Hikes

Fairy Forest

(Last Updated On: September 19, 2016)
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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.

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