Lower Slab Canyon is an extremely isolated canyon deep in the Cottonwood Mountains which has some nice narrows and a towering 1,700 foot high solid rock slab above the western side canyon wall. Difficulties encountered on the hike include hiking 8 miles one-way just to reach the mouth of the canyon, dealing with some minor obstacles within the lower canyon, using good judgment and stopping at the 1st major dry fall encountered, and having enough daylight to get back to your vehicle if attempting this as a long 18+ mile day hike. A Google Earth map of the hiking route can be found by clicking on the button above. GPS coordinates for the ideal parking area are 36° 47.190'N, 117° 11.436'W. GPS coordinates for the mouth of Slab Canyon are 36° 43.755'N, 117° 18.360'W. GPS coordinates for the base of the 1st major dry fall are 36° 44.099'N, 117° 18.785'W.
Slab Canyon is a place that I first searched out and explored during my February 2013 trip. The reason I am searching out places like Slab Canyon is that I have been on an endless search for beautiful sections of narrows and dry falls which have not been seen or documented before. And that's exactly what I found in Slab Canyon. I originally assigned this canyon the name "Slab" because on satellite imagery it appears as if the canyon cuts a path through two gigantic slabs of rock on each side of it. In particular, the walls and cliffs above the west side of the canyon really stand out for having a slab-like appearance. Upon my arrival to Slab Canyon to check it out in person, I found that it did indeed have a giant slab of rock above the canyon and Slab Canyon was a very good name for the canyon. In particular, this slab is visible during the early portions of the hike and also from the ridgeline above the east side of the canyon. In several places, it was also evident that giant slabs of rock had broken off from the main slab and fallen into the canyon, either as boulders or sections of rock slab. One of the amazing things about Slab Canyon is that it did indeed have endless narrows. The canyon never opens up very much, all the way to the base of the 1st major dry fall, which is a good stopping point for those hiking the lower canyon. We checked out a bypass of the 1st dry fall and noted that it had exposure. So, in order to get into the middle canyon, it is necessary to backtrack out of the canyon, attain the ridge, and then drop back into the canyon at the right place where skilled hikers can handle the challenges. I did talk to one fellow hiker recently and he informed me that he made it to the base of the 1st major dry fall and wisely turned around there. Even though he didn't get past that, he still had a great hike and enjoyed the narrows that he did see. And he also enjoyed some views into the middle and upper canyon from the ridge. So that's the only thing I am recommending to others for safety reasons. It is doubtful that Slab Canyon will ever see very many hikers. I say that because it is so far away from any road or parking area. From where we parked, it was about 8 miles of hiking just to reach the mouth of the canyon. And we did this as a dayhike. So as you can imagine, we got a very early start. We all had a great time exploring the never before seen narrows. This is the first of two reports on Slab Canyon, with this report covering Lower Slab Canyon (mouth to 1st major dry fall) and the second report covering Middle Slab Canyon (bypass into canyon from ridge and top of 4th major dry fall to bottom of 5th major dry fall). Joining me on this hike were two good friends and excellent hikers -- Patrick and Tobin. Our hike took place on February 8, 2013.
This hike contains sections of climbing, exposed bypasses and/or high dry falls and may require safety ropes and equipment in order to complete the entire hike. Those without the proper training, experience, and safety gear should stop at the bottom of the 1st major dry fall encountered during the hike and not try to get past it.
Many more photographs taken during our visit are available for viewing for this destination. To see all of them, choose one of the two options presented below. The two options are Slideshow viewing and Trip Report viewing. The Slideshow option allows for viewing larger images with an autoplay option and a full screen option (available on most browsers). This option works very well for large computer screens and tablets. The Trip Report option allows for viewing smaller pictures in a standard scroll-down format and enlarging of any panoramic photos taken during our visit. Click on the option of your choice to view all of our photos from this destination. The Slideshow format opens in a new browser window and the Trip Report format uses the same browser window for viewing.
TRIP REPORT FORMAT