What is a Slot Canyon?
The allure of a slot canyons is in the the fact that they are sinuous clefts in the stone which are thinner than they are deep. This gives the sense, when within a slot canyon, that one is being enveloped by the surrounding stone. They inspire awe in the realization that the earth is swaddling you, cuddling you.
The drama of a slot canyon has various natures. The path of the water flow and resultant eddies cause spectacular curvatures and edges in the rock wall. The cut in the sandstone allows you to track events through the sandstone in geologic time. The depth of some slot canyons boggles the mind as you look up a hundred or so feet of binary sheer rock walls with only a foot or so of air space between them.
The slot canyons in southern Utah have been formed by the slow erosion caused by wind, water and ice, likely over tens of thousands of years. Imagine the first rivulet channel in the sandstone that allowed for the eons of erosion to happen along the same pathway, which etched the slot canyon in the stone.
Slot canyons are always in a state of flux. The power of the water and the sediment that rush through a narrow canyon during each storm leaves its mark on the canyon, etching away minuscule amounts of the walls and depositing sediment or scouring sediment from the canyon floor. The stronger the stream power the more the flood will scour the floor and deepen the canyon. The weaker the stream power, the more sediment will be left on the canyon floor and the floor will rise in the canyon. Everytime one walks a slot canyon, the experience is different due to this continued fluctuation of material on the floor of the canyon.
Slot canyons are ideally hiked in the cooler months. Since most slot canyons have an approach to the canyon that is over a mile in distance and is often quite exposed to the sun, hiking to the canyon may not be too challenging, however returning from the canyon can be brutally hot. If you do plan to hike a slot canyon in the summer months, set your sights on starting the hike as early as possible, day break is best.
Slot canyon hikes are are well suited for spring and fall hikes when the daytime high temperatures are moderate. When the daytime temperatures start creeping over 85ºF, we start early so that we are able to finish the hike before midday and avoid hiking in the heat of the day, then we go to the Kiva Koffeehouse to relax for lunch and a cool drink. Whichever slot canyon we explore, the colors, textures and height of the walls will leave you with a sense of wonderment.
Planning Your Adventure
Let’s Hike, Explore, and Discover!
We believe that the planning of an adventure is part of the fun of the adventure. We enjoy helping you put together the pieces of your journey to the Escalante Canyons, whether planning a hike with us or trying to determine good restaurants and lodging in the area.
We will design a hike that meets your interests – natural history, cultural history, photography or simply hiking and your desired level of hiking Where ever our wanderings take us, the Escalante Canyons offer a multifaceted land to hike and discover .
We look forward to talking with you.
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Call us at 435.335.7710, or
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