Explore the most popular walking trails near Escalante with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

We took Cedar Wash road west from Hole-in-the-Rock road and soon came to a deep wash. Recent heavy rains had made it nearly impassable - our 4x4 truck bottomed out pretty hard. NOT PASSABLE TO CARS unless you approach from Escalante side. Couldn’t find the trailhead to either Cedar Arch or Covered Wagon. Saw side roads but no obvious signs. Since the last sign we saw noted that we were passing through private land and never back in the GSE, we opted to be conservative and left. We were told that very strong storms had come through a week or so earlier, and maybe some signs are missing? The only reason for the low rating is that there were no real directions/descriptions of the trailhead and therefore, no hike for us!

So fun! Getting within one mile of the trailhead was easy in a small 2wd rental car and took about an hour from the paved road - however the last mile before the trailhead was definitely *not* passable in a low clearance car.

The hike was incredible! So much fun. There’s lots of scrambling involved - the first crux is climbing into peek-a-boo canyon which was a little slippery, and the second crux was going deep into spooky slot under a few large boulders. Was definitely glad to have GPS navigating between the end of peek-a-boo and the start of spooky - the trails and cairns are all over the place.

Such a fantastic adventure! Last word of advice is to not keep any soft fruit in your backpack, it will likely be crushed 

I was most worried about the Egypt road to get to the trailhead, but it is passable with only a few stream/wash crossings that are sketchy. Beautiful formation, and nice walk along the river.

hiking
19 days ago

About an hour hike all together. Don't really see how you can be "stranded on the cliff" as another hiker mentioned. I think the trail route is showing the fact that you can walk right up to the top of the arch and see it from that angle.

The part that shows the way down into the wash is correct. However, after that, just follow the deepest part of the wash instead of trying to stick to the slick rock. Though don't miss an impressive collection of huecos just around the bend once you climbed down.

Really fun hike! Quite the long, empty desert drive out to the hike though. Make sure you have a full tank of gas before you make the drive ‘cause there are no gas stations nearby—at least not when we did the hike, (which was in 2013). Also, it’s a very rough road...four-wheel drive adventure vehicles recommended for the road to this hike.

It offers great, beautiful canyon exploring. My family & I really enjoyed the hike. Just be prepared with water. Though it seems like it would be a short hike, it is hot and it does take awhile. Snacks and other random things you might not normally bother to hike with, like tissues, are also a good idea for just-in-case scenarios. (For instance, my brother had a major nosebleed half-way through the hike, prob. b/c the extreme, dry heat. Tissues would have been nice...) Also, a compass might be useful, or using this gps trail map. Once you leave the first canyon, it is a little difficult to find the next canyon. Maybe directional signs have been added since we hiked it, but there weren’t any indications of where to go back when we hiked it.

The road getting to the trailhead is about 26 miles of washboard, gravel, sand and decent sized rocks. If you have a vehicle built for these conditions you can make it there pretty quick but we took our time to spare the wear and tear on our vehicle and it took us about 2 hours to get to the trailhead (from the paved road). When making the turnoff from the road to the trailhead most vehicles can make it to the first parking lot (about 1 mile) but the last mile plan on walking in cause the ruts in the road are very large.

As for the trail. The first portion of the trail is descending down into coyote canyon. From Here you will see about a 10 foot wall with some handholds, this will get you in to peek a boo gulch. From here you can take your time exploring the gulch. It gets pretty narrow towards the end. The gulch widens and ascends back up.

You then are above the ground for a while as you follow the cairns to spooky gulch.

Spooky gulch is much narrower than peekaboo and you are a lot further down. We were in this gulch around 5 PM and there was not a ton of light. Our saving grace was these reviews that stated about when you get to the obstruction of the trail by the rockslide. We found the opening on the left side. My husband went down first, then we used a rope to drop our bags down, then he helped me through. There is about a 9 foot drop down onto a flat and stable rock. At this point there is no turning back. The gulch gets EXTREMELY narrow and you have to carry your backpack for most of it. Just keep going because there is an end the the gulch eventually widens. The footing is not flat through the very narrow portion. You then follow the dried up riverbed back to coyote canyon.

I highly recommend downloading an offline map, that saved us from getting lost from peekaboo to spooky gulch. (We used the app maps.me). Thanks to the offline map keeping us on the trail took us about 3 hours including the 1 mile walk in from the first parking lot.

Bring lots of water!! This would be a difficult/scary hike to do alone!

Amazing views! Did this in June and it was HOT. One of the best hikes I’ve done, amazing slots. A little tricky point in Spooky you have to climb down- there were 4 of us and we had to assist, but might be difficult for some first timers. Went on a Friday around 10 am and wasn’t crowded at all. Would do again in a heartbeat.

Great location for spotting dinosaur tracks. My son loved picking them out once he knew what to look for. It’s a bit confusing to find the tracks. They are up on the top bench of white sandstone near the edge. They aren’t a Dino sized hole or something but instead a circular impression that’s in a line with 10-12 others in a distinct track. There’s probably a dozen or so tracks. As far as hiking you climb up some petrified sandstone dunes that are very neatly cross-beaded.

We did this over the 4th of July. HOT and no shade!
It's a 30 mile drive on Hole in the Rock Rd, which takes 1 hour. It's not paved, but rather a dirt, sandy, bumpy road. You'll prefer a truck or SUV that has a higher clearance. Get your map ahead of time, as it is not clearly marked. You will find Cairns along the way in efforts to help, but know where you are going ahead of time.
We got lost trying to find Peek-a-Boo and Spooky, but didn't much care because everything was so beautiful.
After 3+hours we found Spooky and it was worth the long hot day. SO Frickin' Cool!! We went to Peekaboo next and then finally to the car. We ran out of water because we hadn't planned on the 5 hour day of full July Desert sun. A fabulous day, but longer and hotter than we expected due to having trouble finding the canyons.

** The best advice I've ever seen on here is this: Have a gallon of water in your car for when you are done. **

Four stars because this trail needs better signage. There are many confusing cairns, strange graffiti on rocks and a metal box containing trail notes with the ominous advice: “don’t trust the maps”. Also, check the weather multiple times and don’t take any chances. After all my research, obsessively checking the forecast and calling the shuttle company in Escalante about it, my group was still caught in a flash flood. Luckily we were rescued by said shuttle company and our own emergency supplies. We made it out with some scrapes and mild hypothermia. Here’s what we thought of the hike: we really loved Peekaboo and would do it again easily. Wish it had gone on for miles. Spooky was a different story. Puzzling out those boulders and dropping into that little hole underneath while thunder boomed above us was not ideal. We figured we had to go through it as quickly as possible and get the heck out of dodge. This slot is probably beautiful and a blast to go through when it’s a sunny warm day. On this morning it was dark and suffocating and it seemed like it would never end. We desperately shimmied through it and got pretty skinned up by the walls in the process. The rain and hail began shortly after we started ascending towards the parking area. Seeing the dirt red cascades of water pouring down the slickrock and into those canyons is a a chilling sight I will never forget. Thank god we weren’t in the slots. We were told after rescue that people die in that area every year, usually after wandering around lost in the heat. Bring your 10 essentials. Don’t go alone. Be safe out there folks.

Definitely worth while - one of our favorites so far in Utah. We had a rental sedan - so we opted to pay for a shuttle from town. Saved time and worry of damaging the rental. There was a Camry (rental) at the trailhead - don’t know how they made it through a couple of the rough spots in the road. The hike itself was awesome. Go early on the weekend to avoid the crowd. Really appreciate the advise here on how to navigate the boulders on Spooky. Not sure we would have made it otherwise. We saw a small snake on the way back up to the trailhead - looked like a rattlesnake, did not get close enough to confirm.

hiking
1 month ago

As others suggest, definitely do Peek-A-Boo to Spooky and take lots of water. And definitely download the topo so you have it offline on the hike.

We were intimidated by the climb at start of Peek-A-Boo ... you need to scale up about 12 feet of slick rock. We thought the adults could do it but weren't sure we could get the kids up (ages 8 and 9) so we went around and rejoined the trail as you go overland to Spooky. In retrospect we could should have brought a short rope or strap ... or sent an adult up first and used a daypack as a rope.

Even Spooky by itself was amazing the kids' favorite hike of the vacation. We are indebted to others on this site for telling us about the rock blockage and were able to do the full hike because of their advice. As said by Alan Ketelson below "About 1/3 way into Spooky, we came to some huge boulders the seem to block the way. If you look over the top of the you will be about 30 feet above the bottom but if you look underneath the left side of the biggest boulder, you’ll see a small hole that drops down to another small boulder. From there, it is a short drop to a large flat rock, then a few hundred feet of some pretty narrow slots." The adults jumped and spotted each other and handed the kids down. The slots get even tighter after this point -- we had to take off daypacks and hand them forward through tight spots in a chain but it is passable and wonderful. Not ideal if you get claustrophobic. If you get nervous, just keep going -- it's amazing!

hiking
1 month ago

The prettiest canyon I’ve ever seen.

Hike was great and trail well marked. Definitely remember it is an impacted 26 mile venture from the turn off. You will encounter a few deep perpendicular ruts as well as pockets of loose sand along the way. Be careful as a tow truck runs up to a $1000 according to the clerk at the nearest convenience store. Trail well worth the effort.

It was just ok, you're really doing this for the petrified trees. I had already seen them in the Black hills so this was nothing special.

You need to do the optional loop to see a decent amount of the petrified wood which is indeed rather steep.

Fun trail, really busy in the beginning, very narrow in some places.

So interesting! The interpretive guide is helpful to really appreciate this unique hike. It is fairly easy, and worth the time. We were alone on the trail which was an added bonus. The state park is a pleasant spot to rest for lunch by the reservoir- the Frogs sounded great.

A short hike to a great little arch in a wash. Hike up the wash 100 yards to find the tunnel/subway fed by a dry waterfall. The wash is prone to flash flooding so watch the weather.

2 months ago

Definitely start early to beat the heat! Coming back was rough. They mean what they say about the water, drink it all! Some of the most amazing views I have ever seen and up close and personal. Crawling through these sandstone slots was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. Highly recommend. We want to do Zebra Slot next time!

Side note, the road was over an hour driving in from the Escalante side of Hole in the Rock Rd, and well maintained but more comfortable with a high clearance vehicle for sure !

Great hike! Probably one of the most amazing hikes I have ever done. Highly recommend starting early. We hiked this trail on a Wednesday and started by 7:30. We were first on the trail but by the time we we're back at the TH there were at least 10 other groups hiking in and a line to climb up in to Peekaboo. We hiked this loop in reverse. Spooky to Peekaboo. Spooky is narrow in spots. if you are a little bigger of a person you may find it challenging to get through. It is litterally only about 11 inches wide in spots. Going in reverse requires some scrambling/quick climbing manuevers but was a fun challenge. Overall an easy and amazing hike! We completed it in 2.25 hours from start to finish.

Recommend hiking as a loop. Take the normal trail in and traverse the 5 Creek crossings. They weren't deeper than halfway up my calf at any of them. Then on your way out take the shortcut trail back. Was a great loop hike and big change in scenery. We hiked in 95 degree heat. Left early morning and the hike down was no problem. Hiking out and climbing back up the wall at the end to get to the car was a good challenge. If it's over 90 I would say this trail rating increases to hard. We both took 3 liters of water in camelbacks and 3 water bottles. GPS made this hike much easier! HIGHLY RECOMMEND GPS!!! Can't imagine trying to decipher all the spinoff trails from the real trail without it!

It is not only great for kids...it's a giant playground for adults!! Really super for a short morning or late afternoon trip!!

hiking
2 months ago

Scenic interesting easy hike. No crowds or traffic in June. Waded chest high cold but refreshing water. Would have been much easier to locate if we'd had this app.

Loved this hike! It was very challenging and worth every minute of that awful 26mi wash board road drive.

Go early, pack plenty of water, and wear a hat! I would rate this hard, but I'm out of shape so gauge accordingly.

hiking
3 months ago

We did this hike with three little kids, ages 6, 7, and 10 when it was hot and windy. We started at 12:00, which is definitely one thing I would change given that it was just so hot during the hike back. I would recommend starting at 8:00 if the forecast calls for high temperatures. The slot canyon is beautiful and fun, with great photo opportunities.

hiking
3 months ago

Neat area to wander around in for awhile. Lots of little side trails to explore, with cool rock formations. There is no water at the park.

Great adventure. Worth the 50 miles of bad road. The reviews do not do it justice. Keep in mind this is a physical endeavor. Bring plenty of water. Start with peek a boo and come down spooky. Spooky is very narrow. You will need to carry your backpack in you hands, walk sideways and shuffle your feet through most of it. One difficult point in spooky. When you come to the big boulder blocking the path you will need to go under it. Look for the white rock. There are two ways down. Choose wisely. A rope would help. Enjoy.

when you get to Harris Wash, cross the (dry) stream and continue following road until the next dry stream, only about .1 mile. go left up the stream and keep going until you get to some cairns (rock stacks) that will lead you around the dry waterfall that you can’t pass. You will be pretty high up at that point, but there is another path of cairns about .1 mile after the dry falls to lead you back down. if you do not see any cairns, the path back down begins where you see a form similar to a slide that looks easy to descend compared to any other area around you. If you continue to see cairns and you think you have gone too far, you probably have and you’re on the trail that you can take on the way back if you go the entire way through the trail, just turn around and find the safer way down into the canyon, you don’t wanna miss the fun. I missed it and set up some cairns today to better show the descend point. This hike should not be done is sneakers or sandals. Hiking boots or approach shoes with great grip on soft rock. I went through all 3 liters of water in my reservoir on this trek, and I carried an extra bottle with me. the majority of this hike is in sand, you will get better traction in the sand areas if you walk in the spots with more pebbles. there are a lot of chokes you have to navigate in this slot canyon, and it gets pretty narrow in certain spots. this is NOT a hike for someone that is claustrophobic or afraid of heights. you will be wedging yourself between rocks in many areas and using your entire body to solve the problems in the slots. GOOD LUCK, it’s beautiful!!!

backpacking
3 months ago

We started the hike in around 10 pm. We had downloaded the map so we could hike in later. The hike at night was beautiful and nice and cool. We made it to just above the river then camped a night. The next morning we started the hike to the cathedral. We decided to stay in the river as much as possible so we made the hike a little longer but it kept us cool. The cathedral was beautiful and the hike in the river was very enjoyable!! We hiked out around noon and the last part of the hike where you gain a lot of your elevation was brutal in the sun! We filtered at the last portion of water and was out by time we reached the trailhead!

Great fun, kids loved it. It is tricky in a few spots due to drop offs that require you to help each other.

Load More