Photographs 14 views of Keyhole Canyon
Parking for the hike is 2 miles from the eastern national park entrance at two small pull-outs along UT 9 - one immediately south of the end of the canyon and another round a corner to the east (see map
The lower end of the narrows can be seen by hiking up from the road, past a tunnel that takes flood waters under the highway, and reaching the slot after a 5 minute walk up the sandy wash. Red and white cliffs rise steeply overhead, and the canyon is soon dark and enclosed. A chokestone above a pool provides the first major obstacle; webbing is attached to a rappel point though the rock is easy enough to climb. Beyond are darker passages containing cold, muddy pools, enclosed by stratified rock walls that in some places are angled away from vertical. A taller dryfall puts an end to further progress upstream but the start of these lower narrows can be reached by backtracking to the start of the slot, climbing the rocks on the east side, crossing a ridge and descending to a temporarily open section of the wash, where a tributary joins from the north. A 20 foot drop off marking the start of the slot is just downstream, while in the other direction, the canyon emerges from the less deep middle narrows. However, as these are easiest to follow downwards rather than upstream, the best option, after visiting the end of the lower slot, is to return to the highway, walk 0.2 miles east and take a cross-country route along a faint trail up the side of a slickrock ravine - aiming just right of a small dome at the top - then head down the steep, sandy slope on the far side. This route joins the wash between the shallow upper narrows and the deeper middle section, which is the best part for those not rappelling.
Turning left (downstream), the walls draw together forming a good slot, enclosed by dark red rocks and containing plenty of pools and chokestones - less deep than the lower narrows though better lit. The one main obstruction is a slanting drop of about 15 feet into a pool, passable by sliding down carefully. Below are other dryfalls of 4 to 6 feet formed by boulders above pools, before the passage opens out to the short sandy stretch preceding the technical section. Upstream of the cross-country entrance point, shallow but still pretty narrows extend a quarter mile north, blocked by just a few troublesome chokestones. The canyon walls gradually decrease in height allowing various other entry/exit routes, until the slot ends and the wash continues at ground level, winding northwards beneath smooth white sandstone cliffs.
Topographic Map of Keyhole Canyon: