As part of a 3-day weekend adventure to the Paria River Slot Canyons, took a side trip to view the famous "Toadstools". Toadstools are balanced rock formations assuming the shape of a toadstool or mushroom. Differential erosion with the bottom stem portion eroding at a much faster rate than the top cap is essential for the formation of toadstools. Some topo maps indicate toadstools with a "TD" label. The hike I'll describe is sometimes referred to as "Valley 4" by the Paria Rangers when dispensing information from the Visitor's Center.
Traveling west on Hwy 89, between mile marker 19 and 20 as you descend into the Paria River Valley, there will be trailhead parking on the North side. Note that you are in Utah, near the Arizona border. Pass through a hiker's gate and sign in at the trail register box. Wow... this is one of the few Trail Heads not collecting a $5 day use fees!
The trail is well worn heading north and will soon dip into a wash. Follow the meandering wash or the overhead power lines towards the northern rim. The occasional cairn will guide you towards the first noteworthy toadstool... the Red Toadstool made famous in many southwest travel guides and posters..
Climb up to the ledge behind the Red Toadstool to reveal several mushroom patches to the north and east about 500 feet.
After exploring these mushroom patches, follow the cairns to the west towards the elephant foot rock formation. Beyond the elephant foot is a keyhole rock pointing towards a lone white stem with red cap toadstool. Climb around the ridge and obtain a spectacular view of the Paria River Valley.
A fairy ring of toadstools can be found by following the rim to the north and east. Continuing along the rim will result in even more toadstools.
Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.