As a result of the pandemic, road trips have understandably become increasingly popular. Looking for a perfect vacation, my family and I planned a road trip adventure to explore all America has to offer. With three weeks to plan, we began looking at the uncharted territory we were about to explore. Beyond the popular bucket list destinations like Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone National Park, we searched for exciting opportunities in lesser-known areas to keep us away from crowds. We quickly realized there are plenty of places to discover.
One of the best adventures we uncovered was visiting the slot canyons of Orderville, Utah, an area of southern Utah with the densest amount of slot canyons in the world. These clay-colored canyons are very narrow and much deeper than they are wide, and are simply a sight to behold. We booked an afternoon tour with East Zion Experiences by visiting AAA.com/Viator. The UTV Slot Canyon Tour was by far my kid’s favorite outdoor excursion of our entire road trip. Traveling by utility terrain vehicle (UTV), we reached the slot canyons in a quick fifteen minutes, departing from the VIP parking at the canyon base (a perk of touring through Viator). A summer afternoon in Utah can reach well over one hundred degrees, so the breeze we felt while riding in the UTV into the canyons was much appreciated.
Once inside the Red Hollow Slot canyon, the temperature dropped, and our adventure began. The canyon we explored on the tour was perfect for families. It was shorter in length but long enough to give you a taste of the slot canyon experience. While there are far more extensive canyons to navigate, the beauty of this canyon captivated us. The canyon colors twist and wind their way through the sandstone. Depending on where you are inside, the colors experienced can be very muted or can be fiery shades of red. There are a few challenging areas to climb within the canyon, but thankfully, there were sandstone/rock placements that gave us a literal foot up over rocks and boulders. The canyon course can change when water enters, so you never know what you’ll be walking or climbing over to get from one end to the other. While we were able to tour the canyons on a perfect day weather-wise, the canyons can quickly flood with even a light shower. For this reason alone, I recommend taking a guided tour for your safety, as weather and hiking conditions can change rapidly. There are a variety of slot canyon tours to pick from. Viator offers multiple excursions, including ones that feature rappelling and dining in the canyons, for all ages and skill levels.
Once you’ve mastered the inside of the canyons, head outside to the most picturesque mountain range in possibly all of Utah. While Utah has never been a state I was desperate to explore, my family and I are eager to return. The sheer beauty of the state makes it a place I’ll never forget. As my children get older and begin their own journeys, it will always be the place where my kids' excitement and laughter echo within the canyon walls, and I will relish those memories on each return visit.