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Helluva Place to Lose a Cow!  Bryce Canyon National Park

Helluva Place to Lose a Cow! Bryce Canyon National Park

What the heck is a HOODOO anyway? Bryce Canyon National Park provided the perfect introduction to hoodoos for us flatlanders!  As well as a bit of less known fascinating history!


When Mormon Pioneers, Ebenezer Bryce and his wife, Mary, moved to the Paria Canyon, Utah area in the late 1800’s, they settled at the base of what is now Bryce Canyon National Park.  Ebenezer built a road into the canyon for easier access to timber and also a 7 mile long irrigation ditch.   Although the Bryce’s chose to move to Arizona after just a few years, the canyon area would forever be named Bryce Canyon.  And Ebenezer will forever be known for his declaration that maybe prompted his later move:

“Helluva Place to Lose a Cow!”    🙂


Can’t you just see him cursing those dang cows for wandering too far among Bryce Canyon’s multi-hued hoodoos? And worse, think about walking miles and miles among this landscape to try and round up those cows?  Even on horseback, this is nothing if not a giant maze!   Makes me smile every time I picture it!  Poor Ebenezer, no wonder he chose to relocate his ranch!

The first time WE saw it, it was a bit more imposing … during a near blizzard!


Difficult to see anything but the nearest hoodoo formations but then the swirling snow cleared slightly and we decided Bryce Canyon definitely deserved another visit … today was not the day!  🙂


Doesn’t mean it wasn’t gorgeous, just that we were too big of wusses to want to hike down into the canyon in the bitter chilly wind and swirling snow.  🙂

Snow? For our first stop in Bryce Canyon?

Snow? For our first stop in Bryce Canyon?

So we returned a different day for our hike to the bottom.  We decided to take the Navajo Loop, connecting to the Queen’s Garden Trail – the Queen’s Garden Trail reputedly had the easiest back up … remember, what goes down, must come up.  Some of these tourists, fresh off the tour bus, forgot the back up part and were huffing and puffing as they returned UP the Navajo Loop switchbacks on their way up.


At the bottom, the trail meanders for about 3.5 miles allowing you to see hoodoos up close and personal.  Believe me, the view from the top is gorgeous, but I preferred the view from the bottom.


The trail continues …


Nice of the park service to include some cool archways built into the hoodoos for people like me to enjoy the views.


The views get nothing but better until all too soon, it’s time to climb back to the rim on the Queen’s Garden Trail.


Notice the clouds starting to fill in our sunny gorgeous not a cloud in the bright blue sky day?  By the time we got back to the rim, it was SNOWING again!  Yikes, this place is tough to visit in May … but at least it wasn’t scorching dangerously HOT as I’m sure it is later, closer to summer.  We hightailed it to the visitor center to escape the brisk wind, enjoy the movie and warm ourselves for a bit before heading back to our campsite in Kodachrome State Park.

Oh, and by the way, a HOODOO is not some witchcraft ceremony performed trying to find lost cows!  The official definition is a column or pinnacle of weathered rock … “a towering sandstone hoodoo”.  So now you know.

What’s your favorite trail in Bryce Canyon National Park?  Please leave a comment and share!  Cheers!  Jan

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