“A less-crowded loop through beautiful hoodoo formations.
— Tom Robson
Watch for snakes on the trail.
The Fairyland Loop begins at Fairyland Point
, and takes you through spectacular hoodoos and scenery along the rim and into the canyon. Enjoy views of Tower Bridge and China Wall on this wondrous journey.
Be sure to carry plenty of water—1 quart (liter) for every 2-3 hours of running per person, as this run typically takes 4-5 hours round trip over the 8 mile (12.9 km) length. Especially after rainfall or snowmelt, hiking boots or running shoes with good grip are a necessity—at that point, be aware of heavy mud that ruthlessly sticks to your shoes, more than doubling their weight. During one short section, the trail is bound on both sides by somewhat-steep cliffs. Though the trail isn't very narrow, those with more than a moderate fear of heights might be a bit scared.
From the Fairyland Point
parking area, dip down into the canyon heading northeast on the well-marked trail. As you descend steadily, the impressive Fairyland amphitheater of hoodoos is sandwiched in on your right between the trail and Boat Mesa. Watch for the Sinking Ship formation across the valley to the east.
After about 1.5 miles, the trail reaches its lowest point and begins a stiff climb up to a saddle and the cliffs below the Coliseum. From here the grades ease a bit until the Tower Bridge Side Trail
turnoff - note that it's well worth the short detour to ogle Mother Nature's creativity.
Once back on the main Fairyland Loop Trail
, begin the challenging climb up through parched Campbell Canyon, also crossing its namesake creek. The meandering trail ascends steadily through open terrain passing the Chinese Wall formation to the south. More vegetation and gnarled trees (look for evidence of lightning strikes) begin to appear closer to the rim. The Fairyland Loop Trail
ends at a "T" junction with the Rim Trail
about 0.3 miles north of Sunrise Point.
Once you reach Rim Trail
, you've completed the hardest portion of this run! Turn right and continue north, back to Fairyland Point
. At this point, pass through some meadows and a sandy, beach-like area. Once you finally reach your destination, stop for a while and enjoy the views!
Not many animals are found along the Fairyland section, but you might see some birds along the Rim Trail
section. As for plants, you'll find the Bristlecone Pine, Ponderosa Pine, and maybe a Quaking Aspen beneath the rim.