Family Hike in Fairyland Loop - Mike Carr

A Family Hike in Fairyland Loop


The outdoors have always been a big part of my life thanks to my parents. From an early age I was out exploring. And now that I have a beautiful little daughter of my own, I want to share the same wonder I found in nature with her. It’s a lot more work packing her on our backs (especially when I get all the uphill sections), but it’s totally worth it. I love having my girls with me on my adventures!

Searching for Willow

Have you ever seen the classic 80s movie Willow? While hiking the Fairyland Loop in Bryce Canyon National Park, I felt like I was traveling through ancient ruins. It made me think of Willow and how they find that old abandoned castle. This is a place that inspires fantasy for sure.

These red canyon walls and spires make for some great photos. But to really appreciate their majesty, you have to hike right down in them yourself. The terrain is so different from anything you’ve even seen that it will feel a little alien but in a good way, I promise.

Hiking with a Toddler

To say hiking with a toddler is more work is a bit of an understatement. but it’s totally worth it! My daughter is 19 months old, can talk better than I can, loves snacks and has passion for being outside. At times she can be a little too independent as well. We got her a top-of-the-line backpack to ride in and she still demands “down!” so she can hike on her own two tiny legs. Granted, it’s pretty tough to explore from the seat of a pack on my back, so I can’t fault her for that, but it sure slows us down. It’s incredible to see the wonder in her eyes as she sees new things like a tree or a bird.

Crazy Geography

I know I say this all the time but this time I really mean it! This place is like nowhere else. It's probably the most unique topography I’ve ever seen and probably ever will see. It’s weird but in a cool way. These delicate-looking hoodoos were so fun to photograph I could have spent days roaming around them. On the flip side of that, I do have to admit that after a few hours of it the thought did come to my mind that things were all starting to look the same. It's still great fun to explore, but the scene can get a bit redundant.

My wife and daughter don’t have the same level of passion that I do for hiking, but with a bit of compromise and patience on everyone's part, a family hike—even with a toddler—can be a great experience that brings everyone closer together and lets you interact in a new way.