Packrafting Escalante - FiftyMile Creek and low water level Lake Powell

Saksahan

New Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2021
Messages
4
Hello everybody!
I'm solo packrafter from Ukraine and I want to visit the Escalante area at the end of April - early May.

Planning route: Harris Wash - Escalante - ???
Then consider two route options:
a) Escalante - Up to Coyote Gulch - Down Fortymile Gulch - Lake Powell - up to FiftyMile Creek Or Davis Gulch - HITRR
b) Escalante - Lake Powell - FiftyMile Creek Or Davis Gulch - HITRR

1. I will have a small rent a car type Toyota Corolla or Mitsubishi Mirage. Road from the city of Escalante to Devils Garden passes in any weather?
And after lengthy rains? I need to have time to return to the plane in Salt Lake City.

2. I will leave the rentcar at Devils Garden Parking for 10-12 days.
Is it safe to leave the car for such a long time? Perhaps i need to write some note/message and leave in the car to know that everything is fine?

3. I see that in Lake Powell is a low water level. Can I get off the Escalante River direct to Lake Powel? Will a lot will be in the mouth of a mule or quicksand?

4. Is there a problem hitchhiking on HITRR?
Will have to go on foot from upper Davis Gulch to Devils Garden to my car?

Thanks!
 

fossana

Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2018
Messages
526
You might be out of luck with the drought this year unless you want to drag your raft for major sections. 50 CFS is the recommended flow rate. The current flow rate is currently below 1 CFS. Here's a report from someone who went with a flow rate of 35-40 CFS, advising against very low flow rates. That being said, if you're open to backpacking with a separate Lake Powell float, you could have a great trip.
 

Bob

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Mar 3, 2013
Messages
2,645
Mouth of canyons into Powell could be questionable in really low water levels... Trees exposed, driftwood piles and floating and mud. Current Elevation is 3565.26 ft. Been going down .10 ft ave a day. Full is 135 ft higher. Might be better to plan straight hiking loops.. The blue lines are where I was looking at about 3600 ft for raftinglast month ......its going lower . Upper blue is Willow/40 mile, lower blue is Davis. I'd bet you can get a car farther down the road than that unless its wet...... suggestion get a Nissan Rogue, good mileage, higher clearance.


willow.jpg
 
Last edited:

Saksahan

New Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2021
Messages
4
Thank you all for the answers.
Unfortunately or fortunately, I can't change the date of the airtickets or the type of car rental, so I will somehow solve the problem of low water.
It is not a problem for me to walk some sections of the river, dragging paсkraft.

I follow the weather forecast every day and there are rains))) Maybe a miracle will happen)))

How serious is the quicksand`s problem on this route?
 

Saksahan

New Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2021
Messages
4
Maybe someone else can answer these questions?

1. I will have a small rent a car type Toyota Corolla or Mitsubishi Mirage. Road from the city of Escalante to Devils Garden passes in any weather?
And after lengthy rains? I need to have time to return to the plane in Salt Lake City.

2. I will leave the rentcar at Devils Garden Parking for 10-12 days.
Is it safe to leave the car for such a long time? Perhaps i need to write some note/message and leave in the car to know that everything is fine?
 

Bob

Trailmaster
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
2,645
Im headed down there fri the 23rd back around the first...can tell you then if not too late. Email or call the visitor center in Escalante...
 

fossana

Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2018
Messages
526
1. I doubt we'll get any monsoon-like rains before then, but there a few clay-laden sections on Hole in the Rock road. From experience, if the US car rental places are overbooked, they'll give you whatever they have regardless of what you reserved (you still pay the original quoted price). Sometimes this works in your favor, sometimes not.
2. Make sure you get a permit (self-service or at the ranger station) and sign the register. If a car is parked for a long period of time, that's the first place the authorities will check. I have once seen an older truck with 2 flats at the South Lobo trailhead, but I can't say whether someone messed with it or it happened due a puncture on the road. It did seem odd.
 

Saksahan

New Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2021
Messages
4
Im headed down there fri the 23rd back around the first...can tell you then if not too late. Email or call the visitor center in Escalante...
would be grateful for your information.
I start on the morning of April 24th
 

TrailScot

Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2019
Messages
45
1. I will have a small rent a car type Toyota Corolla or Mitsubishi Mirage. Road from the city of Escalante to Devils Garden passes in any weather?
And after lengthy rains? I need to have time to return to the plane in Salt Lake City.

4. Is there a problem hitchhiking on HITRR?
Will have to go on foot from upper Davis Gulch to Devils Garden to my car?

Thanks!

As fosanna says, you shouldn't have too many issues driving HitTR in even a small car, unless there was to be a lot of rain. Even then, the clay sections would dry out again quite quickly. The main problem in driving this road is the near-constant washboard surface, which makes for an uncomfortable journey. I guess you probably already know that rental car companies don't encourage driving on non-paved roads, so there is some risk, if you do drive this road.

Regarding hitch-hiking, I would guess that you would get a ride without too much difficulty. There is a regular flow of vehicles along the road, and I think a lot of those would be 'hitcher friendly', especially as they'd be interested to hear where your adventure had taken you :)

I'm certainly jealous of your trip, especially being able to travel to the US for vacation. For most of Europe, unfortunately this isn't an option, at the moment :(
 
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