Hike through Upper Waterholes Canyon

Waterholes Canyon Trailhead, Page, Arizona, United States

  • Activities:

    Chillin, Photography, Hiking, Fitness

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    1.5 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    300 Feet

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Romantic
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Stunning beams of light, corkscrews, multi-colored sandstone and stunning rock formations all without the crowds of the more well-known and popular Antelope Canyons.

Waterholes Canyon is a gorgeous slot canyon located just south of Page, Arizona that empties into Glen Canyon. The Upper Part of the Canyon is an easy, largely non-technical section that is easily accessed from Highway 89 and a clear parking turnoff on the left side of the road if you're heading South, just past Horseshoe Bend and just before the bridge over the canyon.

The Upper Canyon is on Navajo Land, while the middle and lower sections, which are technical in nature, are part of the Glenn Canyon Recreation Area. Be sure to pick up a permit to access the Upper Canyon from any of the numerous tour companies in Page for a low fee.

From the parking area, head east along the side of the canyon, following the cairns and make your way down into the canyon. From here you can follow the canyon as it winds its way east, eventually going underneath a set of powerlines and passing into the "Secret Canyon" where a ladder is bolted into the path allowing access out into the wash and out of the canyon.

On your way out instead of heading back out the exact what you came, about a quarter mile back at coordinates 36.833163, -111.501756 head right up the wall (there will be cairns) and check out "The Great Wall", a gorgeous series of ross-bedded sandstone outcrops above the canyon that almost look like The Wave.

Like any slot canyon, be careful to check the weather to avoid flash floods, which can occur even if the rain is many miles away and upstream. 

Depending on time of day the colors of the rocks can vary greatly, and even in the afternoon the steep canyon walls can require a tripod for longer exposures to get the light you want. 

Pack List

  • Permit from a tour company in Page
  • Water
  • Nutrition
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Reviews

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I enjoyed exploring these with my wife. We obtained our $12 permits from Tribal Parks Office next to the Leche-e Chapter House (open on weekdays). We saw some trash and graffiti in the slots. Please respect these places and leave no trace.

3 months ago
3 months ago

Water Holes Canyon was epic. It was a little tricky finding the permit to hike, but after finally figuring out that I needed to purchase the 12 dollar permit at horseshoe bend slot canyon tours I was on my way. The best time for me was right around noon for great light beams. I went on a Monday morning and didn't see one single person during the 3 hours I spent there. Needless to say if you don't wanna wait around for a tour guide and then walk through slot canyons shoulder to shoulder with other people....go to Water Holes. You won't be disappointed.

6 months ago
6 months ago

Josiah Roe Admin

The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark. - John Muir

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