Weekend Window: Bryce Canyon, Utah

Though you may not have known its name until now, chances are you've seen Bryce Canyon, Utah, and its famous red rock arches and amphitheatres.

"The colors of Bryce are like the rainbow. There is yellow and red and orange and white. The colors come from minerals in the rocks," park ranger Colleen Bathe said. "The red and the oranges come from iron, a very strong iron."

The red rocks form what are called "hoodos," all over the park.

"They are created by erosion of a soft limestone, erosion by water," park ranger Chad Moore said. "This happens very quickly. And as the cliff face retreats because of erosion, all of these spires are left standing."

The spires can extend 50 to 100 feet into the year.

"Sometimes, we see them aligned in fins of rock," Moore said. "Many times there are holes, windows we call them, where you can see through them."

The term "hoodo" derives from the word "voodoo," or mystical and magical.

"People through the ages, the Native Americans, they have revered the hoodoos," Bathe said. "They think they are mysterious and the legends say they feared them because of the mystery and the voodoo connotations."

Be careful not to confuse Bryce Canyon with the Grand Canyon. Pride there runs deep.

"In contrast to the Grand Canyon, this place is up-close and personal," Bathe said. "You can really grasp it. You can actually get down in the canyon amongst the hoodoos and feel intimate with the park."

Moore said the "sublime" qualities of the canyon are what draw him in.

"Bryce Canyon is a special place," he said. "You can't see hoodos like this anywhere else other than here in South Utah. It is a special place, because it has a secret, serene quality to it that many parks have but Bryce has better."

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