21 Best Slot Canyons in Utah

20 Stunning Utah Slot Canyons

Slot Canyons of Utah: Are you looking to visit the slot canyons in Utah? You are in the right place. This list contains the most beautiful slot canyons in Utah and where they are located so you can plan your next visit!

Slot Canyons in Utah
Waterfall in Kanarra Creek Canyon, Zion National Park

A slot canyon is a formed by rushing water through rock, which over time forms a narrow canyon through rock. These flash floods have been happening for millions of years and the 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.

Use this list to find the best slot canyons in Utah for you!

Slot Canyon Hikes, Utah

Buckskin Gulch

Location: 43-miles East of Kanab

Length: 21-miles one way

Difficulty: Hard

Two hikers dwarfed by Buckskin Gulch, located in southern Utah, it is one of the longest slot canyons in the world.

This is one of the longest slot canyons in the world and could take many days to hike the entirety of this canyon. The trail itself is not technical, however, due to the length it is considered a strenuous hike.

The route takes its visitors through a beautiful slot that is both dark and narrow. The hike can be completed in one day although, it is recommended to take on this hike as an overnight backpacking adventure. A permit is required for entrance into this slot canyon, whether your visit is for one day or overnight. This slot canyon is open year-round although, fall and spring is the most ideal time of year and hike this gorgeous slot canyon. 

Wire Pass

Location: 47-miles East of Kanab

Length: 3.5-miles roundtrip

Difficulty: Easy

Wire Pass slot canyon right before it converges with Buckskin Gulch. (in the background) Buckskin Gulch, located in southern Utah, it is one of the longest slot canyons in the world.

Wire Pass is a much shorter and easier slot canyon hike that joins the Buckskin Gulch. Entering the Buckskin Gulch through Wire Pass is a popular way to do the hike as it provides a convenient and easy way to access Buckskin Gulch without completing the first few miles which are both hard and not as beautiful as the remainder of the hike.

The trail through Wire Pass is a narrow path and provides for some amazing photo opportunities. This is due to the sun often illuminating on the sandstone walls of the can, providing some beautiful and amazing reflections and alternating colours through the canyon.    

Ordiville Canyon

Location: Zion National Park

Length: 12.3-miles

Difficulty: Hard

This is the ‘little sister’ to the much more popular Zion Narrows slot canyon. Although, often seen as a hard or strenuous hike, it is a good choice for beginner hikers as well as the more experienced ones. For the majority of this trail, hikers will be required to walk through water.

Most of which, are just small puddles but depending on the conditions there might be much later pools that might require swimming. There are also some obstacles along the way that will require you to climb over and down, although this all adds to the amazing experience of this incredible slot canyon hike. 

Yankee Doodle Hollow 

Location: Red Cliffs National Conservation Area

Length: 1-mile

Difficulty: Easy

This is a short, easy, and fun slot canyon that used to be unexplored but in recent years has become a more popular canyon to visit. 

Visiting this canyon gives people an opportunity to practice their canyon skills at an easy location, such as their anchor techniques, down climbing and rappelling. Due to the narrowness of this canyon and the requirement of completing these canyon tasks it is recommended that you have some basic level knowledge and experience of canyoning to make the experience simpler, although it is not required. 

This is a beautiful slot canyon that is definitely worth a visit and due to the simplicity of the canyon, visitors get are able to experience the beauty of a slot canyon in only a few short hours. 

Zebra Slot Canyon

Location: 16-miles East of Escalante

Length: 5-miles roundtrip

Difficulty: Moderate

This is a beautiful hike that has an amazing slot canyon at the end of the trail. The hike to the slot canyon has beautiful landscape views of Utah. There are pools of water through this narrow canyon, although depending on the weather conditions, these may be ankle deep, knee deep or even waist deep water pools. 

At some sections of this canyon, it can get very narrow where it is common for many people to leave their backpacks at the entrance of the canyon, so they don’t interfere with getting through the narrow walls. There are sections of this canyon which are rather difficult, so it is common to turn around and head back without completing the entirety of this otherwise beautiful canyon hike

Brimstone Gulch

Location: 31-miles South-East of Escalante 

Length: 2.9-miles

Difficulty: Moderate

This very dark and narrow canyon is believed to be one of the narrowest, if not the narrowest slot canyon in the south-west. The canyon is so narrow that at about a mile in, it becomes impossible to continue at ground level. 

Much of this canyon is blocked off from sunlight making it dark and lightly dimmed with curving canyon walls with a dark coloured landscape. There are generally pools of water through this canyon that vary in depth depending on the section of the canyon and the weather conditions. Although the darkness and narrowness, this is a beautiful slot canyon that is worth visiting if ever given the chance. 

Echo Canyon Passage

Location: Zion National Park

Length: 6-miles roundtrip

Difficulty: Moderate

This is one of the most well known and most admired slot canyons in Zion National Park. It can be seen from different viewpoints around the park, such as Observation Point. 

This canyon is truly remarkable with stunning views of the park and of beautiful canyon walls. However, it can also get very dark, narrow and winding at some points during the hike through the canyon. A permit is required to enter this canyon, park rangers give out around 15 permits a day making it somewhat difficult to get a pass into this canyon. However, it is worth it so keep trying until you can get one. 

Little Wild Horse

Location: 3.5-miles west of Goblin Valley State Park

Length: 8-miles roundtrip

Difficulty: Moderate

This is a popular slot canyon for many families and groups of young people. The canyon walls are beautifully sculpted and are stunning to look at while walking through the amazing canyon. 

There are sections of this canyon where it gets so narrow that visitors will have to walk sideways to be able to get through the tight canyon walls. This canyon is generally very dry and very rarely has pools of water, but when water is present it is generally never more than an ankle depth. 

Spooky & Peekaboo 

Location: 26-miles South of Escalante 

Length: 6.3-miles roundtrip

Difficulty: Moderate

Spooky Gulch Short Canyon Grand Staircase-Escalante

This is a famous slot canyon located within this area of Utah, known for the small but beautiful arches at the entrance of the canyon. Both these canyons are relatively short and easy canyons to hike but do also have very narrow areas which might be a bit troubling to manoeuvre through. Both these canyons are also very popular hikes in the region which often lead to crowds of people trying to squeeze their way through these tight canyon walls. It’s best to do these hikes in the early mornings to try and avoid these large crowds

 Furniture Draw

Location: 70-miles East of Emery

Length: 2.5-miles roundtrip

Difficulty: Easy

This is a relatively short and easy slot canyon hike that can easily be completed from top down or bottom up. This canyon is heavily exposed to the elements, so it is recommended to do the hike in either the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the hot sun. 

This canyon differs from many others in that there are no narrow canyon walls closing in on you, no water puddles to get through and no climbing. It’s almost like a nice and simple walk in the park, only inside a majestic canyon with beautiful cliff walls surrounding you. 

 Zion Narrows

Location: Zion National Park

Length: 16-miles

Difficulty: Hard

best hikes in utah
Narrows in Zion National Park, Utah

This is often referred to as the perfect slot canyon. Despite its challenges, the canyon provides beautiful breath-taking views and is a memorable experience for anyone who attempts it. you can complete the trail in various ways. Firstly, you can start from the bottom and hike as far as you can up before turning around and heading back down. This is a relatively moderate hike and can be easily completed in one day. The alternative is to complete the entire route, in which case you start from the top and work your way down. This is a more difficult hike and can either be done in one day or as a back-packing trip over the course of 2 or more days. Which every way you chose to complete it, it will be a great adventure filled with beautiful scenery all around.

 Box Canyon Hiking Trail in Maple Canyon

Location: 

Length: 1.2-miles roundtrip

Difficulty: Moderate

This slot canyon is known for the sheer number of boulders that are along this slot canyon route. These boulders can be even as high as 15-ft. due to this, hikers are required to have basic level rock-climbing skills to be able to anchor over them. 

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This can also be a dangerous hike due to the risk of rocks falling and the chance of flash floods. So be sure to be aware of the risks and weather conditions to have the safest experience. This sounds like a lot of work for such a short canyon, but it is definitely worth it! At the end of this slot canyon hike is a beautiful waterfall, that also doubles as a great reward for all the hard work getting there. 

 Willis Creek Slot Canyon

Location: 46-miles South-West of Escalante

Length: 3-miles roundtrip

Difficulty: Easy

The trail through this canyon starts off nice and wide with a comfortable distance between you and the canyon walls. However, the more you go and further in the canyon you are, the walls get narrower before you are eventually being nicely hugged by the canyon walls. 

The trail to get to this beautiful canyon is a nice stroll through forest greens, providing another level of wonderful nature to your trip. This canyon can fall victim to bad weather, so plan your trip according to weather conditions as the canyon itself can often be closed as well as the trail to get there if the rain is to heavy. Although, it is common to get a little wet through this canyon with small water puddles throughout. 

 Burro Wash 

Location: Capitol Reef National Park

Length: 7.6-miles roundtrip

Difficulty: Moderate 

This is the most visited and best slot canyon in Capitol Reef National Park. Although, it is not the easiest to complete as it does require some level of climbing skills. 

Before arriving at the canyon, there’s a 2-mile hike through open land which in itself is a beautiful landscape to walk through. Once at the canyon, there are various amounts of large boulders leading the path through the wonderful and often very wet canyon.   

 Bear Trap Canyon

Location: Zion National Park

Length: 8.8-miles 

Difficulty: Hard

Deep, Navajo Sandstone canyon walls cover this canyon hike and lead visitors to a beautiful 20-ft waterfall crashing into a pool below. Throughout most of the canyon floor, a stream runs through so expect to get your feet wet. 

This canyon hike is not necessarily technically difficult; however, it is long and there are definitely difficult spots. It can be done in a one-day hike up to the waterfall and back however, many people choose to take their time and camp overnight to split the hike into 2 days. 

  Baptist Draw

Location: 68-miles North West of Capitol Reef National Park 

Length: 4.7-mile roundtrip

Difficulty: Hard

A beautiful canyon, that is not by any means easy to complete. This canyon requires visitors to have advanced skills in canyoneering and rock-climbing with canyon gear also a requirement for this trip. 

However, it is a beautiful loop canyon trail that does not have identifiable trail markings, so be sure to take notice where you are going. It has easy accessibility with entrances around the loop trail, so you can enter and exit the canyon in many different parts. 

 Keyhole Canyon

Location: Zion National Park

Length: 0.8-miles roundtrip

Difficulty: Moderate

Do not let the short distance fool you. This canyon still has many technical difficulties involved. In fact, this canyon can be used as an introductory canyon to more difficult and more technical canyons. 

Its short and not too difficult making it a great alternative if not confident taking on the more strenuous slot canyons around. The canyon itself is easy to access and involves some deep and narrow canyon halls that involves ability to hike through as well as swim through. This canyon does require some canyon gear although, because of the size and narrowness, it is recommended to bring only the necessities and have as little as possible. A permit from Zion National Park is required to access this canyon.

 Moonshine Wash 

Location: 75-miles west of Moab

Length: 6.4-miles roundtrip

Difficulty: Moderate

Within the San Rafael Desert, this is one of the most impressive slot canyons and one that does not require much technical skills. Its distant location from the road, enables it to remain private while still being easily accessible. 

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Utah

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The entire canyon remains beautiful while changing in depth, narrowness, and character throughout. The sunlight hitting the Navajo Sandstone canyons creates vibrant landscapes of the canyon all around. There are small obstacles throughout the canyon, but they are all manageable and nothing too difficult.  

 Long Canyon 

Location: 12.2-miles East of Boulder 

Length: 15-miles roundtrip

Difficulty: Moderate 

This is just one of many slot canyons located in this area of Utah. It is argued that this one specifically, is one of the more beautiful ones in the region. There is permanent water flowing through the canyon that differs in depth so either requires treading through water or swimming. 

There are also some technical skills required such as ability to rappel down large rock formations through the canyon. The entrance of the canyon is very narrow and may be a bit deceiving as the trail widens pretty shortly after entering and continues through a route that has a comfortable distance between you and the canyon walls.

 Kanarra Creek Canyon

Location: Zion National Park (Kolob Canyon Region)

Length: 4.3-miles roundtrip

Difficulty: Moderate

Slot Canyons in Utah
Waterfall in Kanarra Creek Canyon, Zion National Park

This is a beautiful slot canyon in Zion NP that is perfect for any and all photographic opportunities. This is a short canyon hike that is easy to complete and does not require much technical canyon abilities, so is a great choice when at the national park. there are a few small obstacles to get through which add to the appeal of this adventurous hike but are rated as easy to complete and do not require much experience. this canyon provides dramatic landscapes and beautifully created canyon walls, perfect for nature admiring and great photography chances. 

slot canyon utah

American Southwest Obsessed

Nicole is a travel expert who has been traveling to the American Southwest since 1992. There is so much to see and do in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and California. I spend part of the year in Phoenix and travel around the area visiting all the best places and going on the best hikes. Check out my detailed destination guides, the best hiking in each state guides, and the travel gear you need for your next trip.

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