The desire to float the Escalante River came from my first trip to Coyote Gulch with a group of scouts back in 2016. Standing at the confluence of those two waterways to get a closer look at Steven’s Arch, I couldn’t help but wonder what the full length of that canyon looked like from Highway 12 all the way to Lake Powell. I remembered coming up the Escalante River by boat a few years earlier with some friends who invited us to spend a week on their houseboat.
Lots of thoughts were running through my mind as I stood there in that knee-deep flow. Where does this start? How far away is Powell? I wonder if you could… oh, the wheels were rollin’!
When I got home, I immediately went to my maps and started connecting dots. Researching this also brought me to discover the river hike from Highway 12 back into Escalante, which has since been added to my bucket list. It wasn’t until this year that I noticed posts on Instagram from people floating this river as an awesome spring runoff begins.
That’s when I got serious about what it would take to accomplish an adventure like this.
I joined the Utah Packrafting Community on Facebook and started following all the planning questions and trip reports. The spiderweb of links led me to this detailed trip report where I began mapping out the route with its unique characteristics to explore and potential hazards to navigate.
I’ve subscribed to USGS WaterAlerts for station 09337500 and added two more SnoTel sites to watch that impact this river flow (Widtsoe #3 and Sunflower Flat).
I’m already thinking it’d be fun to do a reconnaissance run of the river from Coyote Gulch down into Lake Powell… slide in to see Cathedral in the Desert before it goes underwater again and exiting out via Hole in the Rock Road. Then maybe swing over to Reflection Canyon while we’re that deep down this road.
I know there’s a lot more experience to gain before attempting a full-length river trip like this, but we’ll see how things unfold as more time goes by! So instead of keeping a private file of my plans, I will keep this post updated as more details come into focus.