Boulder Creek


May 3, 2013
Glad I found this forum, its made me go back and re-live some of my favorite trips and go through old photos. And live vicariously through all these awesome trip reports and photos.
You don't hear much about Boulder Creek, most people that do get in there see it from the Escalante River confluence and don't go to far up the canyon. Accessing it from Hwy 12 isn't easy with a big backpack, but its worth it. One of my best backpacking trips was a solo 3 day jaunt accessing the creek just south of Haymaker Bench off Hwy 12, scrambling down until you get near the Deer Creek confluence using some Moqui steps. You can get in further upstream too, a bit easier access and more wading. The narrows are filled with basalt boulders between the pools and plenty of lithic scatter. Hike down to the Escalante River back to the Hwy 12 bridge. A good side trip to the Gulch is easy, there is a class 4 scramble up out of the canyon on the left just before you get to the narrows.
What a gem, seems rarely traveled and pristine, and some of the best swimming holes in the area outside of Death Hollow and Upper Calf Creek in my opinion.


Upstream of the Deer Creek confluence


Beginning of the narrows





This panel is actually labeled on the topo. Found it on the hike out below the narrows after a day trip.


An easy scramble out of Boulder Creek and a quick jaunt over to the Gulch...


The Gulch sentry


Access to the Boulder Creek near the Deer Creek confluence

A few more pics...
Awesome! See any fish in there? I've heard there's some good dry fly action for trout at times.
There are stocked trout in there, didn't see very many surprisingly. A few little guys. I bet the fishing is fantastic though, probably rarely fished down around the narrows.
Nice pics. I've been in there a couple of times. I also went in from up on hwy 12. It is pretty steep scrambling down in. The fishing was pretty good for fat 10-14 inch browns and I don't think they were stocked. We kept a couple of the bigger ones for dinner and they were nice pink meat. I was really loving this "pristine" little stream and never saw other people there in the upper to middle stretches but we did have to share the upper canyon with lots of cattle. I guess once you get down in the narrows and beyond the cattle are gone but it was hard to get the image of what the stream looked like further up out of my mind. I guess I know what the brownies are so nice and fat from:thumbsdown: I love those little streams and have had some fun fishing in a number of them. Boulder creek has had the biggest fish compared to calf creek, sand creek and pine creek. I know it is niave to think they aren't all running through livestock pastures at some point between the high mountains and the slot canyons.
Sweet trip report! I've been eyeballing Boulder Creek for years and am thinking of finally doing it next month. This helps stoke the fire! Also stoked to pack my tenkara along and give the fishing a try.
BJett - I'm thinking about doing this hike by starting up near the Hogsback dropping in above the Deer Creek confluence (the easier way) and ending at the Highway 12 bridge. Have you done it like that? Any tips for me as far as general areas to target for camp sites or other goodies? Planning on 3 days/2 nights on the trail. Thanks!

Same question to anyone else that might have done it. And has anyone been in there in recent years? From what I understand it's deep but likely not mandatory swimming, right?
I have. I'm not sure I found the easiest way down, but I ended up near the Moki steps in the last pic in my TR. had to lower my pack (actually just dropped it), then carefully back down the steps. A little sketchy, but not too bad. There may be easier ways to get around down there. I stuck with the creek both trips down, I don't see why you couldn't skirt the narrows but I'm not positive. If you go through the narrows you will have to swim a short section, and wade a lot. Fantastic swimming holes, and the boulders make small rapids.
Footing is tricky with the basalt boulders everywhere, but you will get some great photos down there. After the narrows there is great camping up on the slickrock. Take your time, lots of lithic scatter everywhere...look hard enough and you will find some points I bet.
Just before you enter the narrows, there is a class 4 climb up and out of the canyon on the left (LDC). Awesome hiking over to the Gulch, lots of huge potholes and fascinating geology. No sign of people up there anywhere. Its more wading than Death Hollow, not as much vegetation. Great on a hot day, water is clear and cold.

I look forward to your trip report! I doubt you will see anyone.
Sweet! Thanks, man. I think I'm going to take Steve Allen's route down which sounds pretty straight forward. His route doesn't describe from the confluence down though so that's good to know. So I'm thinking night 1 around the confluence of Deer and Boulder and night 2 out near or on the Escalante. Seem about right? The narrows with the deep stuff is below the confluence, right?
After reading that I realized I forgot how far upstream the Hogback approach was. Pretty easy access, and lots of wading before the confluence with Deer. I waded most of it, I think it was in July so we tried to stay wet. Might be able to rim walk and scramble down?
I would hike all the way past the narrows and camp, it will be slow going but beautiful scenery.
yes, the narrows are below the confluence. Probably good camping near the confluence, I can't remember. For something so close to the highway, it sure feels remote.
Steve Allen mentions great camping and swimming holes around the confluence. He also says it's his single favorite Escalante Canyon. How's that for a strong statement? I google mapped it and it looks like confluence with Deer Creek is about 1/3 of the route and confluence with Escalante is 2/3 so maybe we'll split the nights like that and just take our time. Did you explore up Deer Creek at all?
I didn't make it up Deer. If I ever go back I'm going to spend more time around the confluence. And I recommend the climb up just before the narrows. The potholes, cattails, moqui marbles...great photo potential. Man this is killing me...11 months to go before my 3 week desert sabbatical.
Another trip down the rabbits hole. This looks like so much fun!!! I love the real wet desert of GSENM, with my higher resistance to heat I can see doing a lot of these in the middle of summer.

Thanks for sharing.

Nick are you going to be down there this weekend?
With my less than high resistance to heat, I can do them when they are loaded with swimming holes! :) Yep - going to be a good weekend.
That is just some beautiful stuff. Love that clear water. I can testify that Deer Cr also has some great fishing too. It was quite a few years ago, but water ran clear and fish were willing. I knew there was some cool stuff off of hwy 12. Really nice TR!!
I've enjoyed your fantastic TR! :)
That's cool stuff for my next year trip.

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