Escalante Area - Memorial Day weekend


Jun 30, 2013
Having never been to GSENM area before and only driven through byway 12 once few weeks ago, made some concrete plans to explore the area this past weekend. Initially I had planned to sneak out of work early on friday but had to ditch it and saturday morning leave it was. That also meant I could take a longer route and explore intermediate attractions along the way.

Left SLC around 10AM and didn't stop much until reaching Hanksville. Scooter is a great outdoors dog and does great in car rides, but Hope just hyperventilates the whole way and I have to stop from time to time to get her hydrated and calmed down. Anyways, from Hanksville I just decided to take a route to Burr trail
through Capitol Reef, as i had never explored that part of the park.

Took one of dirt roads that led to park boundary and beyond and even found a decent campsite, but it was far too early in day to call it quits.

Dirt road leading to park boundary.

Blooming cactus.

We did a short hike and then back on the Notom Bullfrog road, which soon turned to a dirt road. hardly saw much traffic there and few stopped cars on the side.

Waterpocket fold.

Pleasant trail to drive on.

Next up was junction for Burr trail and going up the switchbacks. It was an easy enough ascend, taking in the views. I even saw a Lexus LS out there, descending down the trail.

Switchbacks from the top.

It was getting late in the day and I knew I wouldn't make it for hike to Little death hollow as planned, but I still had to find the road for a campsite. I have been using Backcountry Navigator app on my phone with pre-loaded maps and it was great here again with route finding. About a mile in or so on wolverine road and found a decent spot for campsite.

Dogs were happy to be out of car and rest in trailer.

Saw few cars go up and down the road, presumably to the trailhead. Pretty uneventful, relaxing night taking some night photos that didn't turn out great.

Pork tacos for dinner.


I had pretty clear agenda for the day, drive down south to Hole in the rock road and hike Willow gulch(guide here..). While driving towards Boulder, came across a nice gulch area to hike and have morning coffee.

Nice shaded area with small stream flowing through, I missed sign for the trail so not sure what trail it was.

Dogs enjoying the hike.

Next stop was Hole in the rock road. I knew it was all dirt road but didn't expect it to be so rutted in most places. Driving that road was probably the worst part of the trip(after the traffic on I-15), I just hated it. Saw a variety of cars, including Priuses and what not on it. Would be a slow going all the way 50 miles in for sure.

Stopped at Devil's garden for lunch.

Hope was getting too excited to chase lizards and whatever moved on the trail.

Moving on, I didn't stop anywhere else but keeping an eye out on potential campsites/side roads. Finding trailhead was pretty easy, again thanks to @Nick trail guide.
Saw few cars parked there and we set it off in mid-day sun, not a great idea.

Dogs(scooter particularly) suffered terribly in that first descent into the canyon. I briefly thought about aborting and going back to trailhead as Scooter couldn't walk in that hot sand.

Resting in first shaded area we could find.

Another hiker coming back told me I was pretty close to water and trees. Decided to carry scooter and just make a run for it and 10 minutes later we were in paradise.

I dunked Scooter in a small pool so he would cool down a bit and Hope was just loving all that water.

Nice little trail.

Followed the trail of water all the way to Broken Bow arch.

Probably should've gone further but I didn't want to push Scooter too much and decided to turn back after a while.

Now I had to find a campsite and dogs were panting pretty bad from the heat back at trailhead. Took a side road few miles on the way back and decided to call it a day there. Not the greatest campsite, lot of cattle dung around and what not. Later in the day/night saw few more cars come and leave, so campsites were definitely at a premium. Another uneventful night punctuated by some Coyote/fox? howls.

Slept well into Monday morning, all tired from previous day's hikes. I had plan to explore some lake in Boulder mountain and brought along my fly gear. Took a turn off for Oak Creek reservoir and quickly ran into trouble in trail. Rear wheels started spinning and wouldn't pull the trailer up the hill. Locking the differential got me out of it and luckily there was enough space to turn around. Boulder mountains would've to wait for some other time.

Doesn't look too ominous in this picture, but it was steep uphill and didn't want to risk it.

Since I was going to Fremont anyways, maybe I planned to check out fremont river or other streams in the area. Upper Fremont looked pretty unfishable, so moved on to UM creek(another area I've always wondered about).
It's a beautiful little stream with deep undercuts, but unfortunately was flowing too high. Tried fishing for a while but no bites or signs of fish. Decided to just give up on fishing and drive back to SLC. Traffic was a nightmare in I-15, but that was expected on Monday afternoon of memorial day weekend.

Overall I was pretty happy with the trip and dogs were thrilled as well. Didn't get to Little Death hollow canyon, maybe some other time, but Willow Gulch was well worth the effort.
Last edited:

Mike K

Jul 6, 2012
Looks like a fun outing exploring new areas for you. And I like your setup (vehicle and trailer). Good trip report, thanks.


Desert Rat-Weekend Warrior
Jun 7, 2012
Good intro to the area. I've definitely stayed on that same spot on the Wolverine road. Headed that way on Sunday :dance:.

I'm not sure if it was word play or not, so excuse me, but it's Waterpocket Fold, not Waterfold pocket :scatman:.


Jun 30, 2013
Good intro to the area. I've definitely stayed on that same spot on the Wolverine road. Headed that way on Sunday :dance:.

I'm not sure if it was word play or not, so excuse me, but it's Waterpocket Fold, not Waterfold pocket :scatman:.
Oops. thanks for the correction.

Mike Jones

Feb 19, 2013
So I totally think I recognize your vehicle and trailer. I think I may of saw you at some point on Hole In the Rock Road this weekend. Your trip looks awesome, and makes me want to explore more of the area. This weekend was my first time out there!


Jun 30, 2013
So I totally think I recognize your vehicle and trailer. I think I may of saw you at some point on Hole In the Rock Road this weekend. Your trip looks awesome, and makes me want to explore more of the area. This weekend was my first time out there!
Yep, its definitely possible. I was out there first time as well.
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
M Non-technical 1-2 night backpacking w dogs and kids - Escalante-ish area in April? Trip Planning 14
Stephanie B Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument - Kanab Area Hiking & Camping 2
swmalone Rain, Mud, and Wind....First Trip to Escalante Area Hiking & Camping 16
Jazzy Joe Looking for Escalante Area Short Backpacking Suggestions Early Spring Trip Planning 21
LarryBoy Water source information - Escalante/CRNP area Trip Planning 14
Kyle P Escalante Area Gear Stores General Discussion 14
Strawsome What is your favorite hike in the Escalante/Hole in the rock road area? General Discussion 6
swmalone Looking for Assistance to Introduction to Escalante Area Trip Planning 4
W Escalante area - location? General Discussion 6
W Red Breaks Northeast & East Forks Loop? (Escalante area) General Discussion 3
Bob Escalante Area Backpacking 11
N Trip Recommendations- Grand Staircase Escalante Area 7 days Trip Planning 11
piper01 Escalante Area Wanderings: Phipps Arch Hiking & Camping 2
piper01 Escalante Area Wanderings: Cosmic Navel Hiking & Camping 4
piper01 Escalante Area Wanderings: Brimstone and Spooky Hiking & Camping 2
piper01 Escalante Area Wanderings: Golden Cathedral Hiking & Camping 3
piper01 Escalante Area Wanderings: Bighorn Canyon Hiking & Camping 6
piper01 Escalante Area Wandering: Red Breaks Hiking & Camping 0
piper01 Escalante Area Wanderings: Zebra and Tunnel Hiking & Camping 3
S Escalante Area Trip Report Hiking & Camping 0
Waynee-ack Backpacking destination needed in Escalante area. Trip Planning 11
Nick Short backpacking trips in the Escalante/Boulder area Trip Planning 20
gloo Death Hollow Escalante Area Trip Planning 13
Janice Cosmic Ashtray via Wolverine/Little Death Hollow & Escalante River? Trip Planning 9
Duketogo13 Questions about packrafting the Escalante/Lake Powell in September. Need help! Trip Planning 5
priz1234 The Gulch Escalante 4/17-4/18 Backpacking 2
RyanP Conditions (water/bugs) for Escalante/Death Hollow Trip Planning 27
J Escalante Natl. Mon. to Bryce N.P. the (unknown) Final Dayhikes April 15-16, 2021 Hiking & Camping 9
Bob Lost in the Escalante .......... Blast from the Past Backpacking 6
Bob A short Escalante trip end of April Backpacking 5
swmalone Restaurant Suggestions for Escalante or Boulder General Discussion 11
S Packrafting Escalante - FiftyMile Creek and low water level Lake Powell Trip Planning 8
swmalone Camping suggestions for Escalante in May Trip Planning 2
Muddy Waters Stevens, Fold, Escalante River, Fools, Kings Mesa Trip Reports 3
wildwesthikes 9 Days Solo Escalante Loop in October (water advice) - Stevens Canyon, Baker Route over Waterpocket fold, Halls Narrows to Moody Canyons Trip Planning 11
T Status of Traffic - Hole in the rock road - Escalante - September? Trip Planning 2
ramblinman Boulder Creek Day Hike, Escalante National Monument Hiking & Camping 5
M Ideas for 4 nights in Escalante Trip Planning 30
A 1st time backpacker in Escalante, UT Trip Planning 13
Titans Permits car camping Grand Staircase Escalante NM? Trip Planning 6
Devin Ashby The Lower Gulch - Escalante (Seeking info on the route) Trip Planning 14
R Escalante River / Calf Creek Falls Current Conditions Trip Planning 10
cmgz Boulder Mail Trail - Escalante Trailhead to Mamie Creek Hiking & Camping 1
W Escalante River Backpacking Trip Planning 12
ADubs Looking for info from anyone who has done the Egypt loop and exited via 25mile wash (Escalante). Trip Planning 3
canadug Current Escalante and Cap Reef Road conditons Trip Planning 17
JDWalters Access to Escalante River/Lake Powell near Cathedral in the Desert Trip Planning 7
regehr Escalante Jan 19 2019 Trip Planning 2
Nick Me love me some Escalante!! Backpacking 24
fossana Stephens Canyon Loop, part of Escalante Overland Route or ? Trip Planning 18

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.