A few miles north of Kanab, there’s a magnificent slot canyon colloquially called “Peekaboo Canyon” but named “Red Canyon Slot” on maps. In a region with world-renowned and overcrowded slot canyons like the Narrows in nearby Zion National Park and Antelope Canyon in Navajo Nation, people seem to forget that there are plenty of spectacular areas to explore that are still primitive wilderness.
Unlike many slot canyons that fit this description, part of Red Canyon Slot is non-technical, meaning you can go through it without rappelling. Anyone can walk through the canyon’s swirling, twisting, and contorted sandstone walls, but those without 4WD will have to hike 4 miles through deep sand just to reach its entrance.
- Distance: 1 mile out and back
- Hike Time: 1 hour
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 80 feet
- Fee: Free
- Dogs: Yes
- Difficulty: Easy
Driving the Deep Sand
Those with 4WD should take extra precautions not to get stuck in the aforementioned deep sand. Be sure to air down your tires and on the way out, take the dirt road marked 102M on maps. This takes you back to Kanab Canyon Road which passes by a mysterious enclave owned by Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.
When we went to Red Canyon Slot in October 2019, some folks in a new Jeep Cherokee asked to follow us out because they were a bit lost. We didn’t know about exiting via 102M, so we attempted the uphill portion of 102 and couldn’t get through.
We put our Ford F-150 in reverse to turnaround in hopes of finding a better way out. Unfortunately, our followers got real stuck. We did too, but we were able to get unstuck by sliding floor mats underneath the tires and pushing. It took everyone’s help.
We gave our compadres a lift back to Kanab and by pure coincidence, we were staying at the same RV park (Kanab RV Corral)!
The next day, they went back with the park host in his Jeep Rubicon and dug/towed the sucker out.
Remember, this is a remote area that isn’t frequented by a lot of people. Make sure you’re prepared to spend the night if you get stuck because you might not get help.
The high desert that surrounds Kanab is a harsh environment with extreme temperature fluctuations. We went during a freak cold snap and the overnight low was 15° F. Imagine trying to survive that without provisions! Chances are you’d freeze to death.
Hiking Red Canyon Slot
The hike through Red Canyon Slot is undemanding, mellow, and delightful. At its entrance where you park, there are two openings in the canyon’s sandstone walls. Take the one to the left.
Rather abruptly, the canyon narrows as you walk through a bona fide Utah slot canyon.
5-10 minutes into the hike, there is a smooth polished white rock that requires a slight scramble to get over. Any able-bodied person should have no problem getting over it.
You’ll also want to watch for Moki steps, a series of handholds and footholds that Ancestral Puebloans used to scale the canyon’s steep walls.
After about 1/2 mile you’ll reach a 10-15 foot cliff that can’t be circumvented without climbing gear. This is where we turned around.
From Kanab, head north on US Highway 89 for 8.6 miles then turn right. There is a dirt parking lot here. At this point, you can decide whether to park and hike 5 miles roundtrip or continue downhill in your rig on the narrow jeep trail through deep sand.
Follow the jeep trail 3.1 miles until you reach a wash. This is the same drainage as Red Canyon Slot. Bear left and continue west 0.9 miles up the wash to reach the canyon’s entrance.