Near the southernmost edge of Utah, there’s an area called The Rimrocks where bizarre hoodoos dot colorful badlands. It’s an unfamiliar landscape, like something from another world. Here, you’ll find sandstone formations that resemble mushrooms. These are commonly referred to as “toadstools”.
There are several areas where you’ll find toadstools in The Rimrocks, but the most well-known ones are found next to Red Toadstool. As recently as a decade ago, this hike was visited infrequently but thanks to guidebooks, photographers and social media, it’s now somewhat popular.
- Distance: 1.8 miles out and back
- Hike Time: 1 hour
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 100 feet
- Fee: Free
- Dogs: Yes
- Difficulty: Easy
Hiking to the Toadstools
It’s only 0.9 miles to Red Toadstool, but you’ll probably do a little extra to see more toadstools, hoodoos, and views. There is minimal elevation gain and the route is easy to follow.
There is a noticeable footpath that goes in and out of a wash, but if you stay in the wash you’ll end up at the same place.
Whatever you do, make sure to stay off of the cryptobiotic soil. The barren landscape may seem like a lifeless desert, but the thin layers of bio crust allow for a whole slew of organisms to survive. It takes 5-7 years for these to start forming and up to 50 years to mature.
This is a great hike for kids. Once you reach Red Toadstool, there is a nice flat expanse for them to roam around and explore. We took our 21-month-old toddler and she had a blast.
The toadstools themselves are extremely photogenic so if you’re into that sort of thing, you’ll have a heyday capturing all sorts of angles.
The trailhead is found at a small dirt parking lot on the north side of U.S. Route 89. It’s 30 min west of Page, AZ and 45 min east of Kanab, UT. There is a visitor center called Paria Contact Station 3 minutes east of the trailhead. It’s managed by the BLM.