Bad news from the Escalante River (low water, bad road conds)? - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 4 Days Ago   #1
 
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Bad news from the Escalante River (low water, bad road conds)?

We were planning to leave Saturday May 18 for the Escalante River in Utah, but in the last 24 hours have heard a couple of reports that are making us reconsider.

We have a report of a party from Salt Lake, who I understand put on at highway 12, that they cut their trip short at Neon/Fence canyon, due to lack of water. This is a report from the last couple of days. They expected to see the amount of water increasing as they went downstream, but instead saw the amount of water decreasing. The gauge has been more or less unchanged at 5 cfs.

Excursions of the Escalante is not shuttling to Coyote Gulch Access Point (crack-in-the-wall) because of the terrible road conditions. They say the road has deteriorated with recent rains and she cracked her radiator head. There are bad washboards and sink holes. She suggested I call the visitor center to find out about current road conditions.

Yes, I will call the visitor center, but it does not sound pretty…….

Anybody with recent information?

Richard

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Old 3 Days Ago   #2
 
Fort Collins, Colorado
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Report from Ranger Steve

Per Ranger Steve at the Escalante office:

He says that it is a matter of adjusting your expectations, that there is going to be quite a bit of boat dragging, a lot of getting out of the boat, etc.

The road is bad, figure to have the washboard shake out your fillings, but it is not real rocky.

He plans to launch Tuesday, same trip we are planning.

He says that it is a fantastic trip.
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Old 3 Days Ago   #3
 
steamboat springs, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2010
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I am down in Escalante now. The river at Hwy 12 is not runnable in a packraft. I checked out Boulder Creek as well and it's not much either at the moment. That said, there are many folks on the river, most putting in lower down at the typical Fence put in. Of course, Fence to Coyote is doable most years in some form, so nothing novel with that run. But if you're looking at the upper river, it's looking meager at the moment. And more cold weather on the way.
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Old 3 Days Ago   #4
 
steamboat springs, Colorado
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Sorry I said not runnable. Of course the river is runnable from 12. But it doesn't look fun at this flow.
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Old 3 Days Ago   #5
 
steamboat springs, Colorado
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Some pics from right below the bridge down to the private property. Taken May 15.
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Old 3 Days Ago   #6
 
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Salt Lake City, Utah
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raferguson1 View Post
Excursions of the Escalante is not shuttling to Coyote Gulch Access Point (crack-in-the-wall) because of the terrible road conditions. They say the road has deteriorated with recent rains and she cracked her radiator head. There are bad washboards and sink holes. She suggested I call the visitor center to find out about current road conditions.

I assume we are talking about Hole in the Rock Road? Bummed to hear it's in really bad shape. I was looking at heading down there next week.
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Old 3 Days Ago   #7
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Just off a trip last week. Put in on the 5th, took off on the 10th. Hiked in at Fence, took out at Coyote. We were in the window that had flows fairly steady at 4-5 cfs on the Escalante gauge, before the bottom dropped out last weekend. Flows are now up the upswing (over 20 cfs today) with warmer weather. It's runnable at the flows we had, but just barely. We had to hop out a couple times each day, and frequently bumped our way down riffles. If you're there to be there, it's fine. If you're there to go boating, well, keep an eye on the flows. Weather is supposed to be warm for a couple more days before another cool-off over the weekend. Snotel sites show plenty of snow still in the eastern part of the watershed, not much left in the western part.
Roads were fine out to both trailheads. The road to Crack in the Wall is sandy, but otherwise not 4WD. Stretches of the main road were well-developed, tooth-rattling washboard, but totally driveable.
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