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Escalante Natural Bridge
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mini location map2015-04-25
69 by photographer avatarjohnny88
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Escalante Natural BridgeSouthwest, UT
Southwest, UT
Hiking27.00 Miles 50 AEG
Hiking27.00 Miles
50 ft AEG27 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked   none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
A couple friends and I did a 4-day backpack along the Escalante River. I am posting this trip report under the Escalante Natural Bridge hike because it is very close by. We started our hike at the Escalante Town trailhead (just East of Escalante, UT) and hiked West along the Escalante River. This was our basic trip:

Day 0: drive to trailhead (about 8 hours from Phoenix), car camp near trailhead
Day 1: hike approx 7.5 miles to where the Escalante River meets Death Hollow, set up camp
Day 2: day-hike into Death Hollow
Day 3: day-hike to Escalante Natural Bridge, move camp to large overhang
Day 4: hike out, drive home

It was an exceptionally beautiful and enjoyable backpack. Most of my trip story is in the photoset. When we started our hike, we had a Pacific cold front sweeping through the area, bringing cold winds and rain. We got dumped on when car camping and driving up. If we had started the drive an hour later, we probably would have gotten snowed on near Bryce. Towards the end of day 2, the cold front had passed, the sun came out, and the temperatures began to warm up. We were worried about the rain bringing flash floods, but the river level hardly seemed to rise (maybe by 1-2 inches). There are ample places to get to safety along the Esclante River though, presuming you can see the flood coming.

We saw about 2-3 groups per day. Most people were just passing by. One was a very large group of horse-riders (riding in the river and letting their horses poop everywhere :( ). Plan on getting everything covered in sand. The river water was actually very clear. We brought one Sawyer filter and used it to filter water for 3 people and 2 dogs without ever needing to backflush it.

Some general thoughts about the trip:

Late April seemed like a good time to visit the Escalante. If you want to avoid the heat and bugs, go in early April. If you don't mind the heat or bugs, go in mid-May and have warmer river crossings. I imagine early Fall may be a good time to go too. Summer would be too hot for me, and I'd be worried about flash floods

A permit is required for overnight backpacking, but they are free and unlimited. There's a permit box at the Town Trailhead

Fishing was okay in the Escalante River (I suspect it's better in warmer weather with more bugs out). But note that fires are not allowed here

There are many route options for the Escalante River, especially if you add in the nearby Boulder Mail Trail. I could see myself returning for a grand loop/tour and spending many days out there. Have fun planning your trip!

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