Slot canyons around the northern part of Lake Powell, including tributaries of Trachyte Creek, North Wash and White Canyon.
Most of the land around the north end of Lake Powell
is exposed rock - countless square miles of multicolored sandstone and limestone strata, heavily eroded into many different forms. Numerous branched canyons cut deep into the layered rocks and join the lake or the Colorado and Dirty Devil rivers upstream, and apart from White Canyon
, south of Hite, none are particularly well known. UT 95
is the main highway through this region, though UT 276
to Bullfrog Marina
also provides some access, and besides these two, several unpaved tracks lead into wilderness areas either side of the river to the northeast - towards Dark Canyon Primitive Area
and Canyonlands National Park
, but even so quite lengthy hiking is needed to reach many locations.
UT 95 is a very scenic road, particularly the stretches either side of Lake Powell. The approach from the south is through White Canyon
, a wide valley enclosed by high red cliffs with a narrow gorge running along the middle of the main canyon. This is most famous because of the 'Black Hole
', a permanently flooded, cave-like section that can only be explored by swimming or floating. Various extended, branched tributaries join from the east side of White Canyon over a 30 mile distance, principally the Long
drainages; all are narrow in places with watery potholes and dryfalls. Upstream of Hite, other large tributaries join the Colorado from the south including Dark
canyons but these are generally wide, cutting through many different strata with cliffs and plateaus, like branches of the Grand Canyon. Tributaries on the opposite (north) side are much smaller, running mostly over the slot-forming Cedar Mesa
layer, so a few such as Rock Canyon
do have good narrows.
The northwest side of the lake offers even more canyons to visit, principally around North Wash
and Trachyte Creek
, both of which cross large areas of Navajo sandstone slickrock and have especially narrow tributaries. Besides North Wash
itself, whose slot canyons are found in a group on the east side of UT 95, nearby Poison Spring
and Stair canyons also have plenty of branches to explore, though the majority require ropes to descend fully, and some are very demanding. Trachyte Creek
has a permament stream flowing through and over two dozen narrow tributaries, with the best slots found along upper Maindenwater
canyons. Between the creek and North Wash are four other Lake Powell drainages (Smith Fork
, Warm Springs Creek, Sevenmile Creek and Ticaboo Creek), again all having many narrow branches, albeit rather harder to reach since they are quite far from paved roads.