Canyons of the Escalante | Southern Utah Wanderings in a Sandstone Wilderness
Thursday & Friday, October 3-4, 2019
After an easier day exploring the colorful sandstone around Big Horn Canyon on Wednesday, it was time for our next overnight backpacking loop hike and this was one that I was pretty excited for since I’ve wanted to hike through Little Death Hollow for a long time! I slept in until just after sunrise on Thursday morning but I heard Jared get up before sunrise to wander around camp for a few photos. Once the sun was up we took our time taking down camp and packing our backpacks for the overnight hike. Since we weren’t sure if there was going to be water in Horse Canyon with the dry summer we’ve had, we decided it would probably be a good idea to carry all the water we would need for the loop, so I ended up taking 4 liters to be on the safe side. Then we drove the short distance over to the Little Death Hollow Trailhead and were on the trail shortly before 10:00am.
Sunrise at our campsite along the Wolverine Loop Road. We arrived in the dark so this was my first view of the surroundings.
Ready to start our hike from the Little Death Hollow Trailhead.
Following the well trodden path through the Circle Cliffs.
We stopped to visit a panel of Glen Canyon Linear Style petroglyphs located at the bottom of a large boulder.
We continued down the canyon as the walls became taller and got closer to the wash.
Soon we spotted Little Death Hollow Arch above us.
I’ve read reports that there can sometimes be pools of deep water in Little Death Hollow that can make getting through a a little tricky, but this time there was no water at all anywhere in the canyon, which is probably because of the lack of recent rain and poor monsoon season. This was a good time to hike through the canyon if you don’t want to deal with hiking in water. Also, aside from a couple of minor chokestones along the way there weren’t very many obstacles that we had to climb around either. I must say, Little Death Hollow is a beautiful canyon and I really enjoyed this hike and I ended up taking a lot of photos along the way!
Not far past the arch the canyon started to narrow up and the light and colors constantly changed around every bend in the canyon. It was an awesome experience!
This large chokestone was the most difficult obstacle we had to climb over in the canyon. I know it doesn’t look like much from this side, but on the other side I managed to injure myself pretty good when the branch I was climbing up to get over it snapped and I fell hard! I skinned up my elbows on the sandstone canyon walls and was bleeding pretty good and my thighs were bruised where I landed on them. I was bloodied and bruised from the fall, but this hike was worth it!
Once we finished the hike through Little Death Hollow and reached the confluence with Horse Canyon, we hiked upstream a short distance and found a nice campsite under a couple cottonwood trees not far from the line cabin in the canyon. We set up camp, rested for a little bit and I cleaned and bandaged the scrapes on my arms. Then we went for a short evening hike past the line cabin and up an old cattle trail to a spring where we found another old shack. During the climb up the cattle trail we saw a large rockfall occur on a cliff face in front of us. While I have heard rockfalls before this was the first time I actually saw one with my own eyes.
Our cottonwood campsite in Horse Canyon. There was actually a little water in this part of the canyon, so we didn’t need to carry all the water for the hike after all. Oh well, better safe than sorry!
Hiking past the line cabin at the end of the ‘Administrative Road’ in Horse Canyon.
An evening view over Horse Canyon as we climbed the old cattle trail to the spring.
Jared spotted this old shack that was well-hidden between some large boulders.
This old jar of Armour Dried Beef was one of the relics still inside.
After following the trail back down into the canyon we returned to camp and went to bed early, once it got dark out.
On Friday morning we woke up just before sunrise, packed up camp and then started our hike up Horse Canyon to the mouth of Wolverine Canyon. As soon as we entered Wolverine Canyon we started to smell smoke and initially though that someone was having a campfire, but the smell persisted and we soon realized that the smoke must be blowing in from a large wildfire somewhere else. Although there are no real slot canyon sections, I must say that Wolverine Canyon is also a very beautiful canyon to hike through, and if Little Death Hollow wasn’t nearby, it would probably be it’s own destination hike, instead of just part of the typical loop combined with Little Death Hollow.
While hiking up Horse Canyon we spotted this carving of a train.
The lower end of Wolverine Canyon was open…
…but it narrowed up pretty soon.
Taking a photo of Jared, taking a photo of me.
There’s a lot of petrified wood all along the wash in Wolverine Canyon.
After hiking through the narrowest sections of Wolverine Canyon there were a couple very large alcoves.
When we reached the first canyon junction we took the right fork to loop back to the trailhead. Jared and I had actually hiked to this junction down the main fork a couple years ago.
One last view of the upper reaches of Wolverine Canyon before we hiked back out of the Circle Cliffs and returned to the trailhead.
Once we returned to my Jeep we decided to head back to the Burr Trail Grill in Boulder for lunch and planned to figure out what we were going to do on Saturday while we were there. We had an amazing hike through Little Death Hollow and I’m glad I was finally able to make it here!