• Leon Pantenburg | Survival Common Sense


Video: Bucket list check – hiking a Utah slot canyon

267 400 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

Hiking a slot canyon has been on my outdoor bucket list for a long time.

So my wife Debbie, friend Kelle Barfield and I ventured down Wire Pass. And the walls just kept closing in…  

by Leon Pantenburg

Slot canyons are narrow gorges in soft rocks like Utah’s layered sedimentary deposits, according to visitutah.com. They are named for their narrow width, often squeezing down to a sliver. It is said that Utah has the largest concentration of slot canyons in the world, and many of them are easily accessible.

Wire Pass is located in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, near Kanab, Utah.

Wire Pass opens up where it intersects with Buckskin Gulch.

Getting there is an adventure in itself.

To get to the trailhead, take Utah Highway 89, and turn at House Rock Valley Road. The road gets rougher the further you go. We were in a Ford F150 pickup, but many passenger cars had already made the trip to the parking lot by the time we got there.

Wire Pass is one of the more accessible slot canyons, and the full parking lot proves that. There are restroom facilities at the trailhead, but no water.

The hike is do-able by just about anyone. We saw small children and seasoned citizens on the trail. There is spotty shade and brilliant sun, so make sure to pack lots of water, wear a broad-brimmed hat and slather on the sunscreen. I’d also recommend wearing a long-sleeved shirt – sunscreen can keep  your skin from burning, but it doesn’t shade you from the heat and wind. The rocks reflect the heat, and seem to magnify the sun’s rays.

Wire Pass was everything I imagined a slot canyon would be. It was well worth the trip!

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