Each day hike into the Escalante Canyon offers the opportunity for difficult and demanding routes, however the only required hiking and the basis for the rating is that into and out of base camp. The hike into this base camp is rated moderate and involves a 4.5 mile hike to base camp with 1200 feet of elevation loss and steep elevation changes.
Day 1: We meet in Boulder, UT at 9 am. We provide a duffel bag for your gear (25 lbs. max.) and drive to the trail head to start our hike from a wooded bench above the canyon. From this point, 1,200 feet above the Escalante River, we have a bird's eye view of the area we will be exploring and of the entire central Escalante canyons with the Henry Mountains and the Aquarius Plateau on the horizon. We descend the stair-like slick rock to a sandy bench then down to camp.
Day 2: This red rock canyon hike begins with inscriptions from some of the first white men to enter this area in the late 1800's. After a mile of hiking we enter the deep red Wingate formation and follow the incredible winding course. Tapestried walls lean out over our heads. As the canyon deepens we enter the colorful bentonite hills beneath the Wingate. Some may want to opt for a dramatic route over the top back to camp.
Day 3: With its enormous overhangs and lush riparian area we explore the ultimate Navajo sandstone canyon. We hike up the forested stream bed beneath spectacular walls and find Anasazi granaries, moki steps, rock art and the 1880's 'Emigrant Steps'.
Day 4: We hike upstream on ancient trails that follow the Kayenta ledges above the river. Past oak groves and springs pouring from the Navaho sandstone we arrive at the base of a huge overhanging wall to view the largest pictograph panel on the entire Escalante. Further upstream perched on a ledge above the wooded bottom are the ancient remains of walls, grind stones and camps. Nearby, past remnants of a turn of the century wagon road, some of us will climb out 'Moki Steps' to the bench for a view, then back down an old stock trail to camp.
Day 5: An old retired cowboy told us tales of a 'tattered sheepherder' named Moody who ran sheep on and off a bench above the river in the 1910's but didn't know the exact whereabouts of the trail. We have found the trail and follow the circuitous route up the ledges to an incredible view into side canyons and along the river. Some may hike over dunes of slick rock to another old trail into a side canyon while others may opt for an earlier return to camp with a guide.
Day 6: We pack up our tents and gear and climb up the old horse trail into the Rincon where we visit an ancient petroglyph panel and a nearby spring gurgling from a wall feeding a grove of oaks and box elder trees. We return to Boulder by about 6 pm (dinner not included).
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USA Utah Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking Camping
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