Slickhorn Canyon, Access 1

Mexican Hat, Utah 84531

Slickhorn Canyon, Access 1

Slickhorn Canyon, Access #1 Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Slickhorn Canyon, a majestic gorge draining the western flanks of Cedar Mesa, is comparable to Grand Gulch in its landscape and attractions. An increasing number of hikers are discovering Slickhorn as an alternative destination to the more popular Grand Gulch. But access to Slickhorn Canyon is not easy, and since only experienced hikers can safely negotiate its many access routes, the canyon seldom seems overcrowded.

Some hikers push through Slickhorn Canyon to the San Juan River, while others combine Slickhorn Canyon and Grand Gulch to create an ambitious circuit, trekking along the river for 4.5 miles between the mouths of the two canyons. Most hikers, however, establish a base camp in the upper reaches of Slickhorn Canyon, where there are many fine campsites and more reliable water sources, and then pass several days exploring hidden Anasazi ruins and rock art sites, or simply soaking up the beauty of the canyon. Remember: Dogs are not allowed in Slickhorn Canyon."

Slickhorn Canyon, Access #1 Trip Reports

4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
icon1 Total
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
Slickhorn is a must for Cedar Mesa hikers. After 5 different trips to Cedar Mesa, I have finally seen this canyon. We hiked it from the head at access 1 all the way to the San Juan River then hiked up the San Juan to Johns Canyon and back to our car for a 4 day 50+ mile loop (not that difficult). Upper Slickhorn is typical canyon walking with many small ruins tucked away in the rim and walls. This eTrail overstates the large pouroff which is easily bypassed via a long traversing route starting on the left as you look over the pouroff (look for ruins across canyon from the traverse route). You will probably use your hands to brace yourself and descend over some ledges, but if you are a healthy hiker, you will not find it difficult. Remember that slickrock has great friction when dry, but is slick when wet. Middle Slickhorn Canyon is deep like Grand Gulch and the bottom is even deeper like lower Dark Canyon. We did a side trip up Slickhorn 6 which is highly recommended for the ruins a mile or so up from the confluence. We camped our first night at that confluence with 6 (a.k.a. Trail Canyon).

Slickhorn Canyon, Access #1 Photos

Show off your photography skills ... post your pics of this trail!

Trail Information

Mexican Hat
Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
5 hours
Apr through mid-June; Sept through Oct
Additional Use

Trail Log