Taken as a whole, the Colorado Plateau may be Utah’s most iconic physiographic region. What does that mean for you? As a vacation destination, it means vast playgrounds of outdoor adventure in settings unlike anywhere else in North America: think the slickrock landscapes of the Moab area where thousands of arches create windows to nearby mountains and the playful hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National park. Southern Utah is blanketed with layers of beautiful multicolored sedimentary rock, here marked with rock cairns to guide your next hike, there carved with thousand-foot canyons where white water swiftly ushers adventure-seekers down river.
The Colorado Plateau sweeps across much of southeastern Utah, encompassing The Mighty 5 national parks, the vast Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, forested mountainscapes and deep canyons. Water, seasons and barely imaginably stretches of geologic time have collaborated to shape and carve this landscape, and their masterworks may well be the many slot canyons in Utah.
Slot canyons are narrow gorges in soft rocks like Utah’s layered sedimentary deposits. They are named for their extreme relative depth to width, often squeezing down to a sliver. It is said that Utah has the largest concentration of slot canyons in the world, and many of them are easily accessible. Discover the best slot canyons of Utah here, ranging from roadside strolls to guided canyoneering in permit-only, highly technical channels. A final note: the natural forces that carved slot canyons are still at work, and even light, distant rainfall can render slot canyons extremely dangerous. In clear conditions, however, hiking the slot canyons of Utah is a fascinating journey into one of nature’s greatest accomplishments. Here are some of Utah's finest: