Death Hollow (2 nights), Escalante National Monument, UT


Wilderness Seeker
Apr 16, 2016
As some of you know, I took the entire summer off to go backpacking all over the Rocky Mountains. This has always been a dream of mine, and as a 21 year old single guy, I didn't have much weighing me down. I saved up some money over the previous few months, quit my job, and basically said YOLO!!

Starting in early June, I knew the high mountains would still be snow-covered. My plan was to spend my first two weeks in Utah, going through every national park in the state. Having already been to Canyonlands and Arches NP the previous weekend with a close friend, I planned a trip through Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Arches.

My stay in Capitol Reef only lasted a day, and I spent it doing the day hike down Sulphur Creek. It was absolutely beautiful, and I would definitely like to go back to Capitol Reef someday. The next day, I drove west to the Boulder Airstrip...
Thanks to all the wonderful information and recommendations from BCP, I chose Death Hollow as my first backpacking trip of the year! And let me tell you, it was probably my favorite trip of the whole summer.

About a mile down the Boulder Mail Trail, headed to Death Hollow! Other than a couple of day hikers I met about a couple miles in, I didn't see a single person until out of Death Hollow and in the lower Escalante! 2 days completely alone...


Looking down into Death Hollow from the canyon rim. The trail gets pretty steep in places as it traverses down to the bottom.



Swimming holes are out of this world! The water temperature was perfect. Death Hollow, despite the name, is truly a paradise.


Yeah... ^ Just look at that and tell me you don't want to be there right now...


No tent needed in Death Hollow. This is my first campspot, just a few feet from the previous picture.


Day 2! I mostly walked IN the river in the lower portions of the canyon.





Believe it or not, that is looking back at the TRAIL. By far the hardest section, I had to scoot forward in the water and jump to the rock ledge on the right, landing on my chest, all to avoid the deep water (it's at least 7 feet deep there). This was the only small section in the entire canyon that may scare off an average backpacker. With two or more people, it wouldn't have been bad to hand off backpacks.


A little further downstream, I decided on this place as my 2nd night's camp. It's about a mile and a half from the confluence of the Escalante River. It was the place just behind the trees there, that made this camp special.


This picture doesn't do it justice, but I called this part of the canyon the Zen Pools. There's a series of pools carved into the rock. The deep one in the foreground was at least 10 feet deep, big as some hotel swimming pools, and had a couple of fish in it. The small round one just above it is about 3 feet deep and about the size of a small hot tub. It was blissful to soak in.


Sitting in the hot tub Zen Pool. At this moment, it felt like everything was right with the world.


A closer look at the Zen Pools. The swimming pool on the left, the hot tub in the middle-top of the picture. You can see why it reminded me of a hotel pool and hot tub combo... just carved in the middle of a beautiful canyon and miles from the nearest person.

On day 3, I had a beautiful but uneventful hike out to the Escalante River parking lot. On the way I took a selfie in front of the Escalante Natural Bridge:


In summary: Death Hollow is a place of unimaginable beauty and discovery. It's easily my favorite place in Utah (so far!), and made for one of my, if not THE favorite backpacking trip of my whole summer.

Thanks for reading, and until next time,

You're right... I'd love to be there right now. Great place for solo time.
Great pictures. We did a trip down the Escalante from the town to the bridge taking side trips up into death hollow and sand creek. Beautiful country. If you ever get a chance in late Fall go down Hole in the Rock Road and do Coyote Gulch. It is just gorgeous when the cottowoods are turning.
Are you doing anything special to get your vertical oriented pics to orient that way or does it just happen auto for you? All my pics go horizontal upon attaching.
Are you doing anything special to get your vertical oriented pics to orient that way or does it just happen auto for you? All my pics go horizontal upon attaching.
All my picture were taken with my phone, and it correctly orients automatically.
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