Bryce Canyon National Park is quite possibly one of the most gorgeous misnomers on the planet. The park’s namesake, Bryce Canyon, is notably only half a canyon. The concave cliff faces wind down to the valley below while towering hoodoos bear witness to Gran Escalante.
According to Paiute myth, the hoodoos are the victims of the god Coyote’s trickery. The Legend People drained the once rich land of its resources, so Coyote, feigning admiration, invited them to a celebration only to turn them to stone. The legend states that the cascade effect created by erosion was the result of the Legend People stampeding over each other up the walls of the amphitheater to escape Coyote‘s magic.
While the geologic explanation for the hoodoos may be scientific, it’s not nearly as compelling as the conservation-driven myth of the Paiute.