Lower Dry Fork Trailhead, Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument.
Hole in the Rock Road southeast of Escalante.
|Guided tours:||self guided|
Monument Headquarters, 669 South Highway 89A, Kanab, UT 84741, Tel: +1-435-644-1200.
Escalante Interagency Visitor Center, 755 W Main St, Escalante, UT 84726, Tel: +1-435-826-5499.
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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The region around the small town Escalante in Utah is full of geologic sights, there are rock formations, a petrified forest and numerous slot canyons in reddish sandstone. Following Highway 12 to the southeast there is a 90° curve to the left after 7.6 km, right after the Hole in the Rock wayside is a turnoff to the right. If you follow the gravel road named Hole-in-the-Rock Road southeast for 42 km there is a crossing, turn left, the road ends after 2.5 km at the Lower Dry Fork Trailhead. This large section is very poor, 4WD with high clearance is strongly recommended. If you have a 2WD you should park at the Peek-a-boo Gulch Parking Area and walk the 1.5 km to the end of the road. You are in Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument and there are numerous strange rock formations including three slot canyons nearby.
Peek-a-boo Slot Canyon is quite narrow, not for heavies, even as a normal sized person you might want to skip breakfast. Definitely not for claustrophobic. But for some the entrance to the canyon might be an insurmountable obstacle. There is a 2.5 m high sandstone wall which must be climbed. Fortunately there are some holes in the rock face which can be used as steps, and tree trunks, so it's possible to climb up. We nevertheless suggest to go in a small group and take a rope, so you might help each other. Highlight is a place called Peekaboo Twin Bridges, where two natural bridges across the canyon form two window-like openings.
Spooky Slot Canyon is nearby and most people do a round trip, going up Peek-a-boo Slot Canyon and then return down Spooky Slot Canyon. It's also possible to do it the other way round, in this case you can just slide down the wall at the entrance of the canyon which might be easier. To do the round trip turn right at the upper end of Peek-a-boo Slot Canyon or left at the upper end of Spooky Slot Canyon, there is a trail across the hill.
Dry Fork Slot Canyon is only 130 m west of Peek-a-boo Slot Canyon, the wash narrows and forms a slot canyon, but it is not as narrow as the other two.
Another sight nearby are the Batty Pass Caves, which are reached if you turn right at the crossing instead of left. After 3.8 km on the rough road you reach three small artificial caves which were dug into a soft layer of sandstone. Two brothers named Bill and Cliff Lichtenhahn dug them in the 1950s or 1960s. They were rock hounds and craftsmen and lived in the caves for four or five years.
And there are two more slot canyons which can be visited on a one-day hike, Zebra Slot Canyon and Tunnel Slot. We recommend to visit a Visitor Center before you go for maps, descriptions, and updates. The closest is the Escalante Interagency Visitor Center on Main St in Escalante.