Wahweap Hoodoos Trail in Escalante Close to Kanab and Page

Wahweap Hoodoos Trail in Escalante Close to Kanab and Page

United States
United States

When Is the Best Time

These fascinating Wahweap Hoodoos are a hidden gem; you may enjoy them alone as we did. It is a breathtaking and otherworldly landscape with these mushroom-looking hoodoos.

Where Are the Wahweap Hoodoos – How Do I Get There

The white Ghost with a clear blue sky in the morning
The White Ghost - The most famous hoodoo.

You get here easily with a 4 WD, but also, a 2 WD can get to the trailhead in dry conditions if carefully driven, especially the section of roughly 32 ft/ 10m through the creek wash. I recommend parking the car before the wash during summer if rain is predicted. Don’t risk being trapped and getting towed out. Add roughly another 0.7 mi/ 1.1 km to the trail length.

From Page

One of the hoodoos of the first group
One of the first hoodoos along the track.

The Wahweap Hoodoos are off the beaten path, although just half an hour drive to the trailhead, 20 mi/ 32 km northwest of Page. Page is located in Arizona, but the trailhead and hoodoos are in Utah and belong to the exceptional Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. 

Turn right to get to the trailhead from HW 89 Big Water in the direction of a fish hatchery on a gravel road, you pass a dry creek until the road ends.

From Kanab

Two huge hoodoos of the second group
Markus to the left of the hoodoos from the second group.

Alternatively, you get also to the hoodoos from Kanab, but it is a long drive of one hour – 60 mi/ 96 km. 

The huge parking but just our car was standing there
The huge parking lot

As alternative to a mapping app or for planning we recommend the National Geographic's Trails Illustrated map of Canyons of the Escalante. The map delivers unmatched detail and valuable information to assist you in your exploration of this remote and colorful wilderness. Here is our tracked route with Locus Map.

Best Time and Best Daytime

The third group of the Wahweap Hoodoos and White Ghost
The third group or “The Towers of Silence” and White Ghost

Regarding the temperatures, spring and fall are the best time to hike through the wash without any shade and temps ranging from 70-80°F/ mid-20°C, which feels easily 10°F higher. Summer is scorching, and the monsoon season, from late June to the end of September, can spoil your trip.

Clouds are building up at the Wahweap Hoodoos
Always have an eye to the sky in the summer - the second hoodoo group

Always check out the weather forecast first; the wash is prone to flash floods like all washes and slot canyons. We hiked to the hoodoos in mid-June and experienced a thunderstorm in proximity in front of us. It was a bit scary because there was no shelter to hide.

Another big hoodoo and White Ghost
White Ghost in the background

The best daytime is before midday for perfect light conditions at the main hoodoo, the “White Ghost”. Especially in summer, the early morning is the only bearable time to do this hike.

Recommended Reading

If you like to learn more about hikes in Grand Staircase Escalante, check out this guidebook.
The hikes featured in this book range from family-friendly day hikes to multi-day backpacking trips that will excite the most adventurous of spirits and will educate readers.

Best Months to Visit

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Location and Tips

Page, Big Water
United States
United States

The Wahweap Hoodoos are a collection of three groups spread in proximity, towering white rock needles with brown and red stone hats embedded in a landscape of soft gypsum that coats the hills and slopes like melting lemon ice cream.

The first hoodoo group and a man looking tiny in the middle
The first hoodoo group.

Please, access this beautiful area only with caution because every step here can cause severe irretrievable destruction or collapse of these extremely fragile structures. 

Do NOT go into the expansive Grand Staircase without this detailled map. For large amounts of time you will not have cell phone service. It's a great alterantive to a mapping app or for planning. The map delivers unmatched detail and valuable information to assist you in your exploration of this remote and colorful wilderness. It is printed on durable synthetic paper, making them waterproof, tear-resistant and tough.

Wahwaep Hoodoo Trail

Two huge hoodoos with dark brown and red caps - the top of the hoodoos
To get an idea of the size next to the left hoodoo is Markus standing.
  • Trail length about 9 mi/ 14.5 km return – same way back
  • There isn’t a real trail, you follow the vast wash, and it is up to you which hoodoos you like to see close. 
  • Hiking Duration: It took us more than 5 hours, including a lunch break and hiking to many of these fascinating hoodoos. 
  • Difficulty: It is a moderate hike with not much elevation gain, but good navigation skills and a hiking app are helpful. Most challenging is the relentless sun, and good preparation is key—more about what to pack below.
  • This is our tracked route with Locus Map but don't wonder - some areas can't be tracked, nor are they visible on OpenStreet Map.
The trailhead sign
Here you access the Grand Staircase Escalante from the south.

You may be the only hiker here when you reach the parking at the dead-end road. There is a trailhead sign that you enter the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, and that’s it.

The access the the Wahweap Creek Wash
Here we accessed the wash.

The track is poorly marked, and you need to recognize where to leave the wash to get back to the parking. The track is sandy and covered with pebbles which causes a slower pace.

The vast wash which is the track to the Wahweap Hoodoos
The massive wash is the track to the hoodoos.

You always follow the wide wash for about x mi/ x km until you see the first hoodoos, the first hoodoo group to the left. Getting close is a bit of a climb, and you must return the same way to the Wahweap Wash. 

Getting closer to the first hoodoo group
Getting closer to the first hoodoo group.

To get to the second and third group, you walk through a thick bush where little black flies awaited us, but it is worth doing so.

Thick scrub is blocking the track
There is no real trail through the thick bush to get to the second and third group.

Bring an insect repellent, and you are safe. We then continued to the third group, officially named “The Towers of Silence” and the "White Ghost", first because of the perfect sunlight to take pictures.

Getting closer to the third group around the corner
Shortly before we reached the second and third hoodoo groups.

For the second and third groups, you need to walk left again. The so-called “White Ghost” hoodoo is hidden around the corner. 

How Where the Hoodoos Developed and What are Hoodoos

The red and brown cap of a hoodoo
The interesting cap is red and brown, dotted with pebbles.

Hoodoos are sculptures of erosion and weathering. Erosion strips away softer rock layers around each rock spire, and it continues. The top of the hoodoo, often named cap, consists of Dakota Sandstone which is red-brown and relatively hard.

Hoodoo caps without the spires
Caps are spread in the second group of hoodoos.

The white spires are Entrada Sandstone which is soft and fragile. Usually, another layer appears between these two sandstones, but it is missing for some reason. These sandstones are more than 100 million years old.

Packing List

Our dried meal lunch with view to the White Ghost
Our dehydrated lunch just boiling water needed - rock spires without a cap.
  • Plenty of water, which means at least one gallon per hiker.
  • We always put electrolytes into our water; first, it tastes better and second, you sweat a lot in the sun, especially in the summer.
  • At least a snack or, better, a real meal for this challenging hike through the wash. We brought a dried meal and boiled water with our portable gas stove at White Ghost.
  • Sun protection; hat and sunscreen – there is no shade along the track.

    Do NOT go out without proper sun protection. My favourite is the ISDIN product for many years when we go outdoors. Our dermatologist recommended it, and we have loved it ever since. This sunscreen is a lightweight lotion that absorbs quickly and protects the skin in water or while sweating.

  • I always carry a lightweight rain and wind jacket if the weather changes.
  • Insect repellent can be a lifesaver. We always use Herbal Armor because it's Deet free.

Escalante Photo Collage with 5 highlights of this monument.

Do you wish to know more about the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument? Check out my new guide and the 17 Must-Visit Places and where they are located. Not all are difficult to get to, some are even family and dog friendly.

Please contact me if you wish to use any of my photos, but I will take action against picture theft.

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Created by
Micha Herber-Bleich
Micha Herber-Bleich
I am always open, curious about new…