Hoodoo you love? Bryce Canyons National Park

Hoodoos standing tall in Bryce Canyon

Hoodoos standing tall in Bryce Canyon

To say that each of the national parks in Utah is unique wouldn’t be an untrue statement at all.  But we wondered, before we actually traveled there, how could rock in one park in the same state be so different from that in another park?

Arches has well, its arches, of course. Canyonlands has not only canyons but precipices and commanding views.  Capitol Reef and Grand Staircase-Escalante —  two drive-thru parks — boast vast scenery of various colors and shapes.  But then there’s Bryce, different from all, with amphitheaters, canyons and hoodoos.

Yes, hoodoos.

A convention of hoodoos, gathered in a Bryce Canyon amphitheater

A convention of hoodoos, gathered in a Bryce Canyon amphitheater

Ever since we read the term “hoodoo,” we’ve been fascinated.  It sounds like “voodoo” and resembles some people’s vision of a haint, if you’re from the South.  But hoodoos are formations. Kinda like tall, skinny people with wispy bodies and heads balanced on necks of questionable support.

Studying the formations at Bryce

Studying the formations at Bryce

Hoodoos are all about erosion, if you will.  Composed of limestone with some other content thrown in (mudstone, siltstone, for example), hoodoos begin as blocks of stone but end up as hoodoos after wind and water have their way with them.

Shaped by erosion: hoodoos at Bryce Canyon

Shaped by erosion: hoodoos at Bryce Canyon

Frost wedging is what it’s called:  melting snow gets into the crevices of porous limestone and freezes.  And when freezing water expands, it creates cracks and holes that eventually lead to separations — or those tall individual forms resembling men standing at attention.

And so it goes -- wind and weather form holes that in turn form hoodoos.

And so it goes — wind and weather form holes that in turn form hoodoos.

Minerals play a part in the coloring of hoodoos.  If you look closely, you see striations of white and cream among the pinks and oranges and reds.  Dolomite, for example, is one such mineral.  A magnesium-rich limestone, dolomite can form a protective coating that erodes less quickly, explaining why some of the hoodoos are topped with white caps.

Hoodoos sporting white caps. Dolomite, perhaps?

Hoodoos sporting white caps. Dolomite, perhaps?

You may find yourself, as we did, staring for long periods of time at formations that you might not have seen at first glance.  And you notice the ravages of time and weather on the stone.  But you also start to create things.  Like you do when you look up at clouds and see shapes of something familiar.  Standing here, we could make out “buildings,” so to speak, with arched doors, covered “hallways,” and hoodoos stationed at the base like time-worn sentinels waiting for visitors.

Could this be enormous building with hoodoos guarding the entrance? Or are we just dreaming?

An enormous building with hoodoos guarding the entrance? Maybe.

Perhaps the most famous hoodoo at Bryce is Thor’s Hammer.    And the structure must feel pretty special, too, since it has its own commanding view, and most visitors want to take its picture.  It could be the hoodoo of all hoodoos.

Seeing it is something you don’t want to miss.

Thor's Hammer (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Thor’s Hammer (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

You can’t visit Bryce without being charmed by the hoodoos.  They’re what you come for. Best viewing spots? According to the National Park Service website, you can be see them at the Navajo Loop Trail, the Queen’s Garden Trail, and Full Moon Hikes.  But actually, we saw them at every stop we made.

Valley of hoodoos -- Bryce Canyon National Park

Valley of hoodoos — Bryce Canyon National Park

Hoodoos are natural.  Colorful.  Captivating.  And synonymous with Bryce.

So, hoodoo you love?

For more information:

Bryce Canyon National Park/Hoodoos: https://www.nps.gov/brca/learn/nature/hoodoos.htm

Photo credit for Thor’s Hammer: Wikimedia Commons

For more on Utah’s national parks, check out our Travel Series We Saw Utah to see the beauty!

 

About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
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15 Responses to Hoodoo you love? Bryce Canyons National Park

  1. tappjeanne says:

    I love this post Rusha! Not only are the photos spectacular, but I’ve learned a new term – ‘hoodoos’!

  2. HesterLeyNel says:

    Anne of Green Gables would have found lots of scope for imagination in this park. Beautiful. Majestic.

  3. Vandy Leake says:

    Hoodoo article is quite interesting, beautiful and fun to read. Articles are always a great read, but this one
    Was really funny 😊. You need to write a book!!

  4. Hoodoo you love? Well – I LOVE these photos!

  5. Thanks for your comments. We want a return trip also. In fact, you can walk among the hoodoos on designated paths, or at least we saw several people doing just that. Utah’s definitely got it going on when it comes to beauty!

  6. JudyinFrance says:

    I can’t believe that I’ve never been there. I will have to go. Thank you for the lovely photos too.

  7. Adventure 57 says:

    Yes!! This is one of my favorite parks in Utah!! It’s so pretty and I love that the weather is a little cooler than some of the other parks in southern/eastern Utah because of the elevation. Just the perfect combination of everything! Such a good job at capturing the unique formations and explaining how the formations are made! Now I want to go back there!

    • Thanks for your comments. We want a return trip also. In fact, you can walk among the hoodoos on designated paths, or at least we saw several people doing just that. Utah’s definitely got it going on when it comes to beauty!
      Reply

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