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Boulder Mail Trail

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Basics
Length:
16 miles
Difficulty:
Intermediate,
Difficult
Trailhead Elevation:
6800 feet
Season:
Best in spring or fall - very hot in the summer, and there's no water between canyons

Description

If the "Boulder Mail Trail" seems like an odd title, it's quickly explained. Mules used to carry mail and supplies from Escalante to Boulder (and vice versa) along this route. As such, it's an overland trail as opposed to one that follows a canyon.

Boulder Mail Trail does cross three canyons, though, each with its own hiking flavor. Sand Creek, 2.5 miles along the trail (if you start from Boulder Airport), is wet and alive. You'll find water here even in the middle of the summer. Hike two miles farther on and you'll be at Death Hollow. Despite its name, it's also wet all seasons of the year, but has a steep narrowness which can make it dangerous in rainy weather. Last of the canyons, a mile and a half from Death Hollow, is Mamie Creek, best known for a natural bridge.

The last four miles of the hike run over the Antone Flats, made up of Navajo sandstone and occasionally shaded by clumps of ponderosa. At the end of the four miles, you'll be able to see Escalante. Slide down into Pine Creek, and you'll be at the Escalante Trailhead. You can also hike this trail in the opposite direction - but this route is more pleasantly downhill.

Tour Companies

Length:
16 miles
Difficulty:
Intermediate
Difficult
Trailhead Elevation:
6800
Season:
Best in spring or fall - very hot in the summer, and there's no water between canyons
Camping Info
Available, although you will need a (free) overnight permit
Additional Details:
Be sure to bring a map and a compass. Death Hollow is tricky to navigate through.
Basic Directions

To the Boulder Trailhead:

    From Escalante
  • Drive Highway 12 east for 25 miles
  • Turn off at Hell's Backbone Road.
  • You'll go less than a fourth of a mile before taking the first left back west.
  • You'll be at the Boulder Airport runway, which you'll cross (carefully).
  • Go another 100 yards, and you're there.

To the Escalante Trailhead

    From Escalante
  • Turn into Escalante's cemetery and continue on through the cattle guard at your right.
  • Follow the road for a fourth of a mile, then take the first left.
  • Take this road for fourth of a mile more, and you'll be at the trailhead.

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