Out of this World . . . Bryce Canyon

Date of Hike: 5/25/15

Fairy Land Loop Trail:  6.3 miles  /  Rim Trail: 3.1 miles  /  Queens Garden Trail: 2.0 miles  /  Peekaboo Loop Trail: 3.1 miles  /  Navajo Loop Trail: 1.0 miles  /  Rim Trail: 0.9 miles
Total Miles: 16.3 miles (3,625 feet elevation gained)

Trip Report:
- On Memorial Day we caught a break in the weather and headed north from Oderville to Bryce Canyon.  The drive along Route 89 and 12 was very scenic, passing through rolling hills and farms with mountains rising above the horizon off in the distance.  We arrived at Bryce Canyon just before 7 a.m. and were surprised to see that a ranger was not yet stationed at the entrance meaning we got to go in for free, saving us $25!
- We parked near the general store in the northern part of the park with our main goal of the morning being an eight mile hike of the Fairyland Loop. The hike is relatively easy as it travels into the canyon by some of the coolest looking hoodoos imaginable.  What makes this hike great is the amount of breathtaking scenery you see in such a small concentrated area.
- We decided to hike the loop counter clockwise starting just north of Sunrise Point from the Rim Trail.  From the rim the Fairyland Loop Trail trail descends gradually to the bottom of the canyon passing by pinkish hoodoos and small arches on the way to the junction of Tower Bridge.  Here we took the short side path to a dried brook bed and looked up to the Tower Bridge, then we decided to hike up underneath it via a herd path, this was the only steep part of the day, the rest of the day we were on well defined trails with great footing over dried up pink, beige, and red clay.
- From the Tower Bridge we headed back to the main trail and made our way around Boat Mesa, which rises high above the trail with hoodoos surrounding it in every direction.  The hoodoos, pinnacles, and arches are simply out of this world and have a movie set feel to it.  Whitney nailed it when she said, "Everything looks like it's straight out of the Little Mermaid movie."  She was spot on, the hoodoos and arches along with the colors in the canyon looked like the ocean scenes from the movie if it was flipped onto dry land.
-  To make the Fairyland Loop come full circle we hiked the Rim Trail back to Sunrise Point.  Along the rim we were able to look down upon the Fairyland Loop and all the hoodoos we had just hiked through, it was a pretty impressive walk back along the rim and it was nice to get in an early morning hike before the crowds came rolling in.
- When we got back to the Jeep it was still relatively early so we took a break, ate, relaxed, and got out the map to plan our next hike of the day.  We decided to leave the rim from Sunrise Point and head down past the Queens Garden to the floor of the canyon and then hike up into Peek-A-Boo Canyon.
- Unfortunately, the first two miles were very crowded with tourists milling around everywhere.  I'm pretty used to people waddling around mountains and canyons from Mount Washington to the Grand Canyon but in Bryce Canyon it felt a little more cramped.  Eventually we made it back to the floor of the canyon where the crowds thinned out.  From the canyon floor we headed into Peek-A-Boo Canyon where you get up close and personal with many hoodoos as they seem to shoot up everywhere while the trail curves up around and down through small, medium, large, and extra large hoodoo formations.  Some of the highlights while hiking through Peek-A-Boo is Inspiration Point, where there are tremendous views of all different kinds of hoodoo formations, and by the Cathedral and Alligator Butte, which have several hoodoos surrounding the rocky outcrops. But perhaps the best part of the Pee-A-Boo Canyon was the Wall of Windows, a row of high pinnacles and arches that rise steeply above the trail to the top of the canyon.
- Needless to say this was one of our favorite parts of the hike, minus the smelly mule poop, as this section of the canyon was a hiking and horse/mule trail.  It's amazing to hike from the rim to the floor and back up as the color of the rock changes from red, to beige, to pink, to white, etc.  The Hoodoos themselves change color as they rise high above the floor up to their eroded tops.
- From Peek-A-Boo Canyon it was time to join the masses and head up the Navajo Loop Trail through 'Wall Street.'  You can probably guess why this section is called Wall Street, but just in case you were wondering, the last half mile of the trail back to the rim travels up steep switchbacks surrounded by narrow canyon walls that rise up hundreds of feet!  It was one of the coolest sections of trail I have ever hiked through.  It is natures version of Lomboard Street in San Francisco, narrow hairpin turns on a super steep hill, simply out of this world!
- Once back up to the top of the canyon we hiked the Rim Trail back to the Jeep and left the park and back south towards the crummy weather which threw one more curve ball at us as a freak snow and hail storm pounded one of the notches leaving a coating of snow/hail on a half mile stretch of road.  Luckily we drove through this after the storm but it was so odd as it was sixty degrees out!  We made it back to the hotel where the skies where looking promising for the first time in a week setting up an incredible two days to come in Zion Nation Park!!

 Information on hiking the Hoodoos

 Early morning on the Fairyland Loop Trail

 Nice easy descent to the floor of the canyon

 As we hike down we pass by a few hoodoos and the views open up across to the China Wall (top)

 Whitney walks through what feels like the set of the Little Mermaid!

 A beautiful hoodoo structure rising above the Fairyland Loop Trail

After a mile and a half we take a short side path to check out and hike up to the bottom of Tower Bridge

 Continuing along the Fairyland Loop Trail as it makes its way around Boat Mesa (top)

 More cool looking hoodoo formations

A cool little tower hoodoo standing all alone

 Whitney makes her way through the lower end of the Fairyland Loop Trail

 Hoodoo towers

 The hoodoo looks like castle towers

Whitney and I snapping a pic along the Fairyland Loop Trail, and Whitney polishing up on her selfie skills!

 Looking up to Fairyland Point

Looking down into the canyon and looking up to the rim

The final push up to Fairyland Point

Near the top we took a short path off the trail to check out the views back down into the cnayon

After reaching Fairyland Point we hiked a few miles along the rim trail where we could look back down from where we just came

In this picture you can see the Fairyland Loop Trail descending  to the floor of the canyon

 Whitney checks out a row of hoodoos along the rim

 View from the Rim Trail near Bryce Canyon's high point

 Hike two of the day starts off from Sunrise Point and we head down the Queens Garden Trail

 Lots of tall hoodoos but lots of people so we keep on moving to get away from the crowds

 We make it to the floor of the canyon and hook onto the Peek-A-Boo Loop Trail

 Around every corner in Peekaboo Canyon are amazing hoodoo formations

 Looking up to the Wall of Windows

 The hoodoos rise high above us in every direction (top).  Looking to the east we can see back down into the canyon (bottom)

 Hiking through the Peekaboo Canyon was my favorite part

 Whitney heads through a cool little narrow section and through an arch

 Looking up to the top of the canyon

 On the hike back up to the rim we head through a narrow passage called Wall Street

 Looking down the hairpin switchbacks through Wall Street

 Wall Street, look how the walls rise straight up creating a narrow passage

 Once back up to the top we take the Rim Trail back to the Jeep and we pass by a mule train

 One last look into the amphitheater of Bryce Canyon

 On the drive back we drive through a half mile stretch of wacky weather!

Route for the day, click here for details: Yellow - Fairyland Loop Trail  /  Aqua - Rim Trail  /  Pink - Queens Garden Trail  /  Green - Navajo Loop Trail  /  Orange - Peek-A-Boo Loop Trail

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