The Dye Clan
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Zebra Slot Canyon

Half of a Moqui Marble embeded in the sandstone wall of Zebra Slot Canyon.

Zebra Slot Canyon is a very fun, family-friendly (we brought our 10-month-old) hike in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah. It's less popular than Peek-a-Boo Canyon or Spooky Canyon, which means you don't have to deal with as many crowds. The hike is not as scenic as some, but it's still a very pretty and picturesque canyon and is very much worth the hike.

Trip Report: June 17, 2011


Zebra Slot Canyon at EveryTrail

We decided to spend a couple days hiking the Canyons of the Escalante. Zebra slot canyon was our first canyon.

We left Richfield, UT on Thursday night at about 7:00pm. The trailhead for Zebra Slot Canyon is located right after the third cattle guard (37°38'21.94"N, 111°26'44.91"W).

About 0.2 miles past the trailhead, there is a road that forks to the right (west). That's where we camped the first night (37°38'13.98"N, 111°26'45.78"W). It wasn't a very good campsite because of all the cow pies from the nearby corral, but it worked for us. There's no fire ring or anything.

Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park
Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park
Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park

Friday morning, we started the hike at about 8:45.

The first half-mile of the hike is not very interesting.

Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park

When we went in the middle of June, there were tons of wild flowers. We're not normally into that sort of thing, but there were so many different types of flowers that we tried to take a picture of each kind. We looked them up when we got home.

The trail then crosses several meanders of the Halfway Hollow wash. A couple of these hills are a little bit steep, but they're not too bad. You can always stay in the wash if you choose.

Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park
Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park

At 37°38'55.90"N, 111°25'47.91"W, there is a pothole carved out of the sandstone. A great article on how potholes are formed can be found at geology.utah.gov.

Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park

We're guessing that the hanging fence is to keep cattle out and that the reason it's hanging from a cable is so logs and things in a flash flood could pass under the fence without destroying it. That's just a theory though.

Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park

Red and white sandstone: a hint at what's to come.

Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park

Notice the amazing cross-bedding on the cliffs.

Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park

More cross-bedding.

Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park
Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park

At 37°39'19.29"N, 111°25'8.22"W, the trail drops down into the wash and heads to the north (Tunnel Slot Canyon is to the south then east). From here on out, the trail is a lot more difficult to follow. Stay in the wash to the north, and you'll be fine. The loose sand makes walking much more difficult.

Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park

Someone made a nice cairn-like arrow out of rocks.

Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park

Keep an eye out for Moqui Marbles in the sand. (See wikipedia for an explanation of how Moqui Marbles are formed.)

Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park
Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park

Where rock meets sand.

Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park

The mouth of Zebra Slot Canyon is located at 37°39'39.14"N, 111°25'1.89"W.

Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park
Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park
Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park
Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park

This is one of the larger Moqui Marbles embedded in the canyon wall. The soft inside erodes out leaving the hard shell.

Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park

Cross-bedding and more Moqui Marbles.

Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park
Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park

At some points, the canyon gets pretty narrow.

Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park
Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park

The entire slot canyon is very pretty, but the last 100 feet are especially beautiful. The red-and-white striped walls are unique to this canyon.

Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park
Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park
Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park

Notice how the Moqui Marble protects the surrounding sandstone from being eroded.

Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park
Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park
Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park
Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park

The end of the canyon is a series of large potholes that prevent most hikers from continuing. Look closely in the bottom of the pothole and you'll see hundreds of Moqui Marbles in the bottom.

Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park
Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park
Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park
Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park

We found a bird's nest on a ledge.

Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park

A spotted lizzard.

Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park

Many hikers choose to visit Tunnel Slot Canyon on the same trip as Zebra Slot Canyon, but we didn't want to get wet on this trip, so we just hiked straight back to the car.