Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Loope, D.B., 2019, Cut, fill, repeat—slot canyons of Dry Fork, Kane County, in Milligan, M., Biek, R.F., Inkenbrandt, P., and Nielsen, P., editors, Utah Geosites: Utah Geological Association Publication 48, 8 p., v1i1.61.


This is an open-access article in which the Utah Geological Association permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction of text and figures that are not noted as copyrighted, provided the original author and source are credited.


The slot canyons of southern Utah (figure 1) have become popular destinations for hikers, climbers, and photographers. For most of these canyons, the geology is simple: sediment carried by flowing water abrades a thick, homogeneous sandstone. As time passes, the rate of down-cutting is rapid compared to the rate of cliff retreat. End of story. The strange abundance and configuration of the slot canyons along Dry Fork Coyote (a tributary of Coyote Gulch and the Escalante River), however, have a convoluted geologic history that is climate-driven and involves canyon cutting, canyon filling, and more canyon cutting.