My buddy and I are from Indiana and looking to coming to Utah in the spring for a pack rafting adventure. Since we are from Indiana and we have to plan our trip in advance what month would you guys recommend would me best? We are not necessarily looking for rapids but for an adventure and awesome scenery. Second question We are looking at doing a 3 or 4 day overnight trip. Any suggestions on where to go? I’ve been looking at the esclante area and dirty devil. And any advice what route/trails/loops would be good for what I’m looking for? Any other advice or tips would be much appreciated.
Can’t speak to the DD but if your lucky enough to time the spring runoff on the Escalante Fence to Crack In the Wall is amazing. I just did the Canyonlands Figure 8 (info on this site) with my girlfriend over Thanksgiving and it was incredible. Basic itinerary is Needles- Colorado River via Big Spring (one Rappel) - Spanish Bottom- Dollhouse (Maze)- Water Canyon- Green River - Red Lake out of Needles. Taking an extra day or two to explore the Maze is highly recommended.
Thank you very much!!
with regards to timing - DD usually suffers from diversions starting about april 1. Escalante often doable at low water early spring, but historically high water occurs in May (though diversions also play a roll as spring progresses). Canyonlands routes are usually fine anytime in the early to mid spring - high temps and high water can start to creep in by the end of may (the latter not an issue for non-rapids routes like canyonlands figure 8). Late april/early May is the least-unreliable time of year for the virgin river.
You guys Reccommend any shuttle services? I found a website that we can rent packrafts from and a place there we can rent them opinions on what we should do the prices were basically the same. We are looking at starting at the egypt TH and getting out at some where around coyote gulch or the crack in the wall to get to fortymile ridge TH is there signage were we will get out at? I’ve read a couple different threads where people talk about getting out at the crack wall or paddling up the coyote gulch? Also do we need a 4x4 vehicle or will a 2 wheel drive suv work to get to the fortymile ridge TH?
Here are a couple shuttle services in the Escalante area:
- Utah Canyon Outdoors/Utah Canyon Guides
- Escape Goats
At Coyote Gulch, there are two routes out of the canyon:
- hike up the Crack-in-the-Wall route (2.1 miles, 800’ vertical, sand dunes)
- hike up Coyote Gulch (don’t know the distance, but with heavy packs, it would be a long way)
You can not paddle up Coyote (it is a popular backpacking route)
It’s a wilderness trip so there won’t be any signs (thank God) until you get to the flat water of lake Powell.
Coyote is shortly after Steven’s Arch and there will “probably” (but maybe not) be other people hanging out there. Bring a map … and know how to use it.
Don’t forget to bring (and use) a groover.
Southern Utah is not Indiana. If you (or someone in your group) are not familiar with backcountry desert travel and navigation, you may want to consider doing some day hikes in the area first to get those skills. And, if you are not already a boater (or have someone in your group who is a strong boater and can show you the hazards and routes), then please get those skills before you go on ANY multi-day wilderness river trip that isn’t flat/moving water (no rapids).
I suggest you give the backcountry ranger at the visitor center in Escalante a call.
Have fun and be safe.