Slot Canyons for Beginners and Families

Canyon Adventure is Calling Sometimes canyoneering can involve a lengthy approach and expensive equipment to complete, but thankfully not all of them are like that. There are several canyons located in some of nature’s most beautiful locations that you and your family can enjoy safely and worry-free. Here is a list of just a few to help you start planning your next unforgettable family vacation.

Inside shot of Lower Antelope Canyon.
Inside shot of Lower Antelope Canyon.

Antelope Canyon

Made for all ages, Antelope Canyon gives it’s adventurers the unique experience of all slot canyons. You will be awestruck by the tall surrounding sandstone walls and their beautiful curves. Located just a few miles away from Horseshoe Bend and other incredible features, this is a convenient stop on your way to one of the many national parks in the surrounding area. You can walk through at a pace that works for your family and escape the hot desert sun in the refreshing shade of the canyon walls.


All slot canyons are formed by erosion over the course of millions of years, that means when you visit, you’re actually taking a trip back through time. You can feel the history of the desert tell you its beautiful story just by walking through the canyons. But don’t take my word for it, you can experience it on a self-guided trip or you can join one of the local tour companies for a more encompassing and in-depth experience. It is helpful to be aware that most slot canyons contain narrow passages that can be troubling to some, but each of the canyons mentioned here lacks any kind of extreme manoeuvring or incredibly tight spaces.

Flowing water inside The Narrows at Zion National Park.
Flowing water inside The Narrows at Zion National Park.

The Narrows

Only a few hours from Antelope Canyon is perhaps the mecca of slot canyons; the Narrows. This massive canyon will make you feel like you are walking between the skyscrapers of Chicago or New York with their towering composure. They too contain breath-taking features that leave any guest craving more. In addition, the Narrows have water flowing year-round. This can be a lot of fun for children who love to play and cool down after a hot day of hiking. It is important to be aware of weather conditions though because the water levels can rise, making the canyon dangerous. The Park does a great job of keeping visitors informed and prohibited from dangerous areas, but knowing the weather can help you plan for the best days so you don’t miss out.

Buckskin Gulch

If you are looking for something a little more intense, midway between Antelope Canyon and Zion National Park is Buckskin Gulch. Many place this hike at the top of their list because of its varying features. The whole canyon (arguably the longest slot canyon in the world) is 15 miles long. The trip is definitely for more advanced hikers with obstacles and pools to wade through but is still only rated intermediate due to its lack of rappels.

Hiker inside sandstone slot canyon.
Hiker inside the sandstone slot canyon.

The trip can be made in one day but it is also possible to camp overnight in certain spots. This canyon requires a permit in order to do which means a little more planning, but definitely worth it. BuckSkin, just like Antelope Canyon can be done year-round, but the summer months are preferred due to the cold temperatures and conditions in the winter. A wet suit is highly recommended if you’re thinking about visiting during the cold months. It may be a desert, but slot canyons receive very little sunlight and will have pools of water that can reach very low temperatures.

Ready For Adventure?

These canyons are a great place to get your toes wet when it comes to canyoneering. You may not have the time or resources for an all-inclusive canyon excursion, but no need to worry. These locations carry the same adventure spirit and will give you and your family memories you won’t soon forget.