Travelers in the area have always found that overland routes across the slickrock and through the pinyon and juniper forest provided much easier travel. The canyons however provided a critical resource – water. Over the ages, travelers scrambled down the more feasible slopes of the canyons and eventually pecked or blasted more easily traveled routes from the rim to the river.
The ancestral people pecked with stone small foot holds that were used to scale walls that in some cases seem to be nearly vertical. It must have taken amazing dexterity to go up or down these foot holds, however, the thought of carrying something along these tenuous routes is mind boggling. The more recent inhabitants – the cowboys, having the benefit of high powered explosives and the need to move livestock down into the canyons, created more substantial routes, some of which could handle horses and a wagon or even a car.
In the 1930’s the Civil Conservation Corps (CCC) came to the area and built actual roads through the desert and canyons to connect the towns of Boulder and Escalante. The CCC also worked building trails on Boulder Mountain for the forest service. These roads changed the way transportation occurred in the area and the old trails became less and less used. Today many of the old routes still exist, though rather tentatively in spots.
Hiking the Rim to River routes gives us a glimpse into the lives of both the native and the more recent cowboy ancestors of this beautiful landscape. The Rim to River hikes also provide an appreciation for both landscapes – the desert above and the riparian below.
The Rim to River Hikes are moderately strenuous. The hikes that follow livestock routes rarely involve scrambling. Some Rim to River Hikes follow less defined routes that may require a small amount of scrambling. Several of the Rim to River routes are point to point, meaning we start at the rim and descend to the river with the endpoint being at the river. A vehicle shuttle must be arranged for these routes. Other Rim to River routes allow for a round trip, in which case we typically start low, hike to the rim and then descend back to the river and starting point. Most Rim to River Hikes have simple water crossings while in the riparian areas.
These hikes are quite pleasant in the late spring as the plants come to life and in the fall as the canyons prepare to sleep for the winter. The summers are also quite enjoyable for the Rim-to-River hikes by planning the start time to allow us to reach the river before the high afternoon temperatures, since it is easy to cool off with refreshing dips in the water.
Day Hike Reservations
To start the conversation regarding hikes that interest you and reserve dates …
Need Help Planning
Your Adventure to
the Escalante Canyons?
Planning of an adventure is all part of the fun of the adventure. I enjoy helping folks put together the pieces of their journey to the Escalante Canyons, whether planning a hike with me, deciding on hikes that may be self-guided, determining drive times between points of interest or trying to determine good restaurants and lodging in the area.
I’ve put together some pages on this website to help in your planning …
… and if you want to talk with me directly, I am happy to help.
Let’s Get Some
Canyon Country Time!