Have you ever hiked a slot canyon experiencing the narrow passages and 100-foot walls? Hiking through slot canyons is a whole new world with tight spaces and the sun sneaking in between the cracks.
Maybe you’ve hiked through slot canyons but have you ever wondered how they are formed? Usually, the rock formations and narrows earn their magnificence from thousands of years of erosion through flash floods. As the walls grow taller they also become narrower. After all of this, we get beautiful slot canyons!
How can we preserve and take care of these incredible narrow passages? Simply, recreate responsibly. Climbing on the rocks is oftentimes needed to get across but do so safely and to not damage the slot canyons. Clean up after yourself and others. If garbage is left on the paths take time to pick up and throw it away. If you see wildlife, watch from a distance. This is their home that you’re in so keep your space. By following these simple rules we can preserve this space and keep visiting the slot canyons.
In Bryce Canyon Country there are several slot canyons. Sometimes equipment is needed for more technical trails. However, all the slot canyons we are talking about are accessible without equipment.
Now let’s take a tour of these fascinating slot canyons surrounding the scenic areas of Bryce Canyon Country.
This slot canyon is mellow and easily accessible, making it simple to navigate. Located in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Willis Creek is 4.8 miles round trip and only takes about three hours. If you’re looking for a shorter hike you can turn around after the narrow section which makes the hike only 2.6 miles.
Willis Creek is known for its seclusion and remoteness. Typically only a few other hikers will be seen on the path with you which is convenient as some areas get snug. No difficult climbs or obstacles are on this hike.
In Willis Creek, the first thing to notice is the colors. The different shades of golden brown on the shapely walls show off unique formations as the sun hits the rock just right. While hiking, observe the creek you hike over and on top of.
Spooky Gulch and Peek-a-boo Gulch
These two slot canyons are located in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and can be done separately but also easily loop into one 3-mile hike. Don’t forget about the tight spaces, those are definitely found in this slot canyon.
Peek-a-boo Gulch requires some scrambling to get through the rocky areas. It’s still very manageable though and does not require any technical gear.
Spooky Gulch is similar, with tights spots and some squeezing required. It’s truly worth it though in order to see the beautifully sculpted red and purple rock.
Together, these two slot canyons provide a winding and spiraling experience filled with fun twists and turns.
Burr Trail’s “Singing Canyon”
This trail is perfect for young children and families in search of a short hike. Only a flat 10-minute walk and you’re at the entrance of walls painted in red, purple and pink hues with greenery surrounding a scenic desert landscape.
The natural acoustic sounds make this slot canyon different from the rest. Try singing a tune and test it out while climbing around!
Find the trail on Burr Trail Road, between Boulder and Capitol Reef National Park.
Zebra Slot Canyon
Lastly, the Zebra Slot Canyon is still accessible without equipment but more difficult for small children. This 5-mile round trip hike is also in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. It’s simple to access but harder to hike once inside.
A unique feature on this trail is that even in the summer months there are several feet of cold water. Bring waterproof shoes and take time to cool off from the hot sun.
Experience the pink and red-striped walls of incredible beauty and have fun squeezing between tight spaces.
Explore the Narrow Passages
Add each of these slot canyons to your hiking list to make your Bryce Canyon Country experience more unique. Slot canyons are quite different from any other hike. One reminder is to be confident where you're climbing and squeezing through. If you feel like you’re not going to make it, turn around or try going a different way if possible. If it has rained or looks like it will rain, avoid hiking in slot canyons.
Enjoy your time and experience the beauty of Bryce Canyon Country’s slot canyons!