Hikes

Fairy Forest

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*Please read the Final Note at the bottom of the page!
We heard rumors of a “fairy forest” along the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway, but we couldn’t find anything about it on the Internet or anywhere else. Finally, we found some sloppy directions and set out to see if we could find it. After stumbling around in the woods for awhile, we did.
The Fairy Forest is a rather large area near a campground that has painted rocks, a few wind chimes, and some wood sculptures that are arranged to look like fairies had a hand in it. Of course, visitors have painted and stacked the rocks. It’s a really nice walk– hardly a “hike” at all, but our kids loved it. Below are some of the pictures (we took A LOT more). You’ll find very specific directions about how to get find Fairy Forest below.
The boys at the unofficial entrance to the Fairy Forest

The boys at the unofficial entrance to the Fairy Forest

Some rocks are arranged, others are painted

Some rocks are arranged, others are painted

The boys peered into this tiny fairy house. I think they really may believe in fairies!

The boys peered into this tiny fairy house. I think they really may believe in fairies!

Our 4 year-old was excited at every new rock, this one especially because it's a painted fairy!

Our 4 year-old was excited at every new rock, this one especially because it’s a painted fairy!

This was one of our favorite displays. It was freshly painted, too.

This was one of our favorite displays. It was freshly painted, too.

The turtle was so cute. Some rocks have inspirational messages.

The turtle was so cute. Some rocks have inspirational messages.

A fairy house with fireplace, bed, and dresser.

A fairy house with fireplace, bed, and dresser.

Fairy Stonehenge

Fairy Stonehenge

This shows how the trail is marked out by rocks and weaves around the forest.

This shows how the trail is marked out by rocks and weaves around the forest.

To get to Fairy Forest, head up to Kamas. Take the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway (Hwy 150). You’ll have to pay the $6 entrance fee, but the National Forests had their budgets cut again, so you’ll be happy to pay. Drive to mile marker 17 just past Shady Dell campground. There is a pullout right at the mile marker. Park and follow the trail that goes to the right (as you face the forest). You’ll cut through the campground, and find yourself in a dry creek bed with huge river rocks. Be careful– some of them roll. After you cross the river, bear right. Trails head off in front of you, and that’s where we got lost and ended up all the way down by the river, but Fairy Forest is within 30 yards of this creek, so don’t go too far. If you go right (and down) about 30 feet after crossing the dry creek bed, you’ll find yourself at the entrance of the forest. Good Luck!
Also check out our hikes and other things to do on the Mirror Lake Highway!
Final Note: The Fairy Forest is no longer being supported. The Forest Service had to haul out tons of trash and a major clean-up effort was also organized to help clean up the Fairy Forest. The Forest Service no longer allows paint or foreign objects in the forest, so please plan on looking and leaving only. A few painted rocks are said to remain, but the Fairy Forest should not continue to grow. So now we will enjoy the Fairy Forest by walking through and admiring the rocks. We will visit again and keep you posted on the changes. Here is the Forest Service announcement!
Sorry, folks. ~UAF
Fairy Forest

Fairy Forest was so fun in the old days!

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Before the ban, we made our own contribution to the fairy forest.

20 Comments

  • Just saw a Forest Service post on FB about how they went in and took 100 bags of “garbage” from Fairy Forest and that it is illegal to leave anything because it is littering. Look up the US Forest Service Uinta -Wasatch-Cache Forest post. I sort of understand but it is still sad. I took my kids up there this summer and it was such fun. We spent a long time at home looking forward and creating our setting. 🙁

    • We have been saddened by the changes to the Fairy Forest as well, but we also understand that there has been a lot of garbage left there too. Thanks for sharing about the post. We will look into it.

  • do you know if the river goes up or down at certain times during the year? We are wanting to go this week, but it defiantly wont be worth the drive if the river is too high.

    thanks for this great activity!!!!

    • Yes, the river is very high in the spring. We went in late July and crossed easily. We usually try to go in late July or August. The river might still have water in it, but it’s usually still an easy crossing on the rocks.

  • we loved it, thanks for coordinates! I would have to suggest to future builders to check out this site:

    http://www.fairyhouses.com/pictures/how-to-build/

    the creativity of the forest was AWESOME, I loved how it attracted families to do some art in nature. we all had a blast, but I have to say the odor of spray paint being used was a bit icky. FAIRIES LOVE NATURAL MATERIALS! ( and the forest does too) =)

  • we went today- the grown ups helped the kids, your feet were wet, but its doable
    several families made the trek

  • Hie, faerie folk! Just to let you all know – the dry creek bed is a raging river in springtime due to the spring runoff. Not safe for young children right now. I’ll post again when the runoff subsides.

    • Greetings from Shady Dell. The spring runoff has subsided. There is still water at the crossing and the rocks can be a little slippery, but at worst you’ll get your feet a little wet. Come see us!