Hole in the Rock Trail

5/5 (2 reviews)
Halls Crossing, Utah (San Juan County)
Last Updated: 09/11/2022
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Trail Information

Highlights

Imagine yourself in the slickrock of Moab. Now, on that one trail that tested your rig's abilities time and time again. Lastly, picture yourself on that epic multi-day adventure away from the stress of everyday life. Now, combine each of those aspects into one breathtaking bucket list-worthy opportunity. That is just the surface of this grandiloquent adventure. Pack up your vehicle and prepare your mind to follow along a path rich in history dating back to the winter of 1879. The Mormon Pioneers decided to try a shortcut from the town of Escalante to what is now the town of Bluff. 6 weeks planned was the journey that quickly became a 6-month mission to reach their final destination. Once they transported their wagons and equipment across the Colorado River (now Lake Powell), they found that their journey was about to become arduous. Today, we have the ability to experience this strenuous trek in the comfort of motorized transport; however, it is a far cry from relaxing and easy. This journey will push you and your rig over the course of 16+ hours. Although it may be technical and demanding, be sure to bring your family and friends on this lifetime experience, taking in some of the most incredible sights that this part of Utah has to offer.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

The entirety of the Hole in the Rock trail consists of a multitude of trail conditions. In the beginning stages of the trail, it is a graded road of dirt and occasional soft sandy areas. There is plenty of room to pass. Once you get to Waypoint 11, you will start to see rocky patches and a steep uphill climb, which at this point is still graded dirt. If there is any rain, this hill may become very slick. After passing the turnoff to Nokai Dome at Waypoint 12, the road is no longer maintained, and you will begin to feel the trail get a bit rougher. There are quite a few wash crossings that can be quite deep sand. Once at Waypoint 15, you will start to see the slickrock domes that will soon become prominent. From Waypoint 15 to 48, you will be treated with obstacles consisting of shelves, waterfalls, off-camber situations, and loose rock climbs. On top of Grey Mesa at Waypoint 48, the road will become a lot tamer, and you can pick up some pace. There are still patches of rough that you will have to slow down for, so be careful and pay attention. At Waypoint 52, the trail will begin to get rough again with rocky patches and occasional climbs and descents. At Waypoint 60, you reach The Chute, which is very accurately described as mini Hell's Gate. The actual "chute" part may not be the hardest obstacle, but the drop into the top bowl will surprise you. Shortly after The Chute, there is a steep uphill climb. After this climb, you will fall more rocky obstacles of a similar variety to what you have already faced until you reach the end. Keep in mind that this is an out-and-back trail 34.74 miles in length ONE WAY, and many of the challenging obstacles you will face first will be downhill. The return trip may prove to be more difficult in many spots. The named obstacles along this route include The Chute and what is collectively known as the climb to Grey Mesa. This trail is suitable for anyone in a lightly modified 4WD vehicle and some driver experience. Be prepared for possible breakages and very long days on the trail.
Cell service was actually apparent throughout much of the trail, although in many spots there were none. Do not rely on it.

Trail Reviews

5/5 (2 reviews)
Scott Mitchell
Official Crew
12150
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 04/25/2021
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

A must do trail that I can't wait to do again. A lot of people do this as a 3-day event but it's not necessary to take that long unless you want to. We started out about 10am on Saturday and got back around 2:30pm on Sunday after camping overnight. Amazing scenery and walking through some of the spots that the wagons came through around Grey Mesa was mind blowing. The trail is easy to traverse but there are definitely sections where you must be mindful and take it slow, most notably for me around Waypoint 45 where it gets off camber and the trail surface is covered with "Monkey Balls" - basically sandstone marbles. If you have the opportunity to do this trail, I highly recommend you take it.
Trail Review: Hole in the Rock Trail - Scott Mitchell
Trail Review: Hole in the Rock Trail - Scott Mitchell
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TJ Bosworth
Official Crew
20250
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 03/20/2021

Finally got a chance to run this trail since its been on my bucket list. Man, it did not disappoint! Hands down one of the most epic trips I have ever done. The trail was difficult enough to beat my vehicle, but not enough that we had any breakages or issues. The multiday camping was incredible and we managed to get good weather for the entire trip with the exception of the final night, where winds were probably 40+ mph all evening and night. Made for a good time setting up tents. All in all, I cannot recommend this trail enough to anybody who likes a good challenge but wants to do a longer trip than just a few hours.

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