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.
|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|
Parks in Southern Utah
Southern Utah is one of my favorite areas in the continental United States for good reason. It holds some of the most beautiful landscape in the country. The area is home to five national parks, the gigantic (in terms of land size) Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument, and the very scenic and beautiful Glen Canyon National Recreation area.
I have already written guides for visiting Arches National Park and the Long Canyon Slot in the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument, both of which you can find below. I will be writing a lot more about the other parks and public lands in Southern Utah in the coming weeks, so please keep your eyes peeled for those. There are so many amazing things to see and do in this area, so you won’t want to miss those guides.
|Arches National Park Visitor’s Guide|
|Guide to Long Canyon Slot in Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument|
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.
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 comes 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 not 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.
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.
The Zebra Canyon Slot is one of the more popular hikes in the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument. Below are some of the pictures that we took on our hike and at the slot canyon.