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Peek-a-boo and Spooky Slot Canyons

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Peek-a-boo and Spooky Slot Canyons are an incredible adventure in Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument. These two canyons can be done in one loop. If needed, you could hike only one, but it wouldn’t save much mileage.

The parking lot is the black dot at the bottom. The blue line is Peek-a-boo Slot and the purple line is Spooky Slot. The yellow line is an optional wider slot canyon called Dry Fork. We were short on time, so we opted for the two most popular Peek-a-boo and Spooky.

Directions

This trail begins at the Lower Dry Fork Trailhead. If you are coming from Northern Utah, you will probably take I-15 south to Scipio and then take UT-50 and then UT-24 past Fish Lake and to the edge of Capitol Reef National Park. You could also arrive at this area from the east. In Torrey head south on UT-12. There are some beautiful scenic overlooks along the way. These are from the Larb Hollow Overlook.

The Hole-in-the-Rock Road turn off is 22.5 miles past Boulder on the left side of the road.

An alternate route from either north or south is to head west off exit 95 from I-15 south of Beaver and north of Parowan. Take UT-20 east and then UT-89 south. Then you will take UT-12 west past Bryce Canyon National Park towards Escalante, Utah.

Hole in the Rock Road isn’t paved, but it is nicely graded. It’s a bit of a bumpy ride, but all cars should be fine when the road is dry. Keep your eyes open for cows as there is an open range.

Download Google Maps or keep track on your odometer. There isn’t much cell service on this road. The turn offs are signed, but it’s easier to know the turn off it 26 miles down Hole-in-the-Rock Road. The Lower Dry Fork Trailhead is on the left side of the road. There is overflow parking and then the main lot. There are pit toilets and information. Permits are only needed if you plan to stay overnight.

Spooky Slot Canyon is very narrow, so it isn’t ideal if you are claustrophobic. There is a sign to let you test if you could fit. I am a bit overweight and was worried, but I was fine. I could not have done it wearing a backpack, so you’ll have to carry it in your hand or pass it back and forth. This trail can get super hot, especially in the summer. Be sure to bring lots of water (2-4 liters per person) and sunscreen.

The first section of the trail is mostly flat on packed sand.

The views are beautiful along the trail looking down into the surrounding canyon and beyond.

We saw lots of lizards near the beginning of the trail.

Soon you come to a sign that that indicates heading down the slick rock towards the slot canyons. There are cairns all along to show the way.

You will want to wear your grippiest shoes on this hike. If you aren’t sure yours have the traction, squat down until you are nearly seated and move down gradually. The second photo is looking up from the bottom of this part.

There will be a bit more flat and then you’ll need to head to the left to avoid a steep section. The second picture shows that slick rock from below and the trail that heads around the side.

Then there is more slick rock to descend.

After the slick rock, then there is a soft sand path to finish the descent.

Once at the base the trail is well marked. You come to a sign that gives you directions to the different trails. That first picture was taken on the way back, so the towering rock wall with be on your right heading to the slots.

If you plan to do the Dry Fork detour, head left to the entrance. For Peek-a-boo continue straight. The entrance requires quite a bit of scrambling without many foot or hand holds. We were able to do help each other, but I think my teenage son was the only one with height, arm strength, and agility to have done it without a hand. I would always recommend going with a friend for safety.

Once you get up into Peek-a-boo it’s very picturesque.

There are still a few more tricky places where we needed either a boost from behind, a hand to pull us up, and sometimes both.

We all had some much fun crawling through the tunnels and winding through the slot!

The kids had fun posing for me!

As you come out of Peek-a-boo there is a wash, so it appears as if the trail continues straight, but that will lead you astray. My kids started running ahead and I had to call them back. The first picture is the wrong way. Right as you exit, make a sharp right and you will see the cairns leading the way. The second picture is looking at the exit of the slot to the right and then the cairns head up the slick rock towards the left.

This part was where I was glad I had the map downloaded. There were cairns, so definitely keep watch for them.

There is no shade and it was hot enough over spring break. I’m sure it feels like a furnace in the summer. A after a bit you descend down a soft sand path. To the right of my boys in the second picture, you can see the canyon walls starting to rise for Spooky Canyon.

The first part is low and easy to maneuver. Then it starts to get more curves.

There is a hole you have to duck through and then more narrow walls, but that are still wide enough for adults to walk straight.

Then you come to a part that you have to descend into the hole. If you descend here you will have to crawl for a second, but I fit fine. There is a second option to descend, but you have to drop a lot further, so for my crew of kids, crawling two feet is much easier.

The two things that make Spooky tricky is the narrowness and the fact that there are descents.

In the second photo above my daughter was on the higher level and then here were are at a lower one.

There are several subsequent drops. Most aren’t too bad, but there was one where I could get good fitting and got a scrape. Most of us ended up getting a few little friction burns on our elbows from this adventure, but we’re all fine. Here are a few more from Spooky Slot Canyon.

As we were exiting we ran into some people entering the other direction. You could pass in certain places, but other spots would be really challenging and someone would have to scale the walls while the other passed beneath. Since we were at the wider point at the end, it was no big deal. There is a giant boulder you have to duck under at the exit of Spooky.

Follow the sand when you get out.

Follow the trail signs. Soon you will pass the entrance of Peek-a-boo and then you will just retrace your steps, back to the slick rock and then up, up, up to the trailhead.

Stats: Distance – 3.8 miles round trip (6 miles if adding Dry Fork)
Approximate hiking time – 3-4 hours
Elevation gain – 656 feet
Difficulty – Difficult
Trail – well maintained trail of sand, slick rock, narrow slot canyon with non-technical scrambles
Bathrooms – Yes
Seasons to hike – Year-Round (extremely hot in the summer, so go early)
Permits needed – none (unless backpacking overnight)
Pets allowed – Yes (but it would be super challenging to carry your pet up and down the scrambles)

Devil’s Garden is a slight detour on your way to or from Peek-a-boo and Spooky Slot Canyons and is definitely worth a quick stop. Lower Calf Creek Falls is also nearby. Bryce Canyon National Park and Capitol Reef National Park are in either direction on the way here. Kanab is on the other end of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

utahhikingbeauty

We have so much beauty in Utah to explore! I love hiking and photography and can help you find your next favorite hike! All photos were taken by me!

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