Sidestep Canyon: A secret hike to another planet

One of the most remote, weird, and amazing places I’ve ever been to

Welcome to weird southern Utah. And hello, Sidestep Canyon!

Sidestep Canyon doesn’t sound like the most amazing place in the world, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret: IT IS!

Giant colorful biscuits

 If you are looking for an all-day adventure that has no crowds (I’m fairly certain you won’t see another human being), no fees (forget about that fee hike at Zion. This is WAY better anyhow!), huge weird rocks, hoodoos, slots, fossils, completely uncharted territory — this is the place for you.

One huge hoo doo 🙂

Sidestep Canyon is near Big Water, UT. I’ve spent a lot of time on blogs, google earth, and the internet, piecing together bits of info to find a way into the canyon. That is half the fun — so if you want to go, I’m not going to give you directions or gps. If I can find it, you can too. So after you are done looking at my pictures, start plotting >>>> You can do it!

stripes and colors and hoodoos and slot canyons OH MY

Lower sidestep canyon uniqueness 🙂

My fav hoodoo – very candy canes-ish

A pop of color in a very deserty wash

sandstone slot canyons — a little scary, I gotta admit


fragile walls, beams of light

Hiking around mars

Lots of fins and ‘doos

Best ever – no crowds, no fees, lots of mother nature’s sculptures <3

Sidestep Canyon has so many forks and narrows and diversions to explore. You could easily spend a lifetime here, discovering new wacky things each time.

So if you didn’t get a Wave permit, if you’ve been to White Pockets, if you just want to get out of town and be an anti-social hermit and forget about life for a while — get on google earth and start planning your trip. Or drop me an email and I might give you some hints 🙂

Peace out!

  • I tried to find this place last month……….if you can give me any tips I'd be very grateful. I have a great love and huge respect for these kinds of landscapes. Tread carefully and leave no trace etc. If you care to share, my email is

  • Laurent Martres' PHOTOGRAPHING THE SOUTHWEST – SOUTHERN UTAH, third edition, provides explicit instructions on how to find Sidestep Canyon. You can download an eEdition from Amazon.

  • You can stay legal and get to Sidestep by a two mile, fairly easy hike. The route is not straight forward but that’s part of the fun and adventure. Be sure you can find your way back to your car.

  • Hey Jill,I chanced upon your website and looked at your photos of Sidestep Canyon. I always like meeting and greeting kindred spirits in the Nature World. I am a big fan of the Grand Staircase Escalante. Last year I did Buckskin Gulch via Wire Pass for the first time at age 66! I did it with a friend of mine from California whom I had seen in 35 years. We thought it would be a great idea for a reunion and it was! I had hiked from White House to Lee's Ferry the year before and done other long day hikes in the area: White Pockets, Wahweap Creek, the high tepee area along the Buckskin trail head, etc. but I have never heard of Sidestep. I am going to subscribe to your newsletter. I understand about trying to keep places rather on the secret side. I'm an \”Old Boy Scout\” and I know how to honor the land and anyone's sharing of sacred places. I'm always on the hunt for new places to see in the area and elsewhere in the Southwest. I'm a retired Spanish and French teacher. I collect 1st edition books on the history of the Southwest. If you'd like any \”must read\” titles to read on the Southwest's history I can give you a great list. Many of the 1st editions have been reprinted and easy and cheaper to obtain. The information about the explorers, pueblos, tribes, nomenclature, maps, etc. are what is important. I guess I've \”bent your eyes\” enough with my enthusiasm and sharing. Any places like Sidestep and how to access them is much appreciated and respected. In the fall I'm finally going to give myself a retirement gift: I'm buying the \”Big Jeep Wrangler,\” finally!!! One last comment: The first photo on this site reminds me of the Bisti Badlands in Northwest New Mexico. That is a fabulous photo place if you have not been there. Thank you, Jill, for reading my note and let me know if you want any book titles about our \”Spanish Southwest!\” That's the title of one of my books! Thank you again, Ed Burns

  • I really appreciate you not giving directions to this location, it weeds out the hoards that end up spoiling the very thing folks are trying to experience. Those that really want to find it will do so with some effort. Thx. M.D.

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