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Water Holes Canyon
  
 
JSecord
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Water Holes Canyon


Hey everyone,

heading out to Zion NP on Saturday for a week, and of course I've been spending every night researching tons of places to check out in and around the park. Antelope Canyon wasn't high on my list because of the crowds, fees, and being rushed through the canyon, but I just found some photos of Water Holes nearby which looks very similar. Anybody been? I see that you can get a permit at the Navajo office, is this place worth the 2ish hour drive from Springdale?

Thanks in advance!



Oct 25, 2016 at 01:33 AM
Javier Munoz
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Water Holes Canyon


Dont think the "crowdiness" in the Antelope Canyon will be that high this time of the year. The south portion is less crowded and rushed.
Regarding water holes I havent been there sorry.



Oct 25, 2016 at 01:34 PM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Water Holes Canyon


A cannot speak to this specific spot, but I can state that the Southwest is just plain full or remarkable locations that are not the big name, iconic spots. Enjoy!


Oct 25, 2016 at 04:16 PM
Greg Campbell
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Water Holes Canyon


Waterholes is pretty, an enjoyable hike, and nearly devoid of tourists; but the "good" section is much shorter than either segment of Jackalope. I don't know if it's worth all the driving required.
I think you still get the permit in Lechee. Or ask at the "Upper Antelope" ticket booth.

Coming from Springdale, there are numerous pretty canyons closer than W.H.
http://www.americansouthwest.net/slot_canyons/zion_national_park/index.html

There are several located within Zion, east of the tunnel.

And another 4~5 near Mt. Carmel Junction, with Red Canyon arguably offering the easiest access and easiest hiking. (No big drop-offs, AFAIK.)
http://www.americansouthwest.net/slot_canyons/red_canyon/index.html

Also look at
http://www.americansouthwest.net/slot_canyons/elkhart-cliffs/canyon.html
Elkhart Cliffs / Diana's Throne is really close to the road and worth a thought.

To the southeast of Hurricane, Water Canyon, near the alternate Mormonland reality of Hilldale, is quite pretty. Study a map before attempting, the road network leading to the canyon is complex.
http://www.americansouthwest.net/slot_canyons/water-canyon/index.html

If House Rock Road (38 miles E. of Kanab) is in good shape, Buckskin Gulch and Wire Pass are, IMO, leagues above Waterholes. (And closer too!) Plan on spending at least half a day exploring this magnificent area.


Edited on Oct 26, 2016 at 02:03 PM · View previous versions



Oct 26, 2016 at 05:35 AM
GroovyGeek
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Water Holes Canyon


Sometimes I get a feeling that Greg has been to every freakin' slot canyon in the SW :-) He was the one who introduced me to Buckskin Gulch and Wirepass - a wonderful, solitary experience at almost any time of year, within a fairly short drive of Antelope - if you don't mind bouncing up and down on House of Rock road. If you are coming from Zion to Antelope you are going to drive past it anyway/


Oct 26, 2016 at 05:48 AM
JSecord
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Water Holes Canyon


Thanks Greg! I've been looking at that website you linked the last few days, but there's nothing like input from other photographers, really appreciate your feedback!

Buckskin is what I really want to do, at least going from Wire Pass and maybe a few miles once it meets the actual gulch, just wasn't sure how bad the road going in is. I see that a 4WD vehicle is suggested, of course we rented some small POS car for the trip (thinking that we'd be staying around Zion mostly). Now that I'm looking at some exploring, I wish we had paid a bit extra for an SUV.

Either way, thanks for the tips! I've been dying to return to the desert since our trip last spring, can't wait!


Greg Campbell wrote:
Waterholes is pretty, and enjoyable hike, and nearly devoid of tourists, but the "good" section is much shorter than either segment of Jackalope. I don't know if it's worth all the driving required.
I think you still get the permit in Lechee. Or ask at the "Upper Antelope" ticket booth.

Coming from Springdale, there are numerous pretty canyons closer than W.H.
http://www.americansouthwest.net/slot_canyons/zion_national_park/index.html

There are several located within Zion, east of the tunnel.

And another 4~5 near Mt. Carmel Junction, with Red Canyon arguably offering the easiest access and easiest hiking. (No big drop-offs, AFAIK.)
http://www.americansouthwest.net/slot_canyons/red_canyon/index.html

Also look at
http://www.americansouthwest.net/slot_canyons/elkhart-cliffs/canyon.html
Elkhart Cliffs / Diana's Throne is really close
...Show more



Oct 26, 2016 at 12:42 PM
Javier Munoz
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Water Holes Canyon


gdanmitchell wrote:
A cannot speak to this specific spot, but I can state that the Southwest is just plain full or remarkable locations that are not the big name, iconic spots. Enjoy!


I stand corrected



Oct 26, 2016 at 01:21 PM
Greg Campbell
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Water Holes Canyon


The condition of the dirt roads varies wildly, depending on recent rain, etc.
The official report
https://www.nps.gov/glca/learn/news/road-conditions.htm
tends to be a little conservative, presumably by intent, so as to keep tourists driving rental POS cars from getting stuck...
I've had people at the Big Water BLM station try to scare me off Cottonwood Canyon Rd, until I assure them I've survived several journeys in my 90's accord. Then they're all, "Yea it's just a short rough section..." The current warning of high clearance at BS may or may not dissuade a determined driver. Just don't damage the rental - most agreements will have you on the hook for all costs. OTOH, if the road conditions predict sand or mud, it's probably best to take the report at face value.
If Zion doesn't have recent road info, the BLM station in Kanab will. It's on the east side of town, between the Wendy's and Quality Inn.

The Buckskin gulch / House Rock Rd. crossing, north of the Wire Pass parking area, is often impassable. Fortunately, you can just park there and walk downstream about two miles into the slotty section of B.S. Or try House Rock Rd. from the south, via Jacob Lake. That makes for a bit more driving, but the southern section of HRR is usually a nice fast dirt/gravel drive.


Groovy,
Alas, I've only been to a handful mentioned here. A few small ones in E. Zion, Water Canyon, Waterholes and the Jackalope Sisters. The Mt. Carmel pair are on my "want list."
Glad you enjoyed Wire and B.S.; they are indeed amazing! Next time you're there, try hiking up out of of Wire to the top of the cliffs along B.S. Around sunset. Amazing! I've been once, when the rising moon was positioned in the 'notch' on West Clark Bench cliffs to the east, but got clouded out. What I did get was... lost! Leave clear trail markers! I got very confused as the light faded, and couldn't figure out which path I'd taken to get up there. Since the terrain is so steep, descending the wrong draw can put you in real danger. Next time I'm gonna bring a few small glow sticks to mark the way...

Edited on Oct 27, 2016 at 12:48 AM · View previous versions



Oct 26, 2016 at 01:55 PM
JSecord
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Water Holes Canyon


I feel like I owe you a drink! Thanks so much for all the help. Now I can get back to anxiously awaiting the trip

Greg Campbell wrote:
The condition of the dirt roads varies wildly, depending on recent rain, etc.
The official report
https://www.nps.gov/glca/learn/news/road-conditions.htm
tends to be a little conservative, presumably by intent, so as to keep tourists driving rental POS cars from getting stuck...
I've had people at the Big Water BLM station try to scare me off Cottonwood, until I assure them I've survived several journeys in my 90's accord. The current warning of high clearance at BS may or may not dissuade a determined driver. Just don't damage the rental - most agreements will have you on the hook for all costs.
If Zion doesn't
...Show more



Oct 26, 2016 at 05:16 PM
Dustin Gent
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Water Holes Canyon


I will be in Zion Tuesday through Thursday (or in that area), as I have to pick up my Subway permit on Tuesday.

One of the tour guide at Antelope came into my work a few weeks ago, and i asked him a few questions, one was about what the "slowest" time of year was - and he stated that late Feb - March are the best months.

There is a system moving into southern utah this weekend, and supposed to clear up Monday evening. There are "better" canyons than Waterhole that are much closer to Zion. As Greg mentioned, Red Canyon is spectacular! The logistics to get access to there aren't bad, and you will almost be guaranteed to be the only one there! The water is FREEZING, and most likely will have large water pools in there.

Escalante is PERFECT this time of year, and there are several slot canyons that are amazing (Zebra, Spooky, Peek-A-Boo). Kanarraville Creek Falls are right off I-15 as well, and worth a hike for sure (near Zion).

Don't know if you have seen this site - excellent info onZion

Also, here is a website with tons of info!

Oh and here is a shot of red canyon from April







Oct 26, 2016 at 06:06 PM
 

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JSecord
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Water Holes Canyon


Thanks so much everyone! One last thing while I have your ear- what time should i aim for to get the best reflected light while in the narrows/other slot canyons? Early morning, midday, afternoon...? I know in the narrows the walls are pretty high so it takes a while for the sun to start bouncing light around. Just trying to make the most out of my time there...as you know, a week will fly by!


Oct 26, 2016 at 10:44 PM
Greg Campbell
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Water Holes Canyon


JSecord wrote:
Thanks so much everyone! One last thing while I have your ear- what time should i aim for to get the best reflected light while in the narrows/other slot canyons? Early morning, midday, afternoon...? I know in the narrows the walls are pretty high so it takes a while for the sun to start bouncing light around. Just trying to make the most out of my time there...as you know, a week will fly by!


You mean "The Narrows" in Zion? Sry, I'm not sure.
suggest you watch Ben Horne's photo-video series on youtube. He's got at least a dozen on Zion, including The Narrows, fall colors, etc.

For canyons in general, peak reflected color is going to be specific to the geometry of the canyon. I do agree with Horne when he says the best color requires clear blue skies. Any cloud cover tends to diminish the color, if only a little.

Since many slots can produce "light beams"...

When possible, I aim to be in the deepest part of a canyon sometime around solar noon.



Oct 27, 2016 at 12:38 AM
Greg Campbell
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Water Holes Canyon


JSecord wrote:
I feel like I owe you a drink! Thanks so much for all the help. Now I can get back to anxiously awaiting the trip


Well, technically you do!



Oct 27, 2016 at 12:44 AM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Water Holes Canyon


Javier Munoz wrote:
I stand corrected


? :-(



Oct 27, 2016 at 02:07 AM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Water Holes Canyon


JSecord wrote:
Thanks so much everyone! One last thing while I have your ear- what time should i aim for to get the best reflected light while in the narrows/other slot canyons? Early morning, midday, afternoon...? I know in the narrows the walls are pretty high so it takes a while for the sun to start bouncing light around. Just trying to make the most out of my time there...as you know, a week will fly by!


In general, canyon photography tends to be good closer to midday, unlike a lot of other landscape photography.



Oct 27, 2016 at 02:08 AM
Dustin Gent
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Water Holes Canyon


the light this time of year is good all day, but earlier the better. I think sunrise is at 7:50 this time of year, so i think starting at 9 would be ideal. To get to wall street will take 3 hours at a leisurely pace.


Oct 27, 2016 at 04:41 AM
Greg Campbell
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Water Holes Canyon


To get back on topic I found some of my Waterholes snaps. They were taken with a low-end canon p/s, but aren't too awful, and offer some insight into the nature of the place. If you're looking for "Classic Antelope" structure, colors and and textures, WH is the best alternative I know that is relatively cheap and easy to reach.

Will post tomorrow night. (Gotta get to bed for now...)



Oct 27, 2016 at 05:38 AM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Water Holes Canyon


One attractive thing about photographing in canyon country is that you can photograph more open terrain in the usual ways at the early and late hours (when light is not yet penetrating the depths of canyons), and then continue in the deep and narrow canyons later when the sun is high enough to send light into the upper reaches of the canyons, light which reflects off the red rocks and diffuses down into the canyon depths.

Or you can sleep in and just photograph in the canyons. ;-)



Oct 27, 2016 at 12:36 PM
JSecord
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Water Holes Canyon


Thanks everyone! I've learned I can get by on very little sleep during these trips, so it sounds like I can shoot sunrise and still make it into the slot canyons for good light...perfect!! Really appreciate all the great feedback and tips from all of you. Hopefully I'll be able to report back with some new images next week


Oct 27, 2016 at 02:46 PM
Greg Campbell
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Water Holes Canyon


Have a fun trip!

With temperatures in the 70s, and maybe even 80s by week's end, keep an eye out for bitey snakes. They aren't common, but are "out there," waiting to chomp unwary humans who step on them...

I suppose the main drawback of Waterholes is that the slot sections aren't nearly as deep as those found in either section of Antelope. The multiple reflections and subsequent deep red colors are not going to occur nearly as often.



Oct 28, 2016 at 12:04 AM
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