Slot canyons near Page and the west end of Lake Powell, Utah/Arizona.
The canyons that cut through the soft Navajo sandstone rock south of the western end of Lake Powell near Page are the most beautiful and photogenic in the Southwest - they are typically very narrow but not too deep to prevent the sun from illuminating the passageways. The rocks have bright red to orange colors with pretty textures and patterns, and the movement of light and shadows during the day produces enchanting, ever-changing conditions.
All of this region is part of the Navajo Reservation
, which issues permits for hiking and camping, though the requirement seems not to be widely enforced. Permits cost $5 for hiking, and may be obtained from the Navajo Tribal Parks Office
beside the Leche-e Chapter House, 3 miles south of Page. However, Antelope Canyon
, by far the most well-known slot in the area, may only be visited as part of an accompanied group and payment of an additional (large) fee. Guided tours are also available for several narrow parts of nearby Water Holes Canyon
, which like Antelope is conveniently located adjacent to a main road (US 89).
All other slot canyons around Page are more difficult to reach, and require some degree of experience to locate and explore - the reservation is crossed by many dirt tracks which are unsignposted and sandy in places so detailed maps and a 4WD vehicle are advisable if exploring away from the main roads. There are many good canyons between Page and Navajo Mountain, 60 miles east, especially various tributaries of Navajo
creeks, although these have been officially closed ever since 1998, with no access allowed, because of problems where the Navajo were forced to arrange expensive search and rescue operations to extricate unprepared hikers who became trapped in some of the deeper places. The major drainages with narrows are Butterfly Canyon
, Chaol Canyon, Kaibito Creek
, Peach Wash and Starting Water Wash
, plus many unnamed branches of Navajo Creek, mostly on the north side.
Canyons on the Navajo Reservation further east are currently open for exploration though they are very difficult to reach, and access by boat is probably easier. They include the remote West Canyon Creek
, one of the most demanding narrows on the Southwest, which has many deep, long pools and sheer drops. On the west side of Page, the slot-forming Navajo sandstone is not exposed; the rocks along the western shore of Lake Powell are mostly Entrada sandstone, though a few short narrows are still found hereabouts such as Blue Pool Wash
and Stateline Canyon