LAST UPDATED: 4/28/23 – Guide to the Zebra Slot Canyon
If you are planning a visit to the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument and you are looking for a fun hike that isn’t too difficult, the Zebra Slot Canyon hike should be near the top of your list.
This is one of the more popular hikes in the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument because the hike is relatively easy, and the Zebra Slot Canyon is beautiful. As a bonus, you can add the Tunnel Slot Canyon to the hike and make the hike a nice loop hike.
In this guide to the Zebra Slot Canyon, I am going to give you all the information you will need to locate the trailhead, hike the unmarked trail, and fill out your travel itinerary with some other cool things in the area to see while you are there.
|Distance to Zebra: 5.3 miles round-trip|
|Distance to Tunnel: 7.2 miles one way|
|Elevation at Trail Head: 5,350-ft|
|Elevation at Zebra Slot: 5,125-ft|
|Elevation at Tunnel Slot: 5,125-ft|
|Elevation Gain to Zebra Slot: -225-ft|
|Elevation Gain to Tunnel Slot: -225-ft|
|Difficulty: Easy to Moderate|
Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument
The Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument is a very large, and very beautiful, area in Southern Utah. There was some urgency this year to get back down to Southern Utah to see the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument.
In case you haven’t heard, there has been some discussion about cutting this national monument in half in the near future, with half of the land becoming private land.
We aren’t really sure what will happen with Grand Staircase, but we wanted to see some of the monument before anything happens. Hopefully we will be able to make another trip down to Southern Utah in the near future to see more.
The Grand Staircase Has Multiple Visitor Centers
If you aren’t familiar with the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument, there are three visitor centers that you can visit to get more information about the area. These visitor centers are located in the cities of Kanab, Cannonville, and Escalante near the national monument in Southern Utah.
As I mentioned, the area of the national monument is pretty large, so the things to do and see are very spread out. It can be pretty daunting if you attempt to do too much within one trip, so I would suggest focusing on one area at a time. This is where the separate visitor centers really come in handy.
The Zebra Slot Canyon is located off of the famous Hole-in-the-Rock Road that stretches from Escalante in the North down to the Glen Canyon Recreation Area in the South.
The hike itself isn’t that difficult, but navigating the slot canyon itself can be challenging. The slot gets very tight as you start to navigate thru it. So much so that you may need to climb up the walls to get past some of the tightest spots.
Zebra slot gets its name from the striped pattern along the inside of the canyon, which makes the canyon incredibly beautiful. I don’t think its beauty is on the level of Antelope Canyon in Arizona, which I will be writing about in the near future, but it is a pretty slot canyon.
Getting to the Zebra Slot Canyon
Getting to the Zebra Slot canyon is fairly easy. From the town of Escalante, head East just outside of town and then turn right (or South) onto the famous Hole-in-the-Rock road. Hole-in-the-Rock is a gravel road, so it can be impassable at points if the area gets a lot of rain.
When you turn onto Hole-in-the-Rock Road, take note of your odometer as the Zebra Slot trail head is 7.8 miles down the road. You will the parking area on the right side of the road and the trail head on the left-hand side of the road. For your convenience, I have included a map for you to review in my guide to the Zebra Slot Canyon below.
Hiking to the Zebra Slot Canyon
The Zebra Slot Canyon hike is one of the more popular hikes in the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument because it isn’t a very difficult hike and the landscape is beautiful. The most challenging part of the hike is navigating the slot canyon itself. The Zebra Slot Canyon gets very narrow in parts, so it does take some skill to climb thru and navigate the slot.
If you are interested in making the hike a little longer and seeing another interesting slot canyon, you can hike thru Zebra Slot and the loop around to the Tunnel Slot Canyon. However, you should be aware that the Tunnel Slot Canyon often has water in it. I would recommend stopping by the visitor center in Escalante and asking about the canyon conditions before setting off to hike.
The Zebra Slot Canyon trail is an unmarked trail, so there aren’t signs to guide your way as you make this hike. The trail is pretty well established up to the point where you get to the wash, where the trail becomes a little more difficult to navigate.
In order to assist you in finding the slot canyon, I have included some pictures of the trail below. The numbered pictures below were taken at the corresponding locations on the map above.
When you get to the wash, just remember that you need to navigate to the left. You will see a lot of footprints going in many different directions, but as you navigate to the left you should be alright.
Other Grand Staircase Attractions
After completing the Zebra Slot Canyon hike, there are a number of additional attractions within the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument that I would recommend. If an easy hike is what you are after, then I would strongly recommend a stop at the Devil’s Garden.
Located a short distance down the Hole in the Rock Road, it features a number of beautiful rock formations that don’t require a long hike to see. I have included a guide for visiting the Devil’s Garden below if you are interested in learning more about it.
Another easy, but very beautiful, hike is to see the Long Canyon Slot off of the Birr Trail Road. It is a very short hike, so it won’t take you a lot of time, but the slot canyon is very pretty. I have included my Guide to the Long Canyon Slot below if you would like to review this hike further.
Parks in Southern Utah
If you have more time while in Southern Utah, I strongly recommend visiting some of the area’s national parks and recreation areas as well. In addition to the region’s five national parks and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is beautiful as well.
For a better idea of where the parks, monuments, and recreation areas are in the region, I have included a map for you to review in my Long Canyon Slot hike guide below.
For those of you would are looking for some additional stops to fill out your Southern Utah travel itinerary, I have included some travel guides for the five national parks and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area for you to review below.
Arches National Park
Arches National Park features over 2,000 naturally formed rock arches of various shapes and sizes for visitors to enjoy. Many of these arches are located just off the park road, so it is a great park to visit for inexperienced hikers getting their first taste of the Southern Utah landscape.
|Arches National Park Visitor Guide|
Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park features many incredible canyon vistas, needle rock formations, and slot canyons for visitors to enjoy. It is a big park that is divided up into three distinct districts, so you will need multiple days in the park in order to see most of it.
While the Needles and the Island in the Sky Districts are fairly easy for novice hikers to access and navigate, the more remote Maze District is located mostly in the back country and requires much more hiking and navigation experience to enjoy.
|Canyonlands National Park Visitor Guide|
Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef is one of the most underrated national parks in America’s national park system. Much of the park is only accessible via dirt road and back country hiking, so you need more time and patience to see the most beautiful parts of this park.
However, for those who put in the effort, the park offers huge rewards. One of my favorite parts of Capitol Reef National Park is Cathedral Valley, which is home to huge rock monoliths named the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Moon.
|Capitol Reef National Park Visitor Guide|
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park is another park that novice hikers will really enjoy. Although the park does have a lot of back country hiking trails, there are also a number of great viewpoints off the park road for visitors to enjoy. Bryce Canyon is filled with rock spires called hoodoos, which makes it one of the most unique and beautiful canyons that you will find anywhere in the world.
|Bryce Canyon National Park Visitor Guide|
Zion National Park
Zion National Park is one of the busiest and most popular national parks in the United States for good reason. It the ultimate hiker’s park. Within the park, you will find some of the most breathtaking vistas anywhere in North America. You will also find two of the most incredible hiking trails in the world.
The infamous Angel’s Landing hike is considered to be one of the most beautiful, yet dangerous, hikes anywhere in the world. For those brave enough to conquer it, you will be rewarded with jaw dropping views down the Zion Valley.
While not as thrilling, the Narrows hike is one of the most unique hikes you will find anywhere in the world. It follows the Virgin River thru steep slot canyons where hikers spend most of the trail hiking in the river.
|Zion National Park Visitor Guide|
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
It may not be a national park, but the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is every bit as beautiful. If you like boating, then you will absolutely love Glen Canyon. In addition to the great beaches and campgrounds around Lake Powell, there are also beautiful landmarks like the Rainbow Bridge National Monument for visitors to enjoy. If you have the time, I also suggest taking a tour of the incredible Antelope Canyon, which is located just South near Page, Arizona.
Reflection Canyon Hike
If you are up for the challenge, one of the most beautiful places to visit in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is Reflection Canyon. The trailhead for this hike is actually located in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, just off of the Hole-in-the-Rock Road. It is a difficult 10-mile unmarked hike (each way) with very little shade, so be sure you are up for the challenge and plan ahead. The views are definitely worth the effort though!
|The Definitive Reflection Canyon Trail Guide|
Zebra Slot Canyon Photo Gallery
The Zebra Canyon Slot is one of the more popular hikes in the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument. If you would like to see some of the many incredible pictures I took during my hike, I have included a gallery for you to review in my guide to the Zebra Slot Canyon below.
If you would like to view some more of my top photos from this trip, as well as photos from some of my many other travel adventures, make sure you are following me on Instagram as well!