The Hoodoos At Bryce Canyon National Park

Hoodoos At Bryce Canyon National Park.jpg

We Headed For The Hoodoos At Bryce Canyon National Park

We found so much more than just hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park. When we finished our stay in Moab in Utah, we travelled along Scenic Byway 24 and through Capital Reef National Park. Along the way we got our first view of hoodoos. But it was definitely not the last.

When we drove through the Bryce Canyon National Park, we stopped at many of the viewpoints. There were vast vistas, we hiked to see a beautiful arch and of course we saw the amphitheater of hoodoos. So many things to see in one day.

An Early Start

After a one night stop in Richfield, we headed down Utah state highway 89 to Bryce Canyon National Park. By 9am, we reached the rock arch before the turnoff into the park. Even this early, there was a lineup to get into the park in early October.

Rock Arch.jpg

We stopped briefly in the Visitors Centre. It was interesting to see the posters that explained how the formations in this area were created. Most people know Bryce Canyon for the hoodoo formations. These thin spires of rock are created when a pinnacle of rock eroded over time. Different types of rock eroded at different rates and created the different shapes and colours. We saw similar formations when we visited the Goblins Valley state park.

Visitor Centre Geology.jpg

On our visit to the Utah National Parks, we spent a lot of time at high altitudes. This park took us up over 9,000 feet. We were surprised to learn that this was higher than Machu Picchu. There were warnings about altitude sickness in the Visitors Centre. Being aware of the altitude was certainly something we learned with on our visit to Utah and Arizona. But the altitude sure gave us great blue skies!

There was a shuttle bus that took people around to the viewpoints in the park. Unlike on our visit to Zion National Park, the shuttle bus was not mandatory. We chose to drive the scenic path and gave ourselves more flexibility. But when the park was very busy, the shuttle was easier than finding parking.

With our map in hand, we headed off to explore the hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park.

Our First Stop At Bryce Point

We headed into the park and made the turn that took us towards Bryce Point. We figured that this was the perfect place to get our first view of the hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park.

It was a short walk along a paved path to get to the viewpoint. The view out was indeed a stunning vista. Everywhere we looked there were hoodoos. In the distance we saw red hills that had not yet eroded. With his zoom lens, David studied the details.

Bryce Point.jpg

Bryce Point - Hoodoos At Bryce Canyon National Park.jpg

Bryce Point - Hoodoos At Bryce Canyon National Park.jpg

In some directions the rock was a much lighter colour. We saw the early erosion starting to form the hoodoos.


This first view was a stunning reminder of why we visited Bryce Canyon. And we knew there was so much more to see.

The Far End Of The Scenic Route At Rainbow Point

We studied the map and plotted the rest of our route for the day. Our next point was at the last stop on the scenic route. And we worked our way back from there. We parked at Rainbow Point and headed out for our next vista.

Rainbow Point.jpg

The view was a bit different here. We still saw the red rock and hoodoos. But spread before us was a wider vista of low rolling hills covered in green trees.

Rainbow Point - Hoodoos At Bryce Canyon National Park.jpg

From Rainbow Point, we walked around the Bristlecone Loop Trail. Part of the trail wound though the woods. Parts of the path were along edge. I was glad I had my hiking poles with me. Below us were the longer hiking paths for Under the Rim Trail and the Riggs Spring Loop Trail. We did not have time to take these longer hikes on this visit to Bryce Canyon.

Yovimpa Rainbow Point.jpg

At the end we reached Yovimpa Point. We stopped to look back along the ridge of red rock towards Rainbow Point.

Yovimpa Rainbow Point - Hoodoos At Bryce Canyon National Park.jpg

It was interesting to see more than just hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park on this stop.

Amazing Viewpoints In Bryce Canyon National Park

We pulled in at the Black Birch Canyon viewpoint. This provided another view out over the green rolling hills. When we walked to the sides, we got a view of the sharp red rock hoodoos.

 Black Birch Canyon - Hoodoos At Bryce Canyon National Park.jpg

Ponderosa Point provided us with a view down the red rock canyon walls. We saw the early stages of weathering that would create the individual pinnacles.

Ponderosa Point - Hoodoos At Bryce Canyon National Park.jpg

Agua Canyon showed us some interesting rock formations. Walls of pinnacles forming and individual hoodoos caught our eye. The individual ones reminded us of the fun formations we found when we visited Goblins Valley on our trip to Capitol Reef National Park.

Agua Canyon - Hoodoos At Bryce Canyon National Park.jpg

At the next stop, we took out our hiking poles for a short walk across the rocky surface to see the Natural Bridge. We saw so many amazing arches when we visited Arches National Park. So we did not want to miss this one at Bryce Canyon.

Natural Bridge - Hoodoos At Bryce Canyon National Park.jpg

Each of the viewpoints on the scenic drive in Bryce Canyon provided fascinating vistas. We got to see the hoodoos up close. But we saw so much more than just hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park.

A Break For Lunch

We packed snacks to get us through a morning break. But by lunch we were ready for a real meal. We headed to the Bryce Lodge.

When we originally planned our visit to Bryce Canyon National Park, we really wanted to stay in the park. But we learned a lesson about leaving the planning too late. There was nothing available when we visited in October even with a month’s notice. But we wanted to check out the Bryce Lodge for a return visit. It would be perfect to stay in the park and walk for sunrise and sunset views.

We passed by the souvenir shops. The large wood building had options for both a quick or a sit-down meal. We opted to take a rest and eat a healthy lunch. I craved a salad with all the trimmings. But David wanted the bison burger. It was easy to get a seat. And the food arrived quickly.

Bryce Lodge Lunch.jpg

The Bryce Lodge was a shuttle stop so easy to move around the park from this spot. There are several paths that leave from this spot with awesome views.

The Hoodoo Amphitheatre at Inspiration Point Was The Last Stop

We left Inspiration Point as our last stop. We walked to the observation point and simply stared. This amphitheatre of hoodoos was the classic view of Bryce Canyon we came for.

Inspiration Point - Hoodoos At Bryce Canyon National Park.jpg

When we looked closely we found interesting rock formations. One feature looked like a castle or parthenon.

Inspiration Point - Hoodoos At Bryce Canyon National Park.jpg

Inspiration Point - Hoodoos At Bryce Canyon National Park.jpg

We walked out along the path for a different perspective. Not a walk for someone afraid of heights! A look back showed us the viewpoint high over the centre canyon. But it was the view of the rows and rows of hoodoos that drew our attention. And the variegated colours on the plateau in the distance.

Inspiration Point.jpg

Inspiration Point - Hoodoos At Bryce Canyon National Park.jpg

Inspiration Point - Hoodoos At Bryce Canyon National Park.jpg

What a sight to leave for our last stop. We got the iconic view of the hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park. It was an image we would not forget!

So Much More To See Than Just Hoodoos At Bryce Canyon National Park

It was a great day on our tour of the Utah National Parks. We got so much more than just hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park. Our scenic drive took us to all the great vistas from major viewpoints along the scenic road.

There was a little hiking at the viewpoints to get to the better views. But you don’t really need to be a hiker to see the beauty of Bryce Canyon. But if you want to hike, there were several longer hikes that got you closer to the rock formations.

When we left Bryce Canyon, we got more hoodoo views along highway 89 as we headed south. Our next stop was for 2 days to enjoy some time hiking in Zion National Park.

Highway 89.jpg

Did you see the hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park? Did you have a favourite viewpoint?

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  1. Visiting the Hoodoos sounds like such a great trip. I’ve seen the photos, but never having been before, I always wondered how they’d formed. It makes sense to hear that they’ve eroded that way over such a long time. Good to know that altitude sickness is something to be aware of as well. But oh my, those views!

    • Emma, We were so glad we got to see Bryce. The hoodoos were so cool to look at. Each so unique. We were not prepared for the elevation but managed once we finally got used to it. Linda

  2. I have only been to Zion in Utah and so Bryce is high on my list. Before seeing hoodoos in Banff, I had no idea there were so many in other places. I think Agua Canyon is the prettiest view on your list. And yes, Machu Picchu is relatively low altitude (I saw relatively because it’s still between 7-8K feet I think but when you have Cusco at 11K and Rainbow Mountain at 16K then it’s pretty low). So 9K you might start to have some adjusting issues.

    • Heather, There are so many great National Parks in Utah it is hard to know where to start. We were happy we planned 2 weeks in Utah to see a few on our first visit. Hope you get to visit some day soon. Linda

  3. We have been looking at visiting Utah for some time now, I never realised there are so many canyons. Wow hoodoos looks amazing! adding it to the list.. and love the name haha. These photos also are stunning

    • We were surprised to find so many different viewpoints in Bryce Canyon. And the views were surprisingly different. Definitely a great spot for photographers. Linda

  4. I had never heard of a hoodoo before. It’s quite a funny sounding word. They are quite impressive though, especially the amphitheater of hoodoos. That’s nice that a shuttle bus is provided if anyone doesn’t have a car or is worried about driving with altitude sickness. But I could see it would also be nice to be able to go at your own pace. It looks like a beautiful park to visit and you are right the blue sky is gorgeous!

    • Elizabeth, I had heard the word hoodoo but really did not understand what they looked like until we visited. And so many different individual shapes and group formations. Very cool indeed. If the park was very busy, the bus might make it less stressful to look for parking at each stop. Linda

  5. A trip to Hoodoos would be such a nice way to go back and experience history. It’s so interesting to learn how these structures have been formed. The views are just amazing.The more I read about your National Park experiences, the more I am getting drawn to them. Utah seems is such an interesting place by the looks of it. I do wish me and my wife can undertake similar trips in not too distant future.

    • Roy, I am glad that our National Park experiences are providing a draw to visit the parks of Utah. They were such a great part of our travels last year. Linda

  6. hi
    this is an interesting post which will prompt me to study independently a bit more about the Bryce canyon park. I wanted to know is there a way to go down into the Hoodoos and does someone do that or is that a risk from safety point of view. Gorgeous visuals indeed , a different perspective bought out

    • Sumit, There are different hiking options to go into the hoodoos. We did not have time on this trip. But I am sure there are great sites to help you plan that. It would be awesome to be at the base of some of these formations. Linda

  7. Ive done my American road trip few years ago but for some reasons we skipped the Bryce Canyon National Park! I have no idea why but I wish we didn’t! What a beautiful place! The views are so incredible! I hope ill get a chance to go back to those areas and hike and explore more! Love your photos

    • Karolina, We missed Bryce on our first trip to this area as well. So we were glad we got it on the most recent visit. One to not miss for sure! Hope you get to go back. Linda

  8. Wow! The landscapes in Bryce Canyon are remarkable – you did such a great job capturing it all. I would love to make my way out there and enjoy this hike. Thanks for the inspo!

  9. I’m planning to rent a car and go here this year. Do you know if I can go with my rental car inside or it is mandatory to take the shuttle? My sister said it is but I want to make sure! Thanks for all the tips and I hope to hear from you. Xx

    • Trisha, When we went in the fall, we could drive to all the viewpoints. The shuttle was operating but not mandatory. Check in advance before you visit. Right now they are open but operating under special rules due to Covid. Glad the tips were helpful. Linda

  10. This is such a walk down memory lane. 🙂 We visited Bryce Canyon in 2013 and loved all the stunning views. But the weather was changing at the end of the day, and it started to rain. So, we didn’t hike much around. Would definitely love to go back for another visit in the near future!

    • Mei and Kerstin, I am glad to take you back to Bryce Canyon. Always a drag when weather changes the experience. But the National Parks have so much to offer that one visit is hardly ever enough. Hope you get to visit again. Linda

  11. I wouldn’t have thought that the altitude of Bryce Canyon is higher than Machu Picchu, that’s amazing! I’m not sure I would do well with the altitude sickness, but would love to go. The colours and different formations are fabulous, especially the castle-looking hoodoos you saw. All of your photos are delightful.

    • Tania, We too were surprised at how high the altitude was in all of Utah. Even when we went into the canyons in Zion, we were at about 4000 feet! We were there long enough that we got used to it a bit. Just needed to be a bit careful about strenuous work. Hope you get to visit. Thanks for the feedback on the photos. Linda

  12. What a gorgeous place to go exploring! Utah looks it now needs to go on our bucket list! I have never heard of hoodoos before, but those vistas you shared are jaw dropping. Thank you for the detailed post!

    • Kate, I would definitely put Utah on a travel wish list. So many great places to see. The views of hoodoos in Bryce Canyon must be seen to believe. Hope you get to visit. Linda

  13. Planning for national parks ahead of time for lodging is something we learned the hard way too! You definitely have to plan in advance if you want a spot inside or near the park. Bryce Canyon NP is on my list of parks to visit and I had no idea the elevation was higher than Machu Picchu! This was definitely a surprise to me and great information as I can see myself getting sick so I’ll have to find ways to acclimate if possible.

    • Candy, I am glad this post was helpful. We were in Utah for 2 weeks so we had time to get a bit used to the high altitudes. We will definitely plan more in advance for our next visit to stay in the park. Linda

  14. How funny that we visited Bryce Canyon many years ago, but I had no idea those tall skinny shafts of rock are called hoodoos. We’ve been there in winter and didn’t do much hiking, but I’d love to go back for a more serious exploration of the canyon. Bryce is definitely one of my most favorite national parks in the US.

    • Anda, We had heard about “hoodoos” but really did not understand what they were until we visited. And that they came in such unique formations. Hope you get to go back. Linda

  15. The landscape of Bryce Canyon looks so amazing. Perhaps if the pictures were not as good as you have captured it would not have given the same feel of excitement. I would love to do this hike sometime for sure. Your posts on National Parks are just amazing and has motivated me and my wife to focus on them in the not so distant future.Thanks for inspiring.

    • Roy, Thanks for the feedback on the pictures. I always hope to show what it feels like to be there with a range of photos. I hope you get your trip planned to the National Parks. Linda

  16. Wow, higher than the Machu Picchu. That is incredible. The Hoodoos look absolutely delightful. A road trip to the National Parks seems to be a great activity. I have not heard of Bryce Canyon National Park before, but I would love to know more about the place now. From the Bryce Point the view is absolutely gorgeous. The rows and rows of hoodoos look incredible. I can understand that getting an accommodation in National parks can be so difficult if not planned ahead.

    • Amrita, I am glad that I was able to introduce Bryce Canyon to you. It was on our wish list for a long time. So glad we finally got to visit. I hope you get to visit one day. Linda

  17. Thanks for feeding my eyes with these beautiful pictures of Bryce Canyon National Park during this tough time. There are certainly so manh trails and hiking points. Glad there is a shuttle that you can choose when you don’t get enough parking space.

  18. This is one of my dream destinations and this post is a fantastic introduction, I’m gonna save it for when the right time comes. I would love to make it part of an adventurous road trip through the States 😀 Also, I had no idea that the Bryce Canyon is higher than Machu Picchu, amazing!

  19. The first thing that attracted me is that picture of the rock formation carved out to build a road! That’s definitely very inviting and convincing to visit the place! I’m already in love! Good to know about the availability of shuttle bus, it helps people depending on public transport!
    I love Bryce point. Love those rock formations. Esp., that formation where the color gradation happens within the same formation is very interesting.
    You’re right, that does look like Parthenon. I’m impressed!!!

  20. I have read and seen so much about Utah and the Bryce Canyon National Park, it feels that I have seen it thousand times already. But, physically visiting and experiencing it make it all the differance. Thank you for taking me again virtually to see these amazing rock formations and the breathtaking landscapes. I am amazed to know that it is higher than Macchu Pichu, altitude wise. Great read

    • Parnashree, I am happy to take you for a tour through Bryce Canyon National Park. It was a stunning spot to visit. The heights provided stunning viewpoints. Linda

  21. We were just at Bryce in September and absolutely loved it! In fact, I like it better than the Grand Canyon–so much less crowded and developed. Your photos of the hoodoos are wonderful!

    • Wendy, Thanks for your comments on our photos. Bryce was the top of our list for parks in Utah but I must say I loved all the Utah parks. I am glad to hear it was still open to visit at this time. Linda

  22. The hoodoos at Bryce Canyon NP is so amazing! I haven’t got to visit the park yet, but your pictures tell a lot. I don’t realize either that it is located on a high elevation. And it’s good to know that there are buses to take you around during busy season. I wonder if it operated like the buses in the Grand Canyon.

  23. Very nice post. great article, thanks for putting this together! This is obviously one great post. Thanks for sharing with us.

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