The third of four hikes on day four (June 25th) of our family vacation to Utah, Arizona, and Nevada, wasn’t much more than an in-and-out of our car, been-there-seen-that sort of jaunt. We had decided to stay in Southern Utah for the day and the Kanab / Grand Staircase Escalante region provided plenty of opportunities for short hikes. From our Airbnb in Washington, Utah the four locations varied in distance from 57 to 81 miles, making it easy to hop from one excursion to another without too much driving.

 

Finding Belly of the Dragon

The parking lot for the Belly of the Dragon hike is about sixteen miles north of Kanab on Highway 89, just past mile marker 80. When you see the Zion National Park sign on your right, turn left onto the dirt road across the highway. Follow that dirt road for about a quarter mile until you come to a fork in the road which will lead you up to the parking lot on the left.

From the parking lot, you’ll see the entrance to the Belly of the Dragon straight ahead.

 

Belly of the Dragon, the Short Version

It’s a quick walk along a dirt trail from the parking lot to the entrance of the Belly of the Dragon which has an elevation of 6,000 feet. Once at the entrance of the tunnel, hikers must make a significant scramble down a couple of rocks to get on the carved tunnel trail that goes under US Highway 89 – the belly.

Belly of the Dragon

Belly of the Dragon

 

Inside the Belly

Inside the tunnel, the sand trail narrows down to single file width, and the uneven walls and ceiling give the tunnel an eery feeling of being inside a belly.

Belly of the Dragon

Photo credit: Bill

Photo credit: Bill

Photo credit: Bill

Beyond the Belly

After the short hike through the belly, hikers come out the east side to a flat and easy to navigate trail.

Belly of the Dragon

Photo credit: Bill

We hiked a very short distance beyond the tunnel before we turned around to make our way back to our car.

Belly of the Dragon

Belly of the Dragon

Photo credit: Julie

Back on the west side of the tunnel, I captured Joseph climbing back up from the belly level to the trail that leads back to the parking lot…

Belly of the Dragon

 

I took a short hike below the dirt road to capture the Belly of the Dragon from another angle, watching of course, for rattlesnakes with every step.

Belly of the Dragon

 

Extending the Belly of the Dragon Hike

We were on a tight schedule to fit all four of our hikes into our day so we didn’t have time to extend this hike very far beyond the tunnel. The trail continues for another four to five miles where it ends in a small slot canyon.

 

Final Thoughts on Belly of the Dragon

The Belly of the Dragon was a fun, easy hike which only took us about 15 minutes to complete. We would have loved to have the time to continue our hike on to the slot canyons, but that just wasn’t in the cards. Of the four hikes we took that day, it was my least favorite.

 

  • Questions:
  • Have you had the opportunity to visit any slot canyons?
  • Are you claustrophobic?
  • Have you visited Southern Utah?

 

Happy Running! ~ Deb