Little Death Hollow

Stephen Fischer Photography

Rating: 2B-II/III

Little Death Hollow is one of those locations that has taken me two attempts before being able to explore it. The reason for this is that the location is very remote, accessible by either a very long hike from the Wolverine Petrified Forest trailhead, or a long drive via a high clearance 4wd vehicle up the big wash of Horse Canyon. With the help of Cliff Hall's heavily modified landcruiser, we chose the latter.  More technical details on getting to Little Death Hollow can be found here.

On the first try coming from Goblin Valley that morning, we didn't reach the trailhead until about 4 pm, hiking to the mouth before having to turn around due to darkness.  On this first visit we also spotted a group of people lurking up on the canyon ledges of Horse Canyon scattered about individually trying to stay hidden.  By the time we got back to the vehicle, Cliff had spotted about 4 of them with his eagle eyes, and once I became aware of them, it seemed kind of creepy.  Apparently they were part of group going through some type of substance abuse rehab program, dropped off for a week in the middle of nowhere, and then being able to survive on some just basic essentials. I guess there was an expectation that no one else would be traveling through this area?

On the second try the following year coming from the Boulder area, we got here by about 1 pm, giving enough time to choke down a quick lunch before hitting the trail and hiking up to the mouth of Little Death Hollow after following Horse Canyon further south for another 1/2 mile.  SInce the previous exploration, I noticed the road up Horse Canyon has gotten progressively worse. Apparently some flash flood came through the area a few months back, and road situation looks like it has not being maintained or corrected for the last 3-4 miles.  There used to be a gate for controlling cattle that you would have to open and close behind you, that has since also been washed away.

The hike into Little Death Hollow is a bit tricky at first, especially if your goal is to try to avoid getting wet.  The initial canyon has a tight and low slot with plenty of water and mud in the middle (see image 5). But it is possible to follow along the ledge on the left side to a point where it eventually has a path to drop down into the canyon past the muddier pools.  However, we visited this after a dry spell, and I would expect more often than not that some of the areas that we were able to skirt and keep dry will be impassble without a swim or wade through muddy waters.  The sandstone slot formations here are coarser than what you will find at some of the more classic locations like those down Hole-in-the-rock road from Escalante, but the shapes and terrain are unusual enough at this canyon that it is worth exploring. 


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