Utah Trails
Hole in the Rock
Length: 0.6 mile roundtrip
Difficulty: Strenuous

Description: The 55.5-mile long Hole-in-the-Rock Road begins on Highway 12, just southeast of the town of Escalante, and ends at the edge of a cliff overlooking Lake Powell’s Register Rock and Cottonwood Canyon. Hole in the Rock marks the only at which early pioneers could descend to the Colorado River below with their wagons and animals. The cliffs originally rose over 900 feet above the river below, and it took six weeks of work in order to cut a traversable path down the steep slope. The path down the side of the cliff is just over a quarter of a mile long, very steeply sloped, and descends only 600 feet now, owing to the water level of Lake Powell. This trail is very short, but it is very steep and therefore, somewhat difficult.

The Hole-in-the-Rock Road is a dirt road; the upper 15 miles or so are smooth and maintained. For the last 40 miles of the route, the road surface is heavily graded and difficult, though with caution, most vehicles can go all the way to the Davis Gulch crossing. Those last five miles are navigable by 4x4 vehicles only.

Hole in the Rock Parking Area
The Hole in the Rock parking area is three miles south of the Glen Canyon confluence with the Escalante River.

Hole in the Rock Cliff Edge
If they had not been able to blast a path down the cliff face here, the only other option for the pioneers would have been to travel hundreds of miles to the north or the south in order to cross the river.

Hole in the Rock Plaque
There is a plaque commemorating the Hole in the Rock at the bottom of the trail.

Cottonwood Canyon
Cottonwood Canyon marks the main waterway through Glen Canyon at this point. It is joined by the San Juan River just a few miles south of Hole in the Rock.

Register Rock
Across the water from Hole-in-the-Rock, on the other side of the canyon, pioneers carved their names into a rock as they made it across the Colorado River.