Highway 12 crosses the Escalante at Calf Creek then follows Calf Creek upstream. Unload at the trailhead parking area.
Boulder Creek comes in from the left with a large flow. Records indicate that this creek can add from 1/2 up to 3 or 4 times the Escalante flow during the spring season.
This creek coming in from the left will usually add significantly to the flow.
The river is steeper and more obstructed below here. The biggest rapid of the run is about 1/2 mile downstream and a boulder choke portage is a ways below that.
Coyote Gulch comes in on river right. Hike up the creek a short ways then follow the trail up the sand dunes to the rim and the Crack in the Wall escape route. It is a long steep hike carrying gear and boats.
This is the trailhead parking area for the Crack in the Wall trail. Elevation is 4,678 feet at the parking area. The trail from the Escalante at Coyote Gulch, starts at an elevation of 3,700 feet. Most of that elevation gain is in the first mile from the river. Use a short rope to get your gear up the cliffs at Crack in the Wall. Bulky gear will not fit through the crack.
The actual location where powerboats can reach you will vary with Lake Powell elevation, but mud flats will usually have to be crossed to get to the deep water.
2011 Update: Log jam on Choprock Bench. Portage river right.
The mud flats were cleared out during 2005-2006 flooding and no longer impede progress to the deep water at Lake Powell. Also the steep banks between Coyote Gulch and Lake Powell have also been widened and reshaped during flooding. You can find ample spring water and easy camping sites on the river between these 2 locations
2009 Update: I ran this river last year at a fairly low water level using hardshell 10 ft. kayaks. After checking in at the Ranger Station in Escalante my travel companion was all but put off of our trip by the issuing rangers attitude. Be prepared to hear about how foolish your trip is when obtaining your free permit. My permit was marked in bold as "Not Advised" although we made all 85 miles into Lake Powell without incident.
We were pulled from Lake Powell by a charter boat rented from Bullfrog Marina for a cost of $380 for 2 10 foot boats and gear. Well worth the cost considering alternatives. If you decide to hike out you have 2 viable options, although one will cut your travel miles in half. Crack-in-the-Wall is the most common portage, a boater could also consider hiking out of Fence Canyon at the half way point. This would be a 2.5 mile scramble with the last 1800 feet being almost verticle. Still - that may be easier than Hole in the Rock.
We completed our 2009 trip in 9 days beginning on 6/12. Water levels were low with the cfs flow being 1.8 - well below "recommended". This equates to about 1.5 ft of moving water midstream. We used flat bottom kayaks with a large opening, as we were in and out several times a day.
I paid a local $150 plus their cars gas to move the car to Bullfrog - the entire trip was just over $500 or about $250 per person. Keep in mind you can decrease this expense drastically by hiking out.
On the river - we only encountered 1 other group - a single person hiking the length. Other than that our time was spend watching a beaver catch his dinner, scarring up a silver tail fox and watching the numerous fish and birds.
I am planning on a return for 2010, moving the trip forward about 10 days to capitalize on above average snowpack. If you have some energy, are willing to get out and push your boat in a few places and can invest the time and/or money you can easily run this river just about any year with some careful planning.
Coyote Gulch take out:The Hole in the Wall road is dirt and gravel, but the spur to the Crack in the Wall trailhead is reported to have deep sand in spots.
Lake Powell take out:The Burr road connects Highway 12 to Bulfrog Marina. The Burr Road is gravel and dirt, but is fine for passenger cars.
2 Miles Left
E. Moody Canyon Camp
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
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American Whitewater sprang out of the need to rally our community around our shared love for whitewater, to protect, restore and celebrate the rivers that have given us so much. When the President of the United States, announced his intentions to reduce in size Bears Ears National Monument by 85% and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument by nearly half, we wanted to first see how the new borders would affect the protections these Monuments afforded several spectacular whitewater resources within their current boundaries. Read on to see how the Lower San Juan and several other rivers are affected.
Take action today using our easy online form to protect National Monuments designated under the Antiquities Act! A public comment period began on May 12th and ends July 10th for an April 26th Executive Order which directed Interior Secretary Zinke to conduct a review of all Presidential designations over the past 21 years. A number of Monuments being reviewed are of significant interest to paddlers and provide protections for cherished whitewater stretches, including Bears Ears (Lower San Juan River, UT), Grand Canyon-Parashant (Colorado River, Grand Canyon, AZ), Giant Sequoia National Monument (Tule River, CA), Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument (East Branch of the Penobscot River, ME), Rio Grande del Norte National Monument (Rio Grande, Taos Boxes, NM) and many more.
American Whitewater staff traveled to Green River, UT in late March to meet with private water users and state agencies, and to participate in the official opening of the new boat passage through the Green River Diversion (Tusher Dam). Completion of the boat passage has freed the Green River from its last in-stream obstruction between the Flaming Gorge Dam and the confluence with the Colorado River – over 400 floatable river miles through iconic canyons and historic landmarks. It has a been a long process, and our work isn’t over yet! As your boating representative, American Whitewater will continue to work closely with the dam operators and Utah’s Division of State Lands (FFSL) to ensure that the boat passage meets the needs of the public during its inaugural year.
The Bureau of Land Management is considering the potential for oil shale and tar sands development on 2,431,000 acres of public land in Utah, Wyoming and Colorado. This development could threaten the quality of paddling experiences including the multi-day desert floats on Desolation and Grays Canyons of the Green as well as the adventure available for kayaks and packrafts to explore the San Rafael, Muddy and Escalante. American Whitewater partnered with our colleagues in the Outdoor Alliance to highlight the value of these areas for outdoor recreation.
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