15 of the Best Utah Slot Canyons in Southern Utah (2024)

No trip to Utah would be complete without stopping at a few Utah slot canyons along the way!

With over 1,000 slot canyons, Utah is the perfect destination for anyone looking for a slot canyon adventure.

We’ve visited Utah multiple times, and on each visit, we explored at least a few slot canyons!

This post has a round-up of fifteen of Utah’s best slot canyons. Several are slot canyons that I have been to personally, and other travel bloggers recommended the others, which are now on my bucket list.

I hope you enjoy this post and find a few Utah slot canyons to add to your bucket list. Ok, let’s dive right in!

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1. The Subway (Zion National Park)

The Subway hike in the Zion Wilderness is one of the best slot canyons in Zion National Park. This uniquely shaped slot canyon has a smooth surface like an underground tunnel that is 0.25 miles (0.40 km) long.

It’s undoubtedly one of the most impressive Utah slot canyons, but you must have a wilderness permit to get there. Also, the trek is challenging and requires some preparation.

You can experience the Subway, known as the Left Fork of North Creek, in two ways: canyoneering and hiking, and both require permits.

The first option is the Bottom-Up Hiking Route to the Subway. It is a strenuous 9-mile round-trip hike. There is no marked trail, so you must find the route along the Left Fork of North Creek, hiking in deep water and scrambling over slippery boulders.

Drive to Left Fork Trailhead on Kolob Terrace Road. You can reach the parking lot in a regular car. It takes at least 7-9 hours to complete the trek, so start early in the morning. Staying overnight is prohibited.

The second option is the Top-Down Canyoneering Route to the Subway. But it is much more challenging, as it’s a semi-technical trek.

You must have 60 feet of rope and know how to use it. You will have to swim through several pools of cold water as well.

There are no marked trails, so you need to find the route. The hike is 9.5 miles long and starts at the Wildcat Canyon Trailhead.

Before you go, check the weather. Pay attention to flood hazards, flow rate, and the water level, especially in the spring and summer months.

This is one of the best hiking trails you’ll find in southern Utah!

A serene pool of water nestled within the curved, sandstone walls of The Subway, a famous slot canyon in Zion National Park, Utah, reflecting the warm glow of sunlight.
The Subway – Submitted by Agnes of The Van Escape

2. Peekaboo Slot Canyon

Peekaboo is one of Utah’s most beautiful slot canyons and is one of the easiest places to photograph in Utah!

Also known as Red Canyon, Peekaboo Slot Canyon is located on BLM land and is one of the best hiking trails near Kanab, Utah.

Although you can reach this slot canyon with an 8-mile out & back trail, it is easier to reach it by vehicle. If you attempt on your own, you will need a 4WD vehicle as the sand on the trail is quite deep in places.

We chose to take an ATV tour out to the canyon. Not only was it a great way to reach Peekaboo Slot Canyon, but it was also a lot of fun!

Peekaboo Slot Canyon is quite impressive! The color of the canyon is a deep orange/red that catches the sunlight and appears to glow.

Although there are a few narrow spots, most of the canyon is wide enough to walk through comfortably.

Most people hike as far as the first obstacle and then turn around. If you’re up for the challenge, you can climb up and over to continue your exploration.

The sandy road deters many visitors, making it likely you will have the canyon to yourself. Definitely add this Utah slot canyon to your bucket list!

We spent several hours enjoying this slot canyon and the area surrounding it on Tucker’s 30th birthday, and it was so much fun!

Another thing we really enjoyed nearby was exploring Belly of the Dragon! Both of these adventures can be done on the same day.

One of my favorite Utah quotes is, “The echo of footsteps in Utah’s canyons is a reminder of the stories that have passed through them.” I can only imagine the stories this epic slot canyon has witnessed!

Winding red sandstone walls of Peekaboo Slot Canyon, Utah, with intricate layers and textures highlighted by the soft overhead light.
Peekaboo Slot Canyon

3. Antelope Canyon X

Hiking in a slot canyon is a must-do activity when exploring Utah, where you’ll find several options for slot canyon hikes.

If you have the time to drive a little more south at the border of Utah and Arizona, you’ll find one of the most popular slot canyons: Antelope Canyon.

Many people visit Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon, but Antelope Canyon X is worth a visit, especially if you’re traveling with kids.

Note that there are a few stairs to get into the canyon, but most people will be able to complete this slot hike.

Taadidiin Tours is the only tour operator offering hiking and photography tours of Antelope Canyon X.  Antelope Canyon X is a smaller canyon located at the start of the famous Antelope Canyon (the same canyon as the Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon tour).

Like all other Antelope Canyon slot hiking, it’s only possible to visit Antelope Canyon X with a tour guide.

Make sure to reserve your tour in advance as it is popular. But it’s nothing compared to the overcrowded Upper and Lower Canyon. 

Taadidiin Tours is still a new business, and you should have no trouble finding a time slot that fits your busy travel schedule. On our visit, we booked only a few days in advance.

Antelope Canyon X is located on the Navajo Reservation, which observes Daylight Saving Time, the same as Utah. But the rest of Arizona doesn’t observe Daylight Saving Time.

Double-check the time so you don’t miss your reservation if you are traveling during Daylight Saving Time and are staying in Arizona. If you’re visiting directly from Utah, you’ll be fine.

Sunlight filters through the narrow opening of Antelope Canyon X, illuminating the smooth, flowing lines of the orange sandstone canyon walls.
Antelope Canyon X – Submitted by Emilie of Love Life Abroad

4. Buckskin Gulch

Located in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area, Buckskin Gulch is a beautiful hiking trail less than one hour from Kanab, Utah.

You will need to pay for a permit to hike this trail, which can be purchased online or at a local BLM office.

One great thing about this trail is that dogs are allowed. They must, however, be kept on a leash at all times.

Also, remember to take bags to clean up your pet’s waste. You will have to pay for permits for each dog as well.

The Buckskin Gulch trail is over 11 miles long out & back and takes 4-5 hours to complete in its entirety.

We chose to hike the portion leading to Wire Pass, which was beautiful.

This trail can be scorching, especially in the summer, so be sure to come prepared with plenty of water and wear a hat if you are hiking during the day when there is little to no relief from the scorching hot sun.

A view of Buckskin Gulch's undulating sandstone formations in Utah, with striated rock patterns leading into the distance.
Buckskin Gulch Slot Canyon

5. Kanarra Creek Canyon

The Kanarra Creek Canyon Waterfall hike offers a smaller yet still thrilling slot canyon experience right next to its famous neighbor, The Narrows of Zion National Park – only with fewer tourists! This is one of the best waterfalls in Southern Utah!

Embark on a journey along a 3.7-mile moderately easy, out-and-back hike through towering canyon walls and a picturesque ladder that leads to the Kanarra Creek Waterfall.

The Kanarra Creek Canyon Waterfall is located about halfway between St. George and Cedar City and is considered one of the best hikes in the surrounding Kanab area.

Visitors reach the start of the slot canyon by following a trail along a creek from the parking lot.

Hiking to the second ladder is a common spot for hikers to turn back, and completing the hike to this point takes an average of 2-3 hours.

Those who continue their exploration of the depths of Kanarra Creek will face unavoidable ankle-to-knee-deep chilly water and challenging log ladders further up the stream.

For the most enjoyable and comfortable hike, visiting Kanarra Canyon during spring or summer is highly recommended; when temperatures are warmer, the creek’s waters won’t be as cold as in winter.

Plan to arrive at the entrance around mid-day to have ideal sunshine positioning on your slot canyon adventure.

A $12/person fee will grant you access to Kanarra Creek Canyon. Since it’s limited to 150 permits per day, you should secure your ticket online first.

Water cascading down a small fall with a metal ladder alongside, within the shadowy confines of Kanarra Creek Canyon, Utah.
Kanarra Creek Canyon – Submitted by Catherine of Nomadicated

6. Grand Wash (Capitol Reef National Park)

This beautiful slot canyon is located in Capitol Reef National Park. We stumbled across this trail when we hiked to Cassidy Arch Trail, as they share the same trailhead.

The Grand Wash Trail (via the Capitol Reef Scenic Drive) is just shy of 7 miles out & back and takes about 2 1/2 hours to complete.

This is one of the more popular trails in Capitol Reef, and as per most national parks, dogs are not permitted.

You will want to bring plenty of water along and dress in layers if you visit in the winter.

The canyon walls are especially unique. The colors appear to change depending on the time of day, and the walls have a beautiful striped look.

There are also sections of the canyon with unique cutouts in the walls that appear as small caves. Some are even large enough to get inside!

Plan to visit this trail early in the morning for the most peace and quiet. This trail gets busy in the afternoon!

A trail meandering through the wide, sandy floor of Grand Wash, framed by towering red cliffs and sparse desert vegetation under a clear blue sky.
Grand Wash

7. Peekaboo and Spooky Slot Canyons

One of the best slot canyon hikes in the Escalante area of Utah would have to be the Peekaboo and Spooky slot canyons hike (not to be confused with Peekaboo Canyon in Kanab, which is a different hike)!

On this hike in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, you can see two slot canyons: Peekaboo, which is one of the most beautiful slot canyons you’ll ever see, and then Spooky Gulch Slot Canyon, which is extremely tight and claustrophobic.

These slots are moderately challenging but don’t require technical skills, so anyone can do them.

There’s no fee or permit required for this hike, and you don’t need 4WD, although the last part of the drive to the trailhead involves 1 hour on a bumpy back road (BLM200/Hole in the Rock Rd).

Coming here after rain isn’t recommended. The slots are filled with fun obstacles and beautiful red and purple rock walls, depending on the time of day you visit.

Plan to spend at least a few hours on this one because it’s fairly involved, and you’ll want to take lots of photos! It’s a bucket list Utah hike!

Narrow passage of Peekaboo and Spooky Slot Canyons with a lone hiker silhouetted against the light at the canyon's end, emphasizing the scale and isolation.
Peekaboo and Spooky Slot Canyons – Submitted by David & Intan from The World Travel Guy

8. Upper Antelope Canyon

Upper Antelope Canyon is one of the best slot canyons in Utah that should be on your bucket list.

Although technically, Antelope Canyon isn’t located in Utah, it’s super close in northern Arizona, about 16 miles from the border between Utah and Arizona. 

The only way to see Upper Antelope Canyon is by going on a guided Antelope Canyon tour. This is to protect visitors from flash flooding that can sometimes happen in slot canyons and also to protect the canyon itself.

Upper Antelope Canyon is located on Navajo land and is a very sacred place to the Navajo people. 

Upper Antelope Canyon is the most popular section of the entire Antelope Slot Canyon.

This is because this section of the slot canyon is arguably the prettiest and has gorgeous wavy walls, glowing orange and red colors throughout the canyon, and, of course, the famous light beams that shine down from the crack in the canyon at certain times of the day. 

There are other fun things to do in the area besides visiting Antelope Canyon, like hiking to Horseshoe Bend or spending a day kayaking out on Lake Powell.

To get the most out of visiting the area, spending at least two days is recommended to see all the sights.

The iconic wave-like rock formations and warm hues of Upper Antelope Canyon, with sunlight creating a tranquil ambiance.
Upper Antelope Canyon – Submitted by Jess of Unearth The Voyage

9. Wire Pass Slot Canyon

One of my favorite things we did in southern Utah was Wire Pass. You might recognize the iconic ladder pictured below from this trail!

The Wire Pass Trailhead is shared with the Buckskin Gulch Trailhead and is less than one hour from Kanab, Utah.

The trail to Wire Pass is longer than other slot canyons. You will walk through a dry, sandy riverbed for over half of the hike. Make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen!

You will need to purchase a permit to hike this trail. You can either do it in advance online, or you can purchase one at a local BLM station. Dogs are also allowed on this trail with an additional permit per dog.

Be sure to check AllTrails for current trail conditions. Recent reports have shown that the ladder is missing, and it is unknown when it will be replaced.

Add this trail to your Utah slot canyon bucket list!

A rugged wooden ladder leading up a steep section in the narrow, textured walls of Wire Pass Slot Canyon.
Wire Pass Slot Canyon

10. The Narrows (Zion National Park)

The Narrows, located in Zion National Park, is perhaps the most famous slot canyon in Utah, partly because the only way to visit The Narrows is to wade in the river that runs through it.  

There are two ways to hike The Narrows. Both require payment of the national park entrance fee, which is $35 per vehicle or $20 per person, valid for seven days. 

Most people hike the canyon bottom up, where you hike about halfway into the canyon and then back out again on the same day.

This includes the most famous – and dramatic – section of the canyon, Wall Street, an incredibly narrow section where the canyon walls are hundreds of feet high and just a couple of dozen feet wide.

It’s really an incredible place to be and see. You can do as short or as long a hike as you like, depending on where you turn back, but to get to Wall Street, you should allow about 4-5 hours. 

This is a very interactive hike because you’re mostly hiking in the river, so it’s recommended to have a stick to help with stability.

If you’re hiking in the months when the water is cold, you might want to consider wearing waterproof pants and shoes.  

To get to The Narrows, take the Zion shuttle bus all the way to the end and walk along an easy path on the Riverside Walk until you get to the entrance to the Narrows.

This is a very popular hike, so I recommend taking one of the earliest shuttles to avoid the main crowds of the day. 

The tranquil Virgin River flowing through the towering walls of The Narrows, with a pathway of stones leading into the shaded canyon depths.
The Narrows – Submitted by James of Parks Collecting

11. Wall Street (Bryce Canyon National Park)

As the only slot canyon in Utah’s beautiful Bryce Canyon National Park, Wall Street is a phenomenal site!

With dramatic walls, beautiful light in the middle of the day, and plenty of photo opportunities, visiting Wall Street is easily one of the best things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park.

Wall Street is a fairly small canyon. By the time you finish winding your way through the gentle, sandy switchbacks that lead into the canyon, you’ve explored most of it, but it’s well worth the time.

This small slot canyon is accessed via either the Navajo Loop trailhead at Sunset Point or via the Queen’s Garden trailhead at Sunrise Point.

Both trailheads are easy to access. There is paved parking, though it may be best to use the park’s shuttle to access them depending on when you’re hiking; they are very popular!

Personally, we recommend starting from the Navajo Loop trailhead at Sunset Point, as this will allow you to hike down into Wall Street rather than climb out of it.

While this is easier, it also offers much better views of Wall Street as you descend!

Wall Street is typically closed over the winter and during heavy rainfall due to flash flooding.

If you’re lucky enough to be visiting when this slot canyon is open, take advantage of the opportunity to visit one of Utah’s most beautiful slot canyons!

Hikers walk through the 'Wall Street' section of Bryce Canyon National Park, a dramatic and narrow passage between towering orange cliffs glowing under sunlight.
Wall Street – Submitted by Kate of Our Escape Clause

12. Little Wild Horse Canyon

Little Wild Horse Canyon, nestled in the heart of Utah’s rugged San Rafael Swell, is a captivating and accessible slot canyon that attracts visitors from all over.

Known for its family-friendly trail and striking geological features, it offers a splendid introduction to the world of slot canyoning.

This slot canyon is part of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) public lands and is located near Goblin Valley State Park, another area celebrated for its unique rock formations.

The charm of Little Wild Horse Canyon lies in its narrow, winding passages, towering walls, and the interplay of light and shadow within the slots.

These slot sections, created over time by the forces of water erosion, present a dramatic and photogenic landscape.

The hike through the canyon is about 8 miles round trip if completed as a loop with the adjacent Bell Canyon, but many visitors choose to explore just a part of Little Wild Horse, which still offers a fulfilling experience.

The trail is generally considered moderate, but it does require some minor scrambling and navigation through narrow spaces.

One of the main attractions of Little Wild Horse Canyon is its accessibility. Unlike many other slot canyons in the region, it does not require technical skills or equipment, making it an excellent choice for families and less experienced hikers.

The canyon floor is mostly flat, and while there are narrow sections, they are typically passable without too much difficulty.

Its accessibility, combined with the canyon’s natural beauty, makes it a popular destination, especially during spring and fall when the weather is most favorable.

Despite its relative ease, visitors to Little Wild Horse Canyon should still come prepared. The risk of flash flooding is real, as with any slot canyon, so it’s crucial to check the weather forecast before embarking on a hike.

Additionally, bringing adequate water, sun protection, and sturdy footwear is essential for a safe and enjoyable experience.

The smooth, curvilinear walls of Little Wild Horse Canyon narrow down to a rocky path, showcasing the natural beauty of Utah's slot canyons.
Little Wild Horse Canyon

13. Zebra Slot Canyon

Zebra Slot Canyon is a visually stunning slot canyon in southern Utah. It is part of the vast Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, known for its rugged and remote wilderness areas.

The canyon is named for its unique, striped walls, which resemble the stripes of a zebra. These stripes are the result of iron oxide and manganese deposits in the Navajo Sandstone, beautifully contrasted against the creamy sandstone background.

The hike to Zebra Slot Canyon is as rewarding as it is challenging. The trail is approximately 5 miles round trip and involves navigating through sandy terrain and small streams.

Hikers often have to wade through water, and the final stretch requires squeezing through narrow slot canyon walls, some parts being so tight that only one person can pass at a time. This section can be particularly tricky and is not recommended for those with claustrophobia.

Despite these challenges, the journey is worth it for the spectacular views inside the canyon!

Inside the canyon, the light plays off the striped canyon walls, creating a mesmerizing effect. Photographers and nature lovers alike are drawn to this place for its unique beauty and the opportunity to capture stunning images.

The best time to visit is in the spring or fall when temperatures are more moderate and the risk of flash floods is lower.

Summer visits are possible, but hikers must be cautious of the intense heat and always be aware of the weather forecast to avoid flash floods.

The distinct striped patterns of Zebra Slot Canyon rise vertically, a natural tapestry of orange and cream-colored rock under a brilliant blue sky.
Zebra Slot Canyon

14. Willis Creek Canyon

Willis Creek Canyon, located in the remote landscapes of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, is a hidden gem among the region’s numerous slot canyons.

This relatively lesser-known canyon offers an enchanting experience characterized by its serenity and picturesque stream that runs through the slot canyon, creating a unique and tranquil hiking trail.

Unlike the more strenuous and narrow slot canyons in the area, Willis Creek Canyon provides a relatively easy and family-friendly hiking experience.

The hike itself is about 4 to 6 miles round trip, depending on how far one chooses to explore. The trail follows Willis Creek as it meanders through the canyon, with the walls gradually rising around you to form a narrow, winding slot canyon.

The typically shallow creek adds a dynamic element to the hike, with the sound of flowing water accompanying hikers as they navigate the canyon’s twists and turns.

The approach to Willis Creek Canyon is part of the adventure. Located off Skutumpah Road, a dirt road that can be challenging when wet, the canyon is more accessible during dry weather.

This remoteness contributes to the sense of adventure and isolation experienced by visitors, making it an ideal destination for those looking to escape the more crowded tourist spots.

A tranquil stream flows through the narrow passage of Willis Creek Canyon, flanked by high, striated rock walls that tell a story of erosion and time.
Willis Creek Canyon

15. Ding & Dang Canyons

Ding and Dang Canyons, located in the heart of Utah’s San Rafael Swell, offer a thrilling and somewhat challenging hiking experience that appeals to adventurous explorers.

These twin slot canyons are often explored together as a loop hike, providing a remarkable journey through some of Utah’s most rugged and picturesque landscapes.

The canyons are situated within the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) jurisdiction, near the more well-known Little Wild Horse Canyon and Goblin Valley State Park.

The hike through Ding and Dang Canyons is approximately 5 to 7 miles long, depending on the exact route and any exploring within the canyons.

This adventure is considered moderate to difficult, largely due to the need for technical skills such as scrambling, climbing, and navigating through obstacles.

These challenges, however, are part of what makes the hike so rewarding. The canyons offer a variety of terrain, from narrow, twisting slot sections to open washes and slickrock areas.

Ding Canyon, the first encountered on the typical loop route, is the narrower and more straightforward of the two. It provides a stunning introduction to slot canyon hiking with its high walls and narrow passageways.

In contrast, Dang Canyon is known for its technical sections, which may require hikers to climb over boulders, shimmy through tight spots, and even use ropes in some places. These obstacles add an element of excitement and challenge that appeals to more experienced canyon hikers.

Visitors planning to hike Ding and Dang Canyons should be well-prepared. The route can be challenging, and hikers should have good physical fitness, experience in similar terrain, and possibly some technical climbing skills.

It’s essential to bring plenty of water, wear appropriate footwear, and carry a map or GPS device, as the route can be tricky to navigate.

Sunlight spills into Ding & Dang Canyons, illuminating the textured walls and sandy floor of this secluded slot canyon in Utah.
Ding & Dang Canyons

Map of the Best Utah Slot Canyons

Below is a map showing the best slot canyons in Southern Utah. Click on the image to explore the map and get more details.

Map of Southern Utah with location markers indicating the best slot canyons for adventures, prominently featuring the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument area and surrounding regions

Things You Should Know About Utah Slot Canyons

There are a few things that you should know before planning a trip to the slot canyons of Utah.

Slot canyons can be dangerous, depending on weather conditions.

Always check the weather before heading out to a slot canyon hike. Rain can create dangerous flash-flooding conditions in slot canyons.

Unfortunately, there is nowhere to go to escape these floods, and they can be fatal if caught in one.

Another thing that can make these hikes dangerous is snow and ice in the winter months. The walls and floors of the canyons can become very slippery in the winter months and can cause injury if you slip and fall.

Consider wearing crampons if you know the trail conditions are likely covered in snow and/or ice.

In the summer months, these slot canyons can be scorching hot. You cannot always depend on shade, even inside the canyon walls.

Always carry more water than you need, and consider wearing a hiking hat.

Additionally, many of these slot canyons are very sandy. The sand can heat to extreme temperatures and harm your feet if not properly enclosed.

Do the proper research.

Many slot canyons are challenging to reach. Sometimes, paying for a guided tour is the best option.

Not only does this make things easier for you, but your guide will likely provide helpful information and fun facts about the canyons you are exploring.

If you decide to venture out to these slot canyons on your own, always research road conditions in advance. Many of them require 4WD due to sand or rough road conditions.

Also, it’s always best to inform others of your travel plans. Let someone know where you plan to go and when you anticipate returning.

If an unfortunate accident occurs, this will help search and rescue teams be able to find you much quicker.

In Closing: 15 of the Best Utah Slot Canyons in Southern Utah

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and found a few Utah slot canyons to add to your bucket list!

Happy travels!

Much Love, Janae xoxo
Photo of author
Janae, alongside her husband, Tucker, has turned the world into her playground. Having lived and traveled in an RV for over four years, she has trekked through 22 US national parks, ventured across 28 states, and explored the natural beauty of 12 countries. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been when she witnessed Iceland's shimmering Northern Lights, explored the rugged terrains of Southern Utah, and traveled across Ireland for almost two months. A lover of adventure and couple travel, Janae's writings have been featured in notable travel websites and magazines, and she has collected an online community of over 30,000 passionate fellow travelers.

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