OverviewBig Water, UT and Page, AZ along Highway 89. Because of its proximity to the road (you have to follow the slot canyon under the bridge), there is quite a bit of trash in the canyon. A lot of it can be picked up while hiking, but some of the larger items can't (most notably an older Cadillac with a trailer hitch wedged under a choke-stone. However, aside from the trash, there are some very scenic narrows with some interesting downclimbs and stems (to get over pools). The last rappel and only real rappel (~50ft) is very scenic and the canyon opens up dramatically. The lower part of Blue Pools Canyon was once under Lake Powell, but now, thanks to cyclical moisture that the Western U.S. receives, water levels have dropped and now have exposed a beautiful slot canyon (I wonder how many more are under Lake Powell?!?) Blue Pools Slot Canyon is well worth a stop if you are driving from Arizona to Southern Utah.
Canyoneering InfoBlue Pools Slot Canyon is a very straight forward canyon with a 3AI rating. There is really only one rappel and 4-5 moderately difficult down-climbs. Two of the down-climbs can easily be rappelled and have bolts in place.
From the parking area (see getting there), walk through the gate (make sure to close it after you walk through!) and heads towards the canyon (about 100 yds in from the parking area). The canyon deepens very quickly and to enter it, follow the rim to a pile of debris and traverse the debris to a sandstone slab that enters the canyon on the canyoneers left. The canyon narrows quickly and the first obstacle is reached. Down-climb #1 is a funky choke-stone down-climb with a large piece of rope in place for a hand-line and is about 2m high. Continue walking and go under the bridge. Down-climb #2 is then reached with a large choke-stone with another big rope in place to help with the 3m drop. Below the choke-stone is an old Cadillac with a trailer hitch sticking out (which is surprisingly useful on the down-climb). Right after the down-climb is a knee deep pool that one must contend with. You can strenuously stem over it (high or low) or simply walk through (gross). Just past this is a massive choke-stone (you can't miss it). For the next 1/4 mile, the canyon opens dramatically and one could easily escape out canyoneer's right if needed. The canyon then narrows up again and Down-climb #3 is encountered. There are bolts on the left if one wanted to rappel it. It looks harder then it actually is and the drop is only about 4m. About 100 ft down canyon is Down-climb #4, which is a maze of choke-stones with bolts on the left side canyon wall. Once again, this drop looks harder then it actually is, but it is only a 3-4m drop with a soft, sandy landing.
Walk for maybe another 1/4mile and then you would arrive at the big rappel, which is around 16m. There are two bolts, and two pitons on the canyoneer's left side of the canyon with chains and quick links. The rappel is a corkscrew rappel following the water concourse and ends in amazing narrow section in the deepest part of Blue Pools Slot Canyon. From here, follow the ever widening canyon until is simply ends and one reaches the wide flood plains above Lake Powell. The easiest way back to your car is to work your way left by following small drainage's that lead to a broad, sandy ramp that takes you back up to the rim via some sandstone ledges and ramps. From here, follow use trails back to the road and your car.
The author completed this hike with 15 people at a snails pace of 5.5 hrs, but with a smaller group, you could easily do Blue Pools Slot Canyon in 2-3 hrs.
Red TapeBlue Pools Slot Canyon is on the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (GCNRA) and you most follow GCNRA Rules and Policies.
Also, be aware the large amounts of Cryptobiotic Soil soild grow in the region. This soil is a living crust and helps the dry, arid soild retain it's moisture. Stepping on the crust (or "busting the crust") eventually kills desert plants because the soil can not retain moisture and then often leads to erosion. Find rocks to walk on or find use trails that have already been impacted!
This region also is subject to large thunderstorms in the summer and early fall. If planning to do this canyon during summer thunderstorms, start early and be out of the canyon before noon. Always check current weather conditions before going into any canyon in the southwest!
Campingthis page for more information on camping in GCNRA. Numerous free camping areas exist in the region and these are mainly found on BLM land.
Blue Pools Slot Canyon- More information on Blue Pools Slot Canyon from Todd's Desert Hiking Guide.
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area- Information on the region.
Blue Pools Slot Canyon Weather Conditions- Current weather for the region by NOAA.