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Reflection Canyon is a 18.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Lake Powell, Utah that features a river and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length 18.7 mi Elevation gain 1,873 ft Route type Out & Back

Dog friendly

Backpacking

Camping

Hiking

Nature trips

Running

River

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

Scramble

No shade

Description
Waypoints (0)
Facilities
Contact
Tips
Getting There

Backpacking Reflection Canyon is an intense, challenging hike that takes you through slot canyons, climbing up and down shifty sandstones and traversing rugged terrains and ravines. With that said, you'll be blessed with a view like no other of Reflection Canyon found at the end of the hike. Offline map is recommended. Users have reported that the trails are not marked well.

Small turn out on the road is parking.

Visitors Center (8a 4:30p) 755 W. Main, Escalante, UT 84726 435-826-5499

Enter Grand Escalante Staircase National Monument, from there you'll be traveling on Hole in the Rock Road (You'll need a 4WD for this trip.) The last 5 miles of the trip is where you'll enter Glen Canyon territory. Keep a look out for a small parking area on the right (37°15'21.70"N, 110°57'47.25"W).

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (147)
Photos (108)
Recordings (132)
Completed (178)
Matt Beaudry
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 22, 2020
BackpackingNo shadeOff trailRocky

Absolutely gorgeous. Without a doubt a top 5 hike of all time for me. The trail starts 70 miles down the Hole-in-the-Rock Road as you leave Escalante. Past Hurricane Wash, the road is VERY rough (my 2001 4Runner got the job done!). I began hiking at 4:30PM in order to get some sunset photos and not be cooked by the sun. Hiking out in the dark was not a problem, but the offline maps are a MUST HAVE for this hike. Well worth the heat!

View Matt's Recording
Meredith Watson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 19, 2020
Hiking

Completed Reflection Canyon the last weekend of May. Overall, some excellent type two fun with an incredibly rewarding view. As others have mentioned, the trail is easy to navigate until you hit the red rock section where there is nothing resembling a defined trail. A few cairns here and there provided reassurance, but a downloaded alltrails map was necessary for accurate route finding. We all wished that we had set out earlier in the day, think 5 am, in order to beat the heat. By noon, the red rocks seem to have absorbed and reflected the heat in a way that made hiking any further unbearable. We found shade under life-saving juniper trees and patiently waited for temperatures to cool before continuing to the view point. Bring a minimum of 8 liters of water. I know that sounds excessive, but you’ll thank me later. We did end up finding an off-route way to access the water for swimming, but I think perhaps we were lucky with the water levels. The road on the way in was bumpy and long, but all good if you take things slow and mentally prepare yourself.

Shaina L
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 18, 2020
HikingBugsNo shadeOff trail

I hiked Reflection Canyon with a friend a few days ago. It was an Incredible hike. We camped out at the beginning of the trail the night before and started early morning. The first six miles are pretty well marked. Just make sure the red rocks are always on your right hand side when you hike that part. Then once you get to the red rock that looks like a Square Face, you will start heading away from the red rocks. The last two miles towards Reflection Canyon are not clearly marked. It looks like some of the Cairns have disappeared off the trail due to weather conditions and other locations there were too many Cairns so you are not sure which way to turn. Due to this, here are two helpful tips: 1)This website was helpful: http://www.girlonahike.com/2017/04/backpacking-to-reflection-canyon.html?m=1 2)I had my phone on airplane mode to save battery for pictures. However, I could still access All Trails on Airplane mode while being in the middle of no where when needed. Extra Tips -I brought 2 Gallons of Water. It was heavy, but worth it. -I had a cooler in the car with cold water to return to. -there were bugs at night so a tent was helpful -After taking pictures, if you head a little northwest, then away from the cliff, there are some Juniper Trees. They will give you 70% shade. One of the trees will fit two people and two backpacks.

Colin Bingham
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 13, 2020
Hiking

Gnarly road, gnarly hike, gnarly views. In all seriousness, drive out there takes 2+ hours right now. Worth it though. Bring lots of water. Until temperatures start getting lower, I’d recommend doing most of the hiking early early in the morning! Unless you have climbing rope or you’re Alex Honnold, probably not going to be able to get down to lake Powell

View Colin's Recording
Clisby White
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 4, 2020

So, the desert heat is nothing to mess with. I was in the area and decided to hike this against my better judgement and as it turns out it was not my best idea. The night before I slept at the trailhead to get an early start in an attempt to avoid hiking in the hottest part of the day. On 6/2 I woke up at 0530 to start hiking and by mid-day it was easily 100°. The beginning of the hike was relatively easy going with a very defined trail that was mostly sand until around mile 7 when the trail disappears and the ground becomes nothing but sprawling rock. A random cairn or two is sporadically placed and can help guide you if you have a good eye and can spot them amongst all the natural rock piles on the ground. Progress slows down considerably at this point as the terrain is up and down over rock formations. The rock makes the heat even more intense as it seems to reflect it back up at you. I packed roughly 2 gallons of water and some gatorades which I thought would be plenty but turned out to be just enough. Once I arrived at the canyon the sun was directly overhead and there was no shade. I had to sit down and use a tarp as a make shift shelter to create shade. I sat there under the tarp for about 3 hours to cool down before I decided to hike back out instead of camping like I had planned. I started my return trip around 1530 and stopped every quarter mile to rest in the shade of any rock formation I could find. After many stops and only 2 miles of hiking back I just sat in some shade and let the sun start to set behind the cliff edge along the trail ahead of me. Once the shade covered the trail I got back up and continued on. The hike back took about 7 hours with all the stops involved and the last 2 miles were done with a head lamp in total darkness. The day began at 0530 and I didn't make it back to my truck until 2230. I've never been so happy to see my truck in my life. Reflection Canyon is beautiful and the hike wouldn't be so bad in cooler temperatures but be very careful if you venture out there in the summer. The heat can get you quick. Also, the road out to the trailhead is horrible. Miles and miles of washboard dirt road wreaks havoc on vehicles. A high clearance 4WD vehicle is recommended past Hurricane Wash. The AllTrails app saved the day for sure as I would never have found my way the last 2 miles without it tracking my progress and showing the trails location. Definitely a must have app for anyone researching this trail in advance from a computer. Be safe out there.

Helen SMith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 24, 2020
HikingNo shadeOff trailRocky
View Helen's Recording
Kyle Brunner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 23, 2020
Hiking

Banged this trail out on May 23 and it was everything you could ask for. Not many rock cairns to find your way but there are piles here and there. Beta route trimmed some mileage off it, but it's as advertised: Hot with very little shade, long and not well-marked, well worth it for the view.

Lei Zhang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 20, 2020
HikingNo shadeOff trailRockyScramble

1 gallon water/person/day is a must unless you go in the winter. You may sacrifice tent, sleeping gears, clothes, and food if you only stay overnight.

View Lei's Recording
Sonja H
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 19, 2020
Hiking

did this hike on saturday 05/16. we did this as a day hike, starting at 8am and finished just before 4pm. The hole in the rock road is pretty rough and it does take 1.5h to 2h to get to the trailhead. although alltrails says there's a river, etc, you pretty much just walk 8 miles along a dirt track along the cliff face, with no shade and fully exposed to desert heat. thought the dirt track was easy to find and to follow. when you reach the end of the dirt trail, look out for a some shaped hill with 3 pillars on the top and a green area on its left with 2 bigger bushes. go down there to the left so that the rock face is to your right and then follow the rock face straight until you see the lake, then make a left turn and you'll reach reflection canyon. there are cairns and once you know where the way is, it's pretty straight forward but having the map downloaded helps for the last 2 miles. View was stunning and incredibly beautiful. we saw some backpackers who wanted to camp there (not many spaces to camp though) but it's pretty possible as a day hike. bring at least over 1 gallon of water because the desert heat is unforgiving. also lots of sunblock because there is truly no shade. would do it again as a sunset hike and overnight stay rather than a day hike or by boat.

Jasmine Valverde
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 12, 2020
Hiking

Did this trip about 3 weeks ago and forgot to review. This was my first backpacking trip ever! First 6 miles not bad, second 2 miles were rough finding your way to the view and are rocky and mostly downhill. Not very many camping spots by the view point so if you see one close, definitely try and snag it. The off roading to the hike was rough, took us about 4 hours in our Jeep. But overall amazing views. Wear good hiking shoes and download your map prior, you lose service throughout.

Chloe Cahill
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 10, 2020
HikingNo shadeScramble

So fun! approximately 10 miles each way. There wasn’t a trail for the last two miles before reaching Reflection Point. I found those 2 miles to be the most challenging part of the hike. Make sure you have your map downloaded. Bring plenty of water. The weather was lovely to camp without a tent - made friends with a persistent mouse. Bucket list!

Phil Liou
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 9, 2020
CampingNo shadeOff trailRocky

18 miles of subpar hiking and 4 hours of really terrible off roading. 2 massive blisters.... 1 amazing view that’s worth all of it (ok maybe not the blisters). Hints and tips - it gets really cold at night, so bring a lot of blankets - it’s super rocky, so bring good sleeping pads or your back will suffer - the road there suuuucckkks. If you can rent a Jeep or a dune buggy, do that. Or even better, borrow a friends car. - no insects, so no need for bug spray, but big dirty rats at the campgrounds. Absolutely do not feed them, as they will keep coming back - wear good socks, we got lots of blisters. If you don’t wear good footwear, you will cry - everyone said this, but it’s worth repeating. Bring more water than you think. We brought 2 gallons per person and it was barely enough. No need to bring that much food, you won’t be eating that much There were 3 other groups of people camping there when we went, so better get there early, if you want a good spot. Was it worth it? Yes, for the gram. Would I do it again? Not unless a helicopter drops me off.

Nikki Otake
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 5, 2020
HikingNo shadeOff trailRockyScramble

This trail is hard. My friend and I just finished it about 3 hours ago. There is no shade and the sun this time of year is truly brutal. We both lathered ourselves in sunscreen but still burned because with the heat you sweat is off quick. I was 3/4th of the way through my gallon by the time we reached the vista and ran out fast on the way back. Please take at LEAST a gallon per person when you go. Those who say download all trails pro are right. You’ll get lost about 2.5 miles from the canyon without it because there aren’t really any cairns. We got lost and we did have the map! The end is pretty sketchy - you need shoes with a good grip as you traverse the side of the large rocks that plummet straight to the water. The view was well worth it! There is very little elevation gain but you can count on every .3 miles to decend into a shallow canyon only to come right out. It’s also worth noting this is over sand hiking and is pretty strenuous because of it.

Charlie Maynard
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 4, 2020
BackpackingNo shadeOff trail

This is hard. The all trails app is wrong with saying it’s 15.7 miles RT. It’s more like 18-20 miles roundtrip (no matter which way you take). Overall the trail is very hard to follow, as there are plenty of forks and no actual trail signage. The trail we took in did not match the trail we took back. I thank the kind people who added some cairns. Be sure to download the map beforehand as you’ll depend on it for the last 2-3 miles. Bring lots of water. I would say at least 2 gallons per person. There is hardly any shade. We were able to find water access at one of the coves near reflection canyon but it was not an easy find and I wouldn’t depend on this. However, it does not hurt to pack a water filter just in case. It came in handy for us.

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