Hikes

Fairy Forest | Mirror Lake Highway

(Last Updated On: September 3, 2020)

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.

Respect the Fairy Forest

In 2016, The Fairy Forest changed. The Forest Service had to haul out tons of trash and a major clean-up effort was also organized to help clean up the 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. Here is the Forest Service announcement!

IMG_4730

Fairy Forest

The Fairy Forest is a rather large area near a campground that has painted rocks, 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 as we admired the area. You’ll find very specific directions about how to get find here 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. Not sure if it is still around.
The turtle was so cute. Some rocks have inspirational messages.
The turtle was so cute. Some rocks have inspirational messages.
The Forest Service cleaned all of the plastic and toys and left the painted rocks.
Fairy Stonehenge
Fairy Stonehenge

We love the Mirror Lake Highway, so if you visit the fairies, you should also check out our hikes and other things to do on the Mirror Lake Highway!

Directions

To get to Fairy Forest, head up to Kamas. Take the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway (Hwy 150). Make sure to stop and pay the $6 entrance fee, or use your National Parks pass for admittance. 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 the 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!

The trail leads right to the creek.
Depending on the time of year, this creek can be really high.
IMG_5201
Before the ban, we made our own contribution to the fairy forest.

Leave a Comment

20 Comments