Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
420.00 ft (128.02 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
2.30 mi (3.70 km)
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Tucked away in the rugged canyon country behind a Southern Utah town more famous for its isolation and extreme religious beliefs than its scenery, Water Canyon is a gem of a hike that is relatively unknown outside the immediate region. It is not far from Zion National Park, and some have compared the appearance of its upper canyon to the more famous (and much more difficult) Subway slot canyon. 

There is a small parking area with a vault toilet at the end of Water Canyon Road. From here the trail climbs fairly gently along the north side of the canyon with towering sandstone walls on either side. Be alert for the tiny arch high up the southern canyon wall. In less than a mile, the canyon narrows dramatically and the trail continues up and over several rock ledges into a slot canyon with a flowing stream (at least seasonally) and many little waterfalls. This slot canyon section is fun to explore and cool in summer.

Beyond the scope of this adventure, the trail continues in a zigzag fashion up the north wall of the canyon to Upper Water Canyon and the amazing twisted rock formations of Canaan Mountain and the White Domes, which are reminiscent of White Pocket further east in the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument. This full hike can be a more ambitious six-hour trip that gains over 2,400-feet or part of a longer backpacking adventure.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Relatively unknown outside the area. Beautiful canyon views. Unique grotto at the head of the canyon.

Cons

None.

Trailhead Elevation

5,200.00 ft (1,584.96 m)

Highest point

5,620.00 ft (1,712.98 m)

Features

Vault toilet
Geologically significant
Wildflowers

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

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