(Box - Death Hollow Wilderness Area)
Utah's Incredible Backcountry Trails
by David Day
Distance: 8.8 miles (plus 11.1 miles by car)
Walking time: 5 hours
Elevations: 1,300 ft. loss
Trail: This hike follows a small, fast running creek down a narrow, tree-lined canyon. Frequent stream crossings are necessary, so wettable boots should be worn. There is no reliable trail for the first five miles and the ground cover is thick in places, so wear long pants.
Season: Late spring, summer and fall. Access to the trailhead is usually blocked by snow in winter and early spring. For current information call the Escalante Interagency Visitor Center at (435) 826-5499.
Vicinity: Box-Death Hollow Wilderness Area, near Escalante
The Pine Creek Box
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This hike is a very pleasant walk down an unusually scenic canyon of Pine Creek known as the Box. Conservationists fought hard to have this area included in the Utah Wilderness Act of 1984, but there was strong opposition from local ranchers who use the area for summer grazing. The Box was ultimately included as part of the 25,750-acre Box-Death Hollow Wilderness Area, but only after the exclusion of a long, narrow plateau that separates the Box and Death Hollow. Now the map of Box-Death Hollow Wilderness Area looks like a mitten, with Pine Creek running down the thumb. Cattle fences have been built to keep cows out of the Box, but the numerous cow pies in the canyon suggest that the effort hasnt been completely successful.
From the upper Box access point,
park your car and walk down the slope east of the road, dropping
about 80 feet to the bottom of Pine Creek Canyon. Once you reach
the creek, just start following it downstream. There are bits
and pieces of an unmaintained trail, but for the most part you
are on your own. Dont hesitate to walk across the stream
if the terrain looks a little flatter on the other side, and
dont work too hard at trying to keep your feet dry. You
will be fording the creek many times before this hike is finished,
so you might as will plunge in now and let your feet get used
to the cold water.
If you are interested in a supplemental map of the
Pine Creek area, we recommend:
Canyons of the Escalante (Trails Illustrated, map #710)