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Top Arizona Technical Slot Canyons To Canyoneer

The American Southwest is the place to go if you’re looking for some technical canyoneering. Arizona, in particular, is home to some of the best slot canyons this side of the world.

Slot canyons are the result of erosion over millions of years as water gushes over rocks. This eroding action leads to the formation of water-worn channels that tempt adventurers to descend and explore their hidden depths.

Always remember that slot canyons are formed from rushing water and so flash floods are some of the inherent hazards you expect to encounter. Before canyoneering, ensure that you check the weather forecast and confirm that the canyon rating is within your abilities. Also, make sure that you and your canyoneering crew members are armed with suitable canyoneering gear and equipment.

Here are 5 of the top technical slot canyons worth canyoneering in Arizona

While Antelope Canyon is arguably the most beautiful and popular canyon in Arizona, there are other hidden gems to discover.

  • Salome Jug

Exploring the Jug of Salome Creek will take you about 4-5hours and you’ll put in a 5.1-mile hike. This fun, wet canyon has a 3C II rating and needs a great deal of wading and swimming to get through. It has only one rapper that's a 25-foot drop although experienced canyoneers choose to forgo the rappel and simply jump the 25 feet into deep water.

  • Fyre Creek Canyon (S’mores)

The S’mores or Fyre Creek Canyon in the Pinalenos Mountains is perfect for skilled canyoneers looking for a challenge or beginners looking to perfect their hip sliding, foot placement, and posture. It has a 3C III rating thanks to 10 rappels and a 100ft descent with lots of drops through the granite-walled canyon.

  • Big Canyon

Give yourself a day or two to properly explore the 3B IV- rated Big Canyon with its scenic springs, falls and narrows. You’ll need a permit to visit this area so get one in advance. If you do get one, remember to carry enough water with you as the springs around Big Canyon are loaded with minerals making the water unsuitable for drinking.

  • Insomnia Canyon

This world-class canyon in Arizona offers nice rappels, down climbs and swimmers so pack your wetsuit. Expect to spend 6-12 hours descending and exploring the canyon, with a 6-mile hike through thick brush, logs, and boulders before getting to the heart of the area. If you have 2 days to spare, you can include the nearby Illusions Canyon in your excursion.

  • Waterslide Canyon

An excursion to Waterslide Canyon makes for a fun-filled day. With a rating of 3B III, this canyon will have you scrambling, down climbing and wading as you drop 80 feet. Make sure you check out the rocks to see how they change from quartzite to conglomerate then smooth granite as you descend.

As you go on your canyoneering adventure, keep in mind that these are delicate environments so ensure you learn and adhere to the ethics and unspoken rules of canyoneering and leave the place intact for others to enjoy.