TIME: 4H 45M
LENGTH: 5.2 MILES RT
ELEVATION CHANGE: 300 ft
DATE: APRIL 25, 2019
I have to start this post by saying the the Earth Trekkers blog was super helpful in completing this hike. We could have very easily gotten lost without their great posts with corresponding images. And on that note, let’s get right to it!
We drove east on route 12 from Bryce National Park. It took us about 2 hours to get to the trail head. According to my offline Google maps it should have taken us 1.5 hours, but we slowed down considerably when we hit the dirt road. The dirt road is just under 8 miles long and it’s called Hole in the Rock Rd.
We passed the cattle guards (pictured below) and made sure to count them. We knew from reading Earth Trekkers that the trailhead and parking lot were just after the third one. We were in an SUV and it was a bumpy ride. I don’t think you need an SUV but it wouldn’t hurt if you have the option.
We arrived at 11:00 am and there was still plenty of space for other vehicles. I cannot express how important this is: apply sunblock and bring plenty of water! Yes it’s April and summer hasn’t actually started, but dehydration is inevitable even in these conditions if you’re not prepared. It’s a long walk and you don’t want to be caught without water, trust me!
From the trailhead we started out into the desert. The trail is easy to follow at first. It’s worn and even if you accidentally follow the drainage, it’ll bring you back to the trail as they both eventually lead to the same wash. While you stroll along you’ll come across diverse rock patterns.
Tony wanted to further explore the rock formations on the sides of the trail. It’s hard to tell, but the rock is actually steeper than it lets on.
You’ll come across a gate. It’s perfectly fine to cross. The gates easily swing open when pushed. I had already crossed the gate and was waiting for Tony to cross too.
This is where you need to pay attention. There are false trails from all the hikers that get lost here. We followed the instructions we found online and made sure to stay left when the trails split off.
There was a nice big rock formation we decided to stop on for a water break/photo opportunity.
Making sure we stayed left in Harris Wash we finally found the entrance to the slot canyon. (Thank you Earth Trekkers!)
I found this neat little moqui ball as I walked into the canyon. There’s an interesting read HERE. Pay attention as you walk in because you’ll see some of them still stuck in the walls.
Soon enough you’ll start squeezing your way through. Your back pack won’t stay on your back much longer. I resorted to keeping it over my head many times.
And then this…
I had such a hard time getting through here. I have shorter legs than my three co-travelers and couldn’t extend the way they could. I tried multiple ways and angles until I finally managed to do it. Whereas Tony used his feet I used my knees.
Here’s a better picture of how to cross the narrower parts of the canyon where your feet don’t fit in the canyon below. CJ is taller than me and needed to go higher in the canyon. He also used his feet on the opposing wall. You can see me deeper in the canyon using my knees on the opposing wall instead of my feet.
I wouldn’t lie to you about the parts where I struggled. It wasn’t easy. But hiking that desert wasn’t easy either. And I wasn’t leaving there until I made it into the canyon to see the zebra portion.
TA DA! We made it to the zebra slot portion!
How amazing are these lines though???
The hike back to the car was long and hot. Now that I’ve done the hike I’m glad I’ve crossed it off my list. I think everyone should see and experience it at least once. But I’ve seen so many other places in Escalante that I would hold off on a repeat hike until exploring the rest of the area. Until my next adventure, I have so many gorgeous pictures of wave like rock structures and zebra stripes to reminisce with. : )
“In the desert, the line between life and death is sharp and quick.”Brian Herbert