||Hole in the Rock Scenic BackwayThis scenic backway is a 50-mile dirt road ending at the famous hole in the rock wagon road.I say famous because in the late 1800s a group of Mormon pioneers called by Brigham Young to go to Bluff, forged, beat, blasted and created a wagon road down through a canyon that is difficult enough just to hike through.I do not recommend going the whole 50 miles down the dirt road to see the hole in the rock. Besides, the last ten miles can only be negotiated by a four- wheel-drive vehicle.
There are two sights though that are really interesting: The Devil’s Garden area and a double slot canyon hike called Spooky and Peek- a- boo.
Stop first at the Escalante Outfitters in the middle of town to get instructions about these two hikes.
Leave Escalante traveling east, the beginning of the Hole in the Rock Road is located a short distance out of town on the right. The Devil’s Garden is 12.4 miles down the graded dirt road on the right or west side. Spooky and Peek-a-boo are located 26.6 miles down the trail on the left or east side.
Devils Garden is a family playground with interesting rock formations. An imaginary alien landscape makes exploring the area an adventure.
The slot canyon hikes of Spooky and Peek-a-boo are located 14.2 miles farther down the road or a total of 26.6 miles from the beginning of the road. The sign says Dry Fork and does not mention the name of either hike so be careful to not miss the turnoff.
From the main road the turnoff goes only a quarter mile and ends at a loop parking area. If you are on a road that goes farther than that you are on the wrong road.
Unlike Devil’s Garden, these two slot canyons are a little tough to find.
From the parking lot walk north over to the edge looking down into a wash and canyon. Look for some natural stairs made from the cracks. This will help you get off the ridge.
Work your way to the northeast, and watch for the cairns that sometime mark the trail. You are headed to the bottom of the wash.
Follow the wash about 200 yards and it will curve to the south. Look for Peek-a-boo on your left or east wall.
Peek-a-boo is a great family challenge. It is fairly open but mysterious with arches and winding corridors. The hike is only a hundred yards or so.
Spooky is a much more difficult hike located down the main wash and then around a corner to the left and down a short side canyon. Spooky is narrow, tight, and caused me to worry if I was going to be able to make it all the way through. At one point I had to lay down on my side and pull my way through a 15-foot section. I did not get claustrophobic because I could see the sky above, but the canyon is narrow, really narrow in some places. It seems twice as long as Peek-a-boo and three times as difficult.
I include these hikes because they are fairly easily to get to and give you an idea of just how interesting back country hiking can be without having to hike days sometimes to get to Southern Utah’s secret places.