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Waterholes Canyon, AZ
558 36 0 0
Description 36 Triplogs  1 Topic
RatedFavorite   Wish List Region
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Surrounding topography and forecast knowledge recommended yet does not eliminate risk.
View 5
Difficulty 2.5    Route Finding
Distance Round Trip 2.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,596 feet
Elevation Gain 2 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 2.51
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Seasonal Creek
Author Rob del Desierto
Descriptions 128
Routes 91
Photos 4,912
Trips 890 map ( 1,975 miles )
Age 34
Location Casa Grande, Az.
Rated Viewed All Mine Friends
2  2015-08-18 azbackpackr
37  2015-07-03 bknorby
15  2014-05-10 knmurphy
6  2012-03-27 AZLOT69
89  2012-01-29 Vaporman
86  2012-01-07 Vaporman
10  2011-09-25 Rick Vincent
35  2011-05-06 suzaz
82  2011-04-30 Vaporman
12  2011-04-06 BubbaSue
6  2010-08-22 Rob del Desierto
59  2010-05-02 Vaporman
Page 1,  2
Trailhead Forecast
Historical Weather
Reservation Navajo Nation
Backpack - No
Seasons - Autumn to Spring
Alternative Routes
Nearby Hikes Area Water Sources
direct air miles away to trailhead
3.0  Horseshoe Bend View
4.6  Spencer Trail - Dominguez Pass Dry Loop
4.6  Spencer Trail
4.7  Lee's Ferry River Trail
4.7  Grand Canyon River Running
4.8  Spencer Trail to The Steps
[ View More! ]
     Automobile Remains/Wreckage
     Great Horned Owl
     Four O'Clock
     Indian Paintbrush
     Redbud Tree
     Sego Lily (aka Mariposa Lily)
     Navajo Sandstone
     Slot Canyon
Easy hidden slot canyon
by Rob del Desierto
Waterholes Canyon is a slot canyon just south of Page. Its one of the last tributaries to lower Glen Canyon before the Colorado River emerges at Lee's Ferry to enter Marble Canyon. Waterholes is not as famous as nearby Antelope Canyon, nor is it as deep. It shares many characteristics with another nearby tributary to the lower Glen, Nine Mile Draw. There are actually two portions to Waterholes Canyon, and they are divided between Upper and Lower at the point where the highway bridge for US89 crosses the canyon. Recently the Navajo Nation has closed the lower section of Waterholes Canyon to hikers. Fortunately the upper section is still open to hiking. Since it is on Navajo land, you'll need to get a hiking permit from either the LeChee chapter house (Mon-Fri, business hours only) or from the Antelope Canyon entrance station. The permit is $5/person/day.

The hike begins at the trailhead just north of the highway bridge over Waterholes Canyon, on the east side of the road. There is a gate and a hiker's maze that mark the highway right-of-way boundary. Once through the hiker's maze, there is a well-worn and obvious path leading towards the right and the canyon rim. This leads into a small draw that is easily descended. At one point you will reach a seeming impasse, with a cliff on the right and a boulder-jam on the right. Climb over the boulders, which is very easy, and the slope leads into another steep draw which will take you right to the floor of Waterholes Canyon. Downstream you can see the highway bridge, while upstream are alternating narrows and broader canyon bottoms.

The hike itself is not very hard or difficult to follow. The stream bed is the trail, though there are a few side canyons that are neat, narrow, and worth checking out. Hike upstream as far as you'd like, though the farther upstream you go, the narrower and more convoluted you'll find the canyon to be. After a rainstorm, there can be pools of water for several weeks afterwards. These can range from pretty distractions to major obstacles, especially in the upper canyon, so be prepared. NEVER enter a slot canyon when it may rain in the area - slot canyons can quickly become death traps with no place to escape.
© 2007 - 2015

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.


    Map Drive
    Water None
    Sun5:56am - 6:56pm
    Preferred Mar, Apr, Sep, Oct → Early
    RoadPaved - Car Okay
    Permit $$
    information is in description

    Directions To canyon trip
    From Page, drive several miles south to the Waterholes Canyon bridge (signed). Pull off on the east side of the highway by a signed gate warning against hiking without a valid permit. The hiker's maze and trailhead are just south of the gate on the fenceline.
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
    How To Put Out a Campfire
    A campfire must be extinguished by drowning it with water, stirring with a shovel, and repeating that process until the campfire is cold to the touch. A campfire is still a danger if it has any trace of heat, and must not be left or abandoned. Wildfires can begin by abandoned campfires that rebuild heat on windy days and then blowing embers ignite surrounding grasses and brush.
    © 2015 HAZ