What on earth is a Slot Canyon, you ask? Well, a slot canyon is a long, deep and quite narrow canyon carved by fast flowing water from flash floods caused by downpours. It can be quite narrow (less than a couple feet) in certain areas, and is deep enough to not have any direct sunlight most of the day. When flash floods occur due to heavy rains in the surrounding areas, the rapid flowing water erodes the rock walls forming unique formations along its path.

What to Expect at Wire Pass

The drive from Page, Arizona is about 44 miles, but the last 8 miles is on an unpaved dirt road, so make sure you have a good 4×4 vehicle.

The hike is less frequented by regular tourists, so it is a perfect spot if you’d like to explore the slot canyons without the crowds. When we were there we only saw 3 other cars parked in the parking lot, and while hiking we pretty much had the entire canyon to ourselves!

The trailhead warns visitors of flash floods that can happen anytime of the year, so you have to be wary of the weather conditions. The entire hike is on the river bed where the flash flood flows when it pours in the surrounding areas, so you have to take this warning seriously to avoid getting stuck in the midst of a flash flood on the hike which can be very dangerous and potentially life threatening.

Wire Pass Slot Canyon Trailhead
Wire Pass Slot Canyon Trailhead
Sign posted at trailhead warning about flashfloods
Sign posted at trailhead warning about flash floods, its very real safety concern here

The 8 feet drop

The first mile and half of the hike is pretty flat dirt path after which you actually enter the canyon. It can get very narrow in the canyon at some spots, with less than 2 feet of width, but we had no major trouble.

Except for one spot that has an 8 feet drop in an area that is very narrow.

8 foot drop in wire pass
Scramble to cross the 8-10 foot drop in wire pass

There is a rope ladder that is secured to a rock to help hikers navigate this spot, however, the ladder is pretty unsteady. If you’re not a rock climber, this spot is going to cause you some anxiety.

When we arrived there there was a hiker that was stuck at the bottom, unable to climb back out because the person who climbed before her forgot to secure the rope ladder against the rock! Luckily for her, she was stuck there only about 10 mins before we arrived at the spot to help her climb back out.

We found that the logs placed on the side are much more easier to use rather than the rope ladder. There aren’t that many hikers on this trail so getting stuck here could mean a long wait before someone arrives (and of course there is no cell reception here)!

Once through this point, the hike is an easy walk with amazing views of the carved rocks and narrow passages leading up to the end of the wire pass trail. Here it intersects with the path to Buckskin Gulch, which is one of the longest and deepest slot canyons in the world. A proper permit is required to go to Buckskin Gulch and since we did not secure one, we had to turn around. The hike is pretty remote and allows you to be in nature by yourself with very few fellow hikers

Wire Pass Slot Canyon in Pictures

Imagine being stuck here in middle of flash flood - you don't want to be here
Walking on the river bed with no water in the slot canyon is a pretty amazing experience
walking on the river bed in a slot canyon
The canyon is quite deep up to several dozen feet in depth, and based on the carvings it is clear that water flows quite high during flash floods
close up of the carvings caused by gushing water
Close up view of the carvings caused by gushing water
Canyon with very narrow pathway
Canyon can get pretty narrow at certain points
Canyon can get pretty narrow at certain points
Imagine being stuck here in middle of flash flood! You don’t want to be here when that happens. (This spot is probably about couple miles from the trailhead – which is why you want to make sure the weather is clear before you begin this hike)
Parts of the wire pass has rocks with reddish orange carvings
Parts of the wire pass has rocks with reddish orange carvings
During flash floods the water can be several meters high
During flash floods the gushing water can be several meters high in the slot canyon, flowing very rapidly
slot canyon carved by flash floods
Yet another narrow turn in the slot canyon
Intersection of Wire Pass and Buckskin Gulch
Intersection of Wire Pass and Buckskin Gulch
Buckskin Gulch
Buckskin Gulch Trail
Dusk at wire pass slot canyon
Enjoying the sky just outside of the slot canyon entrance (close to where Olya is standing)

Check out more posts from our visit to Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and Glen Canyon area.

If you have already been to Wire Pass Slot Canyon, let us know in comments what was your experience like. We would love to hear from you!

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