The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument covers a huge area and most of its attractions are well hidden. Visitors meet usually significant challenges to experience its raw beauty. Dirt roads, long hikes, backpacking are just some of these challenges.
Rimrock Hoodoos has, contrary to the norm, a very easy access. Its parking lot is right at US 89 and the short hike does not present any special obstacle. After a quick walk you will be surrounded by fantastic rock formations. The most prominent and accessible landmark of the Rimrocks is Toadstool Hoodoo, a sandstone spire, shaped a bit like the Seattle Needle with a larger rotunda to the top. Others see in it the main character of the blockbuster ‘ET’.
Getting to Rimrock Hoodoos:
There are two different trailheads to the Rimrock Hoodoos. Both start at US 89b which connects the towns of Page and Kanab.
East Trailhead – This is the more popular trailhead. It starts at a primitive parking area located about half way between mileposts 19 and 20, on the north side of the road. The access is unmarked and you might easily miss the spot, especially if there is no other car already parked there.
Sign the register, pass the fence and follow a dusty, well trodden path which winds along a dry wash for half a mile then climbs through some whitish badlands to a flat terrace, location of the main formations. Make sure that you explore the entire area to the east and the west of this plateau as there are more geologic formations to be found and explored.
West Trailhead – Access to the west part of the Rimrocks is from the end of a very short track near milepost 21 of US 89, right opposite the road to the Paria Ranger Station.
A path leads northeast close to a dry wash, up a wide valley between two mesas. Ahead are some interesting-looking red and white eroded formations, but the hoodoos are to the right. Scramble up carefully to the ledge, where the hoodoos will come into view.
Another option for reaching this area is to drive 3 miles along Cottonwood Road then head southwest for nearly a mile, to the brink of the cliffs.
As usually, early morning and late afternoon are the best moments to be out there with your photographic gear. Personally, I prefer the late afternoon, but that might be because I never tried it to be there in the early morning. The photographic opportunities are limitless and that means that you should bring all your gear with you to explore and find what suits you best. At least the hike is a short one and a heavy backpack only will mean many options in how to photograph this area.
Last update: July 26, 2013