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Fantasy Canyon is located about 25 miles south of Vernal, in northeastern Utah, United States. This small area, which is not really a canyon, is packed with some of the most uniquely weathered rock formations bearing colorful descriptive names such as “Flying Witch”, “Screaming Man” and “Alien Head”. The site itself is known locally as “The Devil’s Playground” and “Hades Pit” —Hades is the lord of the underworld in Greek mythology.

During the Eocene Epoch, about 38 – 50 million years ago, the Unita Basin was covered by a large lake called Lake Uinta. Fantasy Canyon was located along what would have been the east shore of the lake. The lake began to fill with sediments from the surrounding area and the once loose sands, silts, and clays were forged into sandstone and shale. Localized uplifting of this rock occurred, and this material began to erode. Because of different rates of weathering, the more durable sandstone remained while the more easily weathered siltstone and shale washed away, yielding this spectacular scenery.

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Photo credit: James St. John/Flickr

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