Toadstools Hike in Grand Staircase Escalante

The first hike we took in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument was the easiest hike.  Getting to the Toadstools trailhead doesn’t require driving on any dirt roads.  The parking lot for the trailhead is right of US 89 about 45 miles east of Kanab.

Toadstools is one of the most popular hikes in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.  You follow a wash through a shallow canyon for 1.5 miles until you get to the Toadstools.  Then you can climb, wander around, and explore all over the area until you are ready to hike back.

Because the temperatures easily climb over 100 in the afternoon, Tom and I wanted to do the Toadstool hike first thing in the morning.  But we got a late start (8 a.m. which is 9 a.m. in Utah).  Also, Tom wanted to stop by the Visitor Center at Big Water before our hike.  The Visitor Center was closed on a Tuesday and it ended up being 11 a.m. before we even started our hike.

We took plenty of water with us – we carry water everywhere we go – and decided to just take our time hiking.  We followed the wash and discovered the Toadstools just as advertised.

The Toadstools are hoodoos made out of entrada sandstone.  They are topped with a harder layer of caprock that doesn’t erode as quickly.  Thus the toadstool shapes.  Tom and I found lots of interesting rock formations in the area as well as the toadstools.  The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument has gorgeous layers of rock in a variety of colors.  Because of volcanic activity, the layers of rock layer in many different directions and it is fun to try to trace the layers.

The wash
Sentinel toadstool
Cool color in the rock
On a clear day you can see forever!

We explored the area and climbed up hills to see the next valley over.  There was very little green except in the wash.  Most of the area is smooth sandstone which means that plants and trees can’t get a root hold.

We enjoyed the solitude of the Toadstools for a while and then decided it was time for lunch.  Although the hike back through the wash was hot, we had our water to drink and our hats for shade.  I have to admit, however, that the air conditioning in the truck felt good!