Canyoneering Route Description

East Scorpion Canyon 4B III R
Escalante National Monument, Utah

Quick Facts

10-08-12, 6 people, 1 Day (Travel time in route 7 hours) Pictures Icon

Time Required - 6 to 8
Distance - 7.3 miles Total, 0.8 miles Technical
Rappels - 3 Rappels, Longest Rappel 35 feet.  (but have a 55 foot rope)
Elevation Range - 4400 - 4750 Feet
Shuttle Required - No Vehicle - Passenger - High Clearance if bad road conditions Permit Required - No

Gear Used for Canyon

Rappelling and anchor gear, Ropes and or pull cords for rappels up to 50 feet and 50 feet of 1 inch webbing for sling placement.  Longest rap is 35 feet but depending on anchor configuration a 55 foot rope is suggested.  A couple potshots and sandtrap, see general comments.  Wet suits may be useful in cool weather and full conditions.  In very warm weather most can get away with no wet suit but be prepared for a few cold moments through potholes.

General Comments

Warning:
Do not confuse East Scorpion Canyon with West Scorpion Canyon.  Be sure to navigate to the correct location.  West Scorpion is one of the very difficult slots in Escalante while East Scorpion is relatively easy in comparison.

East Scorpion is a fun adventure with some stemming, light pothole work and a little advanced anchoring.  The technical portion of the canyon is not long and makes a good practice canyon.

While the canyon rated a B for water content a wet suit is not mandatory at all times.  In hot weather East Scorpion can be done with no wetsuits but you will get wet crossing some potholes so be prepared for some cold moments.  In moderate to cool temps a wet suit is recommended.

The R rating is due to stemming up to 15 feet above the deck in places.  There are section where you will have to stem up so be comfortable in that environment before heading into East Scorpion.

Getting out of potholes could be done with partner assists on my first visit.  However the potholes were sand filled and conditions could change so have a couple potshots on hand just in case.  There are two large potholes just before the final rap that tall people can stem over and assist others through.  If no one in the group can get over these potholes you will need potshots.

Entering the canyon for us was done by going down the RDC side from the rim to avoid a deep pothole.  Entry required sending people down on a meat anchor then those below did a partner capture for the last man in.  Teamwork gets the entry done easily.  I am calling this side canyon entry rap 1.

The first in canyon rap (rap 2) we used a sandtrap for the anchor.  Before committing your entire party to the canyon send someone down to rap 2, which is only a few feet down canyon to evaluate anchor options.  Having someone on the rim to farm rocks can be useful if you find no good anchor options.

The longest rap is 35 feet but if the anchor is not extended it may require up to 55 feet.

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 29.7 miles southeast on Hole-In-The-Rock road to the turn off for Red Well (exRedwell).

Turn left on the road to Red Well and drive 1.1 miles to the Red Well Trailhead (tRedWell). 

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 approach to bottom of canyon.
Map of the rim walk to top and technical section.

Details

The Approach:
From the Red Well Trailhead (tRedWell) walk around the left (west) side of the hill by the parking area then travel north along a slickrock ridge.

About 800 feet north will be the bottom of the slickrock ridge (RedDryFrk11) on the way to the Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch from the Red Well TH. Continue north down a shallow drainage toward for about 450 feet down into Big Hollow Wash.

Once down in Big Hollow Wash (RedDryFrk12) cross Big Hollow Wash and walk northeast across open desert.

About  0.2 miles farther will be another fork of Big Hollow Wash (RedDryFrk13).  Crossing over the wide sandy wash. Continue northeast across rolling desert for about 0.4 miles to the head of a large ravine running northeast down into Dry Fork.

As you get closer to the head of the ravine (RedDryFrk14) you will see a very large lone cedar to help guide you.  To drop down to Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch walk northeast along the right (east) side of the ravine.

About 0.2 miles along the side of the ravine is a place to drop down the side (RedDryFrk15) into wash below. Continue northish toward cottonwoods and Dry Fork.

About 400 feet farther is a fence (RedDryFrk16) across the wash about 600 feet before getting down into Dry Fork. The large drainage on the other side of Dry Fork is the bottom of East Scorpion. To continue to the top of the Scorpion Canyons walk north down into Dry Fork then turn left to walk west up the Dry Fork wash.

As you walk west up Dry Fork notice the canyon wall on your right (north) begin to get closer to the wash.  As the wall gets close to the wash (jEastScorpApr) find a way to scramble up the slickrock to get to the rim of west rim of East Scorpion.

After about 0.2 miles up the slickrock slopes you will be up on the west rim of East Scorpion (EastScorp01). Route find your way north up along the rim of East Scorpion in easy to navigate rolling slickrock.

About 0.9 miles along the rim will be a spot (EastScorp02) you have a good view down to the final rappel of East Scorpion. Continue north along the rim for about 0.6 miles to where you can see a confluence in East Scorpion.

About 0.6 miles farther up along the rim is where you can drop in (yEastScorpTp) from the rim about 150 feet down canyon of open wash. Dropping in from the side here is done to avoid a 15 foot deep keeper pothole. Up canyon of here are a few shallow potholes.

The Canyoneering / Technical Section:
From the drop in spot (yEastScorpTp) you can drop in from the rim down steeply sloped slickrock.  Dropping in from the rim is done by allowing all but the last person to rappel from a meat anchor then partner capture the last person down as they carefully downclimb or use a pack drag. The last person will be doing a controlled downclimb / slide as the others capture them at the bottom.

Note:
I call this side rim drop in rap 1.  Some may not consider this a rappel.  Take that into account with the rap count here.

Just after dropping in is a few feet of galumphing to rap 2.

Rap 2 (dEastScorpR2) is anchored from a sandtrap in a pothole and drops about 20 feet down to another pothole. The pothole below rap 2 can be stemmed over by tall people while shorter people will need to drop into the pothole that could be swimmer if full. A potshot on hand is a good idea to have along but will likely not be needed.

After rap 2 is a large pothole that can be carefully bypassed along the slope RDC side then the canyon begins to get skinny but V-shaped. Travel down canyon is a mix of galumphing and easy stemming down canyon anywhere from 5 to 15 feet off the deck.

About 0.2 miles down from rap 2 is a confluence (EastScorp04) of the short upper forks of East Scorpion. Down canyon travel is a mix of walking and mostly easy galumphing.

About 600 feet down canyon of the confluence the canyon widens out (EastScorp05) to a huge patio like zone with 6 or 7 potholes to walk around.

About 250 feet into the patio is a shelf  (EastScorp06) in the canyon to bypass RDC or LDC along wide ledges.

About 650 feet farther is the top of a slot (EastScorp07) about 300 feet long with 3 large potholes in it. The first 2 potholes are easy to scramble down into and could be swimmers and moderately difficult to get out of depending on conditions. The 3rd pothole is about 8 feet deep requiring partner assist to get into and out of. A potshot could be helpful in some conditions.

As the 300 foot long pothole slot ends (EastScorp08) the canyon opens up to easy walking for a little over 500 feet to where the canyon begins to slot up again.

The start into this slot (EastScorp09) is a 15 foot controlled slide / downclimb followed by easy galumphing for about 150 feet. The rest of the slot down to the final rap about 400 feet down canyon involves stemming / bridging up to 15 feet off the deck and going down into some silo like features then back up the other side. Short people will need to drop down into and back out of more silo like features and work a bit harder.

At the end of this slot are two large potholes that tall people can stem over while others need to drop down in and go through. A potshot will be needed here if no one in your group can stem over. After the large pothole is the final rap.

Rap 3 (dEastScorpR3) is anchored from a choke stone about 20 feet back and drops about 35 feet to a pool in wide open canyon.  If the anchor webbing is not extended over to the top of the drop a 55 foot rope may be needed instead.

After rap 3 the canyon is wide open sand walking down to Dry Fork.

The Exit:
From below rap 3 as you round the corner (yEastScorpBt) is a sand slog a little over a mile long down canyon to Dry fork.

About 0.5 miles down canyon is a side slot (EastScorp10) that comes in from the LDC (east) side with some hanging potholes.

About 500 feet farther cottonwood trees (EastScorp11) will begin to adorn the wash.

About 0.5 miles farther the East Scorpion drainage ends as it dumps into the Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch (jScorpEastExt).

Continue south across Dry Fork and go back up into the ravine you came in from passing the fence (RedDryFrk16) then up the side of the ravine (RedDryFrk15) to the rim.

Once back to the head of the ravine (RedDryFrk14) walk southwest crossing over Big Hollow Wash (RedDryFrk12) again.

Route find your way southwest to the slickrock ridge (RedDryFrk11) then up that ridge and around the hill to the trailhead (tRedWell). 

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.

East Scorpion (1) - Drive 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. exRedwell          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.42104   W -111.16191        Elev: 4,581 Feet
    Exit to Red Well on BLM road 254.
  6. tRedWell          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.43014   W -111.14609        Elev: 4,520 Feet
    Red Well trailhead. Parking area for a few cars. Walk around the left (west) side of the hill by the parking area then travel north along a slickrock ridge.
East Scorpion (2) - Approach
  1. tRedWell          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.43014   W -111.14609        Elev: 4,520 Feet
    Red Well trailhead. Parking area for a few cars. Walk around the left (west) side of the hill by the parking area then travel north along a slickrock ridge.
  2. RedDryFrk11          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.43220   W -111.14543        Elev: NaN Feet
    Bottom of a slickrock ridge on the way to the Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch from the Red Well TH. Continue north down a shallow drainage toward Dry Fork. Continue north down a shallow drainage toward for about 450 feet down into Big Hollow Wash.
  3. RedDryFrk12          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.43339   W -111.14574        Elev: NaN Feet
    This is where one of the routes from Red Well down to Dry Fork crosses Big Hollow Wash. This spot is on the up canyon end of a slot forming. To go over toward the Scorpion Canyons cross Big Hollow Wash and walk northeast across open desert.
  4. RedDryFrk13          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.43559   W -111.14474        Elev: 4,450 Feet
    Crossing over a wide sandy wash. Continue northeast across rolling desert for about 0.4 miles to the head of a large ravine running northeast down into Dry Fork. As you get closer to the ravine you will see a very large lone cedar to help guide you to the ravine.
  5. RedDryFrk14          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.44047   W -111.14061        Elev: 4,500 Feet
    Head of a large ravine dropping northish down to Dry Fork. This is also just past a large lone cedar tree. To drop down to Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch walk northeast along the right (east) side of the ravine.
  6. RedDryFrk15          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.44291   W -111.13767        Elev: NaN Feet
    Drop down the side of ravine into wash below. Continue northish toward cottonwoods and Dry Fork.
  7. RedDryFrk16          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.44377   W -111.13680        Elev: NaN Feet
    Fence across the wash about 600 feet before getting down into Dry Fork. The large drainage on the other side of Dry Fork is the bottom of East Scorpion. To continue to the top of the Scorpion Canyons walk north down into Dry Fork then turn left to walk west up the Dry Fork wash.
  8. jEastScorpApr          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.44669   W -111.13862        Elev: 4,415 Feet
    Leave the wash of Dry Fork here to go up to East Scorpion Canyon. As you walk west up Dry Fork notice the canyon wall on your right (north) begin to get closer to the wash. As the wall gets close to the wash (jEastScorpApr) find a way to scramble up the slickrock to get to the rim of west rim of East Scorpion.
  9. EastScorp01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.44898   W -111.13717        Elev: 4,550 Feet
    Up on the west rim of East Scorpion. Route find your way north up along the rim of East Scorpion in easy to navigate rolling slickrock.
  10. EastScorp02          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.46095   W -111.13319        Elev: 4,670 Feet
    Spot on the rim where you have a good view down to the final rappel of East Scorpion. Continue north along the rim for about 0.6 miles to where you can see a confluence in East Scorpion.
  11. yEastScorpTp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.47062   W -111.12699        Elev: 4,750 Feet
    Top of East Scorpion Canyon. This is where you can drop in from the rim about 150 feet down canyon of open wash. Dropping in from the side here is done to avoid a 15 foot deep keeper pothole. Up canyon of here are a few shallow potholes. Just after dropping in is a few feet of galumphing to rap 2. Dropping in from the rim is done by allowing all but the last person to rappel from a meat anchor then capture the last person down as they carefully downclimb or use a pack drag. The last person will be doing a controlled downclimb / slide as the others capture them at the bottom.
East Scorpion (3) - The Canyon
  1. yEastScorpTp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.47062   W -111.12699        Elev: 4,750 Feet
    Top of East Scorpion Canyon. This is where you can drop in from the rim about 150 feet down canyon of open wash. Dropping in from the side here is done to avoid a 15 foot deep keeper pothole. Up canyon of here are a few shallow potholes. Just after dropping in is a few feet of galumphing to rap 2. Dropping in from the rim is done by allowing all but the last person to rappel from a meat anchor then capture the last person down as they carefully downclimb or use a pack drag. The last person will be doing a controlled downclimb / slide as the others capture them at the bottom.
  2. dEastScorpR2          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.47053   W -111.12699        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 2 - East Scorpion. Anchored from a sandtrap in a pothole and drops about 20 feet down to another pothole. The pothole below rap 2 can be stemmed over by tall people while shorter people will need to drop into the pothole that could be swimmer if full. A potshot on hand is a good idea to have along but will likely not be needed. After rap 2 is a large pothole that can be carefully bypassed along the slope RDC side then the canyon begins to get skinny but V-shaped. Travel down canyon is a mix of galumphing and easy stemming down canyon anywhere from 5 to 15 feet off the deck.
  3. EastScorp04          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.46792   W -111.12731        Elev: 4,670 Feet
    Confluence of the short upper forks of East Scorpion. Down canyon travel is a mix of walking and mostly easy galumphing.
  4. EastScorp05          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.46631   W -111.12803        Elev: NaN Feet
    Canyon widens out to a huge patio like zone with 6 or 7 potholes to walk around.
  5. EastScorp06          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.46581   W -111.12858        Elev: NaN Feet
    Shelf in the canyon to bypass RDC or LDC along wide ledges.
  6. EastScorp07          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.46466   W -111.13028        Elev: NaN Feet
    Up canyon end of a slot about 300 feet long with 3 large potholes in it. The first 2 potholes are easy to scramble down into and could be swimmers and moderately difficult to get out of depending on conditions. The 3rd pothole is about 8 feet deep requiring partner assist to get into and out of. A potshot could be helpful in some conditions.
  7. EastScorp08          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.46414   W -111.13102        Elev: NaN Feet
    Down canyon end of a short slot with 3 large potholes. The canyon opens up to easy walking for a little over 500 feet.
  8. EastScorp09          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.46263   W -111.13069        Elev: NaN Feet
    Canyon begins to slot up again. The start into this slot is a 15 foot controlled slide / downclimb followed by easy galumphing for about 150 feet. The rest of the slot down to the final rap about 400 feet down canyon involves stemming / bridging up to 15 feet off the deck and going down into some silo like features then back up the other side. Short people will need to drop down into and back out of more silo like features and work a bit harder. At the end of this slot are two large potholes that tall people can stem over while others need to drop down in and go through. A potshot will be needed here if no one in your group can stem over. After the large pothole is the final rap.
  9. dEastScorpR3          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.46152   W -111.13180        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 3 - East Scorpion Canyon. Anchored from a choke stone about 20 feet back and drops about 35 feet to a pool in wide open canyon. If the anchor webbing is not extended over to the top of the drop a 55 foot rope may be needed instead.
  10. yEastScorpBt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.46103   W -111.13249        Elev: 4,500 Feet
    Bottom of the technical portion of East Scorpion. As you round the corner after the final rap is a sand slog a little over a mile long down canyon to Dry fork.
East Scorpion (4) - Exit
  1. yEastScorpBt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.46103   W -111.13249        Elev: 4,500 Feet
    Bottom of the technical portion of East Scorpion. As you round the corner after the final rap is a sand slog a little over a mile long down canyon to Dry fork.
  2. EastScorp10          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.45416   W -111.13348        Elev: NaN Feet
    Bottom of a side slot that comes in from the LDC (east) side with some hanging potholes.
  3. EastScorp11          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.45288   W -111.13454        Elev: NaN Feet
    Cottonwood trees start here on the walk down canyon.
  4. jScorpEastExt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.44544   W -111.13511        Elev: 4,405 Feet
    Bottom of East Scorpion Canyon where it dumps into the Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch.
  5. RedDryFrk16          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.44377   W -111.13680        Elev: NaN Feet
    Fence across the wash about 600 feet before getting down into Dry Fork. The large drainage on the other side of Dry Fork is the bottom of East Scorpion. To continue to the top of the Scorpion Canyons walk north down into Dry Fork then turn left to walk west up the Dry Fork wash.
  6. RedDryFrk15          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.44291   W -111.13767        Elev: NaN Feet
    Drop down the side of ravine into wash below. Continue northish toward cottonwoods and Dry Fork.
  7. RedDryFrk14          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.44047   W -111.14061        Elev: 4,500 Feet
    Head of a large ravine dropping northish down to Dry Fork. This is also just past a large lone cedar tree. To drop down to Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch walk northeast along the right (east) side of the ravine.
  8. RedDryFrk13          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.43559   W -111.14474        Elev: 4,450 Feet
    Crossing over a wide sandy wash. Continue northeast across rolling desert for about 0.4 miles to the head of a large ravine running northeast down into Dry Fork. As you get closer to the ravine you will see a very large lone cedar to help guide you to the ravine.
  9. RedDryFrk12          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.43339   W -111.14574        Elev: NaN Feet
    This is where one of the routes from Red Well down to Dry Fork crosses Big Hollow Wash. This spot is on the up canyon end of a slot forming. To go over toward the Scorpion Canyons cross Big Hollow Wash and walk northeast across open desert.
  10. RedDryFrk11          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.43220   W -111.14543        Elev: NaN Feet
    Bottom of a slickrock ridge on the way to the Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch from the Red Well TH. Continue north down a shallow drainage toward Dry Fork. Continue north down a shallow drainage toward for about 450 feet down into Big Hollow Wash.
  11. tRedWell          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.43014   W -111.14609        Elev: 4,520 Feet
    Red Well trailhead. Parking area for a few cars. Walk around the left (west) side of the hill by the parking area then travel north along a slickrock ridge.