Without question, this hike is our favorite for 2012, and that is saying something. In this year, we also hiked the Kalalau Trail, Cirque Peak, Mount Temple, Angels' Landing, Zion Narrows, Needle Peak, Assiniboine, Gibraltar on Jedediah Island, Waimea Rim Trail, and other wonderful routes. But the Fairyland Loop is as close to perfect as we can expect. It is 8 miles long; it winds through the multi-hued hoodoos, ridges, mesas, and gullies of Bryce Canyon. There are viewpoints, tunnels, wooded gullies, rest stops, ridge walks, and so much impressive scenery that the 3 hour hike will probably take 4 hours. Every turn brings new surprises.
The trail starts at Fairyland Point, a quieter area of the main Bryce Canyon corridor. It descends gently following a ridge into the hoodoos. The first half of the hike is a gradual downhill south and west to the lowest point. It traverses a few gullies and winds around gullies. Walls of hoodoos await in every direction.
Shaped hoodoos have been given names. Groups of towers have cultural looks to them – Chinese classical, medieval, or maybe Martian…
Once back at the rim, it is a 2.5 mile hike along the Rim Trail back to Fairyland Point. The views are now from above, down into the canyon for the last 45 minutes. We could see the Fairyland Trail below us, across the ridges.
Blue skies, pink and coral ridges, white and orange hoodoos, towers and cathedrals, piñon and bristlecone, windows and tunnels, pinnacles and arches….perfect.