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Peekaboo Canyon: A Must-See Slot Canyon in Utah

Last Updated on January 19, 2024 by Kelly

Peekaboo Canyon is a beautiful slot canyon located near Kanab, Utah. It’s a long and narrow canyon with sheer rock walls that climb up 80 feet on both sides. The canyon is so narrow that you can touch both walls at the same time in some portions as you walk through!

Peekaboo Canyon is definitely a must-see while you are exploring Utah. We recently visited Peekaboo Canyon and it was one of the highlights of our road trip. In this post, we’ll share everything you need to know to visiting Peekaboo Canyon!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases. Dreamland Safari Tours gifted us our tour of Peekaboo Canyon in exchange for this honest review.

About Peekaboo Canyon

Utah has more slot canyons than anywhere else in the world. (There are over a thousand of them!) We first learned about Peekaboo Canyon after finding out that the famous Antelope Canyon was closed during the pandemic. We decided to look for other slot canyons to visit during our road trip, and we were so glad we found Peekaboo Canyon because it was less crowded and just as beautiful! Thanks to Dreamland Safari Tours, we were able to access this spectacular canyon. 

peekaboo canyon

Visiting Peekaboo Canyon was one of our most unique travel experiences. Visiting the canyon was a full sensory experience. Throughout the walk, we noticed distinct and drastic changes in temperature, colors, and sounds.

As we walked through the entrance to the canyon, we were immediately struck by the dramatic shift to silence.  It reminded us of the type of silence you experience after a heavy snow.  But instead of white, we were surrounded by deep shades of red and orange. Directly above us there was a bright blue strip of sky.

view of sky from peekaboo canyon
Bright blue sky above us!

 

As we weaved through the narrow canyon, the lighting constantly shifted. Sometimes we worked our way through dark shadows, sometimes we stepped through solid beams of light, and sometimes we watched the walls glow like fire embers.

mother and child in utah

Even though it was a very hot day outside (close to 100 degrees!), it was nice and cool in the canyon. It was a stark contrast to the nearly 100 degree day outside of the canyon! We were originally worried about scheduling our tour during the summer, but we were pleased that the canyon was very comfortable! 

The walk through the canyon was about a mile out-and-back. There was a clear dead-end to signal us to turn around. The path was flat, with only one place where we had to climb over a few rocks to continue. Dreamland Safari Tours rated this hike as a 1 out of 10 for difficulty level, and we found that to be true for us. Many slot canyons in the area are difficult to access or walk through because of debris or large pools of water, but Peekaboo Canyon was an easy stroll!


How to Get to Peekaboo Canyon

 

Peekaboo Canyon is located in Utah about 10 miles away from Kanab. We visited Peekaboo Canyon right after we left Zion National Park, since it was conveniently located right along Highway 89. (Side note: the drive from Zion to Kanab was such a beautiful drive! We highly recommend it!)

mother and child at peekaboo canyon (slot canyon) in Utah

Although the canyon is not far from the highway, accessing the canyon requires several miles of driving through deep sand. Only experienced drivers with appropriate vehicles should attempt to drive through this type of terrain. (Which was not us!) Thanks to Dreamland Safari Tours, we were able to have an experienced driver take us directly to the canyon entrance.

Sand Driving at Peekaboo Canyon
On our way to the canyon!

Tours of Peekaboo Canyon

Dreamland Safari Tours offers several tour options for visiting Peekaboo Canyon. We signed up for the 10am slot and our tour lasted for three hours in total. It took about 40 minutes to reach the canyon entrance after leaving Dreamland Safari Tours’ office. (About 20 minutes of that was driving on the highway, with another 20 minutes of driving through the sand.) 

We had about an hour to explore the canyon, which was more than enough time to walk to the end of the canyon while also stopping practically every five feet for photos. 

Family at Peekaboo Canyon

It was super easy getting to Peekaboo Canyon with Dreamland Safari Tours. Because it’s literally off the beaten path, there were far less tourists there! Difficult roads = thinner crowds

**Note: There is another canyon called Peekaboo Canyon in the Escalante Region. Do not confuse the two in your GPS, as they are very far from each other! This canyon is also sometimes known as Red Canyon. (I know, confusing right!? All the more reason to visit with a guide so you don’t go to the wrong place!)

Headed to Zion National Park? See some of our favorite hikes!

 

Hiking to the Entrance of Peekaboo Canyon

We saw some people hiking from the highway to the canyon, but that is at least 7 miles round trip and requires hiking in the sand with no shade the entire way. There is a network of multiple sand roads along the way to the canyon, so it can be difficult to find if you don’t know exactly where to go. (And there is limited cell service which makes things even trickier.) We definitely recommend booking a tour because it is both safe and convenient. Believe me, we love to hike, and we would not have liked to have hiked in those conditions! If you do choose to hike, be sure to bring the 10 essentials for hiking safety. 

woman posing at peekaboo canyon

Safety Considerations for Peekaboo Canyon

Flash Flooding

Slot canyons can be at risk of flash flooding. If it has rained recently, if it is currently raining, or if it is forecasted to rain, it is wise not to visit. The flash floods can be sudden and dangerous. Trained guides will know if the conditions are risky or safe. Peekaboo Canyon is at less risk of flash flooding than some other canyons due its drainage system, but it’s still important to research conditions before visiting.

Driving in Sand

As mentioned previously, it is important that you do not attempt to drive in the deep sand if you do not have experience with sand driving. Dreamland Safari Tours has a blog post on what it is like to drive in the sand, and if you read their post, you’ll see some of the hazards of inexperienced driving. 

Hydration

It’s important to bring sufficient water. It was almost 100 degrees the day we visited the canyon, and it’s important to stay well hydrated when hiking. We always bring an insulated water bottle which keeps our water nice and cool. (Nothing like a gulp of ice cold water after a hike!)

Motion Sickness

If you’re prone to motion sickness, please let your tour guide know. (Especially if you have preference for sitting in the front seat.) Driving through the sand is fairly bumpy. I typically get motion sickness, but surprisingly, I was just fine on this drive. Our toddler also did great on the drive. (She giggled the whole way there, and she slept the whole way back!) If you have a kiddo that gets sick in the car, though, that may be something to consider. I’d also be worried about younger infants, because there is a fair amount of jostling around in the car. Ask your tour guide if you have any questions or concerns.

sunny day at peekaboo canyon

Our Experience With Dreamland Safari Tours

We don’t usually book tours on vacation, but we were so glad we booked with Dreamland Safari Tours for this trip! They recently were awarded with the 2021 Traveler’s Choice Award from Tripadvisor for the 10th year in a row. That means that they have been in the top 10% of attractions worldwide!

There were many benefits to booking with Dreamland Safari Tours:

  1. We got to visit a slot canyon that wasn’t overcrowded.
  2. We had a trained guide that knew how to navigate the unmarked deep sand roads safely. (No stress there!)
  3. Our guide was knowledgeable about the history of the canyon, the geology, and the agriculture. We were able to ask questions about everything we saw.
  4. Our guide showed us all of the best places to take photos based on the lighting.
  5. It was a very family-friendly experience. Our guide was proactive in offering to take family photos of all three of us, and she was very patient with our independent toddler who wanted to walk most of the canyon on her own.

Dreamland Safari Guides

Our tour guide was Maddi, and she was spectacular! She also happens to be a Wilderness First Responder, which gave us additional peace of mind while we were briefly in the backcountry. If you have the chance to book with her, I would definitely recommend her as a guide. We got to meet a lot of the other guides while at the Dreamland Safari Tours office, and they all seemed terrific. 

Dreamland Safari Tours offers multiple tour options to different sites in the area. They even offer a tour of Peekaboo Canyon paired with the White Wave! 

Note: If you are bringing young children on the tour, be sure to arrive prior to the tour start time to install your car seat. We got there 30 minutes early to get everything set up, so that our tour could leave on time.

Father and daughter at Peekaboo Canyon

History of Peekaboo Canyon

Flowing water created this canyon over thousands of years by cutting through the sandstone. The canyons are narrow because they are caused by a sudden rush of a large volume of water. (This is caused by flash flooding.) Most of the walls are smooth and in abstract patterns because of the water.

Peekaboo Canyon
The sun ‘peeking’ out at Peekaboo. (Couldn’t resist!)

 

Within the canyon, you can see a stairway that was carved by the Ancestral Puebloans about 800-1,000 years ago. It is likely that the Ancestral Puebloans stored their grains on the high ledges to protect their food from rodents. The Ancestral Puebloans are a group of prehistoric Native Americans that lived in this region from approximately AD 100 to 1600.

They were particularly known for their skill in crafting baskets and are sometimes referred to as Basketmakers. They are also known for their cliff dwellings, and some are still visible today. It is believed that they lived in these cliff dwellings for less than 100 years.

By AD 1300, many of the Ancestral Puebloans migrated likely due to droughts. Many of these dwellings are located near Kanab. Always be respectful and do not enter any buildings unless it’s allowed. Never carve on the rock walls or leave debris. Be sure to follow Leave No Trace guidelines. 

Carved Anasazi stairway at Peekaboo Canyon
Carved stairway by the Ancestral Pueblo people leading to a ledge.

 

The canyon was named Peekaboo by local ranchers. It was a common practice back then to call any slot canyon a “peekaboo” because the ranchers’ children would like to play peek-a-boo as they chased each other between the walls. 

Petrified Coral
This is petrified coral. Glad our guide pointed it out to us, otherwise we would have walked on by!

Attractions Near Peekaboo Canyon

If you’re visiting Peekaboo Canyon, you’ll be near Kanab, which is a gateway city to plenty of Utah adventures! 

You may be interested in visiting the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, hiking Paria Canyon, visiting the Coral Pink Sand Dunes, or stopping by the Moqui Cave.

And if you’re looking for a meal after your tour, our guide recommended Escobars Mexican Restaurant.

Where to Stay Near Peekaboo Canyon

Booking.com  

There are lots of hotels in Kanab. Some ideas for lodging include:

Or, you can click here for a full list of hotels in the Kanab area.

deep blue sky and red rocks
The bright blue sky was a beautiful contrast to all of the red!

Summary: Our Trip to Peekaboo Canyon

We were so glad that we added a trip to Peekaboo Canyon to our itinerary. The tour was definitely a highlight of our 3-week road trip across the American Southwest. If you plan on being near Zion National Park, we highly recommend adding a day to your itinerary to visit Peekaboo Canyon. We hope this guide was helpful to you as you plan your own trip to Peekaboo Canyon!

 

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DisclaimerWe always strive for content accuracy. Since the time of publishing, travel-related information regarding pricing, schedules, and hours may have changed. Please look up such information directly from each vendor or institution for the most current information.

Hi, I’m Kelly!

After studying abroad in Spain, I became passionate about international travel. Since then, I’ve traveled to 6 continents and 36 states within the United States. When I’m not travel blogging, you can find me hiking, reading books in Spanish, or playing cribbage. I hope my blog inspires you to see the world!