What is a hoodoo? Ever heard of one? Wikipedia defines it as, “A hoodoo (also called a tent rock, fairy chimney, and earth pyramid) is a tall, thin spire of rock that protrudes from the bottom of an arid drainage basin or badland.” Located in Southern Utah among the many national monuments, national forests and national parks is Bryce Canyon National Park. And this place is full of hoodoos!
A few Wednesdays ago, we headed out of home base and decided to explore Bryce Canyon National Park. We took State Highway 89 north. The turnoff for Bryce Canyon is about 45 miles or so from the State Highway 89 and State Route 9 intersection that you would take to the eastern entrance of Zion National Park. The road is rather sparse with population, but it is a scenic drive. The turnoff for Bryce is just past Hillsdale, Utah.
Just inside the park entrance, you will find the visitor’s center, just like with almost any other National Park that we have visited. I suggest you stop off and examine the maps they have outside of it. There are maps with trail descriptions so that you can plan your visit within the National Park. And you should take the time to review because the distance from the visitor’s center to the end of the road (as far as you can drive in the park) is about 50 miles. There are dozens of places to pull over to enjoy various views as well as take hikes of all shapes and sizes.
We decided to forego the hikes and simply pull off and enjoy the various viewpoints. Some of the viewpoints did require a 1/4th to a 1/2 of a mile to get to them. And, there were a few that were closed altogether. But, each one that was open and accessible had a different viewpoint; some were slight and others were drastic, however each was unique. Also, make sure you stay on the marked paths and trails. There are drop offs that are dangerous. This is a canyon after all.
We pulled into each viewpoint along the road, parked and hiked to the lookouts. One of the things we found very interesting was the people down in the bottom of the canyon below. They looked like ants next to the hoodoos. It really gave us a scale to appreciate the size and scale of what we were gazing upon.
After the final viewpoint, we decided to drive a bit further as we saw a part of the map that referred to something called the Natural Bridge. Sure enough, about 5 to 10 miles down the road we came upon it. Interestingly enough, it is not technically a bridge; it is classified as an arch. This was formed by water running through and eroding it away. Eventually, the arch will actually erode and collapse. Wonderful natural structure to behold though.
After the Natural Bridge, we decided to pack up and head back towards home base. It was going to get dark soon and we had a few hours of driving to do in order to reach home base. Bryce Canyon was a great place to drive, stop at the viewpoint parking lots and check out the views along the canyon rim. It also seemed like a place with very accessible trails that allowed you to hike all over the canyon. Keep in mind, if you choose to do this, you should allow yourself a day or two to properly explore it. Safe Travels.