This underrated hike is truly the best hike in Bryce Canyon National Park. See endless views from the top of the canyon, then hike under the hoodoos. With a new viewpoint at every turn, this hike has everything you could want – and even better? With little elevation gain, so you can focus on breathtaking views rather than breathtaking incline!
The Fairyland Loop hike in a nutshell
Like this post? Pin it for later?
The Fairyland Loop hike key information
Trailhead: Fairyland Point, but if you can’t get parking, Sunrise Point also works!
Hike End: Fairyland Point (or Sunrise Point)
Length: 7.8 miles / 12.55 kilometers
Time: Around 5 hours with lots of stops for photos and taking in the view
Ascent: 1545 ft / 470 m
Difficulty: Beginner – Intermediate. This is definitely a longer hike in Bryce Canyon National Park, and while there is a bit of uphill, it’s nothing too challenging! The trail is rocky with a little bit of scree, so have shoes with decent traction!
Fairyland Point parking
To get to Fariyland Point from Bryce, you’ll take UT-63 S towards the north side of the park. After the Bryce Canyon National Park sign, but before you get to the toll station/national park entrance, you’ll make a left towards Fairyland Point.
Continue down the road for about a mile and you’ll get to Fairyland Point. There’s very limited parking here (around 12 spaces), so get here early or take the shuttle during peak season!
If no parking is available, you can also start this hike from Sunrise Point. It’s a loop hike, so you won’t miss anything if you start at Sunrise Point.
Our experience hiking the Fairyland Loop
We parked at Fairyland Point and immediately had a great vantage point over the canyon. We were in Bryce in November, so the sun was rising as we pulled into the empty parking lot. It was so peaceful and we got such a lovely glimpse of the insane viewpoints we’d see later on the trail.
Going counterclockwise (highly recommend), you’ll start heading on the Rim Trail towards Sunrise Point rather than the Fairyland Trail. It seems counterintuitive, but this is absolutely the best way to hike the Fairyland Loop Trail. The trail starts out flat and you’ll wind through the forest and open spaces, getting little glances of the hoodoos, amongst which you’ll soon be hiking!
After passing the North Campground and reaching another trail sign, you’ll turn left onto the Fairyland Loop trail. You’ll go alllll downhill into the Canyon, and the views just keep on coming. It’s a beautiful part of the park, and it just keeps getting better with every switchback down.
Here, we started hiking beside the hoodoos, and only then did I realize how massive these structures were. We walked through a band of white-as-snow hoodoos, which I had noticed earlier from above. My favorite thing about this hike is that you see the striations of color from above, and then all of the little details from beside the hoodoos when you’re in the canyon. It’s such a varied hike and it’s just… *chef’s kiss*.
At the bottom of this hike, you have the option to make a short detour (200 meters or so) to Tower Bridge, a rock formation that is strikingly similar-looking to Tower Bridge in London. We did the detour and thought it was nice, but the better view of Tower Bridge continue along the Fairyland Loop, no detour necessary! If you want to take photos of Tower Bridge and don’t have a camera lens with a powerful zoom, the detour is worth it.
TOP TIP: If you hike the Fairyland Loop trail in the summertime, bring plenty of water, as there isn’t a lot of shade on this trail.
You’ll then start walking uphill. It’s a pretty steady, gentle uphill, and you’ll get some insane views at the top. This hike does NOT lack beautiful views.
Continue winding around the valley, where every turn brings another great viewpoint. You’ll eventually end back at the Fairyland Point trailhead.
What to bring on this hike
We highly recommend packing loads of extra water, as you’re pretty exposed to the sun on the Fairyland Loop Hike. Even in late autumn, the sun made us feel super warm despite it only being 40 degrees! I’d also bring plenty of sunscreen with you.
In the wintertime, pack plenty of layers. I started in a down jacket and then stripped down to a tank top by the end of the hike. I found that I also needed my fleece as an in-between layer. My down jacket was too warm and my tank top left me slightly chilly!
As for footwear, the trail is a little rocky with small sections of scree. Trail running shoes or hiking boots are my recommendation, although you could probably get by with good sneakers.
While other hikes in Bryce National Park are beautiful, the Fairyland Loop trail is our favorite because you get to see the hoodoos from above and below, because there are viewpoints around *literally* every corner, and because its a long hike with minimal elevation gain. If you only have 1 day in Bryce National Park, we highly recommend doing this hike. This was my number one hike from our entire road trip through Zion, Bryce, and Pinnacles National Parks. We hope you enjoy!
Leave a reply