If you're looking for some of the best scenery and hikes in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Hole in the Rock Road is the place to go. It's a beautiful scenic drive, and also has trailheads for some of the best hiking (in terms of scenery) I've ever done in the Monument. However, realize that the road has significant washboard--just go slow and you should be ok. The last 10 miles of the road are recommended for 4x4 only; we made it to the end in a 2-wheel-drive van once several years ago, but last time we tried it, we had to walk the last couple miles due to deep sand and the rocky road. Check with the visitor center in Escalante, as they should be able to tell you what the road is like.
A few of my favorite sites along the road:
Mile 7.75: Unmarked parking area on the other side of the cattle guard for the Zebra Slots/Tunnel Slot. Beautiful slot canyons--the Zebra one has stripes! About 5-6 miles round trip.
Mile 12.0: Short, marked road for Devil's Garden. Awesome formations; this is a great place to wander since there are no marked trails (though one does seem to go around the garden area). It's also a great place to let the children run!
Mile 17.2: Here a 9-mile road goes left to the Egypt parking area. This road is not very well maintained, though it is usually passable with a high-clearance, 2-wheel-drive vehicle. Egypt itself has many hiking trails; my favorite is to Neon Canyon and the Golden Cathedral (8 miles (Beeline Route) or 12 miles (Fence Canyon Route) RT).
Mile 26.6: A 1.7 mile road on your left leads to the Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch--and some great slot canyons. My favorites are Peek-a-boo (very pretty, with arches) and Spooky (which is quite narrow, but passable). A 2-3 mile round trip hike, this is where the park people send families.
The road gets worse after this junction; you'll likely need high clearance to go further.
Mile 42.7: A small, unmarked road on the left leads to a small parking area (be careful, there may be deep sand). This road is just after Sooner Wash and the Sooner Rocks. Here you can hike to Broken Bow Arch (6 miles RT), a magnificent arch in a desert canyon--complete with a stream flowing through the canyon!
Mile 45.7: Enter Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. From here, the road gets worse and worse. You may need to walk or have 4x4.
Mile 55.3: Hole in the Rock and the end of the road. The "Hole" is a canyon that was made for pioneers to descend to what is now Lake Powell. It can still be descended, though with some scrambling. It's a fun adventure.
Overall, the Hole in the Rock Road is a nice drive if you're vehicle is up to it. It's also a great place to start a hike, or even to camp...the park allows free-range camping as long as you stay on established roads/parking areas and you comply with all signs (for example, you can't stay at Devil's Garden...but maybe that's because it's the only place on the road with picnic tables and a primitive restroom?)
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