Hole in the Rock Road

Hole in the Rock Road

The Hole-in-the-Rock Road runs through an area west of the Escalante River, in southern Utah in the western United States. It is within the borders of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and the adjacent Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The road is named after an unusual geologic feature at its southeastern end, Hole-in-the-Rock. It closely follows the historic route used by the Mormon San Juan Expedition to colonize an area to the east of the Colorado River. It is an important access route for visiting the Canyons of the Escalante.

Mileage log [Determined by the author via GPS odometry. Note that automotive odometers may read about 3% higher, and that the reference signs posted by the BLM along the road are in kilometers.]

* 0.0 miles (0.0 km): The northwestern end of the road, at Highway 12 about 5.1 miles (8.2 km) southeast of Escalante.

* 0.4 miles (0.6 km): Entrance sign and informational displays for the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Several primitive campsites exist to the west behind the signs.

* 3.4 miles (5.5 km): Junction with Cedar Road (BLM Road 210), which loops back to Escalante via Cedar Wash.

* 4.2 miles (6.8 km): Crossing of Alvey Wash, the main upper branch of Harris Wash.

* 7.0 miles (11.3 km): Crossing of Halfway Hollow, another branch of Harris Wash.

* 10.5 miles (16.9 km): Junction with the Harris Wash Road (BLM Road 220). In just over 6 miles (10 km) this road leads to the most common trailhead for hiking into Harris Wash.

* 12.1 miles (19.5 km): Junction with the short road to Devil's Garden (BLM Road 225), a highly scenic area of eroded sandstone knobs and arches.

* 13.7 miles (22.0 km): Junction with the Left Hand Collet Road (BLM Road 230), which runs up a canyon through the Straight Cliffs to the top of the Kaiparowits Plateau. Check with the BLM for current conditions - it was listed as impassible in 2007.

* 14.2 miles (22.9 km): Crossing of Twentymile Wash, the upper tributary of Twentyfive Mile Wash.

* 16.5 miles (26.6 km): Junction with Egypt Road (BLM Road 240), which leads in about 9 miles (14 km) to an area of large sandstone outcroppings. This area is also used for access to Fence Canyon and the Escalante River.

* 23.6 miles (38.0 km): Junction with the Early Weed Bench Road (BLM Road 250), which in about 5 miles (8 km) leads to a scenic overlook of Twentyfive Mile Wash and the Escalante River. Used as a trailhead for Fox Canyon and the long hike to Scorpion Gulch.

* 23.8 miles (38.3 km): Crossing of Dry Fork Wash, the main branch of Coyote Gulch. The Cat Corral and Well can serve as a trailhead for a longer hike down to Peekaboo and Spooky Gulches.

* 26.0 miles (41.8 km): Junction with the road to Dry Fork Wash (BLM Road 252). Stay to the left at two junctions for about 1.7 miles (2.7 km) to reach the popular trailhead for the Dry Fork Narrows, Peekaboo Gulch, Spooky Gulch, and Brimstone Gulch.

* 28.8 miles (46.3 km): Crossing of Big Hollow Wash, a branch of Coyote Gulch.

* 30.7 miles (49.4 km): Junction with the road to Red Well (BLM Road 254), a trailhead for hiking into Coyote Gulch.

* 32.9 miles (52.9 km): Junction with the road to Chimney Rock (BLM Road 255), an unusual sandstone pillar.

* 33.8 miles (54.4 km): Junction with the short side road to Willow Tank, the trailhead for hiking into Hurricane Wash. This is a common access route for hiking down Coyote Gulch.

* 34.1 miles (54.9 km): Junction with the road to Fiftymile Bench (BLM Road 260). This primitive road climbs to a bench below the Straight Cliffs, and then descends at the Sooner Slide Road (#280).

* 34.8 miles (56.0 km): Crossing of the main branch of Hurricane Wash, a tributary of Coyote Gulch.

* 36.0 miles (27.9 km): Junction with the Fortymile Ridge Road (BLM Road 270). This road leads in about 4.5 miles (7 km) to a stock watering tank, and in about 7 miles (11 km) to a parking area (stay left at all junctions). The later section of the road is very sandy. Both locations are popular trailheads for hikes into the scenic lower section of Coyote Gulch.

* 36.8 miles (59.2 km): The road passes Dance Hall Rock, a scenic sandstone dome. Members of the San Juan Expedition, camped nearby, used the dome's amphitheater for gatherings.

* 37.6 miles (60.5 km): Junction with the road to Fortymile Springs, the winter campsite for the San Juan Expedition.

* 39.4 miles (63.4 km): The steep crossing of Carcass Wash, a branch of Fortymile Gulch. In 1963 a party of 49 people, including members of a Scout Troop, were heading to a boating trip down the Colorado River before it disappeared under the waters of Lake Powell. The truck they were riding lost power while climbing out of Carcass Wash, and then lost its brakes. It rolled back into the bottom of the wash, killing 13 adults and children. A memorial has been erected at the bottom of the wash (whose name refers to cattle killed in the steep wash). This turnout also serves as a trailhead for hiking into Fortymile and Willow Gulches.

* 40.5 miles (65.2 km): Another steep crossing, this time of Sooner Wash. Just to the west are the scenic Sooner Rocks, sandstone domes similar to Dance Hall Rock. There are two primitive campsites within the wash, and more along BLM Road 275 just beyond the wash.

* 41.3 miles (66.5 km): Junction with BLM Road 276. In about 1.5 miles (2.5 km) this road leads to the popular trailhead for hikes into Willow Gulch (a side branch of Fortymile Gulch), and to Broken Bow Arch.

* 42.1 miles and 42.8 miles (67.8 and 68.9 km): Two more steep crossings of side branches of Willow Gulch.

* 43.2 miles (69.5 km): Junction with the Sooner Slide Road (BLM Road 280). This road climbs up to the bench below the Straight Cliffs, and connects with the Fiftymile Bench Road (#260).

* 44.2 miles (71.1 km): A steep crossing of the main branch of Willow Gulch.

* 45.5 miles (73.2 km): Crossing of a side canyon of Fiftymile Gulch. This wash can also serve as an access point for hikes into the main canyon.

* 47.6 miles (76.6 km): Crossing of the main branch of Fiftymile Gulch.

* 50.6 miles (81.5 km): Crossing and access point for Davis Gulch.

* 52 miles (84 km): This section of the road passes through an area of slickrock domes and ridges. Several of the climbs are steep enough that 4x4 traction may be required. Also, one of the climbs includes a ledge that may require a high-clearance vehicle.

* 56.0 miles (90.1 km): The southeastern end of the road. A parking area and informational sign serve as a trailhead for a short hike to the top of Hole-in-the-Rock, where the San Juan Expedition made their steep descent to the Colorado River.

ources and further reading

* "Hiking the Escalante", by Rudi Lambrechtse (1985), ISBN 0-915272-27-X
* "Canyons of the Escalante", Trails Illustrated Map (1994), ISBN 0-925873-98-5
* [http://www.nps.gov/glca/historyculture/holeintherock.htm Hole-in-the Rock, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area] , U.S. National Park Service

* [http://www.topoquest.com/map.asp?lat=37.437&lon=-111.185&s=250&size=l&layer=DRG100&datum=nad83 TopoQuest Map]

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