Part 2 of Bryce Canyon National Park: Fairyland Loop Trail

Date hiked: 09/07/16

Mileage: N/A until I can find my GPS cable.

Head Count (how many other hikers I saw): Dozens

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Link to part 1 of Bryce Canyon National Park

Hiking the trail clockwise from Fairyland Point, the track immediately drops into Fairyland Canyon along long, sweeping ridges, surrounded by hoodoos marked by a wealth of vegetation. Though barren clay slopes and a shrubby underbrush comprise much of the surroundings, behemoth ponderosas tower high over the douglas firs, pinons and junipers in the wider expanses.

This trail isn’t as crowded as Wall Street or the Navajo and Queen’s Garden loops, though it does still see a lot of foot traffic. Heading lower, encompassing views of Sinking Ship and the Markagunt Plateau in the east lay bare a landscape marred by the volcanic history which marks Bryce Canyon’s geologic upbringing.

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Sinking Ship off to the left. The tilt was caused by tectonic plates shifting, dragging the rock along faults as the Paunsaugunt Plateau rose to its present height.

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For roughly two miles, the Fairyland trail parallels Boat Mesa, where walls of ornate hoodoos break from the earth and tower like the spires and buttresses of ancient Gothic cathedrals. Slowly, the elevation levels, and at mile 4.1 – over halfway there – the trail hits its low point when it meets up with the woody wash of Campbell Canyon. The Tower Bridge spur trail branches off from here, a side trip which adds just a half mile extra round trip.

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Boat Mesa

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Tower Bridge

The trail barely spends any time in the wash before the route pulls it towards Chinese Wall, a tight row of hoodoos that could give reference to the Great Wall of China. As you close in on the rim, watch the edge for the charred nubs of lightening-struck trees. Bryce Canyon has the highest threat of lightening in the entire state of Utah.

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Chinese Wall

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Map

N/A until I can find my GPS cable.

Directions

(From Bryce): From Center Street, head south on UT-63 for 1.6 miles. Turn left onto Fairyland Point Road, and the trailhead is at the end, after 1 mile.

2.6 mi; 5 min

Fees: $30/car to enter Bryce Canyon National Park

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