Slot Canyons in Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument
Some of the more famous and awe-inspiring slot canyon hikes along the Escalante River are Sand Creek, Spooky Gulch, Death Hollow, Coyote Gulch, and Neon Canyon.
Death Hollow is a slot canyon with plunge pools carved out of navajo sandstone, Sand Creek has lower, red walls within ancient granaries built within them, and while backpacking through Coyote Gulch you will have the chance to sleep at the foot of massive arches and climb atop enormous flat boulders, which make an incredible stargazing platform at night.
Most of these slot canyons along the Escalante River can be accessed via a bumpy drive down Hole in the Rock Road. The easiest way to reach Coyote Gulch is a 2 hour drive down Hole in the Rock Road from the town of Escalante. Another stunning canyon you should have on your list to visit is Hackberry Canyon, a 20.5 mile one-way hike with highlights such as the peaceful cottonwood-lined river corridor, Sam Pollack Arch, and the narrow mile-long Round Valley Draw Slot Canyon! To access, drive from Cannonville and turn right on Cottonwood Canyon Road. From Cannonville, drive 7 miles south past the Kodachrome Basin State Park turnoff onto Cottonwood Canyon Road and head toward BLM 422.
Get to know some of Southern Utah’s intricate slot canyon hideaways and you’ll never want to leave.
Tips for Backpacking
- Carry a Map: Always carry a good Grand Staircase Escalante map, Escalante’s winding canyons can be confusing.
- Check the Weather: Check the weather frequently in all surrounding areas, slot canyons are very dangerous during the rainy season.
- Carry Lots of Water: Though there are water sources in many places, you never want to be caught short on water while hiking in the desert.
- Tell or Bring a Friend: Tell someone your route and stick to it. In the event something does go wrong, this will make it much easier for someone to find you.
Grand Staircase-Escalante: Full of Remnants of the Past
Grand Staircase-Escalante was designated as a National Monument because of the extreme archeological and cultural significance of the ruins found in this area, belonging to both the Fremont and Anasazi cultures. The hikes along and near the Escalante are rich with granaries, petroglyphs, and remnants of the cultures who once thrived here. This area truly offers some of the best hiking and camping in Utah.