The Traveling Seniors

VISUAL MAGIC IN ARIZONA’S SLOT CANYONS

Cheers

See visual magic in Arizona’s Slot Canyons! When Navajo guides throw dirt into the sun’s rays, an ethereal stream of fireworks erupts!

We had seen photos of the famous Antelope Canyon, but knew nothing else about the Slot Canyons in Arizona. Slot Canyons are enchanting, unforgettable natural wonders! Our slot canyon experiences are among our very favorites in America.  

Slot Canyons are narrow canyons, formed by water rushing through rock. Slot canyons are deeper than they are wide. These canyons are mostly found within the Colorado Plateau of northern Arizona and southern Utah.

Slot Canyons near Page, Arizona

Most Slot Canyons are remote, hidden and difficult to reach and explore. We explored Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon and Antelope Canyon XThe following list represents only a few of the other Slot Canyons in the same area:

  • Antelope Canyon-the most photographed canyon. Two sections are open to visitors; the 600 foot-long upper narrows south of AZ Highway 98, and the deeper lower narrows to the north.
  • Blue Pool Wash-1.2 miles, 80 feet. This is a minor “drainage” with a short narrows section through light-colored Entrada sandstone.
  • Butterfly Canyon-3.5 miles, 800 feet. Shallow, very pretty narrows followed by a much deeper and darker slot canyon. May be closed to hikers.
  • Starting Water Wash-2.5 miles, 400 feet. This is a long slot canyon tributary of Kaibito Creek, these extended narrows become totally dark in places. This is one of the best slot canyons on the Colorado Plateau but may be closed to hikers.
  • Stateline Canyon-2 miles, 300 feet. Short and shallow but a photogenic and easily explored slot canyon. Located via a short walk from US Highway 89, and ending at Lake Powell.
  • Upper Kaibito Creek-.8 miles, 200 feet. Deep, exciting, challenging slot canyon and one which requires repelling in many places. The Navajo Nation may have this canyon closed to visitors.
  • Upper Kabito Creek, East Fork-2 miles, 300 feet. This is a beautiful tributary of Kaibito Creek with many “fins,” small arches and interlined potholes, all very colorful. May be closed to hikers.
  • Water Holes Canyon- 1.6 miles, 400 feet. This is a branched “drainage” that forms several gorgeous sections of slot canyon, separated by wide, sandy washes. There is a deeper, extended gorge lower down. As of May 2018, this canyon may only be visited as a part of a guided tour.

Note: Canyons may be closed on Navajo Nation lands. This is due to the cost of expensive search and rescue operations to find unprepared hikers who get trapped in some of the deeper canyons. Rain is also a concern as flash rains can flood the canyons in an instant and kill hikers and campers.

The canyons that cut through the soft Navajo Sandstone rock south of the western end of Lake Powell near Page, Arizona are generally regarded as the most beautiful and photogenic in the American southwest. The rocks have bright red to orange colors with extraordinary textures and patterns. Watching the movement of light and shadows in the Slot Canyons is an unforgettable experience!

HOW TO GET THERE

Most Slot Canyons are located on land that is privately owned or part of the Navajo Reservation. You need a permit to hike and camp. Permits cost $5 for hiking and may be purchased at the Navajo Tribal Parks Office beside the Leche-e Chapter House, 3 miles south of Page, Arizona. 

Most of the Slot Canyons may only be visited as part of a Navajo-guided tour. See our post with two recommended tour companies.  If you take a guided tour, the cost of the hiking permit is included in the cost of the tour.

We STRONGLY recommend taking a photography tour. You will be accompanied by guides who know photography, will have fewer people on the tour with you and will be given more time to enjoy photographing this enchanting part of America.

Do NOT go to Arizona without visiting the Slot Canyons!

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