Zebra Slot Canyon

Zebra Slot Canyon

Facts To Remember


Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 5.2 miles round trip / approx 4 hours
Elevation Gain: -225 feet
Starting Elevation: 5,350 feet
When To Hike: Spring, Summer and Fall (Summer will be HOT)
Permits: No
Pets Allowed: Yes on leash
Starting Location: Just pass a cattle guard approx 8 miles into Hole in the Rock Road
Time of Year: July, 2020

Reaching the Parking Area

The drive to the parking area isn’t difficult but it is just dirt, sand and rocks all mixed into a washboard road. At time it feels like your car will explode but you will find your pace.

From the town of Escalante, UT, follow UT-12 East for about 5 miles until you see “Hole in the Rock” road. Turn right and follow this road approximately 8 miles. You will see a cattle guard (first photo) and parking is just next to it. I believe this was the third cattle guard so just watch your miles and count cattleguards and you will find it.

Starting the Hike

The trailhead is across the road from the parking area and can easily be seen. It’s a long 2.6 miles hike through wide open land with very little areas for shade. Make sure you have a hat and water.

The Hanging Cattle Gate

There was no sign about this gate but we assume it was meant to keep cattle or other animals from crossing this area.

We read that people often get to this gate, see the zebra strips and turn around. This is NOT the beginning of Zebra Slot Canyon. You can push open the gate and walk right through it.

Continuing Past the Gate

The trail continues and really flattens out and eventually you are hiking on massive flat rocky land.

Zebra Slot Canyon Entrance

The slot canyon isn’t terribly difficult to find but we did get a little excited as we got closer and missed it. In the first photo below, the entrance is in the shaded area to the right heading into the canyon.

When we arrived 2 people were just leaving the canyon and 3 others just went in. Due to lack of space in the slot, people would leave there backpacks at the entrance. If you notice gear, you can wait for them to exit or try going in. Just be aware, the canyon is narrow and will NOT be easy to pass others.

Hiking the Slot Canyon

This is one narrow slot and it only gets worse as you go further. It’s approximately 300 feet to the end. The second photo shows the space for my foot and this is only 30 feet in.

This slot canyon is short but amazing. The colored layers of sandstone and the challenge of getting to the end made it a perfect slot.

As you get closer to the end of the slot, you have to climb up to continue forward. The slot becomes so narrow at the bottom, you simple have no foot room and start getting stuck. So up you go.

End of the Slot Canyon

The slot canyon ended at a small water filled pool. It appeared that you could climb past this pool up and to the right but the walls were smooth with little to hold onto. I was going to try but didn’t want to slip and get my shoes wet so hopefully I didn’t miss the best part of the canyon.

Heading Out and Selfies

Heading out of the canyon and snapping a few shots along the way. Fortunately someone was entering as I was leaving, so they took that first photo.

Our Thoughts

A long hike through the hot desert but a beautiful slot canyon making the hike well worth it. The challenge of getting to the end of the slot and seeing the zebra strips was fantastic! It was only a short 300 feet to the end of the slot but the end is very colorful and a stunning sight to see.

Already looking forward to going again!

Are you Considering This Hike?

Check the weather, if rain or bad weather is expected, this would be better done another day. Rain would make this a very muddy hike and dangerous slot canyon.
Wake up early and start your hike before sunrise
The slot canyon is VERY tight and some areas become so tight you have to climb in by being higher up the wall

Hike Recommendations

Water: Always bring plenty of water as summer temperatures can be very high
Food/Snacks: Always bring some food
Safety: Bring a friend in case you need help during bouldering

More Useful Information

Utah.com – Zebra Slot Canyon

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