The rim of Bryce Canyon is the high ground in this National Park and most of the scenic overlooks are 8,000 to 9,000 feet above sea level. At this high elevation, the summer season daytime temperatures average about 80ºF, which is quite a bit cooler than the low elevations in the Desert Southwest. The comfortable summer temperatures are what makes Bryce Canyon a perfect choice for doing lengthy day hikes and the majestic scenery found here certainly adds to the charm!
Camping in Bryce Country is the best option during the summer season and there are a few basecamp to adventure towns nearby. Jeep and ATV rentals can be found in these towns, but only hiking or horseback riding is allowed inside the National Park. The hiking trails along the canyon rim are on fairly level ground and they are easy to accomplish, while the trails that go down into Bryce Canyon are a bit more strenuous. No matter whether you choose a short rim trail section or a lengthy back country trek, staying extra hydrated will be necessary to prevent altitude sickness in this high elevation.
The best way to avoid altitude sickness is to just plain old take it easy for about an hour till the body adjusts. Jumping right into a strenuous activity upon arrival will nearly always result in dizzy spells, which can be dangerous when hiking narrow trails over steep slopes. By just chilling out for about an hour, while snacking and hydrating, most altitude sickness symptoms can be prevented. For this reason, touring the scenic overlooks is the best way to start a Bryce Canyon adventure. Getting familiar with the surroundings will also make it easier to select a hiking trail through a section of this National Park that interests you the most.
The Bryce Canyon Rim Trail is the easiest trail and it is good for warming up, but many visitors are so overwhelmed by the majestic beauty of Bryce Canyon that they opt for a more difficult trail to get a closer look. When doing so, it does pay to research the difficulty level of the trail, because some of the toughest hikes go through the most beautiful places in this park. The Fairyland Canyon Loop Trail is a prime example, because this section of the park is so intriguingly surreal to see that it easily lures onlookers in, yet this is one of the most difficult trails to accomplish! The walk down into the canyon is easy, but it will be a 2,000 foot climb back up, which can take the wind out of just about anybody!
No matter how many beautiful landscapes that a person has seen in past, the first view of Fairyland Canyon will certainly be remembered first and foremost for a lifetime! This landscape is so unlike any other place on earth, that it looks like a fantasyland from an imaginary dreamscape. The appearance of the vivid colors of the sandstone outcrops look unreal against the blue skies. The dispersed pines add a soothing green color here and there, but these tall trees look like tiny toys next to the towering rock formations. This canyon is loaded with thousands of tall rock spires and hoodoos that definitely look animated, hence the name Fairyland is apropos!
The army of eroded hoodoo fairy characters in this canyon is such a mesmerizing sight to see, that it is easy for a visitor to just stand there staring in awestruck disbelief! When staring into this dreamy landscape, the many tall hoodoos seem to come to life as more details are noticed and the thought of how somebody must have carved all these statues in the ancient past will likely occur. There actually are local Paiute Tribal legends associated with the animated hoodoos in this region. Apparently in the ancient past, a curse for all bad people was set in place. The curse turned all of the bad people on earth into stone statue hoodoos for an eternity, so each animated hoodoo in the amphitheater canyons of this region is a bad person frozen in time. This old Paiute legend certainly adds to the mystique of this surreal place!
The access road to Fairyland Canyon is located just a little way outside the Bryce Canyon National Park entrance gate. The parking lot is adequate and it is just a short walk to the scenic overlook. Seeing photos of Fairyland Canyon does naturally generate interest, but it is not till this strange landscape is viewed in person that the enormous proportions and complexities of this weird place come into perspective. This is one destination where the jaw is guaranteed to drop in awe, so be prepared to be amazed like never before!
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