Backpack Death Hollow in Grand Staircase-Escalante

Rate this Adventure Boulder Mail Trailhead, Boulder, Utah, United States

  • Activities:

    Chillin, Camping, Photography, Swimming, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Point-to-Point

  • RT Distance:

    22 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1600 Feet

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Food Nearby
River
Scenic
Wildflowers
Swimming Hole

Death Hollow is a surreal canyon that's fairly easy to navigate. Swimming holes, grand views from the rim, solitude, rugged landscapes, beautiful campsites and the Escalante River awaits for the final leg. A few nights here will have planted the seed...there is much exploring to do in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

The most popular route into Death Hollow is from the Boulder airstrip near the town of Boulder, Utah.  The trailhead for the Boulder Mail Trail begins, or ends here depending on which way you are hiking.  Leave a car at the Highway 12 bridge over the Escalante River for the thru hike, or get lucky and try to hitchike back to your car at the trailhead which I've done before as its a very short and scenic drive.  The hike begins on the Boulder Mail Trail at 6800' of elevation.  Follow the trail and rock cairns over sand and slickrock until you reach Sand Creek.  Great place for a lunch stop.  Find the trail/cairns up and out of the creek and head over Slickrock Saddle until you reach Death Hollow and some of the most dramatic views around.  The Boulder Mail Trail descends into the canyon with one narrow sketchy section that may get the blood flowing.  One of the best campsites awaits at the bottom.  

Hike, wade, and boulder hop your way down Death Hollow.  There aren't too many places to camp as the canyon narrows, and be aware of the weather.  Rain miles away in the headwaters can cause the canyon to flash flood.  You can take a side hike out of the canyon on the Boulder Mail Trail, or just stay in the creek.  Narrows, pools, hanging gardens...this place is a magical oasis.

Eventually you will come to the confluence with the Escalante River. Follow the river downstream on winding trails or wade in the water all the way to the Highway 12 bridge, noting the arch, Anasazi ruins and wildflowers in the spring.  

For more information on this hike and more pics, go here...Death Hollow Paradise.  

Pack List

  • Backpacking gear
  • Water filter
  • Camera
  • Water shoes
  • Hat for sun protection
  • Sunscreen
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Brandon Jett

Photographer, backpacker, whitewater kayaker, wanna-be climber, yogi, beer drinker, traveler.

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