Jacob Mattson

Worth Every Step

Visited from March 29th-30th. There was a break in the wet spring weather so it was clear and warm the entire trip. Hole-in-the-Rock road is washboard for most of the 40 or so miles to the trailhead. When it isn't washboard, large boulders and loose gravel will test the limits of your vehicle. From Escalante to the trailhead is about 2 hours. Once you get the the trailhead, you head SSW for most of the trip. There are a few meandering trails in the beginning so a GPX file on a GPS app or GPS is ESSENTIAL. The first 4 miles are up and down slot canyons. The closer you stay to the cliffs to the west, the better. There were a few times we slotted out and we had to travel due west to find a way down into the canyons. If you have the energy, going down and up the steep sides of the canyons will shave quite a bit of distance off but it does wear you out. After you clear the canyons, you will begin to see the beginnings of a trail. Feel free to follow that trail for the next 2 miles or so. You should stay in the brush and be heading south. If you head east or you start to drop elevation quickly, try retracing your steps. Again GPS IS ESSENTIAL. Cows are plentiful along the trail depending on what time of year you go. They keep to themselves. We had a late start so we ended up camping about 5 miles from the trailhead. The next morning we packed up and continued to follow the trail for the next mile or so until the GPX file we were following had us start heading ESE. You drop elevation and you start to climb up and down slickrock faces. As a general rule, if you head ESE you should eventually reach a point where there are really deep sandstone pot holes. Continue going ESE until you reach a really steep sandstone face. Climb to the top of that and then you will be faced with a vista that is breathtaking. No it's a looooong hike back to the car. TO BRING: Water (I took 4 liters and ran out about a mile from the car.) Water filter (There were a few potholes that had water, but not many.) Food (Lots of snacks, you plow through calories) Camera (Take a good one if you can. There is so much to capture.) Shoes (I did the hike in Altra Lone Peak 3.5's and only had blisters on the side of my heel. Those came from hiking along the side of steep rock faces. Gaiters were a blessing!) Hat Sunglasses Suncreen (I got roasted.) And finally A GOOD ATTITUDE! (This hike sucks. It is physically and mentally demanding. But it is a must-do!)