Little Death Hollow is a slot canyon nestled in the northern corner of the Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument in an area known as The Circle Cliffs. It is one of three canyons in the area that all share a similar name - Little Death Hollow, Death Hollow and Upper Death Hollow. Its larger and more well known brother, Death Hollow, often overshadows Little Death Hollow with its popularity among hikers. However, because Death Hollow serves as a drain for the melt-off from the south side of Boulder Mountain into the Escalante River, it is not always accessible. Little Death Hollow, on the other hand, is dry and features hauntingly beautiful wavy sandstone walls while also featuring both tight canyon squeezes and sweeping vistas over the area. The hike of Little Death Hollow can be done as an out-and-back trek or as a loop by travelling through Horse Canyon and connecting with Wolverine Canyon. However, the loop is around 17 miles and will require at least one overnight stay for most hikers.
|Trail Length:||7.4 miles||City/State:|| Boulder,
The Little Death Hollow Trailhead is located along the Burr Trail Road just to the south of the Burr Trail itself. Hikers typically head to the trail from Boulder, Utah, but should check the roads before heading out as recent rain can make Burr Trail Road inaccessible for some vehicle types. From Boulder, Utah, getting to the trailhead is easy. Simply follow Burr Trail Road out of the city for 31 miles, passing the turnoff for Burr Trail and taking the next right instead. The road features clear signage and Burr Trail Road is actually a loop through Escalante National Monument so as long as hikers don't drive past the trailhead parking area, any leg of the loop will lead there.
The Little Death Hollow Trail starts off slow with the canyon dipping down into the horizon in the distance. Hikers follow the dusty trail, made up of a series of old cow trails, as it winds through thick sage brush and wash bottoms, giving off a bit of an old Western movie vibe. For those who wander off trail, they can enjoy several petrified forests that are fun side trips though considered a waste of energy for those hiking the trail as a loop as Wolverine Canyon has far bigger petrified forests.
After about a mile and a half in, hikers will come to a confluence where the trail continues on through the sage brush or dips into the red sandstonce canyon. This marks the official start of the Little Death Hollow Canyon and where the hike starts to get interesting. The canyon mouth is wide and dry, but just shortly after the trail evens out from the descent, visitors should take some time to enjoy the boulders in the area. Just 40 feet off the right side of the trail is a massive boulder that it half buried in sand. It has some impressive petroglyphs, which are unfortunately also half buried in the sand, presumably from when the boulder fell from the rim of the canyon.
Just up ahead, the canyon narrows out and hikers will start getting some of the best views of the smooth and wavey canyon walls that have made this hike so legendary for its beauty. There may be some small pools or even streams running through the canyon, depending on how dry or wet the season has been and it is likely to be the last water present in the canyon for quite awhile. Hikers that like to drink rough will want to purify this water thoroughly though, it is fed from a number of watering holes for local cattle.
With every step, the Little Death Hollow Canyon continues to narrow until it finally slots up and it stays that way for the rest of the hike. At some points, hikers may be inching their way forward with the flat of their back and the front of their belly rubbing against the smooth canyon walls. At other points, hikers may have to stop and make the hard decision on whether they are narrow enough of shoulder to go under the boulder or strong enough in body to climb over it. These sections are made even tougher if it's been a particularly wet year and the canyon is holding water as hikers will be forced to climb over obstacles that are normally crossed under. If it's a wet year in Utah (which it hasn't been recently with all these summer droughts), hikers should carry at least 30 feet of rope or webbing just to make sure they can get down after they've gone up.
After crawling, climbing and shimmying through the narrows, the canyon widens up for the last mile of the hike. Be aware that wide for the Little Death Hollow means that two people could walk side by side if they were comfortable awkwardly bumping each other every now and then. As hikers no longer have to focus on where their next step is going to be, it's time to soak in the views.
When hikers leave the canyon and enter a small plains area with a dilapidated shack and an old corral, it marks the official end of the Little Death Hollow Canyon. There is small stream by the old shack for water and generally a few good camping spots in the area. Those who intend to continue on through Horse Canyon to Wolverine Canyon will want to consider making camp in this area. However, for those doing Little Death Hollow as an out-and-back hike, they will want to have a quick rest, maybe refill their water bottles and head back in before dark.