After exploring Zebra slot canyon (our last blog post), we decided to go for another one, which is known as Peek-a-boo Gulch slot canyon located at the Dry fork area of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Peek-a-boo is not short but very beautiful slot canyon in the area. Though it does not have any narrow area like Zebra slot canyon or Spooky gulch slot, still it has some twists and chutes that may require some rock scrambling skill.
There are two trails you can follow in order to visit this slot canyon. You can start from Upper dry fork trailhead and Peek-a-boo gulch will be 1.5 miles one way. We started from the other trailhead lower dry fork trailhead. The trail is pretty straight forward and well-traveled path. You have to walk on the trail most of the part. Then you need to scramble down the short cliffs to reach the entrance of the slot canyon. Here, simply follow the cairns. Once you are down to the bottom and have reached into the sand dunes, you are on the right track. Follow the creek wash and you will find a sign showing the direction of Dry Fork, Peek-a-boo and Spooky Gulch slot canyons. Follow the sign and you will reach the entrance of the Peek-a-boo slot canyon.
The difficult section of this slot canyon is the entrance, where you have to climb a steep wall (around 12-feet). Once you are up, that’s pretty much it. Enjoy the slot canyon view, walk in between the walls, and the colors! Amazingly beautiful purple pink color of the canyon wall. The view is quite spectacular. The good part it, you can walk in between the walls and enjoy it. You don’t need any technical gear or rock-climbing skills, though a little bit rock scrambling is required. Once you climb the initial wall, you will enter a wide-open place with arches. From an angle, it may look like a heart shape. If the whole canyon was an entire home, this would be the heart of the home. The various color of the wall playing with the light of the sun create an amazing scene. Specially the time we were inside the slot canyon, it was evening; almost the golden hour and we saw some unbelievable color. Then the fun part begins when the canyon walls start to become narrow. In one part there is a hole which you have to pass through to go any further into the canyon.
If you want, you can combine Peek-a-boo with Spooky Gulch and that will be another 1.7-mile loop. In that case, you should start from Peek-a-boo, and continue through Spooky Gulch kind of a clockwise loop. The distance between the Peek-a-boo end and the wide streambed above Spooky Gulch is around half a mile. If you are claustrophobic, please do not consider going into Spooky Gulch. We did not do Spooky Gulch as it was getting dark and we had only time to visit one slot canyon. We choose Peek-a-boo. If you have time, plan to visit both as both of them are really beautiful.
Dogs are allowed in this trail, though it may be best not to bring one. Because the initial climb of Peek-a-boo is a bit challenging and the walls get narrower as soon as you approach the end. Also, to reach the trailhead, you have to drive through the Hole in the rock which may become inaccessible and impassable when wet. So, check the weather first and try to take a 4WD vehicle with you. This part of Utah is a flash flood zone and there may be water in some part of the slot canyon. Please be cautious about it. Please check the weather and the current condition of the road. You can contact the Escalante Interagency Visitor Center to know more about it. As we went in March, the weather was really good and both Hole in the Rock and the canyon floor was dry. All the time, we were concerned about the stagnant water inside the canyon and how we can cross it. Luckily, it was completely dry, and we enjoyed the canyon without any obstacles and anything. It was a totally worthy hike and I would recommend going for this gorgeous colorful slot canyon.
At a glance/fact
· Hike length: 3.5 miles out and back
· Location: Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah
Upper Dry Fork trailhead: 37.47928, -111.24115
Lower Dry Fork trailhead/Peek-a-boo gulch parking area: 37.46568, -111.21215
Entrance of the slot canyon: 37.48187, -111.21668
End of the slot canyon: 37.485367, -111.216729
· Difficulty: Hike is easy, but there is an initial climb of 12 feet (around) wall to enter the canyon
· Best time to visit: Spring and fall
· Permit/Fee: none
· Amenities: washroom at the trailhead
· Parking: There is plenty of parking spots including one extra separate parking lot (if overflows).
· Please check the weather before you start. During summer months, it can be extremely hot. Also, there is no shade. So, dress accordingly, wear hat, sunglass and use sunscreen. Take enough water and snacks.
· Don’t forget to take your water shoes with you in case there is water inside the canyon.
· This canyon walls carry the history of thousand of years. So, please don’t write, script or draw anything on the walls. Also, please practice leave no trace. Leave only your footprints, nothing else.