Bryce Canyon National Park- the home of the Hoodoos

Bryce Canyon

If you visit Utah National Parks, Bryce Canyon should not be missed. It is (surprisingly) not as popular as Zion and Moab. It is not, technically, a canyon, but rather a giant natural amphitheater created by erosion, yet there is no other place in the world that features as fine and abundant collection of hoodoos as Bryce. The park is family and wheelchair friendly, and has an ample parking. There are drinking water fountains around the parking lots, and all the necessary facilities. You can hike a whole day or only an hour, you can just walk along the rim, or just stand and look around – you will still enjoy yourself.

However, you should know that it is a high altitude location (above 8000 ft – up to 9000 ft). The trails vary from easy to moderate and strenuous; the descents and ascents are very steep though, and it could be very hot down there at the foot of the hoodoos. Do a good research before you pick up a trail. Thankfully, because of the high altitude it is always a bit cooler on the rim, and also thunderstorms are quite common in the area.

We paid $30 for a vehicle which gave us a 7 day access to the park.

What is “hoodoos“? Read this link, you will love it (all the links open in separate windows). In Bryce, most erosion occurs from “frost wedging” – rain water freezes and expands in the cracks of the rocks. You can find all the stages of erosion during your hike, from plateaus to fins and finally hoodoos. The process never stops, and when you come again, it will be a different Bryce.

Hoodoo has nothing to do with Woodoo, yet  in Blackfoot mythology, the oddly shaped rock columns were some malignant giants whom the Great Spirit had turned to stone because of their evil deeds. Deep in the night, the petrified giants would wake up and throw boulders down upon any human who dared to hang around. I wouldn’t be surprised, since some rocks do look like they are barely balancing.

Geology of the hoodoos is fascinating, but the look of them is something you will never forget. The colors vary from brown to red, orange, pink and ivory, and change during the day and the weather. A few steps to the left or right – and you enjoy a different angle, different shapes and hues. You cannot get bored in Bryce.

Click on the photographs to enlarge. They are all resized to resolution of only 72px.

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

This huge natural bridge is spectacular. We have seen a smaller one too.

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Our youngest team member is two, and we considered the shortest trail, the Navajo Loop that took us some 2 hours. Yet, you should be aware that more rocks fall on this trail than any other trail in the park. The last major rock slide occurred in 2011 though.

The trail begins to descend very steeply – don’t make it back to the rim this way! The series of switchbacks are very short, thankfully, but extremely steep anyway.

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

The trail passes through Wall Street, a narrow slot between the cliffs, and takes you to the canyon floor. In the image below – entering the Wall Street.

Bryce Canyon

bryce canyon

A look back.

Bryce Canyon

Surprise greeting from a local resident. The little guy was very fat and had no fear of children. We took some hundred photographs of him and the kids.

Great views from the bottom of the canyon.

Bryce Canyon

The Inspiration Point – the highest point in the Park. We stood there a day before. Under our feet there is a river bed.

Bryce Canyon

The little legs are tired. It is time for a break and some snack.

We settled for a break, and there was another beautiful opportunity to take a photo. This Jay loved our company.

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Full of energy, we proceed.

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Some great views on the ascent.

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

The ascent was not that steep, or perhaps I just lied to myself… Still I felt dizzy two times and had to stop for a minute. Didn’t take many pictures, was focused on surviving 🙂

In the image below – the ascent trail, a view from the rim.

Bryce Canyon

We had a lovely drive and stopped at almost each point on our map. The rain was coming and going. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any rainbow, and only a few distant lightning strikes.  In addition to that friendly Chipmunk and the curious Jay, we saw some Mule deer.  No Rattlesnakes again, darn it!

Bryce canyon

We loved our hotel, it was outside the Park. We loved the Rock shop, and all the funny props for children photographs, like Jail, Wooden Horse and Wooden Bears. We loved the stunning little Red Canyon where we made a stop and a short hike.

red canyon

red canyon

Thank you for taking this trip with me. If you ever have a chance, visit scenic Utah and enjoy a real adventure.

IneseMjPhotographyHave a wonderful weekend!

128 comments

        1. I look forward to seeing your photographs. We had two little girls with us, and did our best. You can walk all the trails and find amazing angles. You might even catch a thunderstorm. We stayed in Quality Inn, outside the Park, but there are many other places. Oh you will love Bryce Canyon. Best of luck to you!

  1. These are incredible! It really reminds you what a speck we are in the grandness of nature! We drove through Utah this summer and the majestic beauty was overwhelming!

    1. Thank you Alisa! I wonder what did you see. I love Utah! Next week I will put up some old pictures from our past travels. It looks like I won’t visit these places again for updated photographs 🙂

  2. Hoodoos is a word I had never heard before coming to Alberta. There are some of them around here, but nothing like Bryce Canyon. Bryce Canyon is truly home of the hoodoos! Your photos are spectacular, what an awesome location.

    1. Thank you Inger! After visiting Bryce Canyon I want to see more hoodoos 🙂 I have looked them up in the internet – such amazing formations, each of their own kind, but all of them looking spectacular. Thank you again for your comment!

  3. Hello Inese,
    What a stunning place…and thanks for the HooDoo link, which led me to the Mountain Lion story, with some wonderful info on these huge predators … all fascinating stuff, and something I’m never likely to experience, so thanks for such a great set of photos, and interesting text to accompany them. And of course the great new word, though I couldn’t see what the origin / derivation of it was. Native Indian perhaps?
    Best wishes
    Julian

    1. Thank you so much for taking a hike! No one knows for sure where the word came from. It reminds me of a woodoo, of course, but it doesn’t mean there is a connection.The term is not new, and I am surprised that I have never heard of it before.
      My best wishes
      Inese

    1. Thank you so much for joining 🙂
      I called them “spires” or “pinnacles” before the trip. Had no idea they are something different 🙂

  4. Spectacular nature! The rocks are amazing, and the residents are adorable.. I love the looks of the jay, it is beautiful bird. Thanks for the information of hoodoo..I have never heard this term before 🙂

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Indah! Neither heard I, and was surprised to learn that it was the term 🙂 I always called them “pinnacles”.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the hike! 🙂 All the colors are natural. I just lightened the deep shadows in some pictures, and resized them so that they open easy, and cannot be printed without my permission. Some pictures look darker, some lighter because they were taken at different time of the day. I didn’t edit them to look stunning 🙂 My goal is not to show how good I am at Photoshop, but how good is the World around me 🙂

  5. This is mind blowing!…. Excellent post, dear Inese… Thanks so much for sharing these natural beauties with us… Love and best wishes. Aquileana 😀

  6. Oh how I enjoyed this adventure Inese! The hoodoos are fascinating to view and to read about, very interesting. Your photos did a great job of capturing the immensity, the colors, and the glory. Your steller’s jay photos are exquisite. Thank you!

    1. Thank you for joining the hike! It was a real feast for the eye, almost unearthly experience. Amazing that all of us regardless of our age was very happy and amused 🙂

  7. What an amazing looking place! Those pinnacles of stone are just like rows of giant people standing side by side. Is that the origin of the name, I wonder? Now, hoodoo you remind me of?

    1. Hoodoo sounds like woodoo to me:)… No one knows for sure where the hoodoos name came from, but it is a proper name for this rock formation. They do look like petrified people 🙂

      1. Darn those early name-givers, so insensitive to the needs of later generations of punsters! They really are very interesting formations, though. 🙂

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