Alberta snapshot: Hoodoos.


Hoodoos – Tunnel Mountain – Banff.  Photo taken 17 May 2013.

Here’s another pic from my (one-day-in-the-nebulous-future-to-be-defunct) blog There is a Light.  I did some research on the origins of the word “hoodoo” and got snarled up in a linguistic nightmare – let’s just say the word may or may not be a version of “voodoo,” probably referring to the weird shapes of the spires.

I do love the French names for them, however:  Demoiselles coiffées (“Ladies with hairdos”) and Cheminées de fées (“Fairy chimneys”) – so imaginative and beautifully descriptive!  And apparently in Blackfoot and Cree traditions, hoodoos were thought to be petrified stone giants that animated in the dark of night to hurl rocks down at unsuspecting passers-by.


  1. Fascinating shapes:) I’ve heard about these hoodoos at Tunnel Mountain but haven’t been there to see them yet. It is a very nice picture!

  2. Then don’t risk going for a night-time hike Sheryl! I have never heard the word before, but could use it here as we have lots of huge jagged rocks rising above the river below us too!

    • LOL I’m so clumsy I couldn’t even imagine hiking in the dark…I’d be more worried about tripping over my own feet than rocks falling on me! 😉 It’s interesting to see how all these rocks have eroded over time.

  3. Earlier this week I had heard that Banff Park had temporarily close the area, there was a bear feeding on a carcass. I am sure the area won’t be closed for long, but you might want to check with the park information before heading out there anytime soon to confirm.

  4. My vote goes with fairy chimneys, but whatever the name, they are fascinating. I’ve never heard of them until today on your blog. All the things that can be learned from reading a blog!

  5. Fabulous photo! I love these rock formations. There are other myths around the world containing giants that fling rocks. There is the one about Finn MacCool and the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland.

  6. Thanks for doing the research! I’d heard the word and linked it to voodoo in my own mind.
    I’ve not been to Banff, but I’ve been dreaming of going for over 30 years. Someday for sure and I will seek these out!

  7. Get this! I had no idea there were Hoodoo’s near Banff at all. True story. We’ve taken an excursion out to Drumheller to see them and actually stayed overnight in a B&B. I wee romantic road trip ‘if you will’.

    Next time we’re down Banff way, I’ll be sure to have Mr B take the scenic route. I think the french have quite the sense of humour…..snort, “ladies with big hairdo’s”. But “Cheminées de fées”…….. enchante, oui? While animated, night marauding rock throwers is just downright frightening. Those Cree kiddies had wonderful bedtime stories (Boomdee sarcasm), LOL.

    • Ha ha – I can’t imagine how the little ones ever slept a wink! 😉

      You’ll definitely have to check out the hoodoos in Banff the next time you’re there – the walk is short and the scenery is fantastic!

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