The beautiful state of Utah is famous for its incredible national parks and hiking opportunities. The rocky, desert landscape provides some incredible hiking opportunities through unique terrains. One thing that makes Utah such an amazing place to hike is that the landscape lends itself to the creation of slot canyons. Slot canyons are thin, tight canyons that are carved out by water over time. These canyons make for incredible hikes as they have unique formations, wavy walls, and tight paths. There are so many hikes to choose from, but these are the absolute best slot canyons in southern Utah that you don’t want to miss out on!

1. Little Wildhorse Canyon/Bell Canyon

  • Distance: 8 miles
  • Type: Out & Back
  • Location: Co Rd 1013, Green River, UT 84525
  • Dog-Friendly: Yes

If you are looking for an easy slot canyon hike with incredible scenery, then Little Wildhorse Canyon is definitely worth doing! Located near Goblin Valley State Park, this is easily one of the coolest slot canyon hikes in the area. Little Wildhorse Canyon starts near Goblin Valley and goes until it connects with Bell Canyon. The hike features both wide and narrow passageways and incredible wavy walls.

The slot canyon is wider in most places than some of the other famous slot canyons which makes it an easier hike for dogs and people who like their space. Even though it is listed as an 8-mile hike, it is rated as easy due to the flatness of the area. Don’t let the distance scare you, this hike is an out & back hike so you can turn around whenever you want. For the first few miles, Little Wildhorse Canyon is one of the best slot canyons in southern Utah for the whole family as it doesn’t require scrambling or climbing and it has minimal elevation gain.

The further that you get into the canyon, the more scrambling is required. What makes this hike great is that you can dictate exactly how far you want to go and what you are comfortable with, and then you can turn around and head back whenever you are ready to!

2. Willis Creek Canyon

  • Distance: 5.8 miles
  • Type: Out & Back
  • Location: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument: 37.482940-112.097041
  • Dog-Friendly: Yes

Willis Creek slot canyon is the perfect slot canyon hike for people of all skill levels. Located in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, this popular slot canyon trail is 5.8 miles out and back. It features tall canyon walls and incredible textures. This trail has a little bit more of an elevation gain than your normal slot canyon, but it is absolutely worth the effort.

This trail is a great place to explore or even go horseback riding. There are multiple horseback riding tours that run through this canyon because it is a wider slot canyon. Because it doesn’t get very narrow, it is a great trail to bring your dog to as well!

It is important to note that the roads in Grand Staircase-Escalante are not paved so you will not want to travel out here when it is wet or if you have a low-clearance vehicle.

3. Leprechaun Canyon

  • Distance: 2.2 Miles Round Trip
  • Type: Out & Back
  • Location: 38.026984201058696, -110.53122982839312
  • No Dogs Allowed

One of the best hikes in Utah is Leprechaun Canyon. This trail is a hidden gem and is an outstanding slot canyon to visit if you want to avoid crowds. Plus unlike many slot canyons, you don’t have to obtain a permit! 

The slot canyon is located in Southern, Central Utah, about 30 minutes south of Hanksville, and this is an excellent stopover if you are exploring Capitol Reef National Park. The trail is around 2.2 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 147 ft and is rated as moderate. Leprechaun Canyon is a three-slot canyon, but some require technical gear and skills, so climb at your own risk. One side of the canyon requires repelling gear and climbing knowledge.

Even if you are not a climber, this slot canyon is so fun. The first section of the trail is an open bowl-like formation, which eventually turns into a small narrow slot canyon. You do not need any technical gear for this section of the trail, and it is a favorite for the whole family, especially kids. 

This trail is great to visit on weekdays because, most likely, you will have it all to yourself. If you want to hike a canyon no one has ever heard of, try out the unique but beautiful Leprechaun Canyon. The ability to enjoy a slot canyon with very few people around makes this one of the best slot canyons in Southern Utah.

Contributed by Michelle of the Wandering Queen

4. Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch

  • Distance: 3.7 miles
  • Type: Out & Back
  • Location: 1775 E. Silver Creek Ct. U.S. Hwy 89, Kanab, UT
  • Dog-Friendly: Dogs are allowed on a leash but there is a ladder along the way.

If you want to visit one of the most beautiful slot canyons in southern Utah, then be sure to check out Buckskin Gulch as part of an easy, out and back hike from the Wire Pass trailhead to Buckskin Gulch. 

After all, this hike is not only the world’s longest slot canyon, but it is incredibly beautiful and is one of the best hikes in Utah that is perfect for hikers of all abilities.

Before you go though, do note that you’ll need to purchase a permit in advance through the National Parks’ website before you do this hike since you can no longer self-pay at the trailhead. Thankfully though, it’s only $6 per person and dog. 

Buckskin Gulch is located in the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, about 34 miles from Page or 37 miles from Kanab. You will need to take House Rock Valley Road which is unpaved and inaccessible when wet in order to reach the trailhead.

Then, get ready to stand in awe of smooth sandstone walls, sneak through narrow canyon squeezes, enjoy fun scrambles, and even admire incredible petroglyphs from ancient civilizations.

It’s also a fairly easy hike with a mostly flat, sandy trail. There is only one ladder that you’ll need to climb down which is impassable for dogs, so be prepared to carry your dog down a ladder if you want to go further on the hike. You don’t need any special gear to complete this trail unless you are going the entire distance of the canyon in which case you may need water shoes or a rope line to use for bouldering.

Contributed By Meg of Fox in the Forest

Slot Canyons in Southern Utah- Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch

5. The Narrows

  • Distance: 9 miles round trip
  • Type: Out & Back (Day Hike Version) or Top-Down Through Hike (15.5 miles)
  • Location: Zion National Park, outside of Springdale
  • No Dogs Allowed

The Narrows is an epic slot canyon in Zion National Park and one of the most famous slot canyons in Southern Utah. The red canyon walls are towering and impressive, but what makes this slot canyon really unique is that you are hiking in a stream for the entire trail. The water in the canyon varies from ankle deep to waist deep (or higher, if you are really far back) and is a moderately challenging yet exhilarating hike. The elevation gain is pretty gradual, but the water resistance makes the hike more difficult, particularly if the water flow is faster (the water speed varies from day to day). 

It is very common on this hike for people to turn around part way through and not go all the way to the end, as it is tiring and the last section gets much deeper. If you can, try to make it to the Wall Street area, where the canyon walls narrow much more than in previous sections. Plan to spend 4-7 hours in the canyon, depending on if you stop at the Wall Street section or continue to the end. 

During the hot summer months, the water is refreshing, but with the right gear (a drysuit) to protect yourself from the cold water, you can also hike the Narrows in winter

Good supportive footwear is essential, as the bottom of the river is fairly rocky, and a sturdy walking stick is immensely helpful (not hiking poles – they are too flimsy. You want a full-on stick for the Narrows). You can rent gear for the Narrows in Springdale outside of Zion National Park. You can also go with a guided tour if you feel more comfortable hiking with a guide!

Contributed by Stephanie of The Unknown Enthusiast

Slot Canyons in Southern Utah- The Narrows

6. Orderville Canyon to Temple of Sinawava

  • Distance: 11.7-miles one-way point-to-point
  • Type: One way
  • Location: Mount Carmel Junction, Utah – Zion National Park
  • No Dogs Allowed

If you’re looking for a challenging hike with beautiful scenery, look no further than Orderville Canyon in Zion National Park. This hike is not for the faint of heart – it’s long, steep, and has plenty of obstacles along the way. But if you’re up for a challenge, the views will be well worth it. The canyon is littered with precarious narrow passages and towering walls of slick rock, so be prepared to use your hands and feet to navigate your way through this stunning landscape.

It takes roughly six to eight hours to hike through the canyon. Therefore, you’ll want to plan an entire day’s excursion. The best way to trek is from the top down.

A Zion wilderness permit is required to descend Orderville Canyon and entails planning months in advance. Read more about obtaining a permit on the Zion permits website.

This is a semi-technical canyoneering adventure with two rappels, a couple of short swims, and quite a few places to climb down. Bring rappelling gear, so you don’t jump. One of the rappels is 15’ (3 meters). You’ll want hiking shoes that are comfortable wading through water. Bring plenty of water and food. Layers are essential to consider so you’ll be able to acclimate your body temperature. Have some drybags for gear and camera equipment. You might also appreciate having hiking poles since this is a longer and more technical adventure.

Hiking Oderville Canyon from the top down requires a shuttle so hikers can begin their trek at the Orderville Trailhead. There are lots of private shuttle services in Springdale. The hike ends at the temple of Sinawava, where tired adventure seekers can catch the Zion shuttle bus to head back to their vehicles.

Summer is the best time to hike Orderville Canyon. The desert temperatures are warm, balancing the cold water in the canyon. If hiking outside of the summer months, you’ll love having a wetsuit.

Contributed by Ashlee Fechino of The Happiness Function

Slot Canyons in Southern Utah- Orderville Canyon

7. Peekaboo Slot Canyon

  • Distance: 4.5 miles round trip with a stop at Dry Fork Narrows
  • Type: Loop
  • Location: Near Escalante, Utah
  • Technically Dogs are allowed, but not recommended due to safety

Located around an hour away from the iconic Hole in the Rock Road near Escalante, Peekaboo Slot Canyon, and its twin Spooky Canyon, offers visitors just enough scrambling for an incredible experience, but not so much that you need a ton of gear. Peekaboo Slot Canyon is one of the tightest slot canyons in the world.

Therefore, if you’re looking to walk through wavy slots, pass an idyllic arch, and traverse narrow squeezes then this is one of the best slot canyons in Utah for you. Like most slot canyons, there is a danger associated with flash flooding. Make sure to always check the weather before you visit and make sure you have dry, clear weather for your hike. This hike should take you somewhere between 3 and 4 hours to complete.

Also be aware that while this slot canyon is relatively easy to traverse, this hike will be a bit of a challenge if you’ve never done one before. Especially since entering the canyon requires means an intense, 18-foot climb that is not suitable for pets. Hiking boots with a good grip are ideal since regular sneakers won’t give you the traction you need to enjoy one of the best hikes in Utah

It is important to note that you need to drive off-road to reach the trailhead. There is no pavement so your car will need to have off-roading capabilities. It is recommended that you use a truck or vehicle with 4WD to reach the trailhead. The road is long and bumpy and features a ton of ruts. And if it recently rained, you’ll definitely need a high-clearance 4WD vehicle or it will be impassable. 

Other than that, just enjoy a wealth of amazing rock formations and stunning archways as you walk sideways through several super narrow sections of the trail.

Contributed By Meg of Fox in the Forest

Slot Canyons in Southern Utah- Peekaboo Canyon

8. Antelope Canyon

  • Distance: Less than a mile
  • Type: One Way, Guided Tour
  • Location: Page, Arizona (on the Southern Utah Border)
  • Dog-Friendly: No

While not technically in Utah, no slot canyon list would be complete without mentioning Antelope Canyon! Located on the border of Arizona and Utah, this series of canyons is the area’s biggest claim to fame. Antelope Canyon is the most famous slot canyon in the world due to its beautiful coloring, narrow passageways, and incredible lighting. Antelope Canyon is a photographer’s paradise.

Antelope Canyon is actually split into three different slot canyons: Lower, Upper, and X. In order to visit one of these sections of the canyon, you have to go on a guided tour as it is on Navajo Nation land. These tours fill up FAST so you want to book them months in advance if possible.

Each section is famous for a different feature. Lower Antelope Canyon is famous for the intense red and orange colors of the walls. Upper Antelope Canyon is famous for the unique way that light filters through the canyon. Antelope Canyon X is famous for the way the walls intersect to form an “X” when you look up. Each section is unique and beautiful, and Antelope Canyon is definitely one of the best slot canyons in Southern Utah, even if it technically is in Arizona!

Slot Canyons in Southern Utah- Antelope Canyon

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There are so many hikes to choose from, but these are the absolute best slot canyons in southern Utah that you don't want to miss out on! #antelopecanyon #slotcanyon #kanab #page #utah
There are so many hikes to choose from, but these are the absolute best slot canyons in southern Utah that you don't want to miss out on! #antelopecanyon #slotcanyon #kanab #page #utah
There are so many hikes to choose from, but these are the absolute best slot canyons in southern Utah that you don't want to miss out on! #antelopecanyon #slotcanyon #kanab #page #utah
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