Friday, July 28, 2017

Boat Mesa, UT

Hiked: 7/28/2017
Distance: 1.5 miles round trip on trail and cross country
Summit Elevation: 8076'
Elevation Gain: 438'
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 0.35
Round trip time: 1 hour
Recommended water: 0 oz.
Parking/Fees: Free at Fairyland Point
Difficulty: Easy

Boat Mesa separates Fairyland Canyon from the rest of Bryce Canyon. It is a dominant structure in the north part of the park. There is no formal trail to the top, but I scoped out the northwest ridge next to the rim trail that looked like it would work. I couldn't tell if the ridge ended in a cliff just below the plateau. The only way to find out was to go up. This was a daybreak solo mission before we attempted Willis Canyon later in the day. I parked at Fairyland Point, which is outside the Bryce Canyon gate. There is free but limited parking.

A few other early birds were at Fairyland Point waiting for sunrise. When the sun did come up, it was behind a large dark cloud muting the golden effects it might have cast on the hoodoos. By then, I had already left the rim trail and was half way up the ridge. To my surprise, I found a pretty good use trail. It was easy going to the summit plateau where the use trail ended and a dozen animal trails cut through small trees and shrubs. There were great view points on the east side into Fairyland, but views to the west into Bryce Canyon were mostly obscured by trees. I suspect most people stopped at the plateau, but my quest was to find the high point. It would have been impossible without a GPS. The plateau rises 5' or 10' feet here or there and some light brush is in the way. I wandered around the high point, eventually zeroing in on the indistinct spot with no markers. A small pine tree occupied the high point. Once the mission was accomplished, I tried to get a better look down the west side cliffs without much success. I returned down the ridge and was back to the car in an hour.

Looking up at Boat Mesa from the east

Looking up at Boat Mesa from the west

Climbing the ridge

Summit plateau

Limited view to the west

Better view to the east

Summit pine tree


  1. Hoodoos are neat. We saw some in the Superstition Mountains near Phoenix.

    1. Sean,

      The Superstition Mountains are on my radar. That whole area looks awesome.