Slot Canyons of the American Southwest

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Moonshine Wash
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Long Canyon
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Keyhole Canyon
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Baptist Draw
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Brimstone Gulch
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Pumphouse Wash
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Kanarra Creek

These pages describe slot canyons and other narrow gorges of the Southwest, mostly within the Colorado Plateau of north Arizona and south Utah. All canyons listed are explorable by hiking, scrambling and limited climbing, ie without need for rappelling or any equipment. Some technical canyons are included if a reasonable amount can be seen in this way. All may be visited on day trips, and with a few exceptions (in the Escalante region), all trailheads are accessible by regular vehicles.

Capitol Reef National Park
  • ★★★★ Burro Wash - sandy streamway that becomes a watery slot canyon
  • ★★★★★ Cottonwood Wash - deep canyon with pools and dryfalls
  • ★★★★★ Five Mile Wash - another narrow passageway through the Waterpocket Fold
  • ★★★★★ Grand Wash - popular canyon with a short narrows section
  • ★★★★★ Sheets Gulch - shallow but pretty slot canyon through Capitol Reef
  • ★★★★ Sulphur Creek - waterfalls, pools and narrow channels

Death Valley National Park

Escalante River
  • ★★★★★ Big Horn Canyon - colorful ravine in little-visited country
  • ★★★★★ Brimstone Gulch - possibly the darkest Southwest slot canyon
  • ★★★★★ Coyote Gulch, Dry Fork - lengthy streamway including various narrow passageways
  • ★★★★★ Davis Gulch - testing narrow canyon with a huge natural arch
  • ★★★★★ Egypt 3 - excellent narrows in three distinct sections
  • ★★★★★ Escalante River slot - short narrows accessible from Hwy 12
  • ★★★★ Harris Wash - classic Navajo sandstone drainage with interesting side canyons
  • ★★★★★ Little Death Hollow - remote canyon with long, exciting, narrow passageways
  • ★★★★★ Llewellyn Gulch - another magnificent hidden canyon
  • ★★★★ Neon Canyon - long slot ending at the 'Golden Cathedral'
  • ★★★★★ Peekaboo Gulch - pools, arches and other eroded features
  • ★★★★★ Red Breaks - secluded, rarely visited area
  • ★★★★ Spencer Canyon - straight, vertical-walled ravine
  • ★★★★ Spooky Gulch - claustrophobic canyon with unusual rock textures

Grand Canyon
  • ★★★★★ Cathedral Wash - short, curving, multi-layered side canyon
  • ★★★★ Hindu Canyon - beautiful and very remote narrows on the Hualapai Reservation
  • ★★★★ Jackass Creek - colorful, rugged tributary near Lees Ferry
  • ★★★★ Milkweed Canyon - limestone narrows and a pink granite gorge
  • ★★★★★ Tanner Wash - long canyon with unusual passages through thin-layered sandstone

North Lake Powell
  • ★★★★★ Bullfrog Bay Canyon - colorful but very short slot
  • ★★★★ Butler Canyon - tight, challenging, branched slots
  • ★★★★ Cheesebox Canyon - lengthy canyon leading deep into the wilderness
  • ★★★★★ Death Canyon - short slot near North Wash
  • ★★★★ Fortknocker Canyon - rarely visited branch of White Canyon
  • ★★★★★ Fry Canyon - short White Canyon tributary with two flooded narrow sections
  • ★★★★★ Gravel Canyon - slots, pools, drop offs and long open sections
  • ★★★★ Hog Canyon - North Wash tributary with short slots and a permanent stream
  • ★★★★ Long Canyon - extensive White Canyon tributary - pools and good narrows
  • ★★★★ Maidenwater Canyon - one of many branches of Trachyte Creek
  • ★★★★★ Maidenwater Canyon, North Fork - short tributary surrounded by slickrock domes
  • ★★★★★ North Trachyte Point Canyon - short and quite deep slot, known as Munchkin Canyon
  • ★★★★ North Wash - wide drainage with four slot canyon tributaries
  • ★★★★★ Poison Spring Canyon - another big canyon with narrow tributaries
  • ★★★★ Rock Canyon - good narrows in Cedar mesa sandstone
  • ★★★★ Smith Fork - secret, branched slot near Bullfrog Marina
  • ★★★★★ Swett Creek - another remote Trachyte tributary
  • ★★★★★ Trachyte Creek - shallow slots, plus waterfalls and cascades
  • ★★★★ Trachyte Point Canyon - good narrows, with some high falls; known as Witches Cauldron
  • ★★★★★ Trail Canyon - tight narrows through smooth Navajo sandstone
  • ★★★★ White Canyon - well known gorge that includes the 'Black Hole'

Other Locations
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Paria River
  • ★★★★★ Booker Canyon - short but pretty narrows deep in the wilderness
  • ★★★★★ Buckskin Gulch - longest slot canyon in the world
  • ★★★★★ Bull Valley Gorge - testing canyon containing muddy pools and deep narrows
  • ★★★★★ Cottonwood Wash - easy, popular narrow canyon
  • ★★★★★ Lick Wash - short narrows in a distant upper tributary of Buckskin Gulch
  • ★★★★★ Paria River - one of the two best extended canyon hikes in the Southwest
  • ★★★★ Round Valley Draw - another deep, scenic Navajo sandstone canyon
  • ★★★★★ Starlight Canyon - short slot section in a remote location
  • ★★★★★ Willis Creek - a permanent stream flowing through some beautiful narrow sections
  • ★★★★★ Wire Pass - easily-explored tributary of Buckskin Gulch

San Rafael Swell

Sedona

Zion National Park
  • ★★★★★ Clear Creek - long valley with side canyons
  • ★★★★★ Echo Canyon - steep side ravine that becomes a narrow slot
  • ★★★★★ Elkhart Cliffs Canyon - very short canyon a few miles from Mt Carmel Junction
  • ★★★★★ Hidden Canyon - cool, shady branch of Zion Canyon
  • ★★★★★ Kanarra Creek - colorful gorge with permanent stream
  • ★★★★ Keyhole Canyon - short, narrow tributary of Clear Creek
  • ★★★★★ Kolob Creek - deep, challenging, difficult to reach Virgin River tributary
  • ★★★★ Mineral Gulch - just outside the park; narrow tributary to the east fork of the Virgin River
  • ★★★★★ Misery Canyon - technical slot, a Parunuweap side canyon
  • ★★★★★ North Creek, Left Fork - well-known canyon that includes 'The Subway'
  • ★★★★★ Orderville Canyon - long and very deep gorge joining the Zion Narrows
  • ★★★★ Parunuweap Canyon - another deep watery narrow canyon
  • ★★★★★ Pine Creek - short, popular narrows requiring technical climbing
  • ★★★★ Poverty Wash - hard to reach tributary of Parunuweap
  • ★★★★ Red Canyon (Peek-a-Boo Canyon) - short ravine through deep red rocks north of Kanab
  • ★★★★★ Red Hollow - short slot near Orderville, east of Zion
  • ★★★★ Sand Wash (Red Cave) - colorful slot with two long branches
  • ★★★★★ Spring Creek - long valley just north of the park
  • ★★★★★ Spring Hollow - short slot near Orderville, east of Zion
  • ★★★★★ Taylor Creek, Middle Fork - one of the Finger Canyons of the Kolob
  • ★★★★★ Water Canyon - permanent stream at the edge of Canaan Mountain, forming waterfalls and short slots
  • ★★★★★ Yankee Doodle Hollow - minor drainage through the Pine Valley Mountains, west of Zion, forming a quarter mile slot
  • ★★★★★ Zion Canyon - the most famous narrows in the Southwest


Books - 13 recommended slot canyon books
Disclaimer - explore at your own risk!
Introduction - introduction to slot canyons
Links - other slot canyon websites
Map - slot canyon locations
Notes - brief notes about canyon safety and techniques

Ratings are a measure of photogenicity, the length and depth of the narrow sections, the type of rock formations, and the challenges required to reach and explore the canyon.

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