Slot Canyon – Little Death Hollow

The Escalante River canyons are abundant in the area surrounding Scenic Byway 12 between Boulder and Escalante. The canyons in this area of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument vary from narrow and deep to wide open. Some of the most frequently explored canyons of this region include Upper and Lower Calf Creek Falls, Upper and Lower Escalante, and Little Death Hollow.

Little Death Hollow is about eight miles one way and enclosed by tall, red sandstone cliffs. It can be tackled as a one-day hike, or as part of a more extensive overnighter to include other Escalante River canyons. Little Death Hollow is fairly remote but it does have a register at the trailhead, which can be reached by driving 19 miles east along the Burr Trail from Boulder, then heading south on Wolverine Loop Road. From there it’s about 12 miles to the trailhead along an unpaved road, including a couple of streams which can be impassable during and after rain. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended.

The Circle Cliffs can be seen to the southwest from the trailhead. The trail is well-worn and open initially, across typically dry washes until converging with the south fork. A highlight at this point is a boulder decorated with ancient petroglyphs. Follow the sandy bank of the streambed for about an hour, until the canyon walls begin to taper. Shortly after passing a spring and a few side canyons the streambed becomes rockier. The narrowest section of the slot canyon appears about five miles into the hike when the ten-foot-high canyon walls are only about two feet apart. This section of Little Death Hollow is typically dry but can have pools of muddy, standing water.

Little Death Hollow widens near the Horse Canyon junction, signaling the return loop. The total trip varies between 12 and 16 miles roundtrip, depending on how far you hike into Horse Canyon before looping back. This hike will take at least six to eight hours. A side exploration of Wolverine Creek, which passes in part through Wolverine Petrified Wood Natural Area, will add to the total hiking time.

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