fact, I felt that coming down at the beginning was at times more difficult. There was lots of loose gravel and pebbles on the trail and I momentarily slid away more than once.

I then drove back to the motel and immediately joined Good Mrs at the swimming pool of the complex. A swim was indeed mighty nice after the hiking…

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