Escalante Canyons

Canyons of the Escalante

The Escalante Canyons include some of the most remote, wild, and beautiful country in the Southwest.  The Escalante, the last river in the continental United States to be named, meanders slowly between towering canyon walls.  Its tributaries, also deeply entrenched in sandstone, contain arches, natural bridges, and waterfalls.  The area is reminiscent of Glen Canyon before Lake Powell and offers some of the finest opportunities for desert hiking on the Colorado Plateau.  Various cultures have utilized area resources for thousands of years.  The Ancestral Puebloan (“anasazi”) culture is the most conspicuous, but evidence of other cultures, including Paleo-Indian, Fremont and Paiute are present.   [NPS]

Canyons of the Escalante is located in Garfield and Kane Counties in south-central Utah, partially inside Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and partially inside the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument - one of the three major sections of the Monument.  Canyons of the Escalante, as the name in the plural (Canyons) implies, is more than just Escalante Canyon - it includes canyons and other geological formations created by the Escalante River and its tributaries in the Escalante River Basin.  There are high vertical canyon walls, water pockets, narrow slot canyons, domes, pedestals, arches, and natural bridges, all carved out of the sandstone, with elevations varying from 3,600 to more than 11,000 feet (1,100 to 3,350 m).

Escalante River is formed west of the town of Escalante by the merging of Birch and North Creeks.  Canyons of the Escalante begins at the eastern edge of town and include tributaries with many gulches and side canyons.  The major tributaries are Harris Wash, Twentyfive Mile Creek, Coyote Gulch, Fortymile Gulch, and Fiftymile Creek, along with smaller tributaries.  Dry Fork and Coyote Gulch are two favorites.  The sandy stream bed of Coyote Gulch has water generally a couple of inches deep allowing easy scenic hiking for most of its length.  Dry Fork, off Coyote Gulch, has three exciting, narrow tributaries - Peekaboo, Spooky and Brimstone Gulches.