Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyon - 9 Must Know Tips Before You Go

Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyon - 9 Must Know Tips Before You Go

United States
United States

When Is the Best Time

Some of the best slot canyons are found in Grand Staircase Escalante, and these two are some of the bests I’ve been to, totally adventurous. After each corner awaits you a surprise, you can take fantastic pictures in both slot canyons. Spooky is much darker, so I recommend a tripod for excellent shots.

The tight Spooky Slot - one wall shimmering in orange and one in lilac
The narrow Spooky Slot Canyon

I would say this is the busiest place of all in the Grand Staircase Escalante. It was the only marked hike along the Hole in the Rock Road. Therefore, we decided to start in the afternoon when most visitors were on their way back.

The incredibly tight, dark, and clolourful Spooky Slot Canyon
Spooky was the narrowest slot canyon I have ever entered.

Come early if you do not plan to camp along Hole in the Rock Road. We did several hikes in this breathtaking area and camped nearby.

View up to the sky and arch formations in Peek-A-Boo
Peek-A-Boo Slot

Thanks to our decision, we accessed the trail early afternoon when most visitors were on their way back, and the light inside Peek-A-Boo was outstanding.

How Difficult is Peek-A-Boo Slot Canyon?

A woman climbs up the key section in Peek-A-Boo
The most picturesque part is at the beginning or end of Peek-A-Boo.

It is a moderate hike with difficulties in some sections. If you are an experienced hiker, I rate this hike as easy, but for occasional hikers, I rate this track as moderate to difficult. The key spot is the beginning respectively the end of Peek-A-Boo. Read on my tips; good preparation is key, and start early.

How Long Does it Take to Hike Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyon?

A hiker crawls through a crack.
In Spooky, you must carry your backpack in your hand most of the time.

It took us 3.5 hours to hike both slot canyons, but better plan roughly 4-5 hours for this poorly marked hike. There are signs but only a few.

Peek-A-Boo entrance and entire slot canyon from higher elevation in the distance
The gap in the middle is the entrance-exit of Peek-A-Boo

The track is roughly 5 miles long from Upper Dry Fork parking and a little shorter from Lower Dry Fork. Because of a rockslide, you must walk a detour – more below.

A hiker pulls up his backpack by a rope.
This is the only difficult part of Peek-A-Boo.

The slot canyons are not that long. In fact, you can follow Spooky and Peek-A-Boo Gulch much longer; therefore, you should hike with a hiking app or at least a map. You can get lost here.

Best Time and Daytime for Peek-A-Boo and Spooky

The Peek-A-Boo rock formation that looks like a deep going ear.
The light in Peek-A-Boo was great in the afternoon.

The best time is the drier months, from March/April to late June, late September, and October until December. If intense summer rainfall occurs, the wash, the Hole in the Rock Road, is impassable. Always check the weather forecast first; these slot canyons are a threat if heavy rain is predicted.

A woman bends down to walk under a narrow rock arch
I am at a rock arch in Spooky Slot Canyon - you never know what comes next.

The best daytime is the morning before it gets busy and hot. The entire trail is exposed to the sun except for the slot canyons. 

9 Must-Know Tips for Peek-A-Boo and Spooky

Information Board about Peekaboo and Spooky Hike
A rare map in GSENM about this track - Map full size
  1. It is a tough ride of more than an hour through a wash the Hole in the Rock Road in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Don’t come in a 2 WD. There are big potholes along the road. The speed Limit is 35 miles per hour but for some sections still too fast. Don’t drive on this dirt road in darkness!
    The gravel Hole in the Rock Road close to Jakob Hamlin
    Hole in the Rock Road - dirt road with potholes - 4 WD only
  2. Parking Peek-A-Boo and Spooky
    Parking Lower Dry Fork and Information Board
    The best parking lots with restrooms in the entire Escalante Monument.
    There are even three parking lots that we do not experience anywhere else here in Escalante. The closest parking is Lower Dry Fork, plus an overflow parking and the newly built Upper Dry Fork Parking. I highly recommend parking at the Upper Dry Fork because from here, you are able to also hike through the Dry Fork Narrows. Google Maps Location
    A warning sign for Spooky
    This hike lead through the desert without any shade.
  3. Go early or later (late only when you camp somewhere nearby) otherwise, you may get into trouble in the narrow Spooky when hikers come from the opposite side, where you are forced to walk sideways and the same goes for the entry/exit of Peek-A-Boo.
    A narrow section in Spooky where a hiker is squeezing through
    The further you get the tighter it is.
  4. In summer, go early and bring plenty of water; one gallon plus electrolytes for each hiker.
    A hiker drinking water in the shade of the gulch
    Bring plenty of water!
  5. Depending on the season, you walk through puddles in the canyons. The slot canyons are usually dry in June before heavy summer rainfalls occur.
    A view into Spooky from above the walls
    I am in a narrow section of the slot canyons
  6. Pack light but water and snacks are a MUST!
    A woman in the narrow Spooky Slot
    We were lucky there wasn't any water in the slot canyons in late June.
  7. The traverse between Peek-A-Boo and Spooky is poorly marked; we only found the path with our hiking app.
    Hiking Sign shortly before the two slot canyons
    The last sign shortly before you reach Peek-A-Boo
  8. It was once a loop trail where you could combine both slot canyons, but there was a rockslide in Spooky, which forced us to hike a detour. You definitely can’t get down and continue or up, depending on which route you choose.
    A woman climbing above a rockslide
    We tried to find a way down into Spooky, but it was too deep.
    There was a backpack laying on the ground, which let me believe if you climb down, you do not get out of it.  So, we decided to turn around.
    The immense rocks above the slot canyon
    Below the rockslide, Spookey continued, but there was no way to get into it.
  9. We never go without a rope, luckily. The entrance or exit of Peek-A-Boo is roughly 15 feet high. I couldn’t make it in without help from Markus and the rope. We also pulled up the backpack with a rope. It would have been too difficult to climb up otherwise.
    A climber at Peek-A-Boo entrance in glowing orange light
    Halfway up at Peek-A-Boo - I couldn't manage without a helping hand.

Accommodation Tip Escalante

The Canyon Country Lodge Hotel Room in Escalante
What a treat and comfy bed

We camped on the BLM property along the Hole in the Rock for a couple of days which was a great experience, but afterwards, we were glad that we took a real shower and slept in a huge comfy bed. Also, the pool was amazing, and even breakfast was included in the Canyon Country Lodge in Escalante. There are limited hotels in Escalante. If you wish to visit this area during the high season, bank holiday weekends, summer or Christmas holidays, it is advisable to pre-book your hotel.

A cafe and grocery store in Escalante
A lovely organic food store, cafe, and bakery in Escalante.

Best Months to Visit

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Location and Tips

Escalante, Hole in the Rock Road
United States
United States

The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument is a vast landscape with spectacular natural wonders encompassing a size of 1,870,000 acres (7,568 km²).

The fabulous light in Peek-A-Boo lets the canyon and hiker glow.
A photographer's dream is Peek-A-Boo Slot Canyon

You can't see all these highlights in a single visit but plenty along Hole in the Rock Road. More soon about the entire Monument in my Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument Guide.

Packing Checklist for Peek-A-Boo and Spooky

Our well needed climbing ropes for Peek-A-Boo
We usually use these ropes and carabiners for via ferratas in the Alps. We never hike without this gear.
  • Plenty of water, at least one gallon for each hiker and electrolytes; you definitely break a sweat on this trail.
  • Bring a snack, some nuts or fruits, and a sandwich for this challenging track.
  • We always carry three climbing sling runners, each 48 inches/ 1.20 m long, and a carabiner hook, which made this adventure a lot easier for us.
  • The sun is intense, a hat, and sunscreen (I only use ISDIN for my face) are highly recommended, and I protect my shoulders during the day too.

Scorpions in Grand Staircase Escalante

A scorpion in the night
A flashlight illuminated the scorpion in the night during our tour.

This area is a “Scorpion Wilderness Study Area”. There are plenty of different scorpions in different sizes in this area, but as long as you wear closed shoes, you are fine. You can’t spot them with your eyes during the day. 

A scorpion in the night spotted with ultraviolet light
The kids loved to "hunt" scorpions with this special UV flashlight

We went on a guided night tour to spot scorpions with ultraviolet light, and we spotted more than we expected in just one hour. No worries, there is just one venomous where you can die from in the US all others can harm you. The venom of the scorpion is also used in cancer research.

Escalante Photo Collage with 5 highlights of this monument.

Do you wish to know more about the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument? Check out my new guide and the 17 Must-Visit Places and where they are located. Not all are difficult to get to, some are even family and dog friendly.

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