Canyoneering Route Description

Sandslide Canyon - 2(3)A I(II)
Escalante National Monument, Utah.

Quick Facts

04-24-16, 5 people, 1 Day (Travel time in route 4.5 hours) Pictures Icon Time includes going over to Tightest Slot to look around.

Time Required - 2 to 4 hours
Distance - 0.7 miles Total, 3.7 miles Technical
Rappels - 1 Rappels, Longest Rappel 110 feet.  The rappel is only 90 feet but you will need about 110 feet of rope for it.
Elevation Range - 4530 - 4770 Feet
Shuttle Required - No Miles Vehicle - High Clearance, 4WD suggested Permit Required - No

Gear Used for Canyon

Rappelling and anchor gear, Ropes and or pull cords for rappels up to 110 feet and a retrievable anchor system so you do not leave webbing on the arch or pull ropes around the arch leaving grooves.

General Comments

Sandslide canyon is more of a hike with a rope for an optional rap at the end of the canyon. The upper slots are easy to travel and are very short mixed in with walks down shallow v-slot. The lower slot is also easy to travel up or down.  If you are seeking a great canyoneering experience this is not the route for you.  If you want a hike through some very easy to travel shallow slot and enjoy scenery on the way, this may be a good option.  There is only one rappel at the end of the canyon and is optional.  If you decide not to rappel you can reverse back up canyon to exit where comfortable.

The total distance of 3.7 miles is if you plan to do the entire slot.  If you drop in early and just go through the lower slot then over the rap the route can be up to 1 mile shorter.  There are a couple of spots you can drop in making the length in the canyon adjustable.

The technical rating of 2 or 3 is because the rappel is optional.  You can explore the entire slot down to the top of the rappel at the end of the canyon then easily reverse up canyon to where you can exit and return back to the cars by reversing the approach route.  Or you can bring rope and a retrievable anchor system to rappel down the drop at the end of the canyon then walk the sandy wash and find your way back to the cars.

Important:
Hikers in the area can view the arch above the first rappel from the rim.  The arch is used as the anchor for the rappel.  If you do rappel please do not leave webbing on the arch as it will be visible from the rim and detract from the beauty some hikers may be looking for.  Also to not pull your ropes around the arch to retrieve them.  Pulling ropes around the arch will leave deep grooves in the sandstone and slowly destroy the arch.  Instead use a retrievable anchor system like the Smooth Operator or the old standard retrievable anchor made form webbing and rap rings.

The drive into the trailhead can be driven most of the way in a carefully driven passenger car.  The last 0.75 miles is a little rougher and has soft sand in places.  If you choose to drive a passenger car plan on not going all the way to the trailhead and adding the miles to your walk instead.

Driving Directions

To get to the Trailhead

From the city of Escalante drive about 4 miles southeast on Hwy 12 to the turn off for Hole-In-The-Rock road on the right (extHoleInRock). The condition of the dirt Hole in the Rock road varies a lot with recent rains and road maintenance.  High clearance may be needed in extreme cases but most of the time passenger cars will be fine for the first 30 or 40 miles on Hole in the Rock road.

Travel about 26 miles southeast on Hole-In-The-Rock road to the turn off for the Dry Fork trailhead to the left (extDryForkTH1).  From Hole-In-The-Rock road drive about 0.8 miles to a fork in the road (extDryForkTH2) and stay right (east) at the fork.  After staying right (east) at the fork you are on an un-named road to an un-named TH about 1.5 miles away. Along the un-named road there are a few places to camp.

About 0.8 miles in from the fork the road gets deeper with sand and has more rough rock making passenger cars a bad idea.  Just as the road gets rougher and has more sand there is a small not well used slickrock pull out on the left where you can park (PkDryFrkAlt1) if you only have a passenger car.

If you have high clearance and possibly 4WD continue east about 0.7 miles to the end of the road and a large parking area (PkDryFrkAlt1).

To leave the Exit Vehicle / Escape Pod

No exit vehicle is needed.  This is done as an out and back route.

Maps - - - - GPS coordinate information listed at the bottom of this route description.

For information about my waypoint naming convention and map symbols, refer to the Glossary page.

Map Link Icon
Click the links for maps of the route.
Map of the drive into the route.
Map of the entire route.
Map of the technical section.

Details

The Approach:
From the parking area (PkDryFrkAlt1) walk east on rolling slickrock with some gentle sandstone hills on the left (north) and a very wide shallow drainage beginning to form on the right (south).

About 0.35 miles from the trailhead is a spot (DryFrkAlt01) where you will see where you can see a drop of about 30 feet in the wash to the right (south) and some hoodoo like peaks on the left (north).  To go to Sandslide Canyon or up Dry Fork start wrapping left around the hoodoo like peaks and route find your way northeast.

About 0.27 miles northeast is the top of a slope (DryFrkAlt02a) leading down into Dry Fork where there is a barbed wire fence crossing. Drop down the slope to the north and make your way down into the Dry Fork drainage which is wide and flat looking like a wide dirt road about 500 feet away.

Once down in Dry Fork (jDryForkAlt2) turn left and walk up Dry Fork to the north. 

About 0.15 miles up Dry Fork will be the confluence (jSandSlide) where Sandslide Canyon joins in from the right (northish).  Looking north up SandSlide you can see a huge sand slide / dune on the LUC (west) side which is used to gain access to the rim. 

To go up to the rim, route find your way up the steep sand slope on the west side to get to the rim. You can start traversing up the sand slope here or hike up into the canyon about 500 feet and travel a shorter but steeper route up the sand slope.

From the top of the sand hill (Sandslide01) route find your way northeast roughly following the rim of Sandslide canyon on your right (east).

About 0.45 miles along the rim is a high point (Sandslide02) where you can see down to the rap down out of the end of Sandslide Canyon.

About 0.33 miles farther along the rim is the first spot to drop into (jSandSlideIn1) Sandslide Canyon at a spot you can walk in off the rim. This is at the top of a drop of about 8 feet easily bypassed on the RDC side.

Drop in here to enjoy only the lower slot down to the rappel at the end of the canyon about 1000 feet down canyon from here.
Or
Continue up along the rim to drop into Sandslide higher up.

About 1000 feet farther up the rim is the second spot you can drop into (jSandSlideIn2) Sandslide Canyon.  This is just above a drop of about 8 feet that you can get part way down on the LDC side then jump a few feet to sand or partner assist.

Drop in here to enjoy only the lower slot down to the rappel at the end of the canyon.
Or
Continue up along the rim to drop into Sandslide higher up.

About 1500 feet farther up the rim is the top end of Sandslide slot (ySandslideTp) where there is huge open sand wash upstream of here. 

The Canyoneering / Technical Section:
From the top drop in (ySandslideTp) it is easy walking for about 400 feet down canyon then a 300 foot section where you will need to galumph up 5 to 8 feet and stem over a couple silo like features and log jams with all easy movement. After the 300 foot long galumph section the canyon turns to easy sand walking again.

When the canyon becomes easy walking (Sandslide03) walk the sandy bottomed slot about 750 feet to a drop of about 8 feet (jSandSlideIn2) that you can get part way down on the LDC side then jump a few feet to sand or partner assist.

After the drop is easy walking in shallow v-slot with low angle walls for about 400 feet down to where the canyon narrows again. There will be one spot you will need to stem up about 2 feet to get over a pinch point in the middle of the walking section.

Canyon starts to slot up (Sandslide04) a little still with easy walking in sculpted undulating walls for about 130 feet.  Then the slot starts opening up again to shallow v-slot with low angle walls for about 220 feet down to the start of the final section of canyon.  Through this section is an arch in the canyon floor (SandslideArch) that you will need to scramble over. If the sand levels are too high this arch will be buried or you may see only a foot or so of clearance under the arch.

When you get to the top of a drop (jSandSlideIn1) of about 8 feet that is easily bypassed on the RDC side you can escape here or continue down canyon to the final rappel. About 50 feet down canyon is one spot to galumph up a few feet up and over then walking in shallow v-slot with low angle walls for a long way.

About 1500 feet down canyon of the 8 foot drop (Sandslide05) the V-slot begins to pinches in a few places.  Over the next 340 feet from here down to the final rap there will be a couple spots to galumph down canyon about 4 feet off the deck mixed in with easy walking over most of it.

Rap 1 (dSandslideR1) is anchored from a large arch going over the canyon using a retrievable anchor like a Smooth Operator and drops about 90 feet. About 110 feet of rope is used for anchoring around the arch and down the drop.  DO NOT pull your rope around the arch to retrieve it.  Please use a retrievable anchor system instead.  Also please do not leave webbing on this arch as it will detract from the scenery for those hiking the rim above.

At the bottom of rap 1 the technical canyon over (ySandslideBt).

The Exit:The Exit:
From the bottom of rap 1 (ySandslideBt) walk the sand about 0.7 miles to the junction with Dry fork (jSandSlide).  From the confluence with Dry Fork turn left and walk south down Dry Fork about 500 feet to where you see a sand slope leaving the wash (jDryForkAlt2) going up to the right (southwest).  Follow up southwest up the side slope then reverse the approach route back to the cars. 

GPS Waypoint Information

GPX Files Available for DOWNLOAD.
Downloadable GPX files for many of the canyons listed here are now available at the BG-Gear Store.  In addition to the waypoints, the GPX files also offer routes and tracks for the canyon.  Over time more GPX files will be added.

If you want to avoid manually adding waypoints into your GPS or mapping software, want the additional routes and tracks or simply want to support the efforts put into BluuGnome, head over to the BG-Gear Store and grab the files that interest you.

Elevations are approximate.  Waypoints with no elevation data will display NaN in place of the elevation.

For information about my waypoint naming convention and map symbols, refer to the Glossary page.

Notes for GPS information:
BEFORE
entering coordinates from this website, please ensure your system (GPS or mapping software) is set to the same datum used here.  Waypoint coordinates are listed with WGS84 datum and in Lat/Lon hddd.ddddd° format.  Entering coordinate information with inconsistent datum's can result in the waypoints being off by hundreds of feet.  It is important to keep this in mind when entering waypoints from any source.

Sandslide (1) - Drive in to Trailhead
  1. extHoleInRock          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.72769   W -111.53143        Elev: NaN Feet
    Turn off to Hole-In-The-Rock road from Hwy 12.
  2. exHarrisWash          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.60644   W -111.42794        Elev: 0 Feet
    Turn off to Harris Wash Road to the east.
  3. extEgypt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.54114   W -111.36176        Elev: 5,279 Feet
    Turn off to the Egypt Road to the east (left on the drive in on Hole in the Rock road..
  4. extDryForkTH1          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.46638   W -111.22344        Elev: 4,890 Feet
    Turn off of Hole-In-The-Rock road toward Dry Fork trailhead. BLM road 252
  5. extDryForkTH2          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.46579   W -111.21226        Elev: 4,849 Feet
    Junction where road 252 goes left (north) to Dry Fork trailhead. Continuing straight (east) follows an un-named road to an un-named TH about 1.5 miles away. Along the un-named road there are a few places to camp and about 0.8 miles in the road gets deeper with sand and has more rough rock making passenger cars a bad idea.
  6. PkDryFrkAlt1          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.46631   W -111.19895        Elev: 4,772 Feet
    The road begins to get rougher and have deeper sand. This slick rock pull out is about as far as you want to push a passenger car into this road. High clearence is needed and 4WD may be needed if the roads are exceptionaly bad.
  7. jDryForkAlt1          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.46342   W -111.18670        Elev: 4,710 Feet
    Park here at an un-named tailhead on an un-named road to go to an alternate entry to the Dry Fork drainage. Walk east on rolling slickrock with some gentle sandstone hills on the left (north) and a very wide shallow drainage beginning to form on the right (south).
Sandslide (2) - Approach
  1. jDryForkAlt1          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.46342   W -111.18670        Elev: 4,710 Feet
    Park here at an un-named tailhead on an un-named road to go to an alternate entry to the Dry Fork drainage. Walk east on rolling slickrock with some gentle sandstone hills on the left (north) and a very wide shallow drainage beginning to form on the right (south).
  2. DryFrkAlt01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.46203   W -111.18043        Elev: NaN Feet
    This is a spot on the rim of a wash on the right (south) where will see where you can see a drop of about 30 feet in the wash to the right (south) and some hoodoo like peaks on the left (north). If going to Tightest Slot or down Dry Fork route find your way on slickrock east roughly following along the rim of the wash below on the right (south). If going to Sandslide Canyon or up Dry Fork start wrapping left around the hoodoo like peaks and route find your way northeast.
  3. DryFrkAlt02a          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.46423   W -111.17650        Elev: NaN Feet
    Top of a slope leading down into Dry Fork where there is a barbed wire fence crossing. Drop down the slope to the north and make your way down into the Dry Fork drainage which is wide and flat looking like a wide dirt road about 500 feet away.
  4. jDryForkAlt2          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.46483   W -111.17512        Elev: 4,530 Feet
    One of the routes from the alternate Dry Fork TH meets Dry fork here. To go up to Sandslide canyon turn left and walk up Dry Fork to the north.
  5. jSandSlide          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.46673   W -111.17467        Elev: 4,540 Feet
    Bottom of the Sandslide Canyon drainage where it dumps into Dry Fork. Looking north up SandSlide you can see a huge sand slide / dune on the LUC (west) side which is used to gain access to the rim. This is also just a little down stream of a narrow section in Dry Fork. To go up to the rim, route find your way up the steep sand slope on the west side to get to the rim. You can start traversing up the sand slope here or hike up into the canyon about 500 feet and travel a shorter but steeper route up the sand slope.
  6. Sandslide01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.46868   W -111.17499        Elev: NaN Feet
    This is on the rim at the top of the northern end of the sandslide used to gain acess to the rim by slogging your way up the steep sand slope. From here route find your way northeast roughly following the rim of Sandslide canyon on your right (east).
  7. Sandslide02          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.47431   W -111.17301        Elev: NaN Feet
    High point along the rim where you can see down to the rap down out of the end of Sandslide Canyon.
  8. jSandSlideIn1          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.47792   W -111.17057        Elev: NaN Feet
    First spot to drop into Sandslide Canyon at a spot you can walk in off the rim. This is at the top of a drop of about 8 feet easily bypassed on the RDC side. About 50 feet down canyon is one spot to galumph up a few feet up and over then walking in shallow v-slot with low angle walls for a long way.
  9. jSandSlideIn2          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.48006   W -111.16847        Elev: NaN Feet
    Second spot to drop into Sandslide Canyon. This is just above a drop of about 8 feet that you can get part way down on the LDC side then jump a few feet to sand or partner assist. After the drop is easy walking in shallow v-slot with low angle walls for about 400 feet down to where the canyon narrows again. There will be one spot you will need to stem up about 2 feet to get over a pinch point in the middle of the walking section.
  10. ySandslideTp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.48375   W -111.16766        Elev: 4,770 Feet
    Top end of Sandslide slot where there is huge open sand wash upstream of here. Easy walking for about 400 feet down canyon then a 300 foot section where you will need to galumph up 5 to 8 feet and stem over a couple silo like features and log jams with all easy movement. After the 300 foot long galumph section the canyon turns to easy sand walking again.
Sandslide (3) - The Canyon
  1. ySandslideTp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.48375   W -111.16766        Elev: 4,770 Feet
    Top end of Sandslide slot where there is huge open sand wash upstream of here. Easy walking for about 400 feet down canyon then a 300 foot section where you will need to galumph up 5 to 8 feet and stem over a couple silo like features and log jams with all easy movement. After the 300 foot long galumph section the canyon turns to easy sand walking again.
  2. Sandslide03          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.48193   W -111.16835        Elev: NaN Feet
    Slot becomes easy walking in sand again for abot 750 feet.
  3. jSandSlideIn2          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.48006   W -111.16847        Elev: NaN Feet
    Second spot to drop into Sandslide Canyon. This is just above a drop of about 8 feet that you can get part way down on the LDC side then jump a few feet to sand or partner assist. After the drop is easy walking in shallow v-slot with low angle walls for about 400 feet down to where the canyon narrows again. There will be one spot you will need to stem up about 2 feet to get over a pinch point in the middle of the walking section.
  4. Sandslide04          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.47910   W -111.16979        Elev: NaN Feet
    Canyon starts to slot up a little still with easy walking in sculpted undulating walls for about 130 feet. Then the slot starts opening up again to shallow v-slot with low angle walls for about 220 feet down to the start of the final section of canyon.
  5. SandslideArch          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.47839   W -111.17032        Elev: NaN Feet
    Arch in the canyon floor that you will need to scramble over. If the sand levels are too high this arch will be buried or you may see only a foot or so of clearance under the arch.
  6. jSandSlideIn1          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.47792   W -111.17057        Elev: NaN Feet
    First spot to drop into Sandslide Canyon at a spot you can walk in off the rim. This is at the top of a drop of about 8 feet easily bypassed on the RDC side. About 50 feet down canyon is one spot to galumph up a few feet up and over then walking in shallow v-slot with low angle walls for a long way.
  7. Sandslide05          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.47596   W -111.17117        Elev: NaN Feet
    Over the next 340 feet from here down to the final rap there will be a couple spots to galumph down canyon about 4 feet off the deck mixed in with easy walking over most of it.
  8. dSandslideR1          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.47543   W -111.17209        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 1 (and only) - Sandslide Canyon. Anchored from a large arch going over the canyon using a retrievable anchor like a Smooth Operator and drops about 90 feet. About 110 feet of rope is used for anchoring around the arch and down the drop. DO NOT pull your rope around the arch to retrieve it. Please use a retrievable anchor system instead. Also please do not leave webbing on this arch as it will detract from the scenery for those hiking the rim above.
  9. ySandslideBt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.47529   W -111.17235        Elev: 4,610 Feet
    Bottom of the technical section of Sandslide where the final rap dumps you out into a wide sand wash with tall walls. Walk the sand about 0.7 miles to the junction with Dry fork.
Sandslide (4) - Exit
  1. ySandslideBt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.47529   W -111.17235        Elev: 4,610 Feet
    Bottom of the technical section of Sandslide where the final rap dumps you out into a wide sand wash with tall walls. Walk the sand about 0.7 miles to the junction with Dry fork.
  2. jSandSlide          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.46673   W -111.17467        Elev: 4,540 Feet
    Bottom of the Sandslide Canyon drainage where it dumps into Dry Fork. Looking north up SandSlide you can see a huge sand slide / dune on the LUC (west) side which is used to gain access to the rim. This is also just a little down stream of a narrow section in Dry Fork. To go up to the rim, route find your way up the steep sand slope on the west side to get to the rim. You can start traversing up the sand slope here or hike up into the canyon about 500 feet and travel a shorter but steeper route up the sand slope.
  3. jDryForkAlt2          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.46483   W -111.17512        Elev: 4,530 Feet
    One of the routes from the alternate Dry Fork TH meets Dry fork here. To go up to Sandslide canyon turn left and walk up Dry Fork to the north.
  4. DryFrkAlt02a          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.46423   W -111.17650        Elev: NaN Feet
    Top of a slope leading down into Dry Fork where there is a barbed wire fence crossing. Drop down the slope to the north and make your way down into the Dry Fork drainage which is wide and flat looking like a wide dirt road about 500 feet away.
  5. DryFrkAlt01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.46203   W -111.18043        Elev: NaN Feet
    This is a spot on the rim of a wash on the right (south) where will see where you can see a drop of about 30 feet in the wash to the right (south) and some hoodoo like peaks on the left (north). If going to Tightest Slot or down Dry Fork route find your way on slickrock east roughly following along the rim of the wash below on the right (south). If going to Sandslide Canyon or up Dry Fork start wrapping left around the hoodoo like peaks and route find your way northeast.
  6. jDryForkAlt1          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.46342   W -111.18670        Elev: 4,710 Feet
    Park here at an un-named tailhead on an un-named road to go to an alternate entry to the Dry Fork drainage. Walk east on rolling slickrock with some gentle sandstone hills on the left (north) and a very wide shallow drainage beginning to form on the right (south).