Gauge Description:

Determining flows for this run can be tricky because the USGS  Escalante stream gage is upstream of the put in, just outside of the town. The gage is just below the confluence with Pine CreekDeath Hollow and Sand Creek are tributaries that enter the Escalante, below the gage but upstream of the put in. Calf Creek at the put in, has a small drainage area. Boulder Creek runs into the Escalante a few miles downstream of highway 12, and can be a significant source of flow. Deer Creek is a major tributary of Boulder Creek. The flow gages on Boulder and Deer Creeks no longer operate but some historical data is available. The Gulch and Horse Canyon also have high headwaters and may supply significant flow.

If you see about 50 cfs on the gage, you probably have enough for a run given that the tributaries downstream of the gage will increase the flow. Note that many do this run at lower flows as a packrafting adventure that includes some hiking. If it looks like enough water to float your craft at the put-in on Highway 12, you’re golden, but if not, you might still be OK by hiking in further downstream as many people do via the Egypt trailhead and taking advantage of flows that come in below Highway 12.

Peak flows in the Escalante can be very high (1,000 to 4,000 cfs), but they happen during summer and fall thunderstorms rather than during the spring snowmelt. Table of Monthly Mean Flows gives some indication of wet and dry years and months with highest flows. 

Assessing snowpack before your trip: Checking the snow pack is a good way to determine if it will be a good year for the Escalante. Snotel - Utah shows weather information, precipitation, and snow-water content at 3 sites in the Escalante drainage. All of these stations are on the Aquarius Plateau which forms the northern boundary of the Escalante drainage. Much of this Plateau ranges from 9,000 to 11,000 feet in elevation. Widstoe#3, is near the headwaters of Hall Creek, a main tributary west of town. Snow Water Content at this station may need to be 12 inches or higher. Over 20 inches is good. Clayton Springs is near the headwaters of North Creek, also a main tributary west of town.   snow-water content at this station may need to be 13 inches or higher. Over 20 inches is good. Donkey Reservoir is near the headwaters of Boulder and Deer Creek, the major tributary below highway 12. Snow-water content at this station may need to be above 10 inches.

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
ESCALANTE RIVER NEAR ESCALANTE, UT
usgs-09337500 50 - 300 cfs II(III) 02h46m 1.64 cfs (too low)

gauge graph
RangeWater LevelDifficultyComment
50 - 100 cfs barely runnable-med runnable II(III) gauge is important or has warning Expect some boat dragging.
100 - 300 cfs a bit pushy runnable-high runnable II(III) gauge is important or has warning

Reports give the public a chance to report on river conditions throughout the country as well as log the history of a river.

When River/Gauge Subject Level Reporter
Escalante [UT] 2 Miles Left n/a Chad Farr
> 10 years @Escalante Highway 12 to Lake Powell [UT] Escalante 2009 low runnable level Joseph Catlett
> 10 years @Escalante Highway 12 to Lake Powell [UT] Escalante 2009 low runnable level Joseph Catlett
> 10 years @Escalante Highway 12 to Lake Powell [UT] Escalante 2009 low runnable level Joseph Catlett
> 10 years @Escalante Highway 12 to Lake Powell [UT] Escalante 2009 low runnable level Joseph Catlett
> 10 years @Escalante Highway 12 to Lake Powell [UT] Escalante 2009 low runnable level Joseph Catlett
> 10 years @Escalante Highway 12 to Lake Powell [UT] Escalante 2009 low runnable level Joseph Catlett
> 10 years Escalante [UT] E. Moody Canyon Camp 500 Chad Farr