Some of the hikes I go on are preceded by careful research: determining what the trail is like, when the best season to visit is, information on the surrounding area, and all the other tiny details that make up a really OCD but typically rewarding plan.
Other hikes go something like… see a picture or hear about a location. Instantly interested. Casually looking on maps to see how far away it is from my home base… and then my next day off, game on!
The second description is basically what happened when I saw a picture of a simple but striking waterfall, spilling down beside a rather questionable looking ladder, vibrant orange canyon walls dramatically framing the scene.
A few days later, and a day trip to Kanarraville, Utah commenced to check this place out. Absolutely worth the 2.5 hour drive from Vegas each way!
- As of May 2018, there is a fee to hike this area. You can pay in person, or online here. $9 per person.
- Be prepared to get your feet wet- the majority of this hike will involve walking in water.
- At the time of my visit, the ladders at both of the falls were small, wobbly, and slick- know your comfort level/ limits.
- No pets allowed.
- The furthest hike-able point is about 3 miles out from the trailhead, but you can choose to turn around sooner. The first waterfall/ladder is about 1.5 miles out, the second about 2.5 miles out.
Following an old access road initially, the trail then cuts into the canyon. The scenery is quite nice- hiking alongside (and at some points in) Kanarra Creek, greenery everywhere.
Then the canyon narrows, and the hike goes from simply pretty, to “OMG this is insanely cool” almost instantly. Narrow and colorful canyon walls twisting overhead, letting slivers of sunlight peek through and reflect off the creek winding through the canyon’s bottom.
Shortly after entering the slot canyon, you arrive at the first waterfall and ladder to climb (approximately 1.5 miles from the trailhead).
Further along, as the canyon walls open a bit, you come to a perfect spot to take a break and hang out for a few extra minutes- nice big flat rocks and a small waterfall.
Side note- I had read online that there is a small natural rock slide here to enjoy, and had definitely intended on trying this out for myself. Then, the day I was there, a lady broke her leg on said slide- snapped it in half. I believe she used the term ‘dangling’ to describe the painful separation in her lower leg. After witnessing the struggle to get medical care to her, and how difficult it was to be transported out of the canyon to further aid, I decided to pass on that activity. Use your judgement.
Continuing on, the canyon trail brings you to the second main waterfall and ladder, and some deeper waters to wade through. You can continue past this point if you choose, although in about a half mile the canyon does come to a point where it is difficult to hike on further. If you continue to that point and then turn back, the total round trip distance is about 3 miles.
I’m definitely beginning to develop a serious love for slot canyons. To me they are beautifully complex, mysterious, a whole different landscape to explore and appreciate… & I cannot wait to spend more of my time appreciating the slot canyons of the American Southwest!