The drive to Bryce Canyon from Kanab is full of diverse landscapes, including rivers that supply water for the irrigation systems, green pastures with horses quietly grazing, sleepy towns with old cars in yards, and the Red Canyon, featuring red rock hoodoos that shoot hundreds of feet into the air.
Nothing, however, was as breath-taking as Bryce Canyon. Featuring 14 view-points along an 18-mile road (one way distance) through Bryce Canyon National Park, each pulloff offers something new and spectacular. The higher we climbed (to over 8,000 feet elevation), the more snow there was on the ground and the chillier the conditions, even in May.
We knew going into the day that we wanted to hike the Fairyland Trail, an 8-mile loop through the northern end of Bryce Canyon. There are two ways to access the loop, either from Fairland Point or the Bryce Canyon Lodge. We started our hike at Fairyland Point, first going on the Rim Trail past the Lodge for a 2.5 mile hike, then dropped into the Canyon shortly after. The trail is mostly mud and clay, wet from the rain earlier in the day, but it dried quickly and soon we were walking on a regular dirt and rock trail.
We stopped for lunch after a 1.5-mile jaunt to the bottom. Along the way are viewpoints, including the China Wall, Tower Bridge, several pink and coral hoodoos, and rocks with holes in them, making for some fun photos. At Tower Bridge, we decided to exit the trail and walk along the Campbell Wash, a rocky path that serves as a water run-off in wet condition. Had it been raining, it would’ve been too wet to walk on. The colors in the Campbell Wash were phenomenal, with yellow, coral, pink, and white rocks creating a color pallet that any artist would love. Eventually we made our way back to the regular hiking trail and continued on our way. With our scenic route, we added a mile to the hike, making a grand total of 9 miles hiked in just under 3 hours. This included some stops for photos and a few water breaks.
The only way to get out of the Canyon, is of course, up-hill. The climb happens quickly at the end of the hike, especially if you start where we did and do the Rim Trail first, then come up from the East side back to Fairyland Point. It’s not an easy hike, by any means. The publications talking about the hike list it as one of the toughest in the park.
What I like about Bryce Canyon is that anybody can visit to enjoy the natural landscape, via their vehicle, a quick mile walk, or 9 mile hike. There are several trails available at all skill levels, and with the 14 view-points, photo opportunities are easy. The colors in the Canyon are vivid. The green of the trees shines through the pink and coral colors of the many hoodoos, while red canyon walls provide the backdrop.