10 Amazing Slot Canyons in Arizona and Utah
Slot Canyons in Arizona and Slot Canyons in Utah
What is a Slot Canyon? Where can you find slot canyons in Arizona? Where can you find slot canyons in Utah?
A slot canyon is a formed by rushing water through rock, which over time forms a
narrow canyon through rock. Over millions of years flash flooding, wind, and
erosion forms a tiny crack which eventually grows larger through the years.
Slot canyons can be both deep and narrow, from meters wide to just 10 inches
wide. Slot canyons usually feature twists and turns, with beautifully colored walls
ranging from reds to purples. Some canyons feature creeks and streams which
you have to wade through, others are short and some are 20 mile long hikes.
Be aware slot canyons can be dangerous especially when flash flooding occurs
or a heavy rainfall. Before hiking or visiting a slot canyon check the weather
forecast before embarking on a hike or multiple-day hikes. If it has rained in the
past 24 hours slot canyons can have puddles or high water, especially within
canyons with streams of water running through them.
Where are the Slot Canyons in Arizona? – The Best Slot Canyons Arizona
Antelope Canyon Slot Canyon Page AZ
Antelope Canyon is located in Page, Arizona, and is a sacred place located on
Navajo land, within the Lake Powell Navajo Tribal Park. Antelope Canyon is a
natural picturesque wonder, geological formation, and a slot canyon. This canyon
was created over millions of years through water erosion.
Antelope Canyon is made up of two canyons the upper and Lower Antelope
Canyon. The Lower Antelope Canyon is longer than the Upper Canyon with fun
narrow passages to explore and walkthrough.
Lower Antelope Canyon can only be accessed by descending steep steps which makes it inaccessible for wheelchair users or those who cannot walk up and down steps easily. The
descent makes the canyon cooler inside and is often less crowded due to the
initial descent and the exit is at the other end of the canyon meaning people are
all walking in one direction.
In contrast to Lower Antelope Canyon, Upper Antelope Canyon has no descent,
it is located at 4,000 feet but is the same elevation the whole way through with
The Upper Canyons have light beams or sunbeams which shine through
the top of the rocks at certain times of the day. The canyon has a mix of reds,
oranges, yellows, and browns which vary throughout the day depending on the
The sunbeams are present within the canyon between March and
September with the prime season being between June and August when the sun
shines higher in the sky between 11 am and 2 pm.
Location: Page, Arizona
Distance: 90-minute tours
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Antelope Canyon X
Antelope Canyon X is the upper section of Antelope Canyon, and is a quiet,
relatively unknown slot canyon, with swirling shapes, convoluted walls, and
One thing that makes Canyon X less visited than Antelope
Canyon is the entrance and exit to the canyon involves a 150-foot descent to the
riverbed, which is manageable for the majority of people in good fitness. Despite
this, the canyon is worth visiting for the natural feel of what Antelope canyon
used to be like and you can even see light or sunbeams a few days of the year.
Like Antelope Canyon Canyon X is located within the Navajo Indian Tribal Lands
so can only be visited with a reputable tour guide.
Location: Page, Arizona
Distance: 90 minute tours
Cardiac Canyon is one of the least frequently visited canyons in the world, with
less than 100 people ever visiting due to its 90-meter sand dune visitors must
climb down to enter the canyon and then back up to exit.
The hike also involves scrambling, contorting, and small ledges. The hike is difficult but rewarding, with narrow convoluted walls and a vertical waterfall face.
Again this canyon is located within the Navajo Indian Tribal Lands so can only be
visited with a reputable tour guide.
Location: 10 miles south of Page, Arizona
Distance: 7 miles in 7 hours
Difficulty: Physically demanding
Buckskin Gulch Canyon
Buckskin Gulch Canyon is located along the Utah and Arizona border close to
Kanab. Visitors can either visit Wire Pass which is a small tributary of the canyon
involving a short hike (3.5 miles) through the slot canyon, which is ideal for those
not wanting to take on the whole hike.
Alternatively, longer hiking options are available for those who wish to take on the 21-mile-long hike through the longest canyon in the world. Hikers can take on this hike in one day or as an overnight trip (a permit is required for both).
The walls of the canyon resemble waves in the sandstone and twist around to
create patterns of light and sounds. The walls of the canyon soar high into the
sky with some sections being dark, with numerous obstacles on the ground the
The best time to visit the slot canyon is between April – June or September –
November. During the summer months, the risk of flash flooding is higher and the
area has hot temperatures making hiking more difficult, and during the winter
months, the area can be very cold.
Location: Utah- Arizona border, between Page and Kanab.
Distance: 3.5 – 21 miles
Hiking Difficulty: Strenuous due to large distances
Where are the Slot Canyons in Utah? – The Best Slot Canyons of Utah
Zion Narrows – Zion Slot Canyons in Zion National Park
Located within Zion National Park the Zion Canyon is a gorge, which varies in
width from 20 feet to thirty feet depending on the section of the canyon, the
Narrows is the narrowest section.
Often considered a quintessential slot canyon, with walls stretching thousands of feet into the sky, and only twenty feet in width. The Narrows can be accessed by hiking along the Riverside walk (a paved one-mile hike, with wheelchair access) from Temple of Sinawava.
Alternatively, visitors can start their hike from the Temple of Sinawava and walk upstream
through the canyon, in the water. Hiking through the water in the canyon is a
unique way to see the canyon, you can walk for hours through the canyon, or you
can hike the entire length of the canyon from the top down which can be done
over several days as its 16 miles long (a permit is required).
A two or three-hour hike upstream will take you to the narrowest section of the
canyon called Wall Street, for there you can turn back around and return to the
Temple of Sinawava. The hike can be challenging with changing water depth,
river flow, and slippery rocks, waterproof shoes and a hiking stick is
The Narrows is open all year except during the spring months as the water level
is too high due to the melting snow, occasionally the Narrows will be closed if the
river flow goes above 150 cubic feet per second, or when a flash flood warning is
Location: Zion National Park
Distance: 0 to 16 miles (top to bottom)
Hiking Difficulty: Strenuous
Kanarra Creek slot canyon is located near Kanarraville close to the Kolob
Canyons area of Zion National Park. Located east of Kanarraville, exit the
highway I-15 at Kannarville and follow 100 North to a parking lot, which has the
entrance to the trail and the permit office.
The Kanarra Creek Canyon is a canyon with a stream flowing through it, so the
3.5 miles hike requires wading through the water. The canyon is a great
photogenic hike with two waterfalls along the route.
Along the route, there are ladders, trees, ropes, and handholds to aid hikes to
pass by the waterfalls and the opportunity to swim in natural swimming holes.
Water shoes or neoprene shoes are recommended and be aware that the water
in the spring can be cold. Permits are now required to hike this trail and are
limited to 150 permits daily.
Location: Kanarraville, Utah
Distance: 3 to 4 miles
Little Wild Horse
Located in south-central Utah close to Goblin Valley, the Little Wild Horse slot
canyon is the perfect adventure for everyone including families.
With an option of two hikes to witness the canyon and its rock walls, which is an area named the narrows, it is so narrow visitors have to turn sideways to get through.
The first hiking trail option is the entire loop which is 8 miles long, and goes up Little Wild
Horse and crosses over and down Bell Canyon. Alternatively, if 8 miles is too
long visitors can just proceed into Little Wild Canyon and hike as far as they wish
and turn back around.
The best time to visit the canyon is during spring and fall when there is a low risk
of rain and the weather is cooler. The canyon has a risk of flash flooding when
heavy rains are forecast especially in August. The canyons tend to be
predominantly dry but pools of water can occur after a rainstorm.
Location: South-Central Utah near Goblin Valley
Distance: As far as you like or 8 miles
Hiking Difficulty: 8-mile hike is Moderately Strenuous
Spooky and Peekaboo
Spooky and Peekaboo slot canyons are located along Hole in the Rock Road in
the Dry Fork area in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, close to
Zebra Slot Canyon. These two slot canyons can be visited individually or
together for a morning or afternoon hike.
Peekaboo Canyon is the first canyon visitors will see, with a 12-foot climb to
enter the canyon, along with another few sections of tame climbing in the
canyon, and passes through arches and over holes.
Once you reach the top, follow the cairns and trail until you reach the entrance of
Spooky. Spooky is one of the narrowest canyons with sections only 10 inches
wide in some areas and some dark areas, which is great for everyone to enjoy.
Both canyons can be explored by everyone taking between 3 and 4 hours,
depending on skill level and pace. The loop is 3 miles long and has natural
waves and sandstone. These two hikes are the most fun canyons to explore and
many refer to them as a natural playground.
Location: Grand Staircase- Escalante National Monument located on Hole in the
Distance: 3 miles
Hiking Difficulty: Moderate
Zebra Slot Canyon
Zebra Canyon is located on Hole in the Rock Road located in Grand Staircase-
Escalante National Monument, the same area as Spooky and Peekaboo Slot
Once driving 7.8 miles down Hole in the Rock Road (dirt track) you will
reach a carpark. From this carpark you can find the trail which heads east, the
hike to the canyon passes by wide canyons, red rock formations, gates, and
rocks with huge stripes until you reach Harris Wash (a wide sand river basin).
From here you can hike to the entrance of Zebra Slot Canyon.
The hike through the canyon involves walking through water pools which vary from shin-deep to waist or chest-deep.
Zebra Slot Canyon is narrower than 10 inches wide in some areas, with rocks to
climb over, and small waves sections to navigate through. Zebra Canyon is a
unique and beautiful red and pink striped canyon which is shorter than other
canyons but well worth a visit, the whole hike in a loop from the carpark is 5.2
Location: Grand Staircase- Escalante National Monument located on Hole in the
Distance: 5.2 miles
Difficulty: Trail to the slot canyon is easy but the canyon is more challenging
Located within the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument close to the town of
Cannonville is the Willis Creek slot canyon. Willis Creek trail can be accessed from the
parking lot just off Skutumpah Road, and the trail is around 200 meters before reaching
The beginning of the Willis Creek trail is made up of low and wide canyons but quickly
becomes narrow and taller. There is a small creek which runs through the canyon but
during the drier months, you can jump over the creek as not get wet shoes. Willis Creek
slot canyon is smaller than the rest on this list with only 1.4 miles of canyon, which
opens into a large canyon.
There is the option of carrying on through the larger canyon to Sheep Creek or turning around and going back the way you came. This hike is the ideal add on to other hikes in the same area, as it only takes up to two hours.
The canyon is open year-round but during the peak summer months, it will be very hot,
and make sure you check the weather forecast for flash floods or large amounts of rain.
Location: Grand Staircase- Escalante National Monument located on Hole in the Rock
Distance: 3 miles
Conclusion: Slot Canyon Arizona and Slot Canyon Utah
The best Slot Canyon Arizona would be Antelope Canyon. Whether you go to Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon you will love it. You can check out my article on the pros and cons of each.
The Best Slot Canyon Utah would be the Zion Narrows. The scenery in the canyon is just amazing.
Now with both of these slot canyons because they are the most popular ones you will also find the crowds. Another option for Antelope Canyon is Canyon X mentioned above. If you want to avoid the crowds in Zion I would recommend visiting Zebra Slot Canyon.
I hope you have enjoyed this article on all the best slot canyons in Arizona and the best slot canyons in Utah.
Have you visited any of these canyons? Which one is your favorite?
Many slot canyons are located in National Parks or State Parks.
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slot canyon az