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Waterholes Canyon, AZ
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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.


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.
Description 40 Triplogs  1 Topic
RatedFavorite  
Wish List 16
 Region
 
0
0
 Hotevilla
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
Canyoneering
Consensus
View 5
Grade4
WaterA
RiskR
TimeIII
Statistics
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 2.5 of 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 PaleoRob
Descriptions 137
Routes 111
Photos 5,253
Trips 942 map ( 2,097 miles )
Age 36
Location Grand Junction, CO
Photos
Viewed All Mine Following
15  2017-04-16 hikeaz
19  2016-05-21
Escalante National Monument Trip
arizona_water
36  2015-11-24 GrottoGirl
2  2015-08-18 azbackpackr
16  2015-08-18
Glen Canyon Dam to Lee's Ferry
azbackpackr
37  2015-07-03 GrottoGirl
15  2014-05-10 knmurphy
6  2012-03-27 AZLOT69
89  2012-01-29 Vaporman
86  2012-01-07 Vaporman
10  2011-09-25 RickVincent
35  2011-05-06 suzaz
Page 1,  2
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar
Reservation Navajo Nation
Backpack   No
Preferred   Mar, Apr, Sep, Oct → Early
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:16am - 6:19pm
Route
 
Alternative Routes
 
Water
Nearby Area Water
Horseshoe Bend View
3.0 mi away
1.5 mi
100 ft
Spencer Trail - Dominguez Pass Dry Loop
4.6 mi away
7.5 mi
2,064 ft
Spencer Trail - Marble Canyon
4.6 mi away
4.0 mi
1,500 ft
Lee's Ferry River Trail
4.7 mi away
1.5 mi
Grand Canyon River Running
4.7 mi away
281.0 mi
-1,926 ft
Stanton's Road to Hislop Cave
4.7 mi away
6.5 mi
550 ft
[ View More! ]
Fauna
Great Horned Owl
Flora
Four O'Clock
Indian Paintbrush
Redbud Tree
Sego Lily (aka Mariposa Lily)
Geology
Navajo Sandstone
Slot Canyon
Meteorology
Flash Flood
Culture
Automobile Remains/Wreckage
Easy hidden slot canyon
by PaleoRob

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.


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.
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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.

-
    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.

    Permit $$
    Reservation

    Navajo Nation Reservation
    HAZ recommends reviewing Permits & Services to determine access. Better yet call them to verify if a permit is currently necessary for destination.


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    Paved - Car Okay

    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.
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