Some of the narrows in Blue Pools Slot Canyon from above the canyon, only a few minutes away from the parking area.Blue Pools Slot Canyon
is a short and scenic slot canyon located just inside the Utah State Line in-between the town of Big 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.
Blue 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.
Entering the canyon on the slab.
Narrows under the bridge.
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.
One of the many choke-stone caught up in the canyon.
Narrows in Blue Pools Slot Canyon.
The big drop.. ~50ft.
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 lower part of Blue Pools Canyon, just before it opens up.
Looking down from above the sandstone cliffs towards the flood plains above Lake Powell. Blue Pools Slot Canyon exits from the left from the well pronounced drainage.
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.
Blue 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!
Sunrise at the Wahweap Campground, GCNRA.
Camping can be done in a varitey of places in the region. The closest established campground are the Lone Rock Primitive Camping area and the more established Wahweap Campground. See this
page for more information on camping in GCNRA. Numerous free camping areas exist in the region and these are mainly found on BLM
From Page, Arizona, follow 89 towards Big Water, Utah. Cross of the Utah State Line and look for a dirt road on the left before a bridge (the bridge the goes over Blue Pools Slot Canyon) in between milepost 3 and 4. Park in the dirt parking area close to a chain link fence.
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.
Misc and Disclaimer
If you have any more additional information or photos, please contact me or add them to this page. While I can provide lots of information about the canyon, flash floods always rearrange slot canyons and I cannot guarantee the information will be up to date. Always check for current conditions and go prepared for the worst. New beta will be posted as necessary. Thank you!