Time: 3 hours
Length: 5.1 miles round trip
Recommended Months to Visit:
Features: Not Technical, Camping, Appropriate for Scouts,
Permits: Free permits are required for overnight trips. Permits are available at several trailheads and at the Escalante Interagency Visitor Center
Hype: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.
Closest City or Region: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah
Coordinates: 37.660820, -111.417168
By Jeremy Dye
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.
Friday morning, we started the hike at about 8:45.
The first half-mile of the hike is not very interesting.
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.
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.
After a while, there is a hanging fence that crosses the wash. We're guessing that the 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.
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.
Keep an eye out for Moqui Marbles in the sand. (See wikipedia for an explanation of how Moqui Marbles are formed.)
The mouth of Zebra Slot Canyon is located at 37°39'39.14"N, 111°25'1.89"W.
At some points, the canyon gets pretty narrow. 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. 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.
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.