Fairyland Loop Trail
A good choice for a challenging hike that offers panoramic vistas away from the crowds, from Fairyland Point this little-traveled trail descends into Fairyland Canyon, then meanders up, down, and around Boat Mesa. It crosses Campbell Canyon, passes Tower Bridge junction -- a short, 600-foot side trail takes you to the base of Tower Bridge -- and begins a steady climb to the China Wall. About halfway along the wall, the trail begins the serious ascent back to the top of the canyon, which it reaches near Sunrise Point. To complete the loop, follow the Rim Trail back through juniper, manzanita, and Douglas fir to Fairyland Point, a trip that will take you approximately 5 hours. The loop has an elevation change of about 2,309 feet.
8 miles RT. Difficult. Access: The trail head is located at the Fairyland Point Overlook, off the park access road north of the visitor center; the trail is also accessible from Sunrise Point.
Peekaboo Loop Trail
This trail, open both to those on foot and on horseback, winds among hoodoos below Bryce and Inspiration points. It's a steep and strenuous hike, with an elevation change of 1,555 feet. You follow the Under the Rim Trail briefly toward the Hat Shop, but soon you'll turn left and head toward the Peekaboo Loop. This section of the trail is narrow and often littered with rocks, so place your feet carefully. Fairly steep inclines and descents alternate with more level stretches; stop frequently to take in both the close and distant vistas. At times you can see far to the east beyond Bryce Canyon toward the Aquarius Plateau, Canaan Mountain, and the Kaiparowits Plateau; you'll get closer views of the unusual Wall of Windows, the Three Wise Men, the Organ, and the Cathedral. Various connecting trails make Peekaboo easily accessible. There's a corral and vault toilets toward the Bryce Point end of the loop. The park's horseback-ride concessionaire uses the trail spring through fall, and hikers should step aside to let horseback riders through. Hiking the entire trail takes 3 to 4 hours.
5.5 miles RT. Difficult. Access: The trail head is located at the Bryce Point Overlook parking area.
The Rim Trail, which does not drop into the canyon, offers splendid views from above, giving us the whole picture of this phenomenal spectacle of carved stone. More of a walk than a hike, the trail includes a .5-mile section between two overlooks -- Sunrise and Sunset -- that is paved, fairly level, and suitable for wheelchairs. Overlooking Bryce Amphitheater, the trail offers almost continually excellent views as it meanders along the rim, and is a good choice for an early morning or evening walk, when you can watch the changing light on the rosy rocks below. Another advantage is that you can access the trail from many locations, so you can have a short or long walk. You may also find this a convenient trail if you just want to rush out to the rim for a quick look at sunrise over the hoodoos. Some people feel that the absolute best view in the park is from the Rim Trail, south of Inspiration Point. If you do the whole thing, which most people don't, it's a maximum of 5 to 6 hours with a total elevation change of 1,734 feet.
11 miles RT. Easy to moderate. Access: The northern trail head is at Fairyland Point; the southern trail head is at Bryce Point. The trail is also accessible from Sunrise, Sunset, and Inspiration points, and numerous other locations in between.
Sheep Creek Trail
This trail takes you down into the canyon bottoms, and, if you continue, right out of the park into the Dixie National Forest. The first mile is on the rim; then the trail descends along Sheep Creek draw and meanders below pink limestone cliffs toward the canyon bottom, traversing part of the Under the Rim Trail along its way. Watch signs carefully; the route can be confusing. The trail has up to a 1,250-foot elevation change, and it will take you about 5 hours if you go just to the park boundary, 8 hours if you go to the end.
6-10 miles RT (3 miles takes you to the park boundary and another 2 miles brings you to the national forest boundary). Easy to moderate. Access: The trail head sign and parking area are 5 miles south of the visitor center, on the scenic drive.
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