Hike Peek-a-Boo and Spooky Canyons
Utah › Peek-a-boo and Spooky Canyons
Added by Rebecca Jones
Explore 2 slot canyons in 1 hike. There is a little scrambling and climbing on this 3.5 mile loop.
This hike is located in the Grand-Staircase-Escalante Monument and the nearest town is Escalante, Utah. From Escalante, you take Hole-in-the-Rock Road 26 miles to the Dry Fork road turn-off. The Hole-in-the-Rock road It is a dirt road, and while I did see some sedans and minivans, I suggest a vehicle with higher clearance/ 4-wheel drive. If you do not have a high clearance vehicle, it will just add an extra mile or so each way onto your hike because you will not be able go that last mile after you turn off the Hole-in-the-Rock Road.
This adventure is great because you get to explore 2 stunning slot canyons in one hike! It is a 3.5 mile loop so you go up one canyon and down the other. I highly suggest going up Peek-a-boo and then down Spooky. The obstacles in these canyons are easier when done in this direction. These canyons provide a great introduction to canyoneering. They are not too technical as there is no need for ropes. Pools of water are a possibility, however it was dry when I was there in May even with rain the day before. There will be some scrambling/climbing required and places where you need to take off your pack and turn sideways in order to fit through narrow passages. If you are claustrophobic this hike would not be for you!
From the parking lot there is a 3/4 mile hike across slick rock and sand to descend into the wash where the canyons are located. The trail will lead you straight to the start of peekaboo canyon which begins with a 15ish foot wall with hand/foot holes to get you up into the canyon. After that you follow the canyon up to the top, follow the cairns across the plateau for about 1/2 mile and you will be led right to the top of spooky canyon. Then you just go down this canyon, follow the wash back to the start of peek-a-boo and then follow the same trail that you came in on back to the parking lot.
The loop hike takes around 3 hours for the average hiker. If you really wanted to, you could do one without the other, just go up one and back down, but the canyons are so drastically different from each other, I highly recommend doing the loop and seeing both of them! Peek-a-boo is smooth sandstone with arches, and large "bowls" that you have to climb up and over whereas Spooky is narrow, with an area of rock falls that you need to "chimney down" and the walls are very bumpy.
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- Trail Shoes
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Both of these slot canyon are worth exploring and each have their own characteristics! But we had a little trouble finding Peekaboo and ended up at Spooky first. To do the loop make sure to head left/down right after the trail starts! We ended up following the cairns straight and ended up in a wash farther down the canyon. I would also recommend searching for the GPS coordinates so you don't miss the entrances.
Bypass the 15 foot wall to enter Peek-A-Boo!
Many people avoid entering Peek-A-Boo slot canyon because of the daunting 15 foot vertical wall that must be climbed to get into the slot, or water in front of of the wall. Rightly so! With no rock climbing experience, this can be a frightening and dangerous venture. My last trip I found a solution to avoid the wall! Facing the wall, look to the left. There is a sand dune that runs along the side of the wall. You will see an unmarked social trail ascending the sand dune and appears to wander away from the slot. Continue following this social trail until you are at a high point and can see a trail leading back toward the direction of the slot canyon. The trail is marked with cairns above the sand dune. This will lead directly back to the slot at a point that is easily down climbed. Once in the slot you can explore to the right which leads back to the wall you by-passed. That direction has several potholes, usually filled with water and several small arches stretching over the slot. To the left, the slot is easier with hardly any climbing and not very deep. You eventually exit the slot after a short distance.
Must Do In Escalante!!
If you are in or near Escalante you need to make time for this adventure. After a 26.2 mile drive down hole in the rock road, you will turn left where there is a sign marking the Dry Fork Trail Head. Following the road to the trail you will then follow cairns to the beginning of the first slot. It is a steep climb getting up into the canyon but there are a few foot holes cut out in the wall. Peekaboo is a very pretty slot canyon with a couple arches in the beginning. There may be standing water right at the beginning so your feet could get wet however, it is possible to keep them dry. After that the rest of the hike was dry. After you exit peekaboo you will again follow the cairns to the entrance of spooky slot. This one is much narrower and if you are at all overweight you might not fit in many places. There are a few very technical drops but they are definately doable. When you get to the big boulders in your path, you have to drop down between them maybe 10-15 feet, but don't turn back! Once you get down, the rest of the hike is beautiful! Overall, it was one of the most rewarding hikes/climbs I have done in Utah. I would recommend bringing as small of a backpack as you can find, only big enough to pack water and snacks because many places are not wide enough to fit a big backpack. It was also very helpful doing this with a group. There was a lot of teamwork that went into completing this sucessfully and it was also more fun with a small group.
Great Beginner Slot Canyons
My husband and I did both of these on our very first slot canyons, and they did not disappoint! Spooky is a bit more technical, but it's still manageable without ropes if you are experienced with scrambling. There were many people turning back due to a large drop off, but if you go under the obstacle, it's not bad. Peekaboo was beautiful as well! Great family friendly hike.
Great Family Hikes
We hiked these canyons with 16, 13 and 10 year old kids, who had a ball exploring and climbing over obstacles, wading through knee-deep water and fitting through narrow-walled canyons. So much fun!
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