Bryce Canyon National Park is named for one of a series of horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters carved from the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau in southern Utah. Erosion has shaped colorful Claron limestones, sandstones and mudstones into thousands of spires, fins, pinnacles and mazes. Collectively called "hoodoos," these unique formations are whimsically arranged and tinted with colors too numerous and subtle to name.
Hoodoo is a pillar of rock, usually of fantastic shape, left by erosion. Hoodoo is to cast a spell. At Bryce Canyon National Park erosion forms an array of fantastic shapes we know as hoodoos. Surrounded by the beauty of southern Utah, these hoodoos cast their spell on all who visit. Geologists say that 10 million years ago forces within the Earth created and then moved the massive blocks we know as the Table Cliffs and Paunsaugunt Plateaus. Rock layers on the Table Cliffs now tower 2,000 feet above the same layers on the Paunsaugunt. Ancient rivers carved the tops and exposed edges of these blocks, removing some layers and sculpting intricate formations in others. The Paria Valley was created and later widened between the plateaus.
The Paria River and its many tributaries continue to carve the plateau edges. Rushing waters, carrying dirt and gravel, gully the edges and steep slopes of the Paunsaugunt Plateau on which Bryce Canyon National Park lies. With time, tall thin ridges called fins emerge. Fins further erode into pinnacles and spires called hoodoos. These in turn weaken and fall, adding their bright colors to the hills below.