Elevation: 8034 ft.
Season: July 1 – Mid October
About the Area: Death Hollow is an amazingly scenic trek that is one of the most dramatic canyons in the area, boasting an extraordinarily deep gorge and untamed wilderness that has captivated countless people throughout history. The name Death Hollow gives reference to a number of livestock that plunged to their death trying to cross the steep canyon.
Hell’s Backbone Road was constructed to serve as an alternate route between the Boulder and Escalante, and while it is reasonably well maintained, it’s still an exhilarating adventure off the beaten path that will enable you to check “Ride Hell’s Backbone” off your bucket list.
Settling into Blue Spring Ridge Camp (FS-18) on Escalante Mountain, in the summer of 1933, CCC crews established a roadway around the mountain, bridged the 800 foot deep Death Hollow Canyon with Hell’s Backbone Bridge and linked the two towns by September. Today, the 1930s wooden bridge has been replaced with a modern steel and concrete bridge, making the crossing a little less frightening. You can still see remnants of wooden beams beneath the structure and beside the road. But, back in the day, winter snows made the road impassible and residents reverted back to using wagons or pack horses through the lower canyons. It wasn’t until 1940 that an all season road linked the two towns. About mid-way along the route, you will cross the historic Hell’s Backbone Bridge, one of the most spectacular bridges in the world. This concrete deck girder bridge over Sandy Creek Gorge is 109 feet (33 m) long and 14 feet (4.3 m) wide with a 1,500-foot (460 m) drop on either side. The bridge is a must-stop for taking photographs with outstanding views down into rugged canyons. Not for the faint of heart but the views are exceptional.
The Hogsback is a portion of Highway 12 that travels over the narrow spine of a mesa with canyons on either side created by Boulder Creek and the other side is Calf Creek. Many years ago the road was one lane and traffic could only cross in one direction, but it has been widened to standard highway width and provides some of the most stunning views to be had on Highway 12.
Situated at the base of Boulder Mountain, nestled between (and within) land of the BLM, Forest Service, and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Boulder is isolated, remote, and spectacular. It has a long history of settlement, as any local resident who’s plowed a field or dug a garden can attest. Anasazi State Park was established in 1970 to preserve the record of its earliest, prehistoric inhabitants. The first white settlement began in 1889, with Boulder incorporated as a town in 1958. Boulder claims to be the last community in the continental United States to receive its mail by mule train.