The Wahweap Hoodoos

The Wahweap Hoodoos is a collection of unique rock formations located near Big Water, Utah. The trail is west of Page, Arizona and east of Kanab, Utah, located off of Highway 89 in the Wahweap Creek wash. It is accessible by two wheel drive vehicles, though four wheel drive can take hikers closer to the trailhead. If driving 2WD, cars should pass two fish hatcheries and a corral, then park on the right side of the road before the creek. If using 4WD, cars can pass over the Wahweap Creek and continue for .3 miles. There is a 4WD parking area and the trail begins in Wahweap Creek. Parking before the creek adds about ten minutes to the hike.

The trail is flat but long, about nine miles round trip. Hikers should allow four to five hours. The path is sandy and sunny with no shade. Spring and fall are the best times of year for the hike, with early morning or early evening being the best times of day. Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks. The trail is rated easy or moderate, but does take a fair amount of time to complete. Dogs are allowed on or off leash. Children will find the path manageable due to lack of elevation gain, but younger children may grow bored with the time commitment. Check the weather before heading out as the wash is prone to flash floods.

The 4WD parking area is marked with a sign reading Wahweap Hoodoos Trailhead. From this sign, head directly north up the Wahweap Creek wash. The trail is wide and there are no markers, so it is important to stay in the wash and continue trekking north. The landscape can become quite repetitive and there are rarely other hikers on the trail. It is possible to veer off in a different direction or make a wrong turn, so a GPS is not a bad tool to have.

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Two dry creeks intersect the main wash from the left. The first is Coyote Creek, which is just north of the trailhead. This creek is considerably more narrow than the Wahweap Creek. The second creek is about 2.5 miles up Wahweap Creek, called West Fork which will lead to Sidestep Canyon. This creek is also significantly smaller. Be careful not to make a turn.

The trail up Wahweap Creek will lead you under a hanging fence. A bit past the fence on the right are two small slot canyons, easy to miss but fun to explore if the time is available. The shallow canyons only take about 30 minutes to hike. About a mile up from the West Fork tributary, a bundle of hoodoos come into view on the left. Hoodoos are tall thin spires of rock typically formed from erosion. There are a variety of faint trails that lead up to the hoodoos.

The other-wordly rock formation will transport hikers to another planet. It makes for great photographs, especially in the early morning or mid-day when there is less shade. A quarter of a mile past the main cluster stands another dramatic hoodoo, the Great Ghost. Please avoid climbing on or touching the fragile rocks, this will help preserve them for years to come. After taking the time to explore the incredible area, turn around and continue the way you came up the wash.

Written by: Lauren Kehoe

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