Quick Trip to Golden Cathedral


Aug 8, 2018
Original plan was to hike to Reflection Bay, stay a night, then hike to the "peninsula" between Cottonwood and Llewelyn Gulches and see RC from the East. Checked in the visitors center in Escalante for my free permit, but there were two couples before me that had endless questions about where to go, what to do, how hard it is, etc... I was thinking "just sthu and let me get my permit and leave" as I was on a short timetable. Finally got my turn, got my permit, and went to get a pizza before heading down Hole in the Rock Road. When I got to Hole in the Rock Road, it was obvious there was a lot of rain falling down there, and the lady at the Visitor Center told me that they expected flash flooding down there, so plans changed and Golden Cathedral it was.

There were about 20 campers in the area to the right not far from the main road. It was gonna be busy.

On the way down before the Harris Wash turnoff, I passed 6 vehicles, one of which appeared to be bogarding some weed judging by the Cheech and Chong levels of smoke. At the trailhead for Zebra/Tunnel slots I counted 21cars. Busy busy busy.

Turned off on the Egypt road and passed one set of campers each at Egypt 2 and 3 slots, and finally pulled in at the trailhead. There were 3 cars there. Two were for a group of 4 who were going to packraft from Fence Canyon to Coyote Tuesday afternoon to Friday. I wished them well and got on my way.

It was cool, windy, and overcast, with some "spitting" rain now and then.

Its a beautiful area for sure and I love it. I thought of doing the Cathedral -25 Mile Wash Loop back to the trailhead, depending on weather.


I took the "beeline" route instead of Fence. I did some research and I thought one would have to work hard to get lost here. I did find a slight trail to follow, but even if it wasn't there it would not have been a big deal.

Got to the cliff band for my first good view


Had no trouble locating where to get through the cliff face and down the sand, thinking to myself that coming up this would be a drag. Heading down the final dune to the river and scouted the area for camp. There was no one. At all. Devoid of all human life. It was glorious. Selected a place away from the river and set up. There was already a fire ring there. It was about 3pm now and time to explore a bit.


On to the Golden Cathedral. I wish it was sunny out, but the clouds would not cooperate. Crossed the Escalante which was frigging cold and moving swiftly. Near the far side it got to mid-thigh deep.


The trees were vividly green and I loved the varnish streaking down the walls.



And there it was.



I wished i could see it in sunlit glory, but that was not my luck today. It was still a great place to be. No one else was there.



Time to go check out the Escalante River area to the petroglyphs and wherever.

Two Bighorn fighting?





The panel was much bigger than I expected. Had some things i saw elsewhere and some things I haven't seen before. Worthwhile to check it out if you are there.

Did some more wandering without seeing a soul, then back to camp for dinner, waiting a full moon.


Did i say the Escalante was frigging cold?


Slept well until 0330. Got a message from the wife on my Inreach that my daughter was sick, had smeared poop everywhere, (she's disabled) and was at wits end. So, the trip ended early and by first light I was on my way up the friggin sand dune. Gotta admit the uphill sand trudge was a bear.


Said my goodbye and trudged back to the truck. Took me 3 hours to get back. On the way back to home, i stopped by the dino trackway for a few photos.





One quick stop for a picture of the Paunsagunt Fault(contact of the pink rock and older tan rock)then on my home way home to save the day.


Wish I had more time but that's life. I did meet with a group of three back at my truck who were going to canyoneer Neon. They asked me if I knew where to climb out of Neon to go up and get to the drop in and told them there was a break to the left a few hundred yards inside of Neon. They thought They had to turn north before entering Neon.


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Aug 18, 2018
Sure hope your mother-in-law doesn't read your TRs on BCP ;). Bummer you had to leave early, but at least you live fairly close by, perhaps you get another chance soon! Did you ever hear anything back about volunteering in the CBN area?


Life really is better Here
Apr 20, 2013
Nice trip! Also sad that you had to leave early.

I was there in November, so it was good to see it with the neon green spring leaves. In the shoulder seasons I recommend the rims and benches to camp. More sunlight for warmth, and excellent views.


Aug 8, 2018
Sure hope your mother-in-law doesn't read your TRs on BCP ;). Bummer you had to leave early, but at least you live fairly close by, perhaps you get another chance soon! Did you ever hear anything back about volunteering in the CBN area?
MIL has passed away.

The BLM is reviewing all the applications right now. I applied back in February. Things move sloooooowwwwlllyy there, I was told.

Shpuld also hear any time on the hunt draws.

Stephanie B

Steph and Blake
Dec 7, 2017
We hiked to Golden Cathedral this past spring. Had the exact same thoughts about the sand on the way down to the river. And our suspicions were verified on the way back up. The arches just didn't "do much" for us, despite all the hoopla. Not sure I'd do this one again. Hope your wife regained her wits. :)


New Member
Apr 7, 2021
Do you remember what the road was like to the Egypt trailhead? You think I could make it with relatively low clearance taking it nice and easy?


Feb 5, 2021
Very nice! I killed a couple hours at that VC warming up and waiting for an unexpected rain storm to pass. It takes a special kind of person to man one of those information counters. To get the same questions over and over and over and handhold the folks that show up with no clue...I don't think I'd last a week.
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