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Questions about packrafting the escalante river, utah
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drew doty
(drewdoty1444) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz, CA
Questions about packrafting the escalante river, utah on 08/24/2011 16:42:32 MDT Print View

hi there i am new to pack rafting and really love utah. i wanted to try and packraft the escalante river from fence canyon to either coyote or some other canyon further down next june. yeah i know i am a constant planner! i have never done any packrafting. when is the flow good enough that i wont bottom out on gravel bars but not to high that it gets to technical? what is a good cfs to look for when hitting the water and are the readings from the park service reliable to what current water conditions feel like? also, does anyone have a book by roman dial i could buy off of them to help me out?

thanks for any help,


Edited by drewdoty1444 on 08/25/2011 10:48:42 MDT.

Joseph Catlett
(sn0wBound) - F
Escalante River Information on 08/24/2011 17:01:53 MDT Print View

Drew - June is the most likely month for a packraft trip on Escalante. Good thing you are a constant planner, it will come in handy with this trip. Here is some basic information:

The gauge station is a good reference, but not much else. I would recommend you do NOT attempt a trip without the gauge station reading at least 5 cfs, I don't know where the general recommendation of 50cfs came from, but in a packraft that would be a fairly technical ride. The gauge doesn't show any of the major tributaries and their contribution to the flow is significant. At times Boulder Creek can double the river flow and Boulder is not measured and comes in at Mile 8 after the Highway. Pine creek is also a major contributor and it's confluence is after the gauge.

As for a put-in and take out have so many options here it isn't even funny. Lots of packers enter Fence Canyon (just up stream from Neon you mention), but with good water you are cutting your trip in half. From the trailhead at Fence to the river is just over 3 miles, all down hill!

The most common take out is Coyote Gulch, using the Crack-in-the-wall as your exit. This is about 4-5 miles and is a climb. You could consider going the extra 10 miles to Lake Powell for a pick-up but will increase your costs significantly.

Depending on how much time you have there is an exit route off the river at no more then 10 mile increments. To do the whole river from Highway 12 to Coyote Gulch should be about a 7-10 day trip, depending on the time you spend floating. I know people that have completed the entire trip all the way to Lake Powell in 5 days - but honestly why?

Hit me up with any other questions you may have...I have lots of information and am working on publishing it at Or send them to me directly at

Good luck planning - JAC

drew doty
(drewdoty1444) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz, CA
thanks for your help on 08/25/2011 10:50:35 MDT Print View

i will contact you as my questions develop!


Wayne Hare
Re: Escalante River Information on 10/25/2012 15:21:33 MDT Print View

Joseph, hey, if you read this post: I am planning a pack raft trip down the Escalante in May or June, 2013. Have been able to find very little info. A very old guide book, 1978, Canyon Country Paddles by Vern Huser cautions about the rapid in Scorpion Canyon. I'm pretty much thinking I'll put in in town or at Utah 12 and take out at Crack-In-The-Wall. Any thoughts? Is there information ANYWHERE?

Many thanks,

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Escalante on 10/26/2012 07:51:09 MDT Print View

There are numerous accounts over at