On our second day hiking around Hole-in-the-Rock road, we delved into Peekaboo and Spooky Canyons. These quintessential slot canyons are popular for a reason. They're accessible, photogenic, and ridiculously narrow. The hike is only about 3 miles round-trip and it takes you through winding corridors of rock with tall sandstone walls. There are a couple spots that require some scrambling, but you don't need technical gear.
A couple safety notes: We ran into two rattlesnakes on this trip. One was alive, one was dead. They were both small and well-camouflaged, so we were pretty close when we noticed them. I've read a couple other trail descriptions mentioning rattlers, which makes me think they're common out here. So keep an eye out, especially when you're scrambling around tight corners! Also, the drainages for these canyons are HUGE which means flash floods are a real danger. If there's even a whiff of rain, I wouldn't go in.
To get to Peekaboo/Spooky drive down Hole-in-the-Rock road 26.5 miles and turn left at the sign that says 'Dry Fork.' Drive 0.7 miles to a junction, and go left another half mile to the trailhead.
Start your hike by following a well-worn, clearly marked trail down into Dry Fork. At the bottom, turn right and hike down canyon about 5 minutes to get to the mouth of Peekaboo. The entrance is a 20 ft. climb with a couple steps carved in the sandstone, but this is the toughest obstacle in the hike. Once you're in the canyon, you'll see swooping sandstone and arches within the canyon -- it's beautiful. The canyon corkscrews around for a while until it reaches a wide open wash. Hop out of the wash and follow the cairned cross-country trail on your right for about 10 minutes. Drop down a big sandy hill to the entrance of Spooky.
Spooky gets deep and dark very quickly -- it's really cool. There are long stretches that are so narrow you have to take your pack off and shimmy sideways. There are a couple minor downclimbs, so a buddy (or cooperative husband!) might come in handy for a spot. When you reach the mouth of the canyon at Dry Fork, turn right and hike back to where you started.
On our way out, we stopped to check out Devil's Garden. This is a cool little scenic viewpoint with a 1/4 mile path that takes your through some crazy rock spires. You can walk up to Metate Arch, which is one of the most iconic features of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. It's definitely worth checking out, even it's the only thing you do down Hole-in-the-Rock road.
After a big weekend out in the middle of nowhere, we eased back into civilization with a fantastic meal at the Burr Trail Grill in Boulder, UT. I'm amazed at the quality of the food in some of these tiny rural towns. Jordan had organic, grass-fed beef and I had a polenta dish with curry-carmelized onions and local goat cheese. Sweetbabyjebus.