Cliff’s Tips: Explore Slot Canyons – They’re Like Alien Peanut Butter Planets
Thanks to his numerous jaunts around the country in our 18-wheeler for long distance moves, Cliff Wallace has racked up the miles and seen the sites. A seasoned traveller and fount of knowledge, Cliff always has something to share from his experiences. Today he explores a slot canyon that might as well have been on a far away planet made of peanut butter.
If you’ve never heard of a slot canyon, go do yourself a favor and google the beauty that they are. They’re created by thousands of years of erosion by rivers, streams and flash floods throughout the desert. In fact most of them are extremely dangerous today during times of even a little precipitation, so look at the weather before ‘splorin. The most famous of these in the U.S. is Antelope Canyon, found in Page, AZ, so far north in Arizona it’s basically Utah. Also only 60 miles or so from the Grand Canyon. However it’s only available by expensive tours (~$70 per person). I heard that the most expensive photograph ever sold was a shot from Antelope Canyon. There are hundreds of slot canyons throughout the southwest you can hike for free and and I couldn’t bring myself to pay $70 to see one just because it’s the most famous.
I had my slot canyon thirst quenched by a (virtually) free slot canyon 15 miles south of Page called Waterhole Canyon. It may not have been (as amazing) as Antelope Canyon, but it was the best looking slot canyon I had ever seen in person, being my first. It’s like walking through waves of hardened peanut butter on a different planet. You can’t help but run your hands along it, hoping for a squish.
The only catch with Waterhole Canyon is that it’s on a Native American Reservation so you must pay a $7 permit. When we were there we ran into a family who did not pay for the permits, and I bet you they’re the same people who cut off semi’s or don’t let them back over into the right lane. When you purchase the permit you get directions to the hike. They’ll tell you to stay east of US 89, if you go west then you’ll need a guide. When hiking east, enjoy the slot canyon for a good mile or so. Once you hit the rickety ladder you’ve enjoyed most of what it has to offer.