Hike and Swim through Labyrinth Canyon

Labyrinth Bay, Kane County, Utah, United States

  • Activities:

    Photography, Kayaking, Swimming, Hiking, Fitness

  • Skill Level:

    Advanced

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    4 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    500 Feet

Beach
Lake
Scenic
Wildlife
Cliff Jumping
Swimming Hole

Amazing Swim + Hike through the best slot canyon without the crowds.

This hike is a perfect day activity from boating/houseboating/camping Lake Powell. We were houseboating by Gunsight/Cookie Jar Buttes and boated across the bay to Labyrinth Bay. We jumped out when the canyon became too narrow for the ski boat and swam the slot canyon. 

Wear your life jacket. I have been a competitive swimmer for 17 years and still wore my life jacket. It gets extremely hot and swimming is a great workout. Bring water - you still need to hydrate even though you'll be in the water for half of the hike. The life jacket will also come in handy later when you start climbing the canyon. It's also the perfect place to store a GoPro/water bottle to keep your hands free.

The swim through nice, blue water took about 30 minutes. Then, we came to the section of sludge. A layer of bark/debris, about 6 inches, lays on top of the water for about 10 minutes of the remaining swim. It's best to turn backwards and push of the 2 sides of the slot canyon with your feet instead of actually swimming. The slot becomes pretty narrow but perfect width for pushing through the sludge. 

Eventually, you'll get to the sandy start of the hike where the water ends. Here, lots of people dump their jackets to come back to - I'd recommend keeping them on - they help cool you down and protect your back/stomach from any shimmying you'll have to do. There really is not an end point to the hike - go as far as you want and then turn around. We just went a few miles until there was a boulder we wouldn't be able to climb up/down without rope. Depending on the rainfall for the year, there may be lots of boulders to climb. There was one passable boulder but we had to shimmy the slot - this is where the life jacket prevented my back from getting shredded by the side of the canyon. You will probably come across some clay mud spots and the entire hike is on uneven ground. Wear Chacos/tevas that can swim, hike, and get muddy.

We went as far as we could through the slot and just turned around and came back the way we came. Or, in the couple of spots that the walls level out, you can climb to the top and walk back toward the lake on the top of the canyon. Either way is beautiful but the top of the canyon is about 20 degrees warmer. 

BRING WATER. We came across some people trying to do this hike in flip flops, no life jackets and no water. They did not last long.

Labyrinth is really beautiful, somewhat challenging, and not crowded. We came across just one other group on the entire hike. Bring a GoPro because the views and colors are amazing!!

Pack List

  • WATER
  • Life jacket
  • Chacos/tevas/swimmable shoes
  • More water
  • Do not go alone -- and be sure to let people know where you're headed
  • Waterproof camera
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This is also the perfect canyon to kayak! We parked our houseboat at the mouth of the labyrinth and kayaked in. It was about a 4 hour round trip, but we stopped many times to swim, take photos and snack. Highly recommend.

5 months ago
5 months ago

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