The Rim Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails at Bryce Canyon National park and this trail is one of the easiest to accomplish. The total length of this trail is about 5.5 miles and the trail goes over fairly level ground along the rim of the canyon. It is easy to do sections of this long trail, because parking areas are located at the access points and the park shuttle buses can bring a visitor back to the starting point. Best of all, wherever a visitor steps onto the Rim Trail the views will be as majestic as can be!
It was a stormy day when I visited Bryce Canyon during the spring season and the weather conditions were changing rapidly in the high elevations. Coming from Hatch, Utah, I ran into a white-out snow storm in Red Canyon on the way up the mountain and the going was slow. By the time I got to Bryce Canyon, which is a few hundred feet higher, the weather conditions initially were on the opposite extreme. Bright sunshine and cotton candy clouds greeted me at Bryce Canyon, but that soon changed. Evidence of an early morning snow storm could be seen at the trailhead in Fairyland Canyon and soon there was a light drizzle of rain, which was not a bother. Damp conditions do enhance the bright colors of the Bryce Canyon landscape and the views at Fairyland Canyon were intense.
After photographing Fairyland Canyon while the colorful sandstone landscape was wet, I decided to hike the Rim Trail from Fairyland Canyon to Sunrise Point, which is located at the gigantic Bryce Amphitheater Canyon. This section of the Rim Trail is an easy 2.5 mile trek and there are many hidden surprises along the way. The trail meanders near the canyon rim through a high elevation pine forest. Every place that the trail nears the rim, the picturesque scenery of the majestic canyon comes into view. There are many lesser known scenic overlooks along this hiking trail that can only be experienced by doing the footwork and the effort will yield views of a colorful hoodoo filled landscape that is like no other place on earth!
Fairyland Canyon is the ultimate place to view the weird looking hoodoos at Bryce Canyon. The strange hoodoo imagery also continues for at least a half a mile south of Fairyland Point along the Rim Trail. In some places the animated hoodoos do start to look creepy, especially on an overcast day. There is an area along the trail where the individual tall hoodoo figurines stand tall between the pine trees. This view can cause visitors to scratch their own head in wonder when realizing the true proportion of these immense rock formations. Awe inspiring describes places like this and the creepy effect does come into play when the hoodoo figurines start to look like they are walking uphill to greet you. The eerie thought of this is enough to make some folks quickly head on down the trail!
One great hidden view after another is what the Rim Trail experience is like when going from Fairyland Canyon to Sunrise Point. The beautiful rain drenched colorful landscape became a passing thought when I was about a half mile away from the Sunrise Point destination, because a high elevation white-out snow storm started coming down. The snow storm dropped a tiny pebble kind of snow that bounces off of clothing, so the storm was bearable at first. At this time I decided to turn back instead of continuing to the destination, because warm air was likely to follow and the snow would surely turn into heavy rain. It is all downhill from Sunrise Point back to Fairyland Canyon, so the trek back to the car went pretty quick, Thankfully so, because as soon as I shut the car door the heavy rain started coming down.
Deciding on taking a chance on weather conditions when doing a hike at Bryce Canyon during the spring season is always a judgment call. Sometimes the risk pays off with beautiful views of a wet colorful Bryce Canyon landscape. Other times, the venture will be cut short if the overcast weather takes a turn for the worse, but either way, the venture will be rewarding. No matter whether the forecast calls for rain, snow, sunshine or all of the above, hiking sections of the Rim Trail at Bryce Canyon is something that beckons to be done, just for the sake of experiencing this majestic surreal landscape!
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