Travel Curious

For independent travelers who want to dig deeper

Leprechaun Canyon

Leprechaun Canyon is short and easy with some corkscrew narrows, some beautiful colored walled sections, and a final very narrow slot section with just a crack of light shining down from above

Hiking through Leprechaun Canyon
Leprechaun Canyon is part of the Irish Canyons with Blarney and Shillelagh Canyons just to the west, and another called Lucky Charm. The other three canyons are more technical requiring ropes and harnesses while Leprechaun is an easy walk-through.

Getting there

  • Driving about 28 miles south from Hanksville on UT-95 or 2 miles southeast from the junction with UT-276, look for a short spur on the north side (left) of the road.
  • Drive 0.1 mile to the parking area at the mouth of Leprechaun Canyon
Photo notes
  • Mid-morning to late afternoon gets the sunlight coming down the very narrow final slot section
  • Tossing some sand into the air in the very narrow slot section will likely yield some interesting light columns to add mood to your photographs
Parking ( 38.017558, -110.537144 )
Dirt spur takes you to the parking area, if you see a lot more cars than you would expect don’t worry they are people rappelling into the adjacent popular technical slot canyons.

 The Leprechaun Canyon parking area

2.2 miles total out and back
  • Dogs allowed, no real difficult sections for dogs other than a few squeezes and a couple of short dry falls.
  • The movie “127  Hours” was filmed here. The movie where Aron Ralston got his arm pinned by a rock hiking in 2003 in Bluejohn slot canyon and had to self-amputate it to escape.
From the car park, follow the sandy wash filled with scrub vegetation.

Starting the Leprechaun Canyon hike through the sandy wash

The low sandstone walls will get progressively taller as you go along. The sandy trail is easy to follow, sometimes in the wash, sometimes rising up out of it for a short distance, but always returning to the wash. Sometimes the wash gets more choked with brush and the trail runs closer to the walls.

The brush can get thick


The moon above the canyon rim

At 0.6 miles the canyon comes to a wider spot with a fork, you will want to head to the right

Heading to the right in the wide spot in the canyon

The canyon opens up a bit after a while and you come to another open area.
To the left is the entrance to an interesting narrows where the sandstone corkscrews with interesting groves and twists. About 3/4 of the way through it becomes so narrow that you’ll have to do a little squeezy up climbing to continue.
Even if you don’t want to do the squeezy up climb to go all the way through, I recommend going into the narrows as far as you are comfortable and then coming back out, it is really pretty and interesting and worth it.
The other option is the easy climb to your right up the slick rock and bypasses the corkscrew section.

Decision point in Leprechaun Canyon, go left through the corkscrews or climb above on the right

The fun corkscrew section

Colorful walls of Leprechaun Canyon

Lora goes over while Frisco goes under

Small rock chuck in the way

Soon the walls rise higher and ahead of you is a picturesque scene of a giant boulder in the middle of the canyon floor. You have to wonder how long has this boulder been making its way slowly down this canyon, 5 years… 500 years?

A huge boulder in the wash in Leprechaun Canyon

Just after the boulder comes a beautiful section of high-streaked walls, the zebra striping down the walls from the eons of water flow are dramatic and beautiful.
The canyon makes a gentle s-turn and you’re too quickly through this section. 

The high striped walls of the canyon are amazing to see

More high walls of the canyon

The walls begin to narrow very quickly and the light begins to fade as you reach the beginning of the narrowest and most dramatic section of the canyon. The walls will get so narrow that only a crack of light is visible above you.

Walking through the under cut subway section

Crack with a beam of light passing down

Pass under the chockstone. Is this where they filled the movie?

Pass under the chockstone

Another beautifully lit section of the canyon

At the end of the narrows section, you have reached the end of the hike. The canyon forks to the left, but is basically too tight and impassable. If you want to climb up 10 feet to your right there is an area with unimpressive disrespectful modern graffiti, but nothing else to see. This is the turnaround point to head back the way you came.

The canyon becomes tight toward the end

The upper chamberThe graffiti up and above to the right

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