Hole in the Rock Road is quickly becoming known as one of the premiere adventure conduits in southern Utah. The modern grated dirt road follows a path similar to the historic settler trail by the same name. Mormon pioneers established the route in 1879 after crossing the mighty Colorado River on their way to the town of Bluff. These days people use the 55-mile road to go from the southern stretches of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument clear down to Lake Powell and the hole-bearing rock that gave the whole place its name.
The first stop along the way is a gorgeous pair of slot canyons named Zebra Canyon and Tunnel Slot. These colorful layers of tight sandstone are hallmarks of what hiking in southern Utah is all about. If that 8-mile round-trip trek is a bit much, Devils Garden is just a few miles further down across the road. These easy to access hoodoos, arches, toadstools, spires and pillars are an easy way to enjoy the very unusual features you can't find many other places on earth.
Peek a Boo Slot and Spooky Gulch sit back across the road and a little further down Hole in the Rock. This is another set of stunning slot canyons, but with much shorter hikes than the earlier Zebra/Tunnel combo. Slot canyons are relatively rare features outside of this area, but on this one road you can get many of the prettiest ones in America. If you are looking for longer hikes, head further down the road for an amazing multi-day backpacking trip through Coyote Gulch. The 20-mile trek gives you the full gambit of desert terrain in one magical trail.
Even further down Hole in the Rock is yet another once-in-a-lifetime hike to Reflection Canyon on the edges of Lake Powell. Made famous by a resourceful National Geographic photographer in 2006, this 20-mile trek has no trail and no water sources but provides one of the world's great sunrises.
Anytime you pull onto this road there is a good chance you are on your way to have some fun. Whether you are sightseeing the easy-to-see places like Dancehall Rock and the views of Fifty Mile Canyon or you are using the road to access a secluded piece of beauty, you'll probably leave with some great new stories and photos.