I’ve never been one for video games, but I imagine many alien worlds would look like Bryce National Park, full of hoodoos. A short (1.5 hour drive) from Zion, the two are paired often by visitors touring the National Parks. Both are in a decent proximity to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and Arches & Canyons National Park out of Moab, UT, creating a great location for a grand tour. On the way to Bryce, we found local character at the 50’s themed Galaxy Diner on Route 89 – highly recommended for a good meal and a great conversation!
Bryce also has on-site lodging, but there isn’t as much of a town area, like Springdale, in the immediate surroundings. However, it is well worth the day trip! The hikes tend to be less strenuous (or at least it felt that way), and the Park is smaller than Zion in general. In short; with Zion you start at the bottom and hike up, and in Bryce you start at the top and enter the canyon.
The hoodoos are something of myth. After years or natural erosion from weather, wind & water, the shapes of the remaining rock formations reminded me of candle sticks; narrow on the bottom, skinny in the middle and larger on the top – of all different shapes and sizes. From a distance, the hoodoos, one on top of the other, appear to be a medieval or middle-eastern abandoned castle or city with spires shooting towards the sky.