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Slot canyons in July?

Ann Arbor, MI
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for Michigan, Ann Arbor
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Slot canyons in July?

I'm just starting to plan a 3 week road trip for next July.

We've never been to Utah, but the one thing I've always wanted to do is hike a slot canyon. That said, I know summer has flash flood risks in these canyons.

How predictable are the rains and subsequent flood events? Could we be confident heading in that we"ll be OK if the forecast is for clear skies?I know mornings are less likely to encounter the thunderstorms, so that's when we'd choose.

Are some of the canyons more/less prone to flash floods or is it just related to where the rain hits?

Thanks for helping me figure out whether this is something we can safely do!

Las Vegas, Nevada
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1. Re: Slot canyons in July?

Floods are definitely a concern in July because they're unpredictable. You could have clear skies for as far as you can see, but there could be a thunderstorm in just the right spot to send a cascade of water down the canyon you happen to be in. But, flooding is a somewhat rare event.

While flooding is something to keep in mind, the bigger concern you should have would be the heat. Most slot canyons require some hiking to get to them. Not only is July the hottest month, the climate here is also very dry compared to where you come from. Even if you start out early in the morning, you can't avoid hiking back in the heat. You need to be prepared with more water than you think you'll need, the right kind of food, hat, sunscreen, etc.

Do you have an area in mind to see the slot canyons? They're all over southern Utah and northern Arizona.

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Arizona
Arizona
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Kipling. SK
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2. Re: Slot canyons in July?

You do have to be conscious of the weather when heading out into a slot canyon. This website is interesting, it lists a lot of slot canyons and gives a description->

americansouthwest.net/slot_canyons/index.html

BTW in the opinion of a few, Zion's Narrows are the king of slots.

Park City, Utah
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3. Re: Slot canyons in July?

Share your general plans and we can make some recommendations. Flash floods are rare. That being said, wise to be aware. No, you cannot predict. And clear skies are not an indicator of safety - rain would be falling some distance away. But you've crossed the major hurdle, you're asking the questions. Just be aware of regional weather and watch skies more than just in your area.

Have fun.

Ann Arbor, MI
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4. Re: Slot canyons in July?

Hi Tumbleweed, I'm specifically thinking of Little Wild Horse Canyon (not the loop with Bell Canyon, just in and back). No canyoneering, just a hike with a bit of scrambling is what I want. No crowds like Antelope Canyon.

Widmarsh--thanks for that link. I'll read through the list to see if there are other choices.

lvziggy--Yes, heat is a huge concern for me (I'd asked about temps in the road trip forum to see if there'd be any place cool enough for some hiking before I started to plan this trip). We've been to the desert a few times in the summer and it has been a rough experience no matter how well prepared we are with water, sunscreen and clothing. I feel like I'm in my convection oven!! I'll pay attention to how much hiking there is to get to the canyon--good tip.

I'm pulling together a general itinerary over the next couple weeks and will be posting it to the forum for help, but I knew I'd have questions specifically about slot canyons because of our time of year (daughter is in a wedding at the Grand Canyon so that's why we're coming mid-July instead of a more sane time!).

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Little Wild Horse Canyon
Little Wild Horse Canyon
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Park City, Utah
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5. Re: Slot canyons in July?

LWH is a great hike. Watch for regional weather to the north and west. I wouldn't worry TOO much about heat. Go early, bring lots of water and you'll actually be in shade for a good part of that hike including a couple of really cool shaded amphitheaters. One of the nice aspects to LWH is that you get to the action part of the hike relatively quickly. Do make sure you keep the right and don't end up in Bell's.

Blanding, Utah
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6. Re: Slot canyons in July?

As mentioned, heat is a big concern with hiking that time of year, but it can be mitigated with the proper preparations. Floods are a real concern, but with a little caution, there are a lot of trips that can still be done during the Monsoon season of July and August. Good luck with your trip and plans.

Ann Arbor, MI
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7. Re: Slot canyons in July?

I got vetoed by my husband on heading into a slot canyon, just the three of us. Then I vetoed his idea of Antelope Canyon slot canyon tours after reading how crowded they are. :o(

So I went online looking for a compromise and found this company that only takes a couple people out of Kanab:

dreamlandtours.net/day-tours/…

Their reviews are solid, but I want to check in to see if people have other suggestions for a basic slot canyon guided tour (no technical canyoneering) that is a small group outing, no mega-crowds.

Thanks much!

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Encinitas...
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for Zion National Park, Joshua Tree National Park
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8. Re: Slot canyons in July?

If you are worried about crowds go to Lower Antelope, the entrance is right across the street from upper. Upper Antelope is the more famous one, and every photographer and his brother are there trying to get pictures.

Lower is accessed by ladders, whereas upper is a flat sandy walk, after a truck ride up the wash. I was alone in lower when I went there after the guide took led me down. Very quiet and somewhat eerie at the same time.

There is also a slot canyon Hummer tour in Page that I have not been on, but goes to a more remote slot.

If you want to see someplace amazing and don't want to risk the drive in a rental, consider the trip to Toroweap with one of the guide services in Kanab.(I forget the name) One of the most amazing views of the Grand Canyon you will ever see. Three thousand feet straight down!

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Kipling. SK
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9. Re: Slot canyons in July?

There are a couple of companies in Escalante that take you mostly down Hole in the rock road on slot tours. I have wanted to see Zebra slot for a while now.

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10. Re: Slot canyons in July?

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