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Bryce Canyon

February 19, 2013 - 7:10pm
Bryce Canyon National Park Attractions: Hoodoos Add a Mystical Element

Utah's Bryce Canyon National Park is an ideal destination for travelers who enjoy taking in stunning natural landscapes. There are numerous eye-catching rock formations in this region, but few are as noteworthy as the hoodoos. These rocky towers, carved by thousands upon thousands of years of water-based erosion, can be found throughout the park. Some stretch to the sky in groups while others stand in solitude, and they come in a variety of colors and shapes. Many hoodoos have nicknames that reflect their appearance, such as "ET," "Thor's Hammer" and "Queen Victoria," according to the National Park Service. Plenty of these formations can easily be reached from access roads and trails.

How hoodoos came to be
Snow plays an integral role in the creation of hoodoos, as Bryce Canyon typically experiences more than 200 freeze/thaw cycles each year, the NPS reports. As snow melts on a rock layer called Claron Formation, the water seeps into the cracks of the rocks and freezes when temperatures plummet at night. When water freezes, it expands and slowly widens the cracks it fills, a process known as frost wedging. Over time, this forms holes in the rocks that create unique patterns and shapes, and thanks to the limestone within the Claron Formation, these structures are very colorful. The NPS warns that getting too close to a hoodoo can cause damage to the base that protects the structure, so visitors will want to admire their beauty from afar.

Various hoodoos throughout the park
There are so many different hoodoos to see that travelers may want to choose a few in advance that they would like to see. Some resemble people, and the indigenous Paiute Indians believed these were "Legend People" who were turned to stone as a punishment for ill behavior. Others appear as different objects and creatures, including the Poodle, Tower Bridge and Wall of Windows. One section of hoodoo formations is called "The Silent City," as the rows of hoodoos appear like an urban skyline, according to DesertUSA.com. These are just a few of the formations visitors can check out when they come to Bryce Canyon National Park on their affordable travel tours.

Unlike many other rock formations, there is no pattern to the hoodoos in Bryce Canyon. No two structures are the same, and visitors may be able to identify the people, animals or other objects the hoodoos are named after. They might also find new images in the rocks, as one person's interpretation may not be the same as someone else's. Since these rock formations are each one of a kind, they also create a fun backdrop for candid photos that will help travelers keep the memory of their senior travel groups alive for years to come.