The World’s Highest Concentration of Hoodoos

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Hoodoos are tall, thin rock spires that occur all around the world.  Irregularly shaped, these rock formations protrude from the bottoms of  arid drainage basins or badlands.  Hoodoos can occur in regions around the world, mainly in hot, dry desert areas but are also found in other landscapes such as in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence in France, along the northern coast of Taiwan, and the Awa Sand Pillars in Tokushima Prefecture, Japan.  Formed by weathering and stream erosion, hoodoos can also be known as tent rocks, fairy chimneys, or earth pyramids.

Thor's Hammer from Sunset Point in late afternoon. Photo: Bryce Canyon NPS, public domain.
Hoodoo known as Thor’s Hammer from Sunset Point in late afternoon. Photo: Bryce Canyon NPS, public domain.

The highest concentration of hoodoos can be found in Bryce National Park in southwestern Utah. The density of these rock formations gives the landscape an otherworldly feel.

Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park. Photo: Bryce Canyon NPS, Public domain.
Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park. Photo: Bryce Canyon NPS, Public domain.

Despite its name, Bryce Canyon isn’t a canyon but a series of natural amphitheaters or bowls carved into the Paunsaugunt Plateau that extend 20 miles (30 km) north-to-south.  Headward erosion (erosion at the origin of a stream channel) carved out these large amphitheater-like features into the plateau.  What has resulted are stunning views of orange, red, and white rocks. Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon can be up to 200 feet (60 m) high.

Strange shaped hoodoo taken along the trail near the Hatshop. Photo: Bryce Canon NPS, public domain.
Strange shaped hoodoo taken along the trail near the Hatshop. Photo: Bryce Canon NPS, public domain.

Bryce Amphitheater

Snow and fog cover the hoodoos at Bryce Canyon main amphitheater. Photo: Bryce Canyon NPS, public domain.
Snow and fog cover the hoodoos at Bryce Canyon main amphitheater. Photo: Bryce Canyon NPS, public domain.

The most iconic area of the park is Bryce Amphitheater.  Of the series of amphitheaters, it is the largest at 12 miles (19 km) long, 3 miles (5 km) wide and 800 feet (240 m) deep.

Bryce Amphitheater. Photo: Peter Densmore, Bryce Canyon NPS, public domain.
Bryce Amphitheater. Photo: Peter Densmore, Bryce Canyon NPS, public domain.

Watch: The Unworldly Vistas of Bryce Canyon Park

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