Toadstool Hoodoo and The Rimrocks

Toadstool Hoodoo


Toadstool Hoodoo is an often visited hoodoo in the Grand Staircase Escalante NM. It lies in an area of south central Utah known as The Rimrocks. The base of Toadstool Hoodoo is Entrada Sandstone and the caprock is Dakota Sandstone. Its unique shape is due to erosion. Over time erosion wears away the softer Entrada Sandstone while the harder Dakota Sandstone remains relatively unscathed. Toadstool Hoodoo is best photographed late afternoon. The trailhead to Toadstool Hoodoo is near milepost 19.3 on Highway 89. The hike to the hoodoo is well worn and is about 0.7 flat miles one way. The hoodoo may be inaccessible following a rain as the soil in the area is clay based and very porous.

There are many other hoodoos in the immediate area of Toadstool Hoodoo. About 100 meters to the northeast there is a pair of hoodoos that photograph well with a telephoto lens late in the day. When shooting them wait until the background goes into shadow so that they stand out from it. Another group of hoodoos can be found about .15 miles west of Toadstool. These hoodoos are close to each other and hard to isolate in images.

Lower Antelope Canyon

Toadstool Hoodoo

Upper Antelope Canyon

Hoodoos just east of Toadstool


The Lower Rimrocks

One mile west of Toadstool Hoodoo lies another group of hoodoos I call the Lower Rimrocks as they are below the rim. The Entrada Sandstone in this area is white rather than red with white stripes so the hoodoos are not as photogenic as those in the Toadstool area, except at sunrise and sunset. At sunrise and sunset the hoodoos take on a magnificent golden color and are well worth shooting. I first became aware of the Lower Rimrocks via Steffen Synnatschke's website Secrets of the West. The website is in German. It contains many good images and a map showing the route to the hoodoos.

To get to the Lower Rimrocks from the Toadstool parking area drive west on Highway 89 1.5 miles to the Paria Contact Station turnoff at milepost 20.8. Just opposite this turnoff there is a small parking area on the north side of 89. Park there and go through the cattle gate. There is no trail to the Lower Rimrocks but the hike is easy. Shortly after going through the cattle gate you should come to the very faint remains of an old road. Follow it 0.5 miles north northeast till you pass the butte to your right. Leave the old road and hike east in the wide canyon for 0.25 miles. At the head of the canyon and close to the butte to your right is a short slot canyon. You can access the Lower Rimrocks either by going up the slot, or by by taking the ramp to its immediate left. The route up the ramp is quite a bit easier.

There are several hoodoos in the area worth photographing. The best is what I call Skinny Hoodoo (and Stefan calls Long Necked Hoodoo). Best light on Skinny Hoodoo is at sunrise around the winter solstice. The surrounding cliffs block the sun at sunrise and sunset most of the year. Even in mid November it took over 45 minutes for the sun to clear the cliffs to the east and light the hoodoo. A normal to wide-angle lens is needed to shoot Skinny Hoodoo close-up. Another photogenic hoodoo is Twisted Hoodoo. It can be seen by continuing up the Skinny Hoodoo drainage past the hoodoo for about twenty yards and looking to your right. A normal to medium telephoto lens is needed to capture it. A long lens is also useful when shooting the hoodoos on the rim from a distance.

I have looked for a route up the cliffs to the hoodoos above and have not been able to find one. Openstreetmaps suggests there is a route up the cliffs labeled "Alpine Trail" but I was not able to find it. It may also be possible to reach the rim via the Skinny Hoodoo drainage, but be careful, it looks difficult and the Entrada Sandstone is very soft.


The Upper Rimrocks

From Toadstool Hoodoo you can view some hoodoos on the cliffs above. These hoodoos are just a few of the many hoodoos in the Upper Rimrocks area. The best part of the Upper Rimrocks area is called the "Hoodoo Forest". The Hoodoo Forest contains over one hundred hoodoos in all sizes and shapes. It gets good light at both sunrise and sunset during much of the year, with the period around the winter solstice producing the best light.

Hoodoo Forest can be accessed via Cottonwood Canyon Road. From the intersection of Highway 89 and Cottonwood Canyon Road continue 3.0 miles to a small turnoff on the left side of the road. Park along the turnoff and hike about .6 miles south across the field to the rim. There are several faint usage trails going south to the rim, one of which is shown in the map below. Once you reach the rim you should see several steep usage trails down to the Hoodoo Forest below. The way down is quite steep and exposed so do not proceed unless you find a trail.

If you are not sure you can find a trail back up to the rim safely do not stay till sunset.

Wide-angle and ultra-wide angle lenses will produce the best images in this area.

 

Map of the area

Here is an Google overview map showing the routes to Toadstool Hoodoo and the Rimrocks:

To view the map larger please click on the box in the upper right corner of the map.


USGS 24K Topo Maps

Two topo maps cover all of the Rimrocks. The Toadstool Hoodoo area is covered by the Bridger Point Map, and the Upper and Lower Rimrocks by the West Clark Bench map. These maps together with a merged map can be downloaded in a variety of formats by clicking or right clicking on an element in the table to the right: The individual topo maps in the table are high resolution and can be quite large (typically 5-10 megabytes). The zip files and merged maps are much larger.

Rimrocks Index Map

The Rimrocks Index Map


Toadstool Hoodoo

Toadstool Hoodoo

Hoodoos east of Toadstool Hoodoo

Hoodoo Pair

Skinny Hoodoo in the Lower Rimrocks

Skinny Hoodoo

Curved Hoodoo in the Lower Rimrocks

Curved Hoodoo