Peek-a-Boo Canyon

Kanab, Utah

One of the highlights of a visit to Kanab is a trip to nearby Peek-a-Boo Canyon.  Sometimes called Red Canyon on maps, this beautiful slot canyon is a .7  walk out and back through a narrow slot filled with colorful rock formations on soaring rock walls.

The hike through the canyon is the easy part of this adventure.  The difficult part is the 3.4 mile ride on a narrow road through deep sand.  To get to the road leading to the canyon we drove north from Kanab on US-89 to just past mile marker 72 where there is a clearly marked right turn (east) into what is called the staging area.  The large lot accommodates vehicles with trailers towing four-wheelers as well as parking for those without four-wheel drive who wish to hike the road to the canyon (not recommended, as this sand is deep!).  It is also a good spot for those who wish to let some air out of their tires to give better traction in the deep sand (we opted not to air down).

We completed the drive to the slot without a problem, but found it to be one of the more challenging Jeep drives we have done.  A sign at the parking area states that four-wheel drive is required and all-wheel drive is discouraged.  If you don’t have a four-wheel drive high clearance vehicle and/or you have never driven in deep sand, this road is not for you.  It would be better to sign on to one of the tours in town that have the proper equipment and experienced drivers.

Upon arriving at the entrance to the slot we found a group of six who arrived in a Hummer owned by one of the local tour groups.

End of the road – The Tour Group Hummer is seen on the right

Entrance to the slot

We decided to give the tour group a few minutes to get started so we first went up a little side canyon hike we saw in Sue and Dave’s blog (Beluga’s Excellent Adventure).  It is just a short path, but ends below a neat rock formation.

Cool rock formation on the side trail

Once in the canyon we spent most of the hike looking up at the beautiful colors and patterns on the rocks above us.  We soon caught up with the tour group and they were kind enough to let us pass,  allowing us to enjoy the canyon in solitude.

The “Moqui Steps” up the canyon wall in the photo below are believed to have been cut by the early Anasazi who lived in the area.  These steps lead to a granary above, where corn and other supplies were stored.

It rained the day before our visit so there were a couple of spots where water ran down the rocks.  The canyon must be moist for most of the year as evidenced by the moss along some spots.


Once back in Kanab we decided to celebrate a successful Jeep drive and cool hike through the Peek-a-Boo Slot Canyon with a treat at a local bakery.  The Kanab Creek Bakery has great coffee and pastries.  We had a pastry called Kouign-amann, a Breton cake described in the New York Times as “the fattiest pastry in all of Europe.” The name comes from the Breton language words for “butter” and “cake.”


We also bought a loaf of French Boule bread that was the best bread ever!  Since we’ll be in Kanab for a few extra days to avoid some rain showers, another visit to Kanab Creek Bakery appears to be in our future!

But we have another hike planned for tomorrow to help walk off those extra calories.  More on that later . . .

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18 Responses to Peek-a-Boo Canyon

  1. Gay says:

    I’m drooling…slot canyons are my all time favorite. Beautiful photos of the walls. Love all the colors, striations, rounded edges, indentions. I could go on and on about nature’s art. We have to get to Kanab one day! The pastry and coffee look so yummy.

  2. Laurel says:

    Such a gorgeous canyon! I would love to do this hike. But: there is no way I would hike 3-4 miles through deep sand to get there (and back). Do you think our Tundra (4WD) would make it? Of course, there’s always the Hummer tour, which is probably only about $200 per person, haha!
    I guess I can always just stop at the bakery. Looks almost as good as the canyon! :-))

  3. Jeff Pierce says:

    I read your title and was thinking the Peek-a-Poo loop at Bryce. WOW! this is so much more! An awesome slot canyon without the crowds of the better publicized Antelope Canyon. Another awesome adventure!

    • placestheygo says:

      There are actually three different Peek-a-Boo hikes in Utah. This one was new to us until Dave and Sue shared it. It’s nice that anyone can hike it as long as you can get there.

  4. Sue says:

    I agree with Jeff on this one…..Peek a boo is an awesome canyon without the crowds of Antelope – plus the satisfaction of accomplishing that “road”! Leave it to John to do research on the Kouign Amann! We just happily eat them whenever and wherever we find them! Great pictures, I love the one of you standing in the shaft of light! I tried to throw some sand in the air to get the classic Antelope picture but it just made Dave sneeze…..

    • placestheygo says:

      We are glad you visited first to give us an idea of what it was like. I never thought about trying to throw sand in the light shaft. Now you have the background on your pastry!

  5. geogypsy2u says:

    Awesome slot and now I know what I missed when Bill took the ATV trail and the clutch went out on the truck.

  6. Jodee Gravel says:

    Wow, you’re really staying on top of the blog now!! I think I’m caught up 🙂 More great pics of the lovely slots. Those large rocks above your heads jammed in the walls look very intimidating! The Moqui Steps are incredible.

  7. It’s adventures like these that make me miss my jeep…

  8. Jim and Barb says:

    Beautiful, having one of the two of you in the photos really brings a perspective at how tall and the width of the slots. Makes us want to get out there and do some hiking!

    • placestheygo says:

      We definitely needed someone in the photo for readers to truly appreciate the depth of the slot. Hope we see you out hiking soon. But you do have a lot on your plate right now.

  9. Alicia Baker says:

    Only reason I haven’t done this hike yet is that I heard the road was super sandy, and I don’t think my Forester would make it. We’ll have to take a trip in the truck I guess! Damn, that bakery looks amazing, why I haven’t I been before!!

    Alicia @

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