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Utah Hike of the week: Spooky Gulch

Published May 16, 2013 2:55 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Spooky Gulch is a short but intensely narrow slot canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. It is great area for hikers of all ages, but you may want to stay out of the narrows if you are claustrophobic or of sizable girth. Watch for snakes.

Getting There • The hike is near Hole in the Rock Road, which is well-signed just southeast of Escalante on State Road 12. Check at the Grand Staircase-Escalante Visitors Center to check road conditions before departing.

Travel 26 miles south-southeast on the Hole in the Rock Road. At 26 miles, you will take Dry Fork Road northeast. It curves left after about ½ mile; shortly after that, take the left fork in the road. After another mile, the road ends at the parking area and trailhead overlooking Dry Fork.

Directions • From the parking area, cairns lead you northeast down across a half-mile or so of slickrock to the sandy wash of Dry Fork. You may have to pick your way down, as the cairns aren't always easy to spot. Almost as soon as you reach the flat, sandy area you will see the mouth of another slot canyon: Peek-a-Boo. There are hand and footholds carved up the rock into the canyon mouth. By all accounts, this canyon is well worth a stop to explore.

To get to Spooky Gulch, continue east in the wash about 0.7 mile to a flat, sandy area. The mouth of Spooky Gulch is to the north. I explored about a quarter-mile of the canyon, which is extremely narrow and dark. At some places, you may have to turn sideways or walk on your knees to pass. I stopped and turned back at a short climb because I was eight months pregnant. It isn't a difficult climb, though, and the slot canyon continues a short ways farther before it opens up. Destination Slot canyon

Hiking time 3 hours

Round-trip miles 3 miles

Elevation gain 315 feet

Difficulty Easy

Trailhead restrooms No

Dogs allowed Yes

Bikes allowed n/a

Fees No