Hiking Arizona and Utah slot canyons
Buckskin Gulch and Antelope Canyon
Arizona and Utah are well known for their slot canyons, which provide a cool hiking escape from hot temperatures and an even cooler outdoor photography adventure. The photos in this essay represent two of my favorites: Buckskin Gulch and Antelope Canyon.
Sometimes you can stretch out your arms and touch both sides of the canyon. And it’s not hyperbole to refer to them as “incredible.” Or “breathtaking.” Or “gnarly awesome.”
We hiked Buckskin Gulch with a guide from Grand Circle Tours. A professional guide isn’t necessary if you conduct thorough research, but ours was worth every penny because of his knowledge of entry and exit points in this 13-mile route. The Gulch is located in between Page, AZ and Kanab, UT.
Antelope Canyon is located on Navajo land near Page. We took tours of both the lower and upper canyons – they expose you to completely different experiences. It’s my understanding that both canyons are only accessible from guided tour companies, to better control tourism through this popular destination and to provide safe access.
Tips for hiking slot canyons
- Consider your time day because the sun won’t illuminate the canyon very long.
- Never ever explore a slot canyon without first checking on the forecast. Small amounts of rainfall, even from miles away, can turn a beautiful slot canyon into a dangerous tumult.
- Wear shoes that can get wet and muddy because sometimes you can’t navigate around the sloppy canyon floor.
- Research the routes so you know what to expect, such as distance and barriers to traverse.