Utah is full of hidden gems and otherworldly landscapes, but there is something especially captivating about the rippling orange walls of Utah’s many slot canyons! Not only are slot canyons one of the most unique and beautiful geological formations you will find, but they also allow you to feel like a kid again, romping around a jungle gym as you climb, scramble, and squeeze through narrow passages. In this article, we’ll cover 13 of the best Utah slot canyons to add to your bucket list, including details on how to hike to each one! While some of the slot canyons on this list are fairly easy to access, others require a bit more time, effort, and sense of adventure!


Hi there! We’re Sarah and Matt, two nomads road tripping across the United States with our cat, Fitzgerald, making a new place our home month to month while working full time and adventuring as much as possible. We spend any free time we can get hiking, camping, backpacking, and exploring new places! We hope that our experiences will help you plan for your next adventure and inspire you to be an outlier!

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Buckskin Gulch in Utah, the longest slot canyon in the world

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Utah Slot Canyons

Utah has the highest concentration of slot canyons in the United States, if not the entire world, boasting more than 1,000 narrow passageways of every shape and size! To be more specific, slot canyons are tall, narrow channels carved by rushing water over millions of years, typically through sandstone or limestone, which are softer rocks are therefore more easily shaped. While a “normal” canyon is typically very wide, what makes slot canyons so unique is that they are very narrow at the base, some times down to less than 12 inches!

Some slot canyons in Utah require technical skills and canyoneering equipment to access, while others can be reached with hiking and mild rock scrambling. Either way, you are in for a day of adventure!

Flash flood danger

Hiking through slot canyons in Utah poses a special risk of flash floods, as rainfall-runoff, even from miles away, can quickly swell up inside the narrow canyons forming a raging rush of water!

Do not attempt a slot canyon hike if it has recently rained or snowed, or if there is any precipitation or thunderstorms in the forecast.

13 Best Utah Slot Canyons

With so many awesome slot canyons in Utah to choose from, it can be tough to sort through and decide which ones to prioritize. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite slot canyons in Utah, along with hike stats, details on road conditions, and highlights and lowlights of each to help you plan your adventure.

  1. Buckskin Gulch
  2. Paria Canyon
  3. Zebra Slot Canyon
  4. The Zion Narrows
  5. Spooky Slot Canyon
  6. Peekaboo Slot Canyon
  7. Willis Creek Slot Canyon
  8. Kanarra Falls
  9. Jenny’s Canyon
  10. Wire Pass Slot Canyon
  11. Big Horn Canyon
  12. Bull Valley Gorge
  13. Red Hollow Canyon

P.S. We’ve ranked this list in order of our own preferences, with 1 being our favorite hike based on natural beauty and overall experience! Obviously, these rankings are subjective and reflect only our own opinion.

Do these slot canyons require technical skills?

No! All the slot canyons on our list are accessible via hiking (no canyoneering or technical skills required), although some are a bit more challenging to navigate than others! Peekaboo Slot Canyon, for example, requires a 10-foot climb to access the canyon, whereas the trail to Willis Creek is easy and flat.

  • We’ll mention any special considerations (ie. narrow squeezes, scary climbs, etc) required in the summary section for each slot canyon below.

Map of the best Utah Slot Canyons

The map below displays the location of the 13 best slot canyons in Utah to help you plan your trip.

  • To email this map to yourself for future use, click the three dots in the upper right corner.
  • To view more details about each location, click on the marker on the map.
Jenny's slot canyon in Utah

Details | Utah Slot Canyons

Below we will provide a hike summary and trail description for each of the best Utah slot canyons!

1. Buckskin Gulch

Hike Stats

  • Location | Paria Canyon – Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness Area
  • Hiking distance | 5.6 miles (plus option to continue farther into Buckskin Gulch)
  • Elevation gain | 600 feet
  • Total time | 3 – 4 hours
  • Epic-ness rating | 9
  • Difficulty | moderate
  • Fees | Day use permit required, $6 per person
  • Trailhead| Wire Pass Trailhead, located about 9 miles down House Rock Valley Road, which gets muddy if it has recently rained. 4WD drive and high clearance are recommended, although it’s typically doable with 2WD.

Find this hike on AllTrails: Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch

Often considered the longest slot canyon in the world, Buckskin Gulch stretches for nearly 16 miles with walls that reach a height of over 400 feet! Without a doubt, Buckskin Gulch earns the top spot on our list of the best Utah slot canyons. It’s hard to describe in words the enormity of the towering canyon walls around you – Buckskin Gulch will certainly make you feel small.

The easiest way to access Buckskin Gulch is via the Wire Pass Trailhead, located 8.5 miles down a dirt road that is typically accessible with 2WD but becomes very muddy following rain or snow. From Wire Pass Trailhead, it’s about a 1.7-mile hike to reach the Buckskin Gulch-Wire Pass confluence, and you can continue in either direction through Buckskin Gulch for as long as you wish (the entire canyon is about 16 miles in length).

Alternatively, the eastern-most end of Buckskin Gulch can be accessed through Paria Canyon via the White House Trailhead for a 14-mile roundtrip hike that includes two of the best Utah slot canyons!

Hiking through the massive sandstone walls of Buckskin Gulch

2. Paria Canyon

Hike Stats (Whitehouse to Buckskin Gulch)
  • Hiking distance | 14 miles
  • Elevation gain | 900 feet
  • Total time | 7 – 9 hours
  • Epic-ness rating | 9
  • Difficulty | hard (involves hiking in sand and many river crossings)
  • Fees | Day use permit required, $6 per person
  • Trailhead | White House Trailhead (usually accessible with 2WD, but may become muddy after recent rain or snow)

Find this hike on AllTrails: White House Trailhead to Buckskin Gulch

Easily one of the best hikes in southern Utah, Paria Canyon stretches for 40 miles from southern Utah into northern Arizona. For a shorter taste of the canyon, you can hike roughly 14 miles out and back from the White House Trailhead to the Paria Canyon-Buckskin Gulch confluence. Alternatively, to see the canyon in all its glory, start from White House Trailhead and hike the full 40 miles down to the Lee’s Ferry trailhead, typically done as a 3-night, 4-day backpacking trip.

In its northern section, Paria Canyon is a beautiful slot canyon with towering sandstone walls and the typically docile Paria River meandering through its center. Of course, water levels can change rapidly, depending on the time of year and recent weather conditions, so always be sure to check the weather before you go. Do not hike if there is rain in the forecast, as this is a prime flash flood location.

As you continue the trek down towards Arizona, the canyon begins to slowly open up for magnificent views of enormous canyon walls and unique rock formations.

The entire hike is absolutely beautiful and worth the time and effort to complete the full 40-miles. However, if you only have time for a day hike, the section of Paria Canyon from Whitehouse Trailhead to Buckskin Gulch (linked above) is definitely worth doing!

3. Zebra Slot Canyon

Hike Stats

  • Location | Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
  • Hiking distance | 5.2 miles (+1.4 miles for Tunnel Canyon)
  • Elevation gain | 400 feet
  • Total time | 3 – 4 hours
  • Epic-ness rating | 8
  • Difficulty | moderate
  • Special considerations | Part of the canyon before reaching the “stripes” is extremely narrow and requires a tough scramble to get through – not recommended if you are claustrophobic. The canyon can be filled with ankle to hip deep cold water depending on time of year.
  • Fees | None
  • Road conditions | The trailhead is located off Hole-in-the-Rock Road, a washboard dirt road that is typically passable with 2WD and low clearance (unless it has recently rained, making the road muddy)

Find this hike on AllTrails: Zebra Canyon

Taking third place on our list of the best Utah slot canyons is Zebra Slot Canyon! Located in Grand Staircase Escalante, Zebra Slot Canyon is unique for the stunning striped walls after which it’s named.

When you first enter Zebra Slot Canyon, it doesn’t seem like anything too special, as the walls are rather dull. But, as you continue into the canyon, you will suddenly turn a corner and the beautiful stripes will come into view!

Entering the “zebra” section of the canyon requires a bit of effort. A few sections of the canyon can fill up with ankle to hip deep water depending on the time of year and recent weather. Furthermore, the canyon gets very narrow (less than 1 foot) and requires some maneuvering up the wall and over the narrow areas to continue. Nonetheless, seeing these beautiful striped walls in person is 100% worth the effort!

4. The Zion Narrows

Hike Stats

  • Location | Zion National Park
  • Hiking distance | 9 miles
  • Elevation gain | 700 feet
  • Total time | 4 – 6 hours
  • Epic-ness rating | 9
  • Difficulty | hard
  • Fees | $35 entrance fee per vehicle. Entrance is covered by the America the Beautiful annual U.S. National Parks pass.
  • Special considerations | The Narrows involves hiking through ankle to chest deep water. Waiters, a hiking stick, and waterproof shoes are recommended and may be rented from Zion Outfitters.
  • Road conditions | Most of the year, the trailhead is not accessible by personal vehicles. You must take the Zion Shuttle from the visitor center to the Temple of Sinawa.

Find this hike on AllTrails: Zion Narrows Bottom Up to Big Spring

A classic bucket list hike, the Zion Narrows is certainly one of the most beautiful slot canyons in Utah and lives up to the hype. The contrast of the teal waters of the Virgin River with the massive, orange slot canyon walls makes a truly picturesque hiking experience. If you are planning a trip to Zion National Park, the Narrows should definitely be at the top of your list!

The majority of the hike through the Narrows involves wading through the Virgin River, meaning you’ll be hiking through ankle to waist (or even chest) deep water for much of the hike. Although the hike is only about 9 miles round trip, wading through water is exhausting, so you can expect hiking the Narrows to be a full day affair. In addition, there is no denying that this is one of the most popular hikes in Zion, so don’t expect to find any solitude.

5. Spooky Slot Canyon

Hike Stats

  • Hiking distance | 4 miles (out and back) or 4.2 (including Peekaboo Slot Canyon)
  • Elevation gain | about 600 feet
  • Total time | 1 – 2 hours
  • Epic-ness rating | 7
  • Difficulty | moderate (requires some challenging rock scrambling)
  • Fees | None
  • Special considerations | Canyon gets very narrow in places (down to 10 inches) – not a great idea if you get claustrophobic. You must also use a rope to drop down and/or climb up a large boulder.
  • Road conditions | Trailhead is located off Hole-in-the-Rock Road, a washboard dirt road that is typically passable with 2WD and low clearance (unless it has recently rained, making the road muddy)

You can find this hike on Dry Fork Narrows, Peek-a-boo and Spooky Slot Canyons

Spooky Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase Escalante features some of the most unique striped walls that we’ve ever seen in a slot canyon. Climbing through Spooky Slot Canyon presents a fun and exciting challenge for those looking for an adventure!

The canyon gets very narrow in spots, sometimes down to 10 inches. In fact, the slot canyon gets so narrow that the interior section of the canyon gets dark even in the middle of the day, emitting some, dare we say… spooky vibes! This hike is certainly not for the claustrophobic.

Navigating through the canyon requires a few minor rock scrambles and one steep down climb to bypass a large boulder. Spooky Slot Canyon can be easily combined with nearby Peekaboo Slot canyon for a 3.5-mile loop hike – we recommend hiking clockwise so you can drop down the obstacle in Spooky Slot Canyon, rather than having to pull yourself up.

6. Peekaboo Slot Canyon

Hike Stats

  • Location | Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
  • Hiking distance | 3.5 miles (out and back) or 4.2 miles (including Spooky Slot Canyon)
  • Elevation gain | About 600 feet
  • Total time | 2-3 hours
  • Epic-ness rating | 8
  • Difficulty | moderate (requires some challenging rock scrambling)
  • Fees | None
  • Special considerations | Involves a steep climb into the slot canyon – wear shoes with good traction. May be challenging if you have a fear of heights.
  • Road conditions | Trailhead is located off Hole-in-the-Rock Road, a washboard dirt road this is typically passable with 2WD and low clearance (unless it has recently rained, making the road muddy)

You can find this hike on Dry Fork Narrows, Peek-a-boo and Spooky Slot Canyons

Peekaboo Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase reminds us in many ways of a mini-Antelope Canyon. The swirling ripples of the canyon fade from dark red to light shades of orange, reminiscent of the more famous canyon in northern Arizona.

The hardest part of the Peekaboo Slot Canyon hike is right at the beginning. To enter Peekaboo Slot Canyon, you will need to scale a roughly 15-foot tall rock wall. There are a few hand and footholds carved into the rock, but they won’t be very helpful for those with shorter limbs.

Once you enter the canyon, you will immediately see a number of arches spanning across the top of the canyon walls and it will become clear why the hike is so popular! As you make your way up the canyon, there are a number of fairly easy obstacles that you’ll work your way around.

Orange striped walls of Peekaboo Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

7. Willis Creek Slot Canyon

Hike Stats

  • Location | Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
  • Hiking distance | 3 miles (option to extend up to 6+ miles)
  • Elevation gain | 200 feet
  • Total time | 1 – 2 hours
  • Epic-ness rating | 7
  • Difficulty | Easy
  • Permits/fees | None
  • Road Conditions | Located 9 miles down Skutumpah Road, typically accessible with any vehicle (note that recent snow or rain may make the road impassable)

Find this hike on AllTrails: Willis Creek Narrows

Willis Creek Slot Canyon (a.k.a. Willis Creek Narrows) is one of the more underrated slot canyon hikes in Grand Staircase Escalante. Though slightly less visually stunning compared to Peekaboo, Spooky and Zebra Slot Canyons, Willis Creek Slot Canyon is easily accessible and never gets too narrow (roughly 4 or 5 feet at its narrowest).

You will pass through multiple slot canyons along the trail until you reach the tallest and narrowest section of the Willis Creek Narrows at about 1.5 miles into the hike. From there you can turn back, or continue for another couple miles through the wider sections of the canyon if you wish to extend the hike.

The trailhead is located 9 miles down Skutumpah Road, near Kodachrome Basin State Park. Although Skutumpah is a dirt road, it’s fairly well-maintained and typically passable with any vehicle. However, note that the road may become muddy and impassable following recent snow or rain).

8. Kanarra Falls

Hike Stats

  • Hiking distance | 6 miles
  • Elevation gain | 1,000 feet
  • Total time | 3 – 4 hours
  • Epic-ness rating | 7
  • Difficulty | Moderate
  • Fees | $12 permit required
  • Location | Spring Creek Canyon Wilderness (southern Utah, north of Zion)
  • Special considerations | involves a moderate rock scramble and hiking through a rocky stream bed.
  • Road conditions | Parking lot and road to the trailhead are paved, making this hike accessible with any vehicle.

Find this hike on AllTrails: Kanarra Creek Canyon Trail

Kanarra Falls (also known as Kanarra Creek or Kanarraville Falls) is a waterfall inside a slot canyon located just outside of Kanarraville in southern Utah, north of Zion National Park and southwest of Bryce Canyon.

In many ways, it reminds us of a mini-version of the Zion Narrows. The hike to Kanarra Falls requires walking through a stream which leads into a beautiful slot canyon with several waterfalls and pools of water. Compared to the Zion Narrows, you can expect lower water levels (typically not above ankle deep) and fewer crowds! Although the hike has been growing in popularity in recent years, permits are required with a limit of 150 hikers per day, which helps to preserve some solitude at this amazing spot.

The Kanarra canyon itself is much smaller (both in height and length) than the Zion Narrows, but is absolutely beautiful and worth a visit nonetheless!

9. Jenny’s Canyon

Hike Stats

  • Location | Snow Canyon State Park
  • Hiking distance | 0.3 miles
  • Elevation gain | roughly flat
  • Total time | 30 minutes
  • Epic-ness rating | 6
  • Difficulty | east
  • Special considerations | Involves hiking through some deep sand
  • Fees | Snow Canyon State Park charges a $10 day use fee for Utah residents and $15 for out of staters.
  • Road conditions | Trailhead is paved and easily accessible with any vehicle.

You can find this hike on AllTrails: Jenny’s Canyon Trail

Jenny’s Canyon certainly provides the best bang for your buck out of all the hikes on this list! The slot canyon is easily accessible via a quarter-mile round trip hike in Snow Canyon State Park, located just outside of St. George, Utah.

For a slot canyon located so close to the road with such little effort to reach, I didn’t have high expectations when visiting Jenny’s Canyon for the first time. But wow, was I wrong! The jagged, textured walls are absolutely beautiful.

The canyon is fairly short and only takes a few minutes to explore. You can also take a short but steep hike up to a viewpoint of the canyon from above.

10. Wire Pass Slot Canyon

Hike Stats

  • Location | Paria Canyon – Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness Area
  • Hiking distance | 3.7 miles
  • Elevation gain | 200 feet
  • Total time | 2 – 3 hours
  • Epic-ness rating | 6
  • Difficulty | easy – moderate
  • Fees | Day use permit required, $6 per person
  • Special considerations | Slot canyon gets fairly narrow (roughly 2 feet wide), involves a few moderate scrambles and a 10-15 foot wooden ladder
  • Road conditions | Trailhead is located off House Rock Road, which is typically passable with 2WD and low clearance, unless it has recently rained.

Find this hike on AllTrails: Wire Pass Trail

One of the most popular ways to access Buckskin Gulch is via a smaller slot canyon called Wire Pass. Although it’s definitely worth continuing to Buckskin Gulch, Wire Pass is pretty cool on its own! Hiking Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch is a great way to see two awesome slot canyons in one hike.

Although Wire Pass is significantly shorter, it gets narrower than most sections of Buckskin Gulch. There is one 10-15 foot drop inside the canyon with a wooden ladder propped up to help you climb up/down. Though less visually stunning than Buckskin Gulch, Wire Pass is a ton of fun to explore!

11. Big Horn Canyon

Hike Stats

  • Location | Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
  • Hiking distance | 6 miles
  • Elevation gain | 380 feet
  • Total time | 3 hours
  • Epic-ness rating | 6
  • Difficulty | Moderate
  • Fees | None
  • Special considerations | Involves hiking through some deep sands
  • Road conditions | Trailhead is located off Hole-in-the-Rock Road, a washboard dirt road that is typically passable with 2WD and low clearance (unless it has recently rained, making the road muddy)

You can find this hike on AllTrails: Bighorn Canyon Trail

Located in the vast remote land of Grand Staircase Escalante in southern Utah, the hike to Big Horn Canyon is an off-the-beaten-path adventure that provides the opportunity to find some solitude while exploring two incredible slot canyons.

While Grand Staircase Escalante itself is less visited than nearby national parks, like Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park, Big Horn Canyon is off the beaten path even by Escalante standards.

Typically overshadowed by the more popular Zebra Slot Canyon and Peekaboo and Spooky Slot Canyons, we think Big Horn Canyon deserves a place on any Escalante itinerary. While perhaps less visually stunning than its neighbors, Big Horn Canyon offers something that other slot canyons in the area cannot: solitude!

When we hiked Big Horn Canyon, we were entirely alone in both slot canyons and only passed one other group of hikers on the entire trail. So if you’re looking to explore a slot canyon without bumping elbows, waiting in line to pass, and jostling for photos, Big Horn Canyon is the hike for you!

12. Red Hollow Canyon

Hike Stats

  • Location | Orderville, Utah
  • Hiking distance | 1.8 miles
  • Elevation gain | 200 feet (excluding the possible steep climb at the end)
  • Total time | 1-2 hours
  • Epic-ness rating | 5
  • Difficulty | easy
  • Special considerations | Some moderate scrambling, steep climb towards the end of the canyon required to continue the full length (still worth doing if you opt not to tackle the climb)
  • Fees | None
  • Road conditions | There isn’t much of a trailhead. The trail departs from a neighborhood and there is no parking lot. Make sure to park out of the way of the residents.

You can find this hike on AllTrails: Red Hollow Canyon Trail

A lesser-known slot canyon tucked away behind a neighborhood in Orderville, Utah, Red Hollow is a great stop on the drive between Zion and Bryce Canyon. This short hike is less than 2 miles roundtrip and leads to a lovely slot canyon with striped, textured walls.

The main section of Red Hollow Canyon is fairly easy to access, with a few manageable rock scrambles to make your way through. However, towards the end of the canyon, there is a steep, slick wall that you would have to climb up to continue any further. At one point, there was a rope attached beyond the wall to help you climb up, but it was gone when we visited, so we opted to turn around here.

Tip | While you’re in the area, be sure to check out the Moqui Caverns, a quick, fun stop off Highway 89, about 20 minutes from the Red Hollow trailhead.

13. Bull Valley Gorge

Hike Stats

  • Location | Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
  • Hiking distance | 1 mile
  • Elevation gain | 75 feet
  • Total time | 1 hour
  • Epic-ness rating | 7
  • Difficulty | easy
  • Special considerations | Requires a steep drop down a dry fall into the canyon. Hiking alone is not recommended and a rope could be useful.
  • Fees | None
  • Road conditions | Located on Skutumpah Road, less than 2 miles past the Willis Creek parking area. There is no parking area and minimal space available on the side of the road to pull off. The trailhead is located on the left hand side of the road just before a bridge.

You can find this hike on AllTrails: Bull Valley Gorge Trail

If you are planning to hike Willis Creek, you can easily tack on another slot canyon, Bull Valley Gorge, located less than 2 miles and just a 6-minute drive away! Bull Valley Gorge is a unique slot canyon hike because the trail follows along the top edge with views looking down into the canyon.

Eventually, the trail leads downhill as the canyon walls shrink low enough to be able to climb in. However, once inside, you will soon encounter a steep dry fall requiring a 12-foot drop in order to access the main section of the slot canyon. There are several logs propped up against the canyon wall to help you climb in and out, but it can be difficult and dangerous to maneuver. If you have a fear of heights, we’d probably recommend skipping Bull Valley Gorge!

The textures and colors of Bull Valley Gorge area are similar to those found in Willis Creek Slot Canyon, but the walls are a bit narrower and higher, reaching up to about 100 feet.

(Not so) fun fact: There was a car accident at the bridge near the trailhead for Bull Valley Gorge back in the 50’s, and until a few years ago, a car still remained eerily wedged in the slot canyon.

Which Utah slot canyon should I choose?

Obviously, which slot canyon you choose will depend on location if you already have plans in a certain area in Utah. However, if you have the option to choose any, lets us break down a few superlatives:

  • Best all-around: Buckskin Gulch
  • Most family-friendly: Willis Creek Slot Canyon
  • Most classic/bucket-list worthy: The Zion Narrows
  • Most photogenic: Zebra Slot Canyon
  • Most adventurous: Peekaboo and Spooky Slot Canyon
  • Easiest to get to: Jenny’s Canyon
  • Least crowded: Big Horn Canyon
Willis Creek Slot Canyon in southern Utah

Other useful resources

Planning a road trip through Utah? Read more about a few of our favorite adventures in the area here:

For all things Utah: Utah Travel Guide

Which Utah slot canyon would you add to our list? Questions about visiting any of the slot canyons on the list? Let us know in the comments below!

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