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Natural Wonders: Tallest Hoodoo, Largest Gators, Lost Maples

These three treks to life-list phenomena will take you to Bryce Canyon, Florida gator land, and fall foliage in the Texas desert.

Bryce Canyon’s Tallest Hoodoo
Trek through redrock gardens to Thor’s Hammer.

The Wonder Like Yao Ming at a preschool square dance, Bryce Canyon’s tallest stone column, or hoodoo, stands out, way out (150 feet taller, to be exact), from the sea of hoodoos that surround it. Even more impressive is its structure: a tall, perilously skinny pillar of limestone supports a jumbo chunk of hardened, red mudstone. With an average erosion of two to four feet every 100 years, Thor’s Hammer will one day come crashing down.

The Way From the visitor center (on UT 63 near the Sunset Point turnout), pick up the 1.3-mile Navajo Trail loop from Sunset Point to drop into the Bryce Amphitheater and the park’s densest hoodoo concentration. The reds, yellows, and browns come from iron, while manganese lends pastel hues of lavender and purple. Thor’s Hammer looms over the rest on the left, near the beginning of your descent. nps.gov/brca

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