The Rim Trail South Of Fairyland Point ~ Bryce Canyon National Park
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 main access points and park shuttle buses can bring a visitor back to the parked car. Most of the Rim Trail access points are also the scenic overlooks for the paved road automobile tour, so 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 my destination in Fairyland Canyon and soon there was a light drizzle of rain, which was not a bother. Damp conditions are best for accenting the bright colors of the Bryce Canyon landscape and the views at Fairyland Canyon were certainly intensely beautiful!
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 1.5 mile trek and there are many hidden surprises along the way. The trail meanders near the canyon rim through a high elevation pine forest and at 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 yields 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 and 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 and the view can cause visitors to scratch their own head in wonder when realizing the proportions of the immense size of these rock formations. Awe inspiring is the word in 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 of Bryce Canyon after another is what the Rim Trail is like when going from Fairyland Canyon to Sunrise Point. My own experience was interesting when the clouds and occasional sunshine turned into light drizzling rain, because when Bryce Canyon sandstone landscape is wet, the colors are more vivid. Snow was still on the ground from the spring season snow melt, which also adds a dramatic visual effect to this colorful canyon. However 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 blizzard snow storm started coming down. The snow storm dropped a high elevation 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 small snow pebble would surely turn into heavy rain. It is all downhill from Sunrise Point back to Fairyland Canyon, so the hiking trek back to the car went pretty quick and thankfully so, because 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 Bryce Canyon landscape that is full of bright vivid rock outcrop colors. Other times, the venture will be cut short if the overcast weather takes a turn for the worse. Either way, the venture is rewarding, because experiencing the high elevation weather conditions at Bryce Canyon is something that cannot be done anywhere else on earth. No matter whether the forecast calls for rain, snow, sunshine or all of the above, doing sections of the Rim Trail at Bryce Canyon is something that beckons to be done, just for the sake of experiencing this majestically surreal landscape!