Neon canyon (from the bottom)

Stephen Fischer Photography

Rating: 1B-III (from the bottom)

The trailhead for Neon canyon is found off the Egypt trailhead south of the town of Escalante down Hole-in-the-rock road.  There are a number of interesting hikes with other slot canyons off this road, with this just being one of them.  I traveled to this destination a number of years back with Cliff, Randy, and Don when exploring the various slots and hikes off this road that parallels the Escalante river.  Technical details of this hike can be found here.

What makes this particular canyon interesting is the large alcove at the end with large pool of water at the bottom and  two large holes in the sandstone ceiling above you.  It is possible to rappel through these holes from above via a longer more difficult class 3 hike.  But it can also be reached directly from the bottom via a rather long single day class 1 hike (about 10 miles round trip) that takes you through some beautiful country, across the Escalante River, and past some Indian petroglyphs and old cowboy graffiti along the way.  In the main canyon you will find many cottonwood trees and colorful striations in the sandstone as a backdrop, as shown in images 6, 8, and 10.  Visiting this location in late October is an ideal time when the cottonwood turn a golden yellow. On the hike back, we also encountered a midget faded rattlesnake (crotalus oreganus concolor) as shown in image 12, known to frequent this area.

I plan on returning to this location again in the future via the more technical route from the top with the usual team. This will require a bigger effort as it will require canyoneering gear including a wet suit, an overnight pack with food, and off course camera gear.  It may be nice to combine that with a separate multiple day pack trip into Coyote Gulch further down the Escalante. 


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