Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Southern Utah's Toadstool Hike

One of my family’s favorite places to go in Southern Utah is the Toadstool Hike. One Thanksgiving day we took the whole family. There were seven children, the youngest 3, and as we were hiking along they were shouting, “This is the best hike EVER.”

It’s  ¾ mile to the first toadstool. It’s an easy up and down, following a wash. Nothing difficult.

How many toadstools? I don’t know. Part of the fun is in spotting new ones.  There are plenty!

After discovering the first red toadstool, and after exploring the area around it, go to your left and around a point, and you’ll find more toadstools, including a fairy ring.

Fairy ring
I have friends who write fantasy, and I keep telling them that the fairy ring would make a wonderful portal to another dimension.

The whole area looks like something from another world. It would be a great landscape for a science fiction movie, too.

To get to the trailhead, you drive east of Kanab toward Lake Powel.  After you go through the Cock’s Comb and cross the Paria river, the parking lot will be on the left after you pass milepost 20. (If you’re coming from Page, it will be on the right just past milepost 19.) Here are the directions from the BLM web page, but I’m sure there is a sign marking the trailhead at the parking lot.

The trailhead is located on Hwy. 89, 45 miles east of Kanab, 12 miles west of Big Water, or 1.5 mile east of the Paria Contact Station. There are no signs marking the trailhead. A short access road on the north side of the highway leads to a hiker’s gate in the fence line. A power pole near the fence is a good landmark. Visitors should park near the hiker’s gate. This is a moderate 1.5 mile round trip hike. A trailhead register is located a short distance from the fence. Follow the wash and a well defined social trail to view the hoodoos. Exploration in the general area will reveal other hoodoos and balanced rocks. Cryptobiotic soil crusts are prevalent in the area and should be avoided when exploring off trail. Return to the trailhead the way you came.

As I said, it’s a wonderful place to take kids. It’s also a wonderful place to teach youngsters about caring for the environment. There are lots of rocks they can climb on there, but I hope you’ll talk to them about how fragile some of the toadstools are and make sure they don’t climb on them.

Better details about the hike can be found here 

Here’s a link to a web site with more pictures of the toadstools

The beauty of the Toadstools is that they're so accessible. We've met people from all over the world as we've made the hike. 

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