Last year I returned to the deserts of the Southwest searching for more hidden desert canyons – the “slot canyons” carved ages ago in wetter times by streams flowing toward the Colorado River. By squeezing through narrow openings and lowering myself on a rope, I reached an underground chamber, a wide spot where I spread the legs of my tripod and stepped back to frame fantasies of deeply sculpted curves and patterns of stripes across the red sandstone walls. The walls of this grotto were illuminated by glowing light striking the rim of the narrow opening, hundreds of feet above me.
These deep slot canyons can be found on the deserts of northern Arizona and southern Utah. They can be so narrow in places that visitors have to turn sideways to walk through them. Buckskin Gulch, in the Paria Wilderness Area, is almost 500 feet deep and about nine miles long. Two of the most beautiful slot canyons are located near the town of Page, Arizona.
My Photograph America Newsletters, #007 - Hidden Desert Slot Canyons, Utah and #042 - More Hidden Desert Canyons, Utah / Arizona, are filled with locations, directions and information on camera gear, lenses and safety tips: avoid the slot canyons during monsoon season when flash floods can wash away hikers.
Notes and images from Bob Hitchman.