Boulder Mail Trail a classic in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

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Boulder Mail Trail a classic in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Escape to Utah’s canyon country
Hikers walk in a sandstone swale as they approach Sand Creek, a major tributary of the Escalante River.
From the BMT Trailhead, hike southwest for 16 miles to the Escalante River Trailhead. Pitch down a slickrock slope into Death Hollow and take a side trip to Mamie Creek Natural Bridge.

Boulder Mail Trail a classic in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Hikers walk in a sandstone swale as they approach Sand Creek, a major tributary of the Escalante River.
From the BMT Trailhead, hike southwest for 16 miles to the Escalante River Trailhead. Pitch down a slickrock slope into Death Hollow and take a side trip to Mamie Creek Natural Bridge.
Travel basics

Travel: The thru-hike requires a shuttle. First, leave a vehicle at the Escalante River Trailhead. From town, drive east on Utah State Route 12 a quarter mile past the high school. Turn north on Cemetery Road which turns east to skirt the cemetery on a dirt road. In 0.4 mile, turn north. Trailhead parking is on the left. The BMT upper trailhead is located about 23 miles east of the town of Escalante. At mile marker 83.1 on Highway 12, turn west on Hells Backbone Road. Go just 0.1 mile and turn left/south on an unsigned dirt road. Cross the Boulder Landing Strip and park half a mile from the highway. Two-wheel drive with good clearance should suffice for both trailheads.

Distance and Elevation Gain: BMT Trailhead to Death Hollow and back is 12.2 miles with 2,100 feet of climbing. The thru-hike to the Escalante River Trailhead is 16.2 miles with 2,900 feet of vertical and 3,800 feet of descent. Mamie Creek Natural Bridge adds 1.6 miles roundtrip.

Time: 5 to 6½ hours roundtrip to Death Hollow. 8½ to 11½ hours for the thru-hike. (Carry a headlamp.) To explore the region more thoroughly, consider a two- to three-day backpack.

Permits: Permits are not required for day hikers. Overnight permits are available at the Interagency Visitor Center in Escalante or either trailhead.

Difficulty: Trail with stretches of deep sand; navigation challenging, carry a detailed map; roll-off exposure on a narrow trail platform and steep friction slab descent into Death Hollow; perennial water in Sand Creek and Death Hollow.

Maps: Boulder Town, Calf Creek, Escalante, UT 7.5’ USGS Quads; or, Trails Illustrated, Canyons of the Escalante No. 710

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