As much as I love our National Parks, some of my favorite trails are just outside the parks, down dirt roads, and just on the border of a new strange land.
Willis Creek Slot Canyon is a place you wont want to miss and just so happens to be amazingly kid friendly. My son still talks about this hike ALL THE TIME! He can’t wait to go back. Walking through water makes it fun for the summer heat and it is just outside Bryce Canyon National Park.
We decided to check out this trail last summer on a camping trip to Bryce Canyon National Park during the Astronomy Festival and we were glad we did.
The last 6 miles to the trail head are on a dirt road. I recommend a 4 wheel drive, high clearance vehicle for any dirt road in Utah because then you are more prepared for unknown conditions. Can cars make it okay on this road? Yes, depending on the conditions, but I just don’t like taking that risk. I’ve been the person in a car with a flat tire in the middle of the desert before and it isn’t fun. It can be rocky at parts, some washboard, and you make a couple small stream crossings. But don’t let this scare you away, it wasn’t terrible at all!
The trail head is about 25 miles outside of Bryce Canyon National Park. The trail is part of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument but there are no fees or permits required. It can get super hot in the summer and depending on the time of day you will probably not have much shade (besides some shade of the canyons). Wear water shoes, clothes that can get wet and dry quickly, and sunscreen! Bring plenty of water, snacks, and GPS (my favorite app is Gaia GPS). Have fun exploring!
Little Mountaineers Rating: Easy-Moderate. 2.5 + miles round trip depending on how far you go. Most of the trail you are literally just walking in a shallow river through the beautiful canyons with minimal elevation gain.