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.
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 sunset around the winter solstice. The surrounding cliffs block the sun at sunrise and sunset most of the year. Even at the winter solstice it took 30 minutes for the sun to clear the cliffs to the east and light the hoodoo at sunrise. At sunset you'll get good light from November through January. 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 and covered in powder.
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 towards the far end where there is a small one car pullout on the left. You'll find as good usage trail 20 yards or so to the left of the one car pullout, you should make the effort to find it as it makes the hike across the field a bit easier. The trail is shown on the map below. Follow the trail about .6 miles south across the field to the rim. 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. The hike down to the Hoodoo Forest, while not technical, is moderately difficult as it is steep, slippery, and there is some exposure. I suggest you do it with a friend. A hiking stick may help on the way down. Do not stay until sunset unless you are sure you can find a trail back up to the rim.
Wide-angle and ultra-wide angle lenses will produce the best images in this 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.
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.
The Rimrocks Index Map
|Geo Tiff/Avenza||KMZ||Oruxmaps||KMZ Decollared||Oruxmap Decollared||Avenza Decollared|
|Bridger Point||KMZ||Oruxmap||KMZ Decollared||Oruxmap Decollared||Avenza Decollared|
|West Clark Bench||KMZ||Oruxmap||KMZ Decollared||Oruxmap Decollared||Avenza Decollared|
|Merge of both maps||NA||NA||KMZ Decollared||Oruxmap Decollared||Avenza Decollared|