With just a recommendation and a track from a friend who used to live in the area, I went to check out “Peekaboo Slot Canyon” / “Red Canyon” near Kanab, UT on a solo Kanab road trip. It was a great example of a no expectation side trip to a not-frequently visited destination that I just got to simply take in and be surprised at every turn.
Starting just off the road at (37.17528, -112.61184) I hiked down an OHV trail with loose sand underfoot for 1.5 miles until I “met the trail”.
Red to yellow sandstone cliffs coming into view around a sparse dispursal of trees.
When the road started turning right significantly, I check the map to realize I missed my turn off at (37.18092, -112.58823). I thought I missed the trail shown on the map, but in reality I never saw any foot prints or any trail so I hiked cross country until I came over a rise and the land started dropping into the canyon (37.18481, -112.58664).
Looking down, it seemed like pretty steep loose soil that might be hard to get out of the canyon. I opted to traverse diagonal left with some steep sandstone friction slab footwork which felt a little Class 3 due to the tumble I’d take if one of my feet slipped.
Actually, I think the easiest way to enter is at (37.18639, -112.58810) which seemed the least steep and I investigated on my way out of canyon. However, when hiking out this way I encountered frequent cryptobiotic crust between here and the map “trail” so watch your feet and “don’t bust the crust”.
In the canyon, I shortly saw a decent amount of mountain lion sign with one recent and one old scat and some decent sized paw prints too large for a bobcat or coyote. Then I got into the slot. There were beautiful short slotty sections 5-10ft wide and then it would open up to be 20ft wide with consistent canyon walls at 25 ft high. Given the hanging logs, this could flash, but was escapable frequently in the wider sections.
I was halfway through the canyon until I saw my first sign of humans (footprints in the sand). At 1.5 miles down the canyon, it got very cool and tight before dropping down 10-15ft off a log which looked difficult to stem back up. On the map it looked like only another couple turns before the whole canyon opened up so I decided to avoid the potential issue of not being able to re-ascend this section and turned around.
The canyon slots were just as great on the reverse and I went up canyon past the entry point to check out if there was a great view of the cliffs above in the distance further up. It was still cool, with unique rock structures, but ultiminately didn’t deliver on that view. So I turned around at (37.19559, -112.60023) and reversed the hike out.
Even though it was just off trail hiking. Its so fun to feel confident in your skills and assessments to be able to visit a place without doing research and just be surprised by what you find.
Total: 8mi, 400ft