We’ve been looking forward to sharing this hike with all of you. The Fairyland Loop Trail is one of the top rated hikes in Bryce Canyon and there’s a reason people come from all around the world to see the amazing hoodoos and rock formations that can be found here in Southern Utah.
We decided to do the Fairyland Loop Trail because of the spectacular views of the National park and the fact that mile after mile you’re sandwiched between hoodoo after hoodoo. It’s something fascinating and there’s no better experience than being right in the middle of it. On top of that, there is a fair bit of elevation so by doing this loop trail you will see the canyon from many different angles and be able to take in the whole park.
It’s not the easiest hike you can do in Bryce but it’s absolutely worth it if you want to see some amazing views. We’ll share with you where the best places to camp and stay are while you’re hiking in Bryce and everything else you may need to know… It’s seriously a kick ass National Park!
Be prepared to walk quite a bit though because it’s a pretty long loop trail! Totally worth it though!! 🙂
Fairyland Loop Trail is one of Bryce Canyon’s most enjoyable hikes
We’d been looking forward to Bryce Canyon for such a long time. The hype from everyone about it being one of the coolest national parks they’ve seen during their US road trip – and it sure didn’t disappoint.
It was hard to figure out which hike to choose since there are lots of amazing hikes in Bryce but we chose Fairyland since it’s a loop trail, and since we always do “out and backs” it was fun to switch it up and do a full loop. It was also really nice because the whole hike we got to see something new and the loop started and ended at the car park which was super convenient.
Right from the beginning of the hike you get to gaze down at the stunning structures below and be amazed at how these hoodoos have transformed over the years. It looked very familiar to Ramparts Trail, which is one of the best hikes to do in Southern Utah. You can read more about it here: Ramparts Trail Hike – Cedar Breaks Monument.
Once you actually get down into the canyon you truly feel like a little ant walking in between these massive hoodoos. You’ll enjoy iconic views like “Tower Bridge” where you can stop for lunch and just enjoy the Utah sun while being in the middle of all the crazy rock formations.
It’s fascinating being down in the canyon surrounded by these structures because the outside world feels so distant and you just get to be out in nature by yourself. Especially since it’s such a long loop trail you will have large parts of the hike to yourself which is great.
Jo and I were blown away by the hike and it left us with great memories of hiking in Utah.
Fairyland Loop Trail
The hike itself is located in the Bryce Canyon National Park on the northern end. The hike starts at the Fairyland point parking area and is not at all hard to find. Basically, once you get out of your car you will see the beginning of the hike. From there you can choose to do the loop either way.
We did it counterclockwise just for the heck of it and would probably recommend doing it this way. We both agree and think it’s one of the best hikes we’ve done in Bryce Canyon.
It has a good amount of elevation gain and not just steady inclines and declines but a variation throughout the hike. On top of that, as we mentioned above, you get to walk around the rim of the canyon and later on you get to descend right into it and be in the thick of all the hoodoos.
We love that you can make it a full day trip. If you plan to drive there from Cedar City or if you’re camping in Bryce Canyon you can easily make a full day out of it. We took our time and did the hike in about 4 hours. We spent some time relaxing and eating lunch at the viewpoint “Tower Bridge” and stopped a bunch of times to take photos and enjoy the views. Absolutely worth it! You won’t get better views than that.
Practical information about Fairyland Loop Trail
Distance: 11.9 km return / 7.4 miles return
Elevation: 470 m / 1542 ft. elevation gain
Type: Loop Trail
Length: 3.5 – 4 hours
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Here’s a map of the beginning of Fairyland Loop Trail
Here’s a picture of the beginning of the trailhead for Fairyland Loop Trail
The trailhead isn’t hard to find and almost impossible to miss. Once you turn off onto Fairyland Road you will continue to the end where you will notice a parking lot. This is the most northern point of the park. Unfortunately, there are no restrooms here since you are still on the outskirts of Bryce Canyon National Park but it’s a great starting point for the hike.
There are alternative starting points if you are camping in Bryce Canyon or staying at Bryce Canyon Lodge. But if you do end up starting at the spot above then you will easily find the trail and you’ll be able to decide which direction you want to hike the trail.
We’d say it’s a moderate hike. The trails are easy to navigate and the conditions are often great – obviously, this depends on when you go. The only thing to look after is that it is a fairly long hike so make sure to bring a sufficient amount of water and snacks!
Bryce Canyon Camping
There are a few places to stay in Bryce Canyon. If you plan to camp in an RV or in a tent we have a few great and affordable options that you can use. We recommend staying for at least a few days since there is so much to see and do in the national park. So let’s give you our best options on where to stay.
The North Campground is located quite close to the Fairyland Loop Trail. We mentioned above that we would get to this. So from the campsite, you can actually connect to the trail. You can see how here.
The site is great because it has spots for both RV’s and tents, so it’s perfect for anyone wanting to camp in Bryce Canyon. There are only 99 spots and they are on a first come first serve basis. So there are no guarantees and it may be good to have a backup plan.
Sunset Point Campground
Only a little ways down the road you will find Sunset Point Campground. Similar to the North Campground, it’s on a first come first serve basis and there are spots for both RVs and tenters.
It’s a bit further from the Sunset Point Campground to connect with the Loop Trail but it’s still very manageable. You can see how here.
If you’re looking for something a little more long term or just want to stay at a place with showers, hookups, and all that jazz then Ruby’s Inn is the place to stay. If you want, you can even stay in a tipi and get the full experience of what the native Indians used to sleep in…to an extent of course!
Here is some info about Ruby’s Inn with all the amenities and everything they offer at the campground. They even have a free shuttle service so you can leave your trailer or RV and go explore all the iconic spots without having to drive everywhere.
How to get there
From Las Vegas
- It’s roughly a 4.5-hour drive from Las Vegas to Bryce Canyon.
- The directions can be found here.
From Salt Lake City
- It’s roughly a 4-hour drive from Salt Lake City to Bryce Canyon.
- The directions can be found here.
From anywhere in Cedar City
- It will take you just under 2 hours to get to Bryce from Cedar City.
- The directions can be found here.
Before you go
Make sure to check the weather and plan accordingly before you go. The weather can greatly impact the conditions of the trail. You can see the short term weather forecast here. We went on a gorgeous sunny day in October and it was fabulous so hopefully, you get as lucky as we did!
Also if you plan to go to Bryce for a few days you can click here to find all the best hikes in Bryce Canyon and other useful facts and information.
What to bring
It’s most likely going to be very hot outside when you go, it’s Utah of course! So bring anything that can protect you from the sun since you are in the desert and the days can get very hot. Even if it’s windy you can still easily get sunburnt.
- Water! Water! Water!
- Sunscreen is a must hiking anywhere in Utah! Even if you go early in the morning.
- A camelbak.
- Bring some food so you can enjoy it at the picnic spot below “Tower Bridge”.
- Relax, and enjoy the views with a nice PB&J, trail mix, or whatever!
- Also, this is a great list of hiking gear that you may need on a hike!
Other useful info
- This is another great fun hike if you’re looking for more hikes in the State of Utah: Ramparts Trail Hike – Cedar Breaks Monument.
- A fun fact about Bryce Canyon is that the hoodoos can be up to 60 meters high… just wait to see how small you feel next to one.
- You can buy the America the Beautiful pass online here if you’re planning on visiting a bunch of national parks this year.
We hope you enjoy this hike in Bryce as much as we did! Enjoy and stay safe out there!