Looking for Escalante Area Short Backpacking Suggestions Early Spring

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Jazzy Joe

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A buddy and me are in the inception stage of planning out a short 2-3 night backpacking trip somewhere in the Escalante area early spring and are looking for suggestions.

The current leading idea is taking our time through the wolverine-little death hollow area but am open to suggestions. Also considering going down to explore the neon canyon area, or coyote gulch. A little worried about the latter being crowded. Curious of the risk of flash flooding in the early spring as well.

It would also be good to know if anyone knows if bringing a medium sized dog (35lbs) down there would be worth the challenge/hassle.

If you guys have any thoughts or recommendations I would really appreciate it, Thanks!
 

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Nick

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#2
How early spring are you talking?

Avoid Little Death Hollow if it's been very wet in the weeks prior to your trip. That canyon would not be fun with a backpack if it were not dry or close to it.

I don't think you're going to have any crowds near Neon. Yeah, you'll see more people than a lot of other areas nearby, but nothing I would call a crowd or even that busy. And it also depends on timing. Early spring in my mind is March. There won't be that many people down there then. Also, the cottonwoods will still be mostly leafless at that time. Maybe getting a few leaves later in the month but not much. Really changes the feel of the place.
 

Jazzy Joe

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How early spring are you talking?

Avoid Little Death Hollow if it's been very wet in the weeks prior to your trip. That canyon would not be fun with a backpack if it were not dry or close to it.

I don't think you're going to have any crowds near Neon. Yeah, you'll see more people than a lot of other areas nearby, but nothing I would call a crowd or even that busy. And it also depends on timing. Early spring in my mind is March. There won't be that many people down there then. Also, the cottonwoods will still be mostly leafless at that time. Maybe getting a few leaves later in the month but not much. Really changes the feel of the place.
Was planning either the last weekend of march or the first one of April. Good to know that little death hollow will be really wet then, sounds like that isn't what we will want to do. Does that mean it tends to be much dryer in the fall? Also didn't really think about there not being much greenery yet but I don't think that will be a deal breaker.
 

Nick

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#4
Was planning either the last weekend of march or the first one of April. Good to know that little death hollow will be really wet then, sounds like that isn't what we will want to do. Does that mean it tends to be much dryer in the fall? Also didn't really think about there not being much greenery yet but I don't think that will be a deal breaker.
I'm not saying it WILL be really wet then, you just need to be aware of the weather in the time leading up to it to have the best guess of it's condition. I did it in April one year and it was almost bone dry. Another April could be totally different. By the first week in April the cottonwoods are starting to bud and leaf out further up into that area. Fresh, bright green leaves. Very nice. It happens sooner the lower you go in the Escalante drainage.
 

Jazzy Joe

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I'm not saying it WILL be really wet then, you just need to be aware of the weather in the time leading up to it to have the best guess of it's condition. I did it in April one year and it was almost bone dry. Another April could be totally different. By the first week in April the cottonwoods are starting to bud and leaf out further up into that area. Fresh, bright green leaves. Very nice. It happens sooner the lower you go in the Escalante drainage.
Okay I will just keep that in mind then and keep an eye on the weather before hand and probably make the decision where we go when I have a better idea.. I appreciate the insight!
 

Bob

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#7
Too early for most will be wet.
I'd keep dogs out if the canyons
 

Nick

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#8
Dogs are allowed everywhere down there except for Coyote Gulch and the Dry Fork slots (Peekaboo & Spooky). Just make sure you are a good dog owner and it's fine. Clean up after them, keep them from harassing wildlife, etc. They are supposed to be on a leash when you're in the boundaries of GCNRA.
 

Bob

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Dogs are allowed everywhere down there except for Coyote Gulch and the Dry Fork slots (Peekaboo & Spooky). Just make sure you are a good dog owner and it's fine. Clean up after them, keep them from harassing wildlife, etc. They are supposed to be on a leash when you're in the boundaries of GCNRA.
AND keep them out if the drinking water
 

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#12
If you're still collecting ideas, my husband and I had a fantastic experience last year the first week of April on Boulder Mail Trail & Escalante River Canyon. We did it in 3 nights but you could probably do it in 2. We left a car at the Hwy. 12 Escalante River bridge parking lot, then drove up to Boulder airstrip to start. We did the descent down into Death Hollow - this was intimidating for us, but we did it, and it's probably no big deal for some people. In Death Hollow, the water was cold but not too cold or too high to manage. Then we climbed out of Death Hollow to continue west on Boulder Mail Trail almost to its end. Then we connected with the Escalante River and continued east along the river until the Hwy 12 bridge. Gorgeous scenery! There was lots of variety with the landscape because of the combination of both parts (BMT & the river). Spring was unfolding before our eyes in the river canyon, so it was an interesting time of year to be there. We loved it! If you'd like more info, let me know.
 

Kmatjhwy

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Now if you get to Neon Canyon and this area. There is another very delightful area close by and that is Choprock Canyon. Neon is the first canyon downstream from Fence Canyon and Choprock Canyon is the first canyon upstream from Fence Canyon along the Escalante. I have stayed here many a time in Choprock canyon and loved it.

Now have hiked the Wolverine and Little Death Hallow area also. It is nice also. Nearby Horse Canyon is nice also with especially Lower Horse Canyon. You could spend days and weeks in these areas and still not see or experience it all. Have Fun and Enjoy!
 

Jazzy Joe

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Now if you get to Neon Canyon and this area. There is another very delightful area close by and that is Choprock Canyon. Neon is the first canyon downstream from Fence Canyon and Choprock Canyon is the first canyon upstream from Fence Canyon along the Escalante. I have stayed here many a time in Choprock canyon and loved it.

Now have hiked the Wolverine and Little Death Hallow area also. It is nice also. Nearby Horse Canyon is nice also with especially Lower Horse Canyon. You could spend days and weeks in these areas and still not see or experience it all. Have Fun and Enjoy!
From my research I think the neon area could be be a solid destination with Choprock and ringtail to explore nearby. Definitely leaning towards this now.

Can the Escalante get too full to cross easily when we have a heavy snow pack like we are now building this year?
 
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#17
From my research I think the neon area could be be a solid destination with Choprock and ringtail to explore nearby. Definitely leaning towards this now.

Can the Escalante get too full to cross easily when we have a heavy snow pack like we are now building this year?
Crossing the Escalante will depend on your comfort with crossing depth and current. Wider areas will likely be shallower. Last year in April I got to the confluence of Coyote and the Escalante and found the current pretty strong and the water real cold. I tried crossing and got up to my waist and felt the current was too strong and backed out, leaving my attempt to get up to Stevens arch. Someone else might have found it ok to cross. Two older pack-rafters just got out when I was there and they said they spent the last 7 days rafting from the Highway 12 crossing. I didn't think it would be deep enough with the low snowpack but it was.
 

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#18
Can the Escalante get too full to cross easily when we have a heavy snow pack like we are now building this year?
We tried to do a loop in that area one year in April and the rangers said the Escalante was neck deep and not crossable. I don't know if it really was. We ended up doing The Gulch and for how much water was flowing there, I believe them.
 

LarryBoy

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#19
I crossed the lower Escalante in April-ish on at least one occasion (and it should be added, I'm not a very big person). Probably just depends on the snow year and the rate of melt.
 
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#20
There is a depth and flow gauge in Escalante. Should have current and historical data if you search the web (haven't tried). Then you can contrast the water from my pics near the Gulch in April 18 with other Aprils. Last year that far upstream it was slow and clear.
We waded from Fold Canyon to Stevens Canyon (with the current) once in late April 2015. Swift and muddy as to not be able to see footing on the bottom. Pole was useful. Never to my hip belt.
http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8016013
 

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