Escalante Canyons

The Escalante River Basin - the Canyons of the Escalante

The Escalante River Basin is described by Wikipedia as follows:  The Canyons of the Escalante is a collective name for the erosional landforms created by the Escalante River and its tributaries—the Escalante River Basin.  Located in southern Utah in the western United States, these sandstone features include high vertical canyon walls, numerous slot canyons, waterpockets (sandstone depressions containing temporary rainwater deposits), domes, hoodoos, natural arches and bridges. ....

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 (see note below).  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).

The 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.

The Photo Gallery contains a small sample of the scenic landscapes and rugged geology of the Canyons of the Escalante, and a panoramic view of a houseboat on Escalante River as Escalante Canyon nears Lake Powell and Glen Canyon, with an auto-show of the photos.

Note: On December 4, 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order to draw new boundary lines for the Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument.  This proposal introduces a new national monument named Escalante Canyons.  Canyons of the Escalante (1,500 sq mi, 3,885 sq km), which extends into Glen Canayon NRA to Lake Powell, is significantly larger than the proposed Escalante Canyons National Monument.