Slot Canyons in this region have been carved deep into the sedimentary layers of the areas topography. These constricted passages are created by high mountain snow-melt and by rain storms that are less frequent in this arid region. Water does not absorb well into the arid terrain and when rain hits the ground, gravity pulls it from the surrounding terraces or plateaus and sends torrents of water raging into these narrow canyons. Water levels can reach over 60 feet high in these “slots” and the erosion process is consequently very dramatic. These flash-floods are an infrequent occurrence but it always wise to venture into slot canyon only on a good-weather day, something that there is no shortage of in this region.
Entering a slot canyon is an ethereal experience and one that will leave a lasting impression of the dramatic capabilities of nature. The naturally convoluted passageways within a slot canyon offer varying hues of color at every bend and every etched seam in the rocks. The sandstone rock in these formations is naturally soft and easy to be carved by the water, tumbling rocks, wood and other debris that pass through during a flash-flood. The results are a mystical work of art waiting to be captured by the human eye or anxious photographer.
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The depth of these slender chasms can range over several hundred feet– while most of the more narrow sections of slot canyons do not range higher than 100 feet before they begin to widen dramatically. Rappelling is one option for entering a slot or you can find an established entry point. It is, of course, important to have identified your exit points or you may find yourself inside with no short option for getting out.
Slot Canyons truly are one of the magnificent natural works of art found on our planet and people come from around the world to have an opportunity to view them. This region happens to offer some of the best but many require a lengthy bit of hiking to access them. Some of these are accessible via the Burr Trail or via the Hole in the Rock road and others are accessible on the Cottonwood Canyon road. There are area guides that will be pleased to lead you to some of the more interesting locations and even to slots where the hiking time is quite minimal. Whatever you're choice, if you select a good day and plan your experience, you will find your time in a slot canyon to be one of the highlights of your time in southern Utah.