Morning view from camp

Morning view from camp

Our dispersed campsite down Hole-In-The-Rock road was no less beautiful in the morning when the sun hit the cliffs that parallel the road. We had driven to the furthest point out the road that we intended on going the previous day, so today’s agenda had us heading out, stopping at several places along the way.

The first stop of the drive out was the side trip to the Dry Fork Trail. This trail leads to several slot canyons and we planned on spending a few hours exploring them. Accessing the trailhead from Hole-In-The-Rock road involves a short ~1.5 mile drive down a dirt road that had a big rut running through it from the recent storms. I don’t think the truck has ever been that off-canter but we made it just fine.

Descending into Dry Fork Coyote Gulch

Descending into Dry Fork Coyote Gulch

From the parking area, the trail drops down a canyon wall before quickly disappearing into sandstone. Large cairns mark the way into the bottom of the main canyon of the Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch. The several slot canyons in the area all dump into this main canyon, so we start off by exploring the first one we see: Dry Fork Narrows.

Dry Fork Narrows with muddy handprints

Dry Fork Narrows with muddy handprints

It was clear that this canyon was still drying out from the storms last month. The mud in the middle was dry but it was still slick and deep along the edges. Muddy high water marks could be seen along the canyon walls. Definitely a reminder to stay out of this kind of terrain during storms.

Dry Fork Narrows

Dry Fork Narrows

The tight canyon went on for quite a while before closing in to its real narrows. Turn after turn, the canyon kept going! Eventually we got through the narrows to where the canyon widened again and turned around to go back through the Narrows to the main canyon.

Base of Peek-a-Boo Canyon (notice dry fall)

Base of Peek-a-Boo Canyon (notice dry fall)

In the main canyon, our next stop was Peek-a-Boo. At the mouth, we immediately encountered a steep dry fall. It wasn’t insurmountable, but a well-used use trail seemed to go up and around to the top of the canyon so we decided to see what that meant. Maybe it would be best to start up top and work our way back down to the main canyon via Peek-a-Boo.

So, we followed the use trail up to the top of the plateau and to the top end of Peek-a-Boo. We looked down. And we found a super, super narrow wiggly slot canyon. Too narrow to get in. Hm. So we walked the plateau along the edge of the canyon until we found another spot to drop in. That worked. From the spot we dropped in we wiggled down the super narrow and awesome Peek-a-Boo canyon. This was great!

Looking down on the tight narrows of Peek-a-Boo

Looking down on the tight narrows of Peek-a-Boo

Inside Peek-a-Boo Canyon

Inside Peek-a-Boo Canyon

Instead of dropping over the end back into the main canyon, we actually followed Peek-a-Boo back up to the plateau so that we could cross over to the top of Spooky canyon and follow it back down into the main canyon.

Running some dunes in between canyons!

Running some dunes in between canyons!

Spooky had a completely different look than Peek-a-Boo. It was much deeper and had some dark turns.

Spooky Canyon

Spooky Canyon

It even had an arch!

Spooky Canyon Arch

Spooky Canyon Arch

I spent a lot of time shuffling sideways in this canyon. Definitely made me wonder if the pie for lunch the previous day was a good idea…

Shuffling through Spooky Canyon (much wider here, couldn't even squeeze in a photo in the narrow spots!)

Shuffling through Spooky Canyon (much wider here, couldn’t even squeeze in a photo in the narrow spots!)

After the fun of wandering the slot canyons, it was back to the car and further up Hole-In-The-Rock road for some quick sight seeing. We stopped at Devil’s Garden for some interesting rock formations…

Devil's Garden

Devil’s Garden

Arch at Devil's Garden

Arch at Devil’s Garden

And at Cedar Wash for an unusual white rock arch.

Cedar Wash Arch

Cedar Wash Arch

Hole-In-The-Rock has even more nooks and crannies to explore, but we had a few hours of driving ahead of us to get to Zion National Park that night. We had a campsite reserved and permits for the Subway the next day. As much fun as the Escalante area was, I wasn’t about to miss the Subway!


Rebecca Sowards-Emmerd

Mountain sports addict. Dog Mom. Craft beer drinker. Tech nerd. The best days are those spent above 10k ft. Meet me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google +

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