Loop possible with Boulder Mail Trail?

Janice

Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
275
We're hoping to do a multi-day backpacking trip in early April and are thinking about the Boulder-Escalante area. A few questions:
1) Is it possible to make a loop with the Boulder Mail trail and Escalante River trail? If so, I'd love details about how to do it.
2) Even if a loop isn't possible, does anyone have recommendations for a multi-day route, including which direction to go on each trail?
3) How hard is it to follow the trail, especially when you're on the slickrock?
4) Is it alright to do this in early April, weather-wise and water-wise?
5) Should we consider other multi-day backpacking trips in this general area? We hiked Paria Canyon a few years ago and loved it!
 

slc_dan

Desert Rat-Weekend Warrior
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Messages
1,685
There are quite a few options. The first that comes to mind would be to do almost the entirety of the BMT, but go east at the river instead of just being done. Follow the river to Death Hollow, and go up river till you reach back to the BMT. It would be more of a Lollipop, but could be pretty cool.

There are honestly countless options in this general area. Pick up Steve Allen's Canyoneering 3. It's the Escalante Bible.
 

Janice

Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
275
Thanks so much for your ideas. I had seen Canyoneering 3 on Amazon and wondered if it was worth getting. Do you know if Death Hollow is passable all the way back up to the BMT?
 

Artemus

I walk
.
Joined
Jun 25, 2012
Messages
4,381
Thanks so much for your ideas. I had seen Canyoneering 3 on Amazon and wondered if it was worth getting. Do you know if Death Hollow is passable all the way back up to the BMT?
I don't understand the question but Death Hollow can be followed from the Hell's Backbone Road to the Escalante but the section above the BMT crossing is spicy and challenging.
 

Janice

Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
275
Sorry to be unclear. If I understand correctly, you're suggesting going north up Death Hollow from the Escalante River back to the BMT. Is there anything blocking the way going up Death Hollow? Thanks for your help!
 

Nick

Spiral out.
.
Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,846
Thanks so much for your ideas. I had seen Canyoneering 3 on Amazon and wondered if it was worth getting. Do you know if Death Hollow is passable all the way back up to the BMT?

Yes, it is passable from the Escalante River to where the BMT crosses and as Art said, even all the way to the Hells Backbone Road. The upper part of the canyon has long, cold swimming sections while the lower section is mostly knee deep wading. There are usually a couple of spots in the lower canyon that you may still have to get into some deep water so you need to be prepared for that.

We're hoping to do a multi-day backpacking trip in early April and are thinking about the Boulder-Escalante area. A few questions:
1) Is it possible to make a loop with the Boulder Mail trail and Escalante River trail? If so, I'd love details about how to do it.
2) Even if a loop isn't possible, does anyone have recommendations for a multi-day route, including which direction to go on each trail?
3) How hard is it to follow the trail, especially when you're on the slickrock?
4) Is it alright to do this in early April, weather-wise and water-wise?
5) Should we consider other multi-day backpacking trips in this general area? We hiked Paria Canyon a few years ago and loved it!

Back to your original post, it's important to note that there aren't actually trails for most of the routes you're considering. Yes, the Boulder Mail Trail has it in the name, but it is much more of a route than a defined trail. In terrain like that, loops and route variations are limitless! You just need to make sure you're prepared and have the right experience in that kind of terrain. Even in the canyon bottoms like along the Escalante River, you'll have trails in some spots, and in others you'll be forced into the river. The trails are usually just unmaintained social trails and sometimes you'll wish you'd stayed in the river. Sorry if that's obvious to you but the mentions of following trails made me feel like it should be mentioned.

April can be fine, or it can be swift, cold water that makes things more difficult than other times. Just depends on the year and the timing of the runoff. Personally, I'd go for lower elevations in April. The foliage is just barely kicking in up in Death Hollow that time of year. For perspective, I've done it in March, April, May, June and September. June and September were the best with the added heat and the cool water in DH.

As for a route, I've done this point-to-point a few times and quite enjoy it: Start at the air strip, follow the BMT to Death Hollow, follow Death Hollow to the Escalante, then follow the Escalante to Highway 12 bridge. You'll be in for about 22-23 miles but it's not fast trail walking for the most part. Plenty to explore along the way and not too bad navigation wise for experienced hikers. You need a shuttle to pull this off, or bring some cash and a sign that says "Hiker Shuttle 3 miles" (or whatever it is) and you can probably hitch it. We've had luck hitching, but we've also not had luck and had to go into Escalante and hire a shuttle for $80.
 

LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
.
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
2,155
Yes, it is passable from the Escalante River to where the BMT crosses and as Art said, even all the way to the Hells Backbone Road. The upper part of the canyon has long, cold swimming sections while the lower section is mostly knee deep wading. There are usually a couple of spots in the lower canyon that you may still have to get into some deep water so you need to be prepared for that.



Back to your original post, it's important to note that there aren't actually trails for most of the routes you're considering. Yes, the Boulder Mail Trail has it in the name, but it is much more of a route than a defined trail. In terrain like that, loops and route variations are limitless! You just need to make sure you're prepared and have the right experience in that kind of terrain. Even in the canyon bottoms like along the Escalante River, you'll have trails in some spots, and in others you'll be forced into the river. The trails are usually just unmaintained social trails and sometimes you'll wish you'd stayed in the river. Sorry if that's obvious to you but the mentions of following trails made me feel like it should be mentioned.

April can be fine, or it can be swift, cold water that makes things more difficult than other times. Just depends on the year and the timing of the runoff. Personally, I'd go for lower elevations in April. The foliage is just barely kicking in up in Death Hollow that time of year. For perspective, I've done it in March, April, May, June and September. June and September were the best with the added heat and the cool water in DH.

As for a route, I've done this point-to-point a few times and quite enjoy it: Start at the air strip, follow the BMT to Death Hollow, follow Death Hollow to the Escalante, then follow the Escalante to Highway 12 bridge. You'll be in for about 22-23 miles but it's not fast trail walking for the most part. Plenty to explore along the way and not too bad navigation wise for experienced hikers. You need a shuttle to pull this off, or bring some cash and a sign that says "Hiker Shuttle 3 miles" (or whatever it is) and you can probably hitch it. We've had luck hitching, but we've also not had luck and had to go into Escalante and hire a shuttle for $80.
This is all spot on. You shouldn't have a problem hitching on a nice spring weekend. Otherwise in sure the Escalante Outfitters would be able to do a shuttle for you.
 

Ryan Lambert

Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2016
Messages
9
You could do a loop from the airstrip to death hollow, then down to the Escalante River, along the river to the Bowington road junction, then back up to the BMT and ending at the airstrip. I've never done it, but I've been thinking about it.

This map shows the Bowington road, or at least what I've been able to find about it. Like I said I've not used that route before myself. Click here to view on CalTopo
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
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
NorthwestWanderer 6 Day Eagle Cap Wilderness Odyssey | Cross Country Travel | The Highlight Highway Loop Backpacking 6
Mountain Wanderer Cedar Lakes Loop in Montana's Cabinet Mountains Wilderness Backpacking 4
B Thorofare loop (almost) Cabin Creek, Hawk's Rest, Ishawooa Creek 8/11-19 Backpacking 8
Arizona Jones Willow Valley Loop Hike, Arizona Canyoneering 8
VikingEarl Big SEKI loop, Sequoia Kings Canyon Backpacking 1
B Thorofare loop from Deer Creek Trip Planning 20
WasatchWill A Birthday Along the 'Kings Castle' Loop Backpacking 11
VikingEarl Rae Lakes Loop, SEKI, June 2020 Backpacking 6
VikingEarl Muddy Creek 6 day backpacking loop with My Own Frontier Backpacking 5
scatman Neff's Ridge Loop - June 13, 2020 Hiking & Camping 10
VikingEarl Death Hollow from Hells Backbone road 7 day loop with My Own Frontier Canyoneering 0
ridings82 Uintas Backpacking Loop Trip Reports 4
regehr Sid's Mountain Loop Backpacking 5
U Glacier North Circle Loop Mid July - Looking for an alternative back-up plan for a 3-4 nighter Trip Planning 0
Wanderlust073 Upheaval Canyon / Syncline Loop Backpacking 14
Tarp Boy High Sierra Camp Loop, Yosemite, CA Trip Reports 5
Yvonne Hiking the Hurricane Canal and Hurricane Rim Loop, February 15 Hiking & Camping 4
J Death Valley National Park Keene Canyon-Wonder Mine Loop. Dec. 3, 2019 Hiking & Camping 1
Yvonne Garnet Hill Loop, Yellowstone, August 2019 Hiking & Camping 4
J Death Valley NP. Marble-Cottonwood (side slot) lollipop loop Nov 17-19,2019 Backpacking 10
NorthwestWanderer Chelan-Sawtooth Range : Sunrise to Cooney Lake Loop Backpacking 3
Mountain of Youth Death Hollow Loop in mid-September Trip Planning 11
fossana Browns Point > Summit > Whipple loop (Pine Valley Mountains Wilderness, UT) Hiking & Camping 1
TrektheWorld Wind River Range 5 Day Loop Backpacking 16
Ehouston24 Uintas Loop (Red Castle/Kings Peak) Trip Planning 14
Jackson Hailey-Washakie Loop Backpacking 37
chandlerwest Zion - West Rim Loop...........in July???? Hiking & Camping 7
regehr Allen-ish dark canyon loop video Backpacking 5
fossana Grand Gulch Pt 2 - Todie to Sheiks loop Hiking & Camping 9
fossana Grand Gulch Pt 1 - Slickhorn 3rd to Trail Fork loop Hiking & Camping 6
Ross Arizona/Utah road trip loop with sandstone/badlands/canyon hikes Hiking & Camping 13
Perry Mt Timpanogos - Hartsky Loop Day Adventure Hiking & Camping 13
fossana Jumpup and Kwagunt Canyons lollipop loop (Kanab Creek Wilderness) Hiking & Camping 7
ADubs Looking for info from anyone who has done the Egypt loop and exited via 25mile wash (Escalante). Trip Planning 3
fossana New Hance - Tonto - Grandview loop (Grand Canyon NP) Hiking & Camping 5
fossana Snow Canyon rim loop Hiking & Camping 1
J Virgin Springs Canyon Cane Wash Loop Trip Planning 3
Mikjik86 Halls Creek Loop. 2 Days, or 3? General Discussion 6
fossana Red Reef loop Hiking & Camping 3
George_Washington_Hayduke Clearwater - Bowdie - Fable Valley - Gypsum - Easter Pasture -8 Day Backpack/Packraft Loop Backpacking 36
fossana Bear Canyon/Sabino Canyon Loop (Santa Catalina Mountains, AZ) Hiking & Camping 3
Born to Hike Windriver 36 mile loop: Skull Lake, Washakie Pass, South Fork Lakes, Lizard Head Trail, The Cirque, Big Sandy Lake Backpacking 6
jdfut66 Uinta Loop suggestion Trip Planning 3
fossana Stevens/Fold Canyon loop (Glen Canyon NRA) Backpacking 21
WasatchWill South Draw Loop Off Road 3
Devin Ashby The Gulch to Horse Canyon Loop - From Burr Trail Trip Planning 5
fossana Stephens Canyon Loop, part of Escalante Overland Route or ? Trip Planning 18
Mikjik86 Backpacking Four Pass Loop Backpacking 2
Ugly Autumn Afternoon on the Alpine Loop Hiking & Camping 5

Similar threads

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

Top