The Wahweap Hoodoos – Kanab, Utah - Atlas Obscura
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Kanab, Utah

The Wahweap Hoodoos

Giant pinnacles in the sun-scorched lands of Southern Utah have been nicknamed "white ghosts." 

In the dry lands of Southern Utah, three hours north of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, lies a rarely used 9.2 mile out-and-back trail. The trail usage may be low, but those who take the 5 hour hike will be rewarded with one of the strangest geological sights on the continent.

You begin at the confluence of Coyote Creek, Wahweap Creek, and the peculiarly-named Nipple Creek, where you will hike under direct sunlight on the Wahweap Wash. At the 0.5 Mile Mark you will reach the dilapidated “Hanging Fence”, and finally, by the 3.6 Mile Mark, you will have entered the first of the Wahweap Hoodoos.

These unusual rock formations began forming over 100 million years ago when T-Rex’s roamed Utah. A “hoodoo” is a column of weathered rock, formed when a thick layer of soft rock is covered by a thin layer of hard rock. Sometimes, when cracks in the hard rock allow the underlying soft rock to erode, one small cap of the hard rock is resistant to cracking, and it protects the underlying soft rock. This cone of protected rock eventually takes the shape of a vertical pinnacle.

This is exactly the case for the Wahweap Hoodoos. These white sandstone spires, which have been named everything from “goblins” to “white ghosts,” look like they came straight out of the mind of Dr. Seuss. 

Know Before You Go

Although some websites claim that the hoodoos are accessible by two wheel drive, there is a sandy patch on Fish Hatchery Road that makes the hoodoo trailhead inaccessible to all vehicles that don't have four wheel drive capabilities.