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YOUR ZION + SOUTHERN UTAH ADVENTURE

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12 Stunning Southern Utah Slot Canyons

Slot canyons are truly special places, and the landscape of southern Utah is full of them! The geography of the desert has created amazing passages in the sandstone that are truly jaw-dropping and so fun to explore. You don’t need to be a canyoneer to squeeze through many of these incredible southern Utah slot canyons!


The Top Southern Utah Slot Canyons to Explore

Check out these 12 awe-inspiring slot canyons on your next visit to Zion and southern Utah.

  1. Spring Creek Canyon

  2. Jenny’s Canyon

  3. Willis Creek

  4. Peek-A-Boo Slot Canyon

  5. Red Hollow Canyon

  6. Lambs Knoll

  7. Wire Pass Trail

  8. Clear Creek

  9. Buckskin Gulch

  10. The Narrows

  11. Kanarra Falls

  12. Antelope Canyon

Some of these slot canyons are short, easy walks and some are more involved, challenging hikes, but they are all awesome!


1. Spring Creek Canyon

While Spring Creek Canyon might not be as famous as other southern Utah slot canyons, that’s part of what makes it so great! It’s a hidden gem where you can find some solitude away from the more crowded slot canyons.


LOCATION

Spring Creek Canyon is located in Kanarraville, about 10 minutes north of the Kolob Canyons area of Zion.


LENGTH

5 miles round trip – but the slot canyon is only about a ½ mile in, so you can turn around whenever you want.


DIFFICULTY

Spring Creek Canyon is a moderate trail that is definitely doable with kids (although littler kids might need help scrambling over some boulders).


TRAIL DETAILS

I’m not gonna lie, this trail is pretty boring for the first mile or so as you make your way toward the slot canyon. But once you reach the towering sandstone cliffs, prepare to be wowed! Head into the slot canyon and wind your way through…it narrows in several spots, but never becomes too tight of a squeeze.


WHEN TO VISIT

I’ve hiked Spring Creek in spring, summer, winter and fall. Spring is probably the best time because the creek is flowing, but even though it’s dry and not running in the fall, the foliage in October makes up for it!


Read my full blog post for more details about Spring Creek Canyon here!


2. Jenny’s Canyon

Jenny’s Canyon is a great introduction to southern Utah slot canyons, since it’s super short but still very cool! The whole family can enjoy this canyon, even the littlest ones.


LOCATION

Jenny’s Canyon is located in Snow Canyon State Park, just 15 minutes outside of St. George.


LENGTH

Just under 0.5 miles round trip


DIFFICULTY

Probably the easiest slot canyon you can find!


TRAIL DETAILS

From the trailhead, cross a short wash to reach the canyon. Before you enter the canyon, be sure to check out the overlook with views of the sand dunes of Snow Canyon. Then head through the canyon, where kids can scramble around the walls if they want.


WHEN TO VISIT

The trail is closed from March 15 – June 1 due to endangered habitat, but it’s a nice little hike the rest of the year.



3. Willis Creek

Willis Creek is a chill slot canyon where you can choose your own adventure of how much you want to explore. The slot heads through the White Cliffs with stunning walls of sandstone towering above you.


LOCATION

Willis Creek is a perfect southern Utah slot canyon to check out if you’re visiting Bryce Canyon National Park. It’s located in Cannonville, UT, about 45 minutes from Bryce along UT-12.


LENGTH

4.8 miles round trip for the whole thing, but the best narrows are in the first mile and a half or so


DIFFICULTY

This is a pretty easy walk along a wash that stays fairly wide, even through the canyon.


TRAIL DETAILS

Head along the wash and enter the canyon, where you’ll go through several different sections of narrows as you wind your way to where Willis Creek meets Sheep Creek Canyon. This is the turnaround point to head back to the trailhead.


WHEN TO VISIT

Spring and fall are good times to check out Willis Creek, but be prepared to get your feet wet when the creek is running. This slot canyon is also a shady escape on hotter days.


4. Peek-A-Boo Slot Canyon

Peek-a-Boo Slot Canyon is an easy hike where the real fun is getting there! 4WD is absolutely required, and I’d highly recommend an ATV tour with ROAM Outdoor Adventure Co. to have a truly epic experience.


LOCATION

Peek-a-Boo Canyon is in Kanab, UT, but there is also a Peek-a-Boo Canyon in Escalante, so don’t confuse them! This Peek-a-Boo Canyon is found off of US-89, right between Kanab and Mt. Carmel Junction.


LENGTH

The actual hike through Peek-a-Boo Canyon is only 0.7 miles round trip.


DIFFICULTY

The hardest part of this hike is getting to the canyon…the hike through the slot canyon itself is easy.


TRAIL DETAILS

After the wild ride through miles of deep sand, you’ll reach the end of the wash where you start your hike. The orange sandstone slot canyon is breathtaking, and as you make your way through, you’ll see Moqui steps, which Ancestral Puebloans carved into the walls.


WHEN TO VISIT

You can do this canyon year-round, but summer can be super hot, even on the drive in, so spring or fall are generally best.


5. Red Hollow Canyon

Red Hollow Canyon is an excellent easy slot canyon for everyone to explore. The hike into the canyon among white and red rocks is just as pretty as the slot canyon itself.


LOCATION

Red Hollow Canyon is located in Orderville, UT, about 30 mins from the east entrance of Zion.


LENGTH

The Red Hollow Canyon trail is a mile total out and back.


DIFFICULTY

This is another easy and short slot canyon that’s great for kids.


TRAIL DETAILS

From the trailhead, you’ll walk through a sandy wash while you’re surrounded by a mix of white and red sandstone. Soon the canyon will narrow into the slot canyon, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by the breathtaking red walls.


WHEN TO VISIT

This is an awesome slot canyon option at any time during the year (just be sure to check conditions for potential flash floods).


6. Lambs Knoll

Lambs Knoll is a wonderful, off-the-beaten-path cluster of breathtaking rock formations and wide-open views, just outside the Zion National Park boundaries. It’s a very popular rock climbing and canyoneering destination, but you can also just do the short slot canyon hike without those technical skills.


LOCATION

You’ll find Lambs Knoll about 10 miles up Kolob Terrace road (starting in Virgin) and 30 minutes west of Springdale.


LENGTH

This trail is just under a mile out & back, so it makes a nice quick trip to a slot canyon near Zion.


DIFFICULTY

Lambs Knoll is an easy hike that’s very family-friendly. The trail is mostly flat and sandy with a few rocks to step or climb over occasionally.


TRAIL DETAILS

The trail starts just past the dirt parking lot, and you’ll take the path heading towards the tall red rock mountains. When you come to a fork in the path, keep going straight until you hit a rock wall. If you head to the right here, you’ll find a tight slot canyon that the kiddos will love squeezing through before you turn around and head back.


WHEN TO VISIT

Spring, summer, and fall are the best times of year to visit this spectacular location. Although it is beautiful year-round, the winter snow makes for a slippery and challenging journey on the trail.


Check out my full blog post for more info about Lambs Knoll here!


7. Wire Pass Trail

Wire Pass Trail is a classic slot canyon hike that leads to the famous Buckskin Gulch, but you can just do this trail as a lovely day hike. You’ll spend some time on this trail walking through a steam bed and admiring rock formations before the canyon closes in with a couple sections of cool narrows.


LOCATION

You’ll find Wire Pass about 45 minutes outside Kanab in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Area (right near the famous Wave hike).


LENGTH

Wire Pass is an out and back trail that is 3.5 miles round trip.


DIFFICULTY

This is a mostly easy hike, but it does require some scrambling and climbing ladders.


TRAIL DETAILS

Start by going through the wash for a while, where you'll see lots of red cliffs all around in this desert landscape. Before entering the slot canyon, you’ll have to climb an 8-foot ladder that has been permanently installed (though it sometimes gets washed out in the rain). Once you get in the slot canyon, you’ll navigate some fun, tight narrows. Turn back when you hit the junction with Buckskin Gulch or extend your hike for a bit to explore some of it.


PERMIT INFO

Permits are required for Wire Pass with a day use fee of $6/person and $6/dog. You can find more info and get Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area permits here. It’s recommended to purchase your permits in advance, because internet is spotty in the area.


WHEN TO VISIT

Spring and fall are the best time to explore Wire Pass…summer gets way too hot to be comfortable on this trail.


8. Buckskin Gulch

Buckskin Gulch is one of the longest slot canyons in the world, and hiking it is an epic adventure. You can hike part of it in a day trip starting from the Wire Pass trailhead, or you can backpack the whole length of it over a few days. Buckskin Gulch is truly the ultimate southern Utah slot canyon!


LOCATION

You can enter Buckskin Gulch from several locations, but the most common is from Wire Pass, which is about 45 minutes outside Kanab in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Area.


LENGTH

The length varies depending on what you’re doing…a day hike of part of Buckskin Gulch could be 5 or 10 miles round trip, while backpacking the length of the whole canyon is around 20 miles.


DIFFICULTY

Again, this depends on how much of Buckskin Gulch you hike, but it ranges from moderate to difficult. If you do the whole thing, you will definitely have to do some scrambling and possibly wade or swim through potholes.


TRAIL DETAILS

It’s not an exaggeration to say Buckskin Gulch will take your breath away! Once you enter the canyon, it continues on for miles and miles of otherworldly subterranean terrain through the sandstone.


PERMIT INFO

You will need either a Buckskin Gulch Day Use permit or a Paria Canyon Overnight permit to access Buckskin Gulch slot canyon.


WHEN TO VISIT

You’ll find the best conditions for hiking Buckskin Gulch in spring (April-June) and fall (September-November). It’s super important to check rain forecasts before hiking Buckskin Gulch…getting caught in the canyon during a flash flood is extremely dangerous.


9. Clear Creek

Get off the beaten path in Clear Creek, the main dry streambed that follows Route 9 through the east side of Zion National Park. The cave-like tunnels, family-friendly slot canyons, and sandstone cliffs are really fun to explore.


LOCATION

Clear Creek does not have an actual starting point or end point. As you drive along Route 9 on the upper east side of Zion, you’ll see the dry creek bed down below, and you can just pick a spot to pull off and go exploring! The best spots to pull over start about 1/4 mile east of the Canyon Overlook parking lot.


LENGTH

Again, since there’s no real start or end to this hike, you can make it as long or short as you like. But make sure to keep track of where you came down so that you know where to find your car!


DIFFICULTY

The difficulty of Clear Creek really depends on where you decide to head down from the road. You might have to do a bit of rock scrambling to get down to the creek bed, but if it seems too steep, you can just pick another pull off.


TRAIL DETAILS

This hike takes you along a sandy, pebble-filled dry stream bed with some short slot canyons and red and black cliffs. You might also find a few tunnels that take you under Route 9…kids love exploring these!


WHEN TO VISIT

This is a good hike in most seasons and has some nice shady sections, but as always, summer will be very hot for hiking in the desert.



10. The Narrows

The Narrows is one of the most famous adventure hikes in Zion National Park for good reason! As you wade up the Virgin River into the canyon, the walls quickly close in around you, and you find yourself surrounded by 1000 foot cliffs.


LOCATION

The Narrows are in Zion National Park, at the very last shuttle stop, Temple Of Sinawava. From there, you’ll take the Riverside Walk trail to get to the start of The Narrows.


LENGTH

It’s 4.5 miles one way to the turnaround point at Big Springs (permits are required to go past that), so 9 miles round trip.


DIFFICULTY

The difficulty of The Narrows lies in all the climbing up, over, and around all the big and small rocks in and out of the river. But I would say it’s a family friendly hike if you have good little hikers that love the water.


TRAIL DETAILS

For the majority of The Narrows, you will be hiking in knee-deep water along the Virgin River. Around every corner, you will be greeted by views that will take your breath away. About 2.5 miles in, you will come to the famous Wall Street section of The Narrows, which is the tightest section of the slot canyon.


The turn around point is an area called Big Springs that has waterfalls coming right out of the walls on the west side of the canyon. Beyond this section is by permit only.


WHEN TO VISIT

The most comfortable time to hike The Narrows is in the summer and early fall when the temps are warm and the cold water of the Virgin River is a refreshing respite from the heat. But summer is also the most popular time, so expect some serious crowds.



11. Kanarra Falls

The stunning slot canyons and waterfalls of Kanarra Falls used to be a bit of a secret, but not any more…definitely expect some crowds to share the trail with here, but it’s totally worth it to explore this amazing area.


LOCATION

Kanarra Falls is located in Kanarraville, UT, which is 15 minutes south of Cedar City and about an hour northwest of Zion.


LENGTH

The Kanarra Falls hike is 4.4 miles round trip.


DIFFICULTY

This is generally a family-friendly hike, with some scrambling and walking through water, but the ladders in the slot canyons might be intimidating for kids and even adults.


TRAIL DETAILS

Hike along a dirt path to a small stream that you’ll have to hike in at some point. You’ll reach a waterfall after a little over a mile, but this is not even the main attraction, so keep going. About 10-15 mins later, you’ll get to the spectacular slot canyon.


Through the slot canyon, you’ll come to a waterfall with a ladder to climb up. Then go as far as you want before turning around and heading back the way you came to the trailhead.


PERMIT INFO

Permits ($12/person) are required to hike Kanarra Falls. Permits are limited to 150 each day, and you need to plan ahead for popular weekends because they sell out weeks in advance. You can find more details and purchase Kanarra Falls permits here.


WHEN TO VISIT

Summer is the best season to visit Kanarra Falls, but it’s also the most crowded time. Spring and fall are also good options, but the water is really cold then!


Check out my full blog post for all the info on hiking Kanarra Falls!


12. Antelope Canyon

For a unique southern Utah slot canyon experience, you can paddle board to Antelope Canyon and then hike through part of it. This section of Antelope Canyon is not protected Navajo Nation land, but much of Antelope Canyon is protected, and you must take a guided tour to explore it.



LOCATION

You’ll start paddle boarding from the launch ramp a few miles north of Page, AZ, at the end of Antelope Point Road (not in the marina).


LENGTH

It’s a 2-mile paddle from the launch ramp to the hiking portion of Antelope Canyon, then you can choose how long to hike before turning back.


DIFFICULTY

The difficulty depends on how far you decide to hike. Expect a decent amount of rock scrambling and navigating over big rocks and around stagnant water.


TRAIL DETAILS

Hiking through this section of Antelope Canyon is SO beautiful! The slot canyon gets tight in some places and has gorgeous light streaming through while the swirly sandstone cliffs tower above you.


WHEN TO VISIT

I paddled Antelope Canyon at the end of September, and it was a great time to go for reasonable temps during the day. Early spring and summer would probably be equally nice.


Important Tips for Exploring Southern Utah Slot Canyons

  • Never EVER go into a slot canyon without checking the rain forecast. Flash flooding is a serious danger in slot canyons. The best place to check conditions is the National Weather Service Flash Flood Prediction for Southern Utah here: https://www.weather.gov/slc/flashflood

  • You might be hiking in water in some of these slot canyons, so wear appropriate footwear.

  • Also, be sure to bring enough water for your hike, especially on the hot desert days.

  • When hiking slot canyons, always follow Leave No Trace principles and pack out all trash and waste. Never draw or carve anything on canyon walls.

I hope you add a few of these stunning slot canyons to your Southern Utah adventures. Slot canyons hold a unique allure, and southern Utah's landscape is teeming with them! These extraordinary slot canyons in southern Utah are accessible and thrilling for all adventurers.



Happy Adventuring,

Arika




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3 Comments


Lee sara
Lee sara
Apr 12

The information that you have provided is entirely accurate and equips me with the necessary knowledge. I appreciate you providing such valuable information.

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Colby Adkins
Colby Adkins
Apr 10

Paddle boarding begins at the launch ramp at the end of Antelope Point Road, a few miles north of Page, Arizona. (not at the marina).Dordle

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Arthur Davido
Arthur Davido
Jan 30

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