Hoodoo You See?

When it comes to traveling, one of my greatest joys is immersing myself in a new place.  It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s a city or some remote wilderness that I’m visiting for the first time, setting off on foot allows me to discover things up close.

I see the face of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Do you?

I see the face of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. What face do you see?

Whether I’m hiking, walking, strolling, meandering, or whatever pace I’m keeping at the moment, I love allowing my legs to transport me to exciting new visual delights .

hiking Red Canyon was a delight

hiking Red Canyon

Years ago, my son and I visited my parents in the Chicago suburbs and took the train into the city for a day of sightseeing.  We walked, and walked, and walked some more…. no cab rides for us.  According to my dad (who knows the city of Chicago like the back of his hand), Logan and I must have walked at least ten miles.  By doing so, he and Bryce Canyon National ParkI observed so many unique details in this bustling city – from architecture, to art, to the beautiful parks and shops, to the sounds and smells. It was a memorial day spent with my son along with discovering the city’s special character.

My week spent in Bryce Canyon Country was equally memorable and just like that day in Chicago, I knew I had to get out on foot to immerse myself in this mesmerizing landscape.

Each overlook is breathtaking!

Each overlook is breathtaking!

I started off my Bryce Canyon National Park visit by stopping at every single overlook and getting a feel for the lay of the land.

I see you!

This hoodoo sees you!

Seeing Mother Nature’s work of art from the rim of the canyon is breathtaking, but hiking in the depths of her creation left me awe-struck and speechless.  Around every corner was another perplexing sculpture.  So many of the rocks seem to have faces and personalities.   Then there are rocks that resemble people, things, or even a queen – Queen Victoria to be exact.Bryce Canyon

And now we know why the trail is called the Queen’s Garden Trail.  It took me a moment to grasp the resemblance, and of course, the aid of a sign was helpful.

Can you spot the Queen?

Can you spot the Queen?  Can you also see the hiking trail? Yep, I was down in there!

The Queen’s Garden trail is a fantastic hike that put me in the center of some of the most bizarre and interesting terrain that I’ve ever seen.  It’s obvious why it’s the parks most popular trail.  We saw hikers of all ages and ability on the trail, although I will say the 600 foot elevation climb back out of the canyon seemed to be a challenge for some, especially for those not accustomed to the 8,000 plus foot altitude.  Note the pointy hoodoo in the photos below.  The trailhead is high above that hoodoo.

We had to climb out of the valley above the pointy hoodoo

We had to climb out of the valley above the pointy hoodoo seen on the left.

Bryce Canyon

Al and I enjoyed this hike so much so that we actually hiked it twice.  On our first day, we started the hike at the Navajo Loop trailhead which will eventually meet up with the Queens Garden trail.  The term “loop” is a bit of a misnomer because the return part of the Navajo trail loop has been damaged and eroded to the point it had to be closed off for safety reasons. Thus, no hiking loop at the time of this writing.Bryce Canyon

This land never rests due to weather and erosion.   These statuesque limestone rock formations called hoodoos are caused by the extreme weather changes… from snow and ice melt, to soaring heat.  The constant contraction and expansion causes cracks, collapses, and further sculpting. You won’t find any rock climbers around here considering the rock is soft, unstable, and ever-changing.  Because of this instability, its vital hikers stay on the trails and wear proper footwear for traction.

Evidence of instability are easily seen. I wonder how deep that crack is?

Evidence of instability are easily seen. I wonder how deep that crack is?

Starting off at Sunset Point, we headed down the Navajo trail into the canyon floor via a series of switchbacks, and found ourselves hiking in a pine forest.  The crisp fresh air scented with pine made for a very pleasurable hike.

hiking with pines

hiking with pines

 

Hikers will find several tunnels along the trail

Hikers will find several tunnels along the trail

Once we veered onto the Queens Garden trail, we exited the pine forest and the terrain became more stark and barren, but those hoodoos were up close and personal.

The next day, Al and I hiked the trail in reverse; starting at the Queens Garden trailhead and exiting at the Navajo trailhead.  Is one way better than the other?  No!  Regardless of the starting and ending point, the scenery is out of this world and I can’t recommend this hike enough.  The first day it took us a little over two hours to complete the hike because someone kept stopping to take photos 😉  The second go around took us less than two hours to hike, even though an equal amount of photos were taken!

hikers can be seen on the Queens Garden Trail

hikers can be seen on the Queens Garden Trail

BUT, if you’d like to start out with a couple of super easy hikes that are still beautiful, but won’t have the elevation change……

hoodoo you see?

hoodoo you see?

On highway 12 just east of highway 89 is the Red Canyon Visitor Center.   There’s a series of short trails that interconnect allowing one to hike the short interpretative trail only or add a little more distance by continuing onto the Pink Ledges trail and/or the Birds Eye trail.

Red Canyon

Red Canyon

The scenery here is beautiful and worth the stop.  Since we were camped just a few miles down the road, I found myself meandering around here a couple of times.  It’s amazing the new sights I saw each time I hiked the same trail.  The more I looked at the rocks, the more faces I saw.

Red Canyon

Red Canyon

 

Red Canyon

Red Canyon

Continuing east on Highway 12 past the turn off to Bryce Canyon National Park are more hiking trails.  Year’s ago (I’m talking more than twenty plus), Al and I traveled Highway 12 through this part of Utah.  It’s a stretch of road I’ve longed to revisit, but alas the weather this day would not cooperate.

Mossy Cave and Waterfall trail

Mossy Cave and Waterfall trail

I stopped in at the great visitor center in the town of Cannonville and picked up some local information then returned to the truck in a steady stream of rain.  Feeling somewhat disappointed, I decided to head home.  My exploration of Highway 12 will need to wait for another visit.

Highway 12

Highway 12

Mossy Cave and Waterfall Trail

Mossy Cave and Waterfall Trail

However, on my way home, the weather cleared just long enough for me to take a quick one mile (out and back) hike.  Any disappointment I may have felt was quickly lifted after a brisk walk in this beautiful setting.  The Mossy Cave Waterfall Trail was definitely a worthwhile hike in between rain clouds.Bryce Canyon

So that about wraps up my fabulous week spent in Bryce Canyon Country.  Oh, we can’t forget the beautiful faces of wildlife……

Pronghorn aka antelope

Pronghorn aka antelope

Chipmunk

Bryce CanyonFYI… the trails around here can get slick, gooey, and dangerous.  Proper hiking shoes are a must.  The weather can fluctuate to extremes and change rapidly.  A 40 degree (Fahrenheit) change throughout the day is not unusual.  Dressing in layers is a good idea.  Bring plenty of water and expect high winds.  Being prepared, allowed us to have a fantastic and memorable visit.

Fairyland trail will need to wait for my next visit!

Fairyland trail will need to wait for my next visit – a more challenging trail that I can’t wait to tackle!

The many faces of Bryce Canyon

The many faces of Bryce Canyon

I’ll be back! 

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87 thoughts on “Hoodoo You See?

  1. My favorite photo is “the Queen”. Great blog this time and great photos. I love Bryce anyway and we try to visit every couple of years. Utah has so much to offer in terms of the outdoors. Glad we are so near here in Las Vegas!

    • I’m hoping to visit Bryce Canyon NP regularly. I still have so many trails to explore. When we lived in Las Vegas in the 90’s, we enjoyed camping in southern Utah. Although we never made it to Bryce we did camp at Cedar Breaks National Monument and loved it. I had planned a visit to Cedar Breaks for a little reminiscing but it was still snowed in. Oh well, next time!

  2. Love the title of this post- so clever 🙂 I followed over from Alicia’s blog Girl On A Hike – I am a New England Native and I have been living in Utah the past two years (moving back next week!). Bryce has been my FAVORITE Utah national park to date! Love those hoodoos. Thanks for sharing your lovely pictures!

    Katie @ Katie Wanders

    • Thank you Katie. Bryce is now my favorite park as well. I’m already planning our next visit – hopefully in the fall. Wishing you a smooth move back east. 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting. We love Utah and hope to slowly meander around the state in September on our return to AZ.

  3. You do a phenomenal job at shooting these excursions. You share a variety of inanimate and live scenery that gives the reader a sense of “being there.” I appreciate these “mini vacations” on my computer!

  4. You’ve talked/photo’d me into Bryce 🙂 Can’t wait to see the hoodoos! I completely ‘get’ what you are saying about trying to decide which way to point the camera. Not sure what I will do with all the photos but I love looking at them over and over as we travel – still just as in awe as I was the day I took them. Happy Trails Ingrid!

  5. I know I have told you before but I love that place. We took the same hike down to see the Queen and up to see Thor’s Hammer. It was a really great hike, challenging but doable. I wonder in a few hundred years when the Queen has deteriorated a little if they will have to rename her out of respect?

    the colors and shadows and shapes are so truly amazing in this area of the world. I was and am still in ah everywhere I went and looked. So lucky to have this in our country and so lucky to have it protected.

    • Bryce is such an amazing place. I’m already trying to figure out my next visit. I’m so glad we went on that hike. The climb back up had me puffing a little but it was so worth it.

  6. This place is Magical! I have been twice and I could go back again on a heartbeat! One of my favorite national parks.
    Fabulous photos my friend!

    • The Queens Garden Trail was so worth any huffing and puffing. Because I was constantly stopping to take photos and I’m used to the elevation, hubby and I didn’t have any problem. We did however see some folks struggling with the climb…. most were not carrying water, snacks, or dressed appropriately – thus ill prepared. I’m so glad we tackled it “twice”.

  7. Amazing photos.. The advantages of full time RVing is being able to hit the great spots according to season..We haven’t been out West for 7 years..Utah is definitely a place to revisit!!!

    • You are long overdue for a western excursion. Perhaps once you have all the medical bologna behind you, you’ll venture out more in the hiker. Our Idaho explorations are just beginning… stay tuned 🙂

  8. Wow! We have never visited this special place due the time of year we travel, but after reading your excellent post and seeing your glorious photos we are going to have to make a change in our schedule!

    • You would love it and there’s plenty of boondocking options available. The scenery off Highway 12 between Red Canyon and the town of Torrey is not to be missed. The upside to visiting in April or May is the season hasn’t kicked in yet. The cold and wind can be tolerated, but the downside is the potential for muddy trails that get dangerous. The trails will even be closed off if too muddy. Definitely put this area of Utah on your must see list!

  9. Don’t know if the we’ll make Bryce, weather is suppose to turn rainy after today. Heading up of Calf Falls today and checking out Rt 12. Oh well I know we’ll be back through here another trip.

    • Do drive Highway 12. There’s one section near the town of Boulder (I think) where you’ll be drive on a mesa – drop offs on both sides. Quite the adventure from what I remember from 20+ years ago. The beauty of a home on wheels, is there’s always a next time. When the trails get muddy in Bryce it’s no fun! No mud at Craters of the Moon (hint,hint 😆 )

  10. Wow, love the Hoodoos! As I was reading it I was looking at the pictures thinking that is my favorite one, no wait that one is! Wait that one is! So many great photos. My three favorite ones were the black and white, the one with the water fall and the Red Canyon one with the cut wood in the foreground.

    • Thanks Jim. The first couple of days at Bryce I couldn’t figure out where to point the camera…. so much to take in I was like a kid in a candy store bouncing all over the place. Once I settled down, I was able to actually think about composition (at least a little). Bryce is definitely at the top of my list for favorites!

  11. Ingrid, I love the different faces you found in those spectacular rocks. My favorite is ET phone home and then the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. You must have studied those formations for a while to see them.

    • I didn’t notice most of the faces until the photos were loaded on the computer, while other’s I noticed immediately. What a fun and beautiful place to visit…. loved it 🙂

  12. You did a great job capturing this unique place. Some of the hoodoos look like they won’t be standing much longer. We’ll need to get out there and see this and Zion at some point.

    • Thanks Larry. I highly recommend a visit and I know you and the gals would be able to enjoy a little strolling at Red Canyon and Mossy Cave Trail. Although not flat, it’s not so much of a challenge that your knees or lungs will scream. Both of those easy trails will put you in the center of jaw dropping scenery 🙂

    • There are so many interesting trees that I think the scenery is as much about the trees as it is about the hoodoos. Stunning!

  13. We love both Bryce and Red Canyon….we were planning a few days there next week, but with rain/thunderstorms/snow showers forecast, we’re going to pass for now. Darn! But it’s fun to enjoy your photos of some of our favorite places. So glad you were able to spend time there.

    • Yep, not a fun place when the weather is inclement. Too bad you’ll need to bypass, but there’s always next time. BTW…. we’re workamping near Craters of the Moon NM so if you’re passing through Idaho, let me know 🙂

  14. such beautiful pictures you have been taking. I love reading your blogs and look forward to your next adventure. I am right along with you . Thanks for making my day as I wait to take my time going through your photos. I am working on getting through the next two years to have every thing paid off and hopefully a place in Florida to call home and a new camper to set off on my adventures. I still want a place in Florida to have my home to return to when I need a break from traveling. We shall see, trying to plan ahead. Take care and safe travels, keep taking those photos!!

    • Thank you. Sounds like you have a great plan lined out. There are times I miss a ‘home base’ and continue to look at Real Estate, but so far I haven’t found “that place”. Thus, the search continues and in the meantime, we’re enjoying the amazing scenery.

    • Hubby and I love our Merrell’s but ours are indeed wearing out. We’ll make these go the rest of the summer and then they’ll need to be replaced. Good hiking shoes are a must for most of the trails we hike. Yesterday we hiked a Lava tube cave…. post in the works.

  15. I’ve never been to the Hoodoos, but now I definitely want to! There’s a spot in Wyoming called Wind River Canyon. My first trip through it was when I was 12 years old, and a friend and I spent the drive looking for faces in the rocks. More than 20 years later, I still look for faces anytime I make that drive. Love the photos and your interpretation of the photo challenge!

  16. So glad you got to enjoy Red Canyon. I think most people just pass this area by. I really enjoyed the colors. Of course, one needs to spend more than a couple days to be able to add this park to your time. Most people don’t have the time luxury like we do:)

    Fairylands was closed because of the deep clay mud during our last visit when we tried to hike it and it never dried out before we left. So we are heading out at 8:00 tomorrow (we move to Bryce in the morning) so we can get there and hike Fairylands since there is rain in the forecast for the beginning of the week. I figure that it has been dry for over a week so the trail should be fine. Finger crossed!!

    We are hoping to get to a couple slots down 12 if there isn’t too much rain.

    • That clay mud is brutal. Fortunately, we only encountered that stuff in a few places and then the trails dried out. I found the Fairyland overlook intriguing and was looking forward to hiking part of the trail. Alas, time and weather didn’t allow. Hope you two hike it and can share all the wonderful details.
      That whole area of Utah begs for exploration. Amazing land.
      I hiked my first Lava tube cave today at Craters of the Moon NM… fun!

  17. Ingrid it looks out of this world. I can understand your want to get up close and personal, to explore every inch. Your photos are always fabulous but this series really takes my breath away!

  18. Stunning terrain, can’t wait to visit that area. Hubster is retiring early this year. We bought a big, ass RV and can’t wait to hit the road. Your blogs are getting me through the work week!

    • Congrats and hope you share your journey with the rest of us. It’s a fun lifestyle but isn’t all rainbows and unicorns.

  19. I’m in love with your pictures. They’re stunning. But I can’t stop giggling about the teenage mutant turtle. It was really there.

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