Want to go on the ULTIMATE adventure in Southern Utah? Look no further than the narrow and adventurous Peek-A-Boo and Spooky slot canyons! In this guide we’re sharing everything you need to know before attempting this hike.
By far one of our favorite adventures during our time in Southern Utah was hiking (or should we say squeezing?) through the Peek-A-Boo and Spooky slot canyons. After our hike in Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch, we were a bit hooked on slot canyons and we were ready to take our slot canyon experience to the next level with these narrow and claustrophobia inducing canyons.
We spent an early Sunday morning climbing all through these slot canyons, facing some fears of heights and falling, getting stuck a couple times, and making a new friend, and it was such a memorable, exhilarating, and comfort zone pushing experience. We had SO much fun!
Watch our experience climbing through Peek-A-Boo and Spooky slot canyons
While this is a popular hike in the Escalante area, there is a lot to know before you attempt it, including important safety warnings, what to bring, and more. And in this guide we’re sharing everything you need to know to decide whether this is the right hike for you and if so, have a blast hiking it. We hope you love this adventure as much as we did!
Looking for more things to do in Southern Utah? Check out these guides:
- 10 Day Utah National Park Road Trip Itinerary
- The Best Things to do at Capitol Reef National Park
- 3 Days at Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks
- Hiking the Fairyland Loop Trail at Bryce Canyon National Park
- Hiking to Lower Calf Creek Falls
- All of our Utah Vlogs
- All of our Utah Guides
Before embarking on your adventure, please review the Leave No Trace principles to ensure you leave every place better than you found it, so that others can enjoy these beautiful places for many years to come!
These seven principles include planning ahead and preparing, hiking and camping on durable surfaces, disposing of waste properly (pack out what you pack in!), understanding campfire rules and always fully extinguishing your fires, respecting wildlife, and being considerate of other visitors.
- About the Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons
- Safety Warnings for the Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons
- Where are the Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons?
- Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons Stats
- When to hike to the Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons
- What to Bring when hiking to the Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons
- Important things to know before visiting the Peek-a-boo and Spooky Slot Canyons
- Our Experience at the Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons
- Where to stay to hike to the Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons
- Things to do near the Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons
About the Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons
The Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons are a very loved (and hated by some!) slot canyon experience near Escalante, Utah, known for their super tight canyons, challenging climbing features, and all around thrills and adventure.
However, there is actually a third slot canyon that you can do with this hike, called Dry Fork Narrows. This one doesn’t get as much love, as it’s not too thrilling, but it is still beautiful, with pink colored sand and walls.
In this guide we’re focusing on Peek-A-Boo and Spooky the most, as they are the most popular of the three, but we are including information about our experience in the Dry Fork Narrows too!
While there are many slot canyons to explore in Southern Utah, both well known and off the beaten path, it’s hard to beat the Dry Fork, Peek-A-Boo, and Spooky combo. The hike feels like an adult jungle gym and provides a very unique and unforgettable experience, which may not be the right fit for some, but if you don’t mind tight spaces, you’ll have the time of your life!
Safety Warnings for the Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons
Before reading any further, there are some very important safety warnings to know about before attempting the Peek-A-Boo and Spooky slot canyons.
As with all slot canyons, Peek-A-Boo and Spooky are very susceptible to flash floods, which can occur year round, but especially in July, August, and September, when there are higher chances of afternoon thunderstorms.
Make sure to check the weather reports before your visit and you set out on your hike. Do NOT hike to Peek-A-Boo and Spooky if there is rain or storms in the forecast. Even rain miles away can flood the slot canyon.
If you’re uncertain about the weather, we’d suggest going to the Escalante Interagency Visitor Center to ask the rangers if it’ll be safe. They are very helpful there!
Climbing is involved
There are two sections of this hike that require climbing and rappelling. The first is the entrance to Peek-A-Boo, where there is a 12 foot rock wall you have to climb, with very little foot and handholds and slick rock. This may be hard for kids without the assistance of an adult, as well for adults who are not fans of climbing.
The second is a drop into the Spooky slot canyon, which we aren’t exactly sure the height of, but it starts with you climbing down onto a rock and then rappelling down the rest of the way. During our visit, there was a rope there to use, but we hear it isn’t always there, so come prepared!
These two features are not horrible and totally doable, but definitely something to be aware of if you don’t love climbing or dropping down into things. There are also some smaller climbing sections in the slot canyons, which are more fun than they are difficult.
Do NOT attempt if you’re Claustrophobic
These slot canyons get NARROW. If you are claustrophobic or don’t like really tight places, it would be a good idea to skip this hike. While both slot canyons are narrow in spots, Spooky can get to only 10 inches wide in some spots. We are pretty thin and rubbed a bit going through.
Adam is not a fan of small spaces, like caves, but he felt totally fine in this slot canyon, since you can always see the sky and while it’s narrow, the walls are tall, making it feel less confined, to us at least.
Where are the Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons?
The Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot canyons are located near Escalante, in the Grand Staircase Escalante-National Monument. They make a great addition to the Utah National Parks road trip!
The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is over 1 million acres of protected land in southern Utah, which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management, not the National Park Service. There are a few regions that make up this national monument and Peek-A-Boo and Spooky are in the Escalante Canyons region.
To get to the Peek-A-Boo and Spooky slot canyons, you have to drive 26 miles down the Hole in the Rock road, which starts in Escalante. This road is not for the faint of heart! It is 26 miles of unpaved road, which is bumpy, sandy, and washboarded. When reading the reviews for this hike, you will often read how horrible the road is, including one review that said they saw multiple mufflers (we did see a couple!).
You do not need high clearance or 4×4 for this road, just a lot of patience. In our van, it took us just over 2 hours to drive the 26 miles, but this is because we drive a lot slower in our van, since it doubles as our home. But a normal car, SUV, or truck can make it down the road at a decent speed and probably make it in 1 hour total.
Despite it taking us a long time, it really wasn’t that bad and probably not the worst road we have driven on. It is just long and feels neverending.
While you do not need 4×4 or high clearance, it’s highly recommended to NOT drive this road after a rainstorm or after snow melts. The road can be impassable after it rains and if you get stuck out there, you might be there for a while.
Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons Stats
Miles: 6.1 miles
Elevation: 661 feet
Reviews & Current Conditions
The route on AllTrails takes you through a total of three slot canyons: Dry Fork Narrows, Peek-A-Boo, and Spooky, which makes it a total of around 6.1 miles. Here are a few good things to know about this trail.
Dry Fork Narrows
Dry Fork Narrows is the widest of the three and has some gorgeous sections, especially with the morning light and the walls had a nice pink hue to them.
This slot canyon can be done at either the beginning or the end of the hike. We did it at the beginning and loved it as an introduction to the slot canyons for the day. We think if you did it at the end, you would maybe not be as impressed with it, so starting with this one and making your way to the most epic one would be our suggestion.
It seemed like many people skipped Dry Fork Narrows, since it’s not as exhilarating as the others, but if you want to ease yourself into the other slot canyons or just want to experience a third and have the time, we’d recommend it!
Peek-A-Boo and Spooky are much more challenging slot canyons, with narrow twists and turns, climbing features, and tight squeezes. It is highly recommended to do Peek-A-Boo first and then Spooky.
Having a one way flow of traffic will make this hike SO much more enjoyable, as there is no space for two way traffic in some areas, so squeezing by people going the other direction would be very tricky.
The first part of the hike is along slick rock ledges and on sandy trails and if it wasn’t for the stacks of cairns, which are the stacked rocks dotting the trail, it would be difficult to find your way. So be sure to keep an eye out for the cairns and follow them!
The AllTrails map helped a ton as well, but we still got a bit lost trying to find Dry Fork Narrows, so you really need to pay attention.
Want to get 30% off an AllTrails+ membership? Click this link or use our code aplusk30 (you must redeem this code on the website, not the app)!
We use AllTrails+ on every single hike and it is the most helpful hiking tool out there! Some of the features we love are offline maps (so we can navigate even without cell service), wrong-turn alerts, and its 3D maps feature, so we can get a feel for trails before we hike.
How much time to expect
If you hike all three canyons the hike will take about 3-4 hours to complete. We spent 4 hours on the trail, but that was with a lot of photo stops and filming.
When to hike to the Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons
While you can do this hike any time of the year, the best time to hike the Dry Fork Narrows, Peek-A-Boo, and Spooky slot canyons would be between October through December and March through May, when the temperatures are cooler and there isn’t snow or ice.
You can definitely do this hike in the summer, but it will be HOT when hiking outside of the slot canyons and there is a greater risk for afternoon thunderstorms, which can be deadly in slot canyons.
We did this hike in mid April and it was pretty perfect! The morning was a bit chilly, but warmed up immediately as the sun came out. And while it was during spring break, we were able to beat the crowds by following the tips below.
With it being a popular hike and not really a spot you want to experience crowds at, it’s a good idea to get an early start. We started right before sunrise and saw only 1 person for much of our hike, until we were on our way out.
Tip: Sleep near the trailhead the night before for an early start!
Since we didn’t want to drive the rough road in the morning before sunrise, we ended up camping at the overflow parking lot. You cannot camp at trailheads in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, but since this lot was not a trailhead, it was a legal spot to camp and VERY convenient.
One thing to know about camping in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is that you do need to pick up a free overnight permit from the visitor center. There are a few other established dry campgrounds that you can disperse camp at, like Hole in the Rock Road.
If you’re not familiar with dispersed camping, this means that you can camp pretty much anywhere away from developed recreation facilities and the best practice is to use an already established site. These sites are usually matted down looking and may have a fire ring.
What to Bring
As always, we recommend having the 10 essentials on you when doing any hike, but here are a few key items we want to point out that will especially help you during this hike!
For this hike you’re going to want to bring as little as possible. Some parts of the slots get to be 10 inches wide and you’ll likely have to take off your backpack to get through. We brought a small, packable backpack with the minimum gear we needed and it worked well!
Make sure to pack water! We love our Camelbak bladder for hikes because it stores a ton of water and it’s easy to drink from while moving. It is also thinner and more shape-shifting than a traditional water bottle.
Not only do you need water for the hike, but we’d also recommend bringing a couple gallons or more to leave in the car. Just in case you get stuck out on Hole in the Rock road, you’ll have some water. There is virtually no cell service and if you get caught in a rainstorm or have some sort of breakdown you might not be able to call for help and may be relying on other folks out there who could help you. This isn’t meant to scare anyone, but it is a good precaution to take!
There is very little sunlight in the slot canyons, especially in the morning, so it will get chillier inside of the canyon than it is outside the canyon walls. We suggest bringing some light layers for the varying temperatures on your hike. We wore our puffy jackets and while they were fine, we did have some fears that they would rip against the canyon walls and they also added some bulk to our bodies.
We’d highly recommend downloading the AllTrails map before you go. We had read before that this hike is confusing, but it truly was at times and we got turned around, mostly trying to find Dry Fork Narrows. You will need an AllTrails+ membership to download maps, which is $35.99 a year and so worth it…you do not want to get lost out here!
Although you will spend a lot of your time in the slot canyons, the hike in the wash is very exposed to the sun! And the Utah sun doesn’t play around!
Important things to know Before you go
Before hitting the trail, here are a few more things to know about hiking to Peek-a-boo and Spooky slot canyons.
There are two parking lots
There are two parking lots for this trail, the one at the trailhead and also an overflow parking lot, about ⅓ of a mile back towards Hole in the Rock Road that you will pass when you drive in.
We had read that the road to the trailhead from the overflow parking lot was rough and required 4×4, but it was not bad at all and must have been recently redone. There are a good amount of spots here and when we finished the hike, there were still spots left.
Restrooms at the trailhead
There are some pit toilets at the trailhead, so make sure to go before you start the hike!
Know the road conditions
As we mentioned above, Hole in the Rock Road should not be driven on after or during rain or snow. You can read a road condition report on the BLM site, although it’s not always super updated. When in doubt, pop into the Escalante Interagency Visitor Center before you go.
This hike is not for beginner hikers. It requires climbing, tight spaces, and navigating a trail mostly by rock cairns. Here are a few extra tips to make sure you’re safe when heading into the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument:
- Let someone know your itinerary and when you expect to be back. Having a Garmin inReach Mini or some sort of satellite communicator would be perfect for this situation.
- Avoid traveling alone. You may need the assistance of someone else on this hike. Even with there being two of us, we were very glad to meet a hiking buddy along this trail.
- Carry extra food, blankets, and water.
Check the weather
We know we’re a broken record, but make sure you know the extended forecast before venturing into the slot canyons and know that the conditions can change at any moment. DO NOT attempt this hike if it is going to rain!
Dogs are not recommended
Dogs are technically allowed on the trail and in the canyons, but we wouldn’t recommend it. With how narrow it gets, the climbs and drops, it would be really tricky for a dog.
Our Experience at the Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons
While we have shared quite a bit above to hopefully help you prepare for this hike, here’s a little bit more about our experience on the trail. You can watch our experience here as well!
After a fun day of hiking to Lower Calf Creek Falls and driving part of the Burr Trail, we began our treacherous (and dreaded) trek down the Hole in the Rock Road to the Lower Dry Fork trailhead, the beginning point for the Peek-A-Boo and Spooky slot canyons.
We downloaded some podcasts to listen to along the way to make the drive more bearable, and while we didn’t think it was horrible, it definitely was a rough and loud ride (imagine driving your house with cabinets full of items on a rocky road!).
Our plan was to sleep as close to the trailhead as possible, so we could get an early start on the hike and not have to drive any rough roads early in the morning. After 2 hours, we made it to the overflow parking area for the hike, which was our home for the evening.
We woke up bright and early to drive to the trailhead and arrived to a very empty parking lot, which we were pumped about. With how popular Southern Utah is, especially around spring break (when we visited), we were nervous things would be busy. But lucky for us, the Hole in the Rock Road delays most people’s start on the trail.
The hike is absolutely amazing from the beginning. You walk along a ledge for the first part, with incredible views of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This walk along the ledge at sunrise was something magical! The sun really accentuates the oranges, reds, and whites of the sandstone and slickrock around you.
After walking along the ledge for a bit, you have to hike down some sandstone, which is where the hike starts to get a little harder to follow. While there are rock cairns, it’s easy to get confused and we accidentally started the descent to Peek-A-Boo, when our goal was to do the Dry Fork Narrows first.
After climbing back up a nice hill we had just gone down, we struggled to find exactly where to go for the Dry Fork Narrows. Using AllTrails and following footsteps in the sand, we headed the direction we needed to go, but still got a bit lost. We found what we thought was the entrance to Dry Fork, but after climbing down a bit, it appeared we were at about halfway through the narrows, with a huge drop off to actually get into them.
So we backtracked a bit and finally found the correct entrance, which was MUCH easier to get into and began our trek into the Dry Fork Narrows. This slot canyon isn’t nearly as narrow as the other two and was very easy.
But what surprised us the most about it was its coloring! It has a white and pink coloring, with pink colored sand below your feet. It was super pretty! And as the light started to pop through, the slot canyon glowed a bit, which is one of the coolest sights to see.
After hiking through the Dry Fork Narrows, we exited out into a wash area and made our way to the Peek-A-Boo slot canyon. As soon as we turned left towards the entrance we immediately saw it…the dreaded climb to get into the canyon.
At first glance, it didn’t look that bad and we could see some footholds to assist you on the climb up. So Adam gave it a shot and quickly got stuck close to the top, not feeling confident he could get enough grip to push himself up to the top.
We heard someone coming (our first person of the day!) and Adam decided to come back down to not hold them up, and also to watch how they got up there. 🙂 We watched Josh (as we later learned his name), who was pretty new to slot canyons, make it look easy! So we gave it another shot and Josh was kind enough to help us get up safely.
Once you’re in Peek-A-Boo, the slot canyon is immediately SO cool, with arches inside of it, tight turns, and small climbs, including areas where you have to climb up the twisting canyon, which forces you to move your body in weird ways.
Peek-A-Boo starts out less narrow, but then gets more narrow as you get to the end, with it being harder to get through face forward. We had so much fun tackling all of the mini obstacles in this slot canyon!
After exiting Peek-A-Boo, we walked in a very open area for a while until we met up with the entrance to Spooky.
Spooky starts off pretty narrow, with some fun sections where you can climb under openings. Shortly after entering you’ll reach one of the largest challenges in the hike, a drop down into the rest of Spooky. This drop is at least 6 ft, which may not seem that bad, but it felt scary in the moment (especially for me!).
You first climb down onto some rocks and then have the dropoff below you, which lucky for us, there was a rope installed to help you rappel down AND we had met back up with Josh, who coached us a bit (THANK YOU JOSH!!!). As someone who hates the fear of falling, I did not really enjoy this part while in the moment, but looking back, it was pretty cool!
From here, things get narrower and narrower. We couldn’t stop laughing as we saw the small spaces we had to squeeze our bodies through (we hear it gets as narrow as 10 inches!)! I even got stuck for a second, which thankfully was funny and not terrifying. The whole experience was just such a blast and hard to put into words!
We ended up hiking the rest of the hike with Josh and it was so fun to get to experience it with someone else (and make a friend). After conquering all of the tight spaces, we exited back into the wide open wash and made our way back up to the top of the ridge. On the way back we definitely saw more people, but it still wasn’t crazy crowded.
We got back to the van and after mentally preparing ourselves for the long and bumpy ride back, we headed back onto Hole in the Rock Road and 2 hours later, unfortunately had to say goodbye to this incredibly epic region of Utah.
Where to stay
Besides camping at the overflow parking area that we mentioned above, which is right by the trailhead, here are some other great options of places to stay in the Escalante and Boulder area before tackling Peek-A-Boo and Spooky slot canyons.
Note: Some of these are much pricier than we normally include. But they are very aesthetically pleasing, trendy spots that were too cool not to share.
- Historic Pioneer Cabin: This cabin was built in 1890 and retains its charm, while providing modern amenities.
- Escalante Cabins & RV Park: This spot has RV sites, tent sites, small cabins, and nice vacation homes!
- Escalante Outfitters: No frills cabins with a shared bathhouse, outdoor store, and restaurant on site!
- Escalante Escapes Foxtail & Prickly Pear: These luxurious tiny homes aren’t the cheapest, but if you want to splurge a bit, these both sleep 6 people total, have an amazing layout, and have grills if you want to cook after hiking.
- Hilltop Casita: This 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom tiny house has amazing views, a small kitchenette, and can sleep 4 people.
- Yonder Escalante: These fancy tiny homes are sort of pricey, but are a good treat yo self type spot!
- Escalante Yurts: Another pricier option, but these yurts are very unique and offer a luxurious experience.
- A great FREE camping option is Hole in the Rock Road. This dispersed camping area is right at the beginning of the road, before it gets too rough. And it has amazing views! We had no issues finding a spot during spring break. There are NO services here, but there is a dumpster at the front of the camping area. Make sure to pick up your trash!
Make sure to get a free camping permit from the BLM office in Escalante.
- Deer Creek Campground: This campground only has 7 sites and is best for vehicles under 20 feet (no trailers). It’s pretty small and doesn’t offer much space to turn around. It costs $10 a night to camp here (first come, first served) and is located along the Burr Trail.
- Escalante Petrified Forest State Park: This state park has a handful of sites, some with hookups, close to a reservoir.
Want to find campsites all over the US? Try the Dyrt PRO for FREE for one month!
The Dyrt is the #1 camping app in the US! Sign up for a FREE 30 day trial of their PRO version using our code AplusK!
The Dyrt PRO offers many incredible features to make finding campsites even easier (+ cheaper). Some of our favorite features are:
-Offline maps, so you can find campsites without cell service
-Map layers to find free camping areas (+ cell phone service map layers)
-Discounts from PRO partners and on campground bookings (up to 40%!)
Things to do near the Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons
Looking for more things to do before or after you hike the Peek-A-Boo and Spooky slot canyons? Here are some other amazing (and accessible) spots in the Escalante Canyons region of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
Drive the incredibly beautiful Scenic Byway 12. This road runs from Panguitch, close to Bryce Canyon, to Torrey, Utah, right by Capitol Reef National Park. Driving this road is such an amazing experience. Adam kept saying over and over “wow” and “this road is intense”! The road never feels scary, but it has so many views and even some unique parts, like driving on top of the spine of rocks.
Hike to Lower Calf Creek Falls, which is a gorgeous 126 waterfall located close to Escalante. This hike is relatively easy and has a HUGE payoff with not only the waterfall, but the gorgeous views along the way.
Grab coffee from Kiva Koffeehouse, which has the BEST coffee shop view ever!
Have a burrito or tacos at Magnolia’s Street Food, a super cool blue bus whipping up some amazing food!
Climb around Devils Garden, a rocky area off Hole in the Rock road, which is described as a playground.
Hike to Zebra Canyon, a good slot canyon alternative to Peekaboo and Spooky. It also requires less driving on the Hole in the Rock Road.
Drive the Burr Trail. This road connects Boulder to Bullfrog and goes through the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Capitol Reef National Park, and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. We only did a portion of this trail, but loved every mile we were able to drive. You go from cream colored rocks to bright orange canyon walls, with alcoves and amazing scenery all around you!
Hike to Upper Calf Creek Falls, which is a shorter hike that takes you to the upper portion of Calf Creek Falls.
Ready to hike the Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons?
Pin this Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons guide to help plan your trip!