“A long day route through two of the most spectacular slot canyons in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument”
— Tilman Giese
River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers
High clearance vehicle required to get to the trailhead.
Little Death Hollow is one of the longest and most impressive slot canyons in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and in no way inferior to similar slot canyons in Capitol Reef National Park. This loop can either be done as a long day route or as a two-day backpack.
From Little Death Hollow you connect to Wolverine Creek via Horse Canyon. The slot sections in Little Death Hollow can be very challenging for beginners, but they are truly rewarding. Wolverine Canyon is not as narrow, but the gigantic overhanging cliffs make it spectacular in its own way. Plan for additional time to take photos and for climbing the slot sections, especially with a backpack.
Need to Know
This hike includes sections of off-trail travel. Please ensure you are equipped and well prepared before venturing beyond official and mapped terrain. These areas may or may not be regularly patrolled and access to help may be limited.
Wolverine Canyon and Little Death Hollow stand out in Utah for their beauty and their narrows and slot sections. Negotiating Little Death Hollow in particular can be difficult at times as you'll need to scramble across numerous boulders.
Starting at the Little Death Hollow Trail
, the first 3.0 miles of this route are very easy on a fairly well-defined trail that crosses the Death Hollow wash a number of times. You generally follow a straight line towards the mouth of the canyon with the Little Bown Bench on your right and the Big Bown Bench on your left. There is an interesting large boulder on your right about 1.5 miles from the trailhead that has a petroglyph panel of bighorn sheep at the bottom. As you continue into Little Death Hollow, the trail crosses the wash a number of times, but is not always easily recognizable. You can stay in the wash if that's easier since the trail will eventually also drop into the wash.
You come across an impressive forming arch in the western canyon wall at about 2.3 miles. A side canyon will enter from the left at 3.2 miles; keep right. The canyon gets more and more scenic after that. The first narrow section starts at 4.0 miles, but is easy to navigate. The canyon widens again shortly after half a mile. Several large boulders will be in your way and will require careful scrambling. A very fine stretch of narrows is at about 5.2 miles where the walls are at times barely shoulder wide, and you need to squeeze through.
Probably the best slot section is at about 6.0 miles in, and it actually lasts for almost a mile with brief interruptions. Depending on the last storm, getting through this part of the route will take much longer than you anticipate because you'll need to climb over and under a large number of obstacles stuck in the slots. Especially backpackers might have a difficult time with their packs. But the effort is more than worth it.
The canyon widens quickly after 7.0 miles as you approach the confluence of Little Death Hollow and Horse Canyon. Cottonwood trees line either side of the canyon. The confluence is a good place for a lunch break. Horse Canyon is considerably less scenic, but still a fine route. At 9.0 miles you reach Horse Canyon Road
and an old abandoned cabin. Follow the sandy road for 1.5 miles until you reach the confluence with Wolverine Creek.
The first mile into Wolverine Canyon is on smooth gravel with high Wingate Sandstone wall on either side. The massive overhanging walls are particularly impressive. About a mile into the canyon, the walls close in to about 5 feet, but that is as narrow as it gets.
Past the narrows, you might encounter a wet section lined with cottonwood trees and often covered with white mineral deposits. Wolverine Canyon widens at 13.7 miles. You reach a confluence with a side canyon at 14.1 miles. Turn right and follow this unnamed side canyon that has plenty of large boulders in the wash that you'll need to navigate. Two more side canyons enter from the left at 15.5 miles and 16.3 miles. Stay to the right even if the main wash seems to turn left.
As you reach the high point of this route at 17.5 miles, the wash gets smaller and splits up into several side washes. Try to head straight ahead towards the top using one of the fainter trails that are slightly to the left. From the top, the route is more obvious down to the fence and the parking area. If you do not have a shuttle, it's less than a mile back to the Little Death Hollow Trail