Fairyland Loop hike map
Extremely stylish hiking attire
The scenery was spectacular, under skies that started clear(-ish) and then clouded up - although we were grateful that we did not get rained on. The trail surface was level gravel, not rocky, and went down ridges, past hoodoos, crossing washes and climbing back up, hugging the walls of the canyon. The views to the left, out into the canyon were stunning; above us, the crazy hoodoo shapes loomed silently.
Some sections were very green
There was more green than we expected: manzanita ground cover, juniper, ponderosa pine, bristlecone pine and Douglas fir. After climbing back up to the rim of the canyon near Sunrise Point, we walked back along the Rim Trail to the trail head at Fairyland Point.
All sections were beautiful
We finished the 8.0 mile hike in 3 hours 10 minutes, finding the parking lot full when we returned. As the weather began looking more ominous, we had a quick snack (and beer) before dropping in at the visitors' center and then grabbing lunch at Ruby's Inn. Our next stop was the visitors' center in Red Canyon and the fact that it was raining a little did not dissuade us from finding another hike.
Looking out into Fairyland Canyon
We decided on the Red Canyon Loop (Cassidy trail to Rich trail to Ledge Point to Rich to Cassidy) and were not disappointed. There was a horse trailer in the parking lot (and lots of horse droppings on the trail) but we never saw any trail riders - or anyone else, save one lone trail runner at the very end.
Red Canyon hike map
This was another great hike: 4.5 miles, 1 hour 40 minutes. There was not much elevation change but it was very pretty, following a wash up the canyon and then rising slightly with a ridgeline. Up at Ledge Point, the whole canyon laid out in front of us. The footing on the descent was slightly rockier but went down quickly and the finish back to the trailhead was out the wash we walked in.
Hiking up and along the wash
After cleaning up back at the motel, we were DELIGHTED to discover that the Cowboy's Smokehouse Cafe was open (cash only, beer in bottles) because we had thought we would be eating cold cuts from the grocery store back in our room. H had the brisket platter and I had chicken-fried steak with green beans and mashed potatoes. We cleaned our plates and immediately decided to come back again the next day.
View down into Red Canyon