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Reflection Canyon

Difficult

Trail

15.4 mile 24.7 kilometer out and back
97% Runnable
Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 1,234' 376 m
Descent: -1,233' -376 m
High: 4,466' 1,361 m
Low: 3,929' 1,198 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 25% (14°)

Dogs

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Map Key

Reflection Canyon is a must-see that requires nearly 8.5 miles of navigating across singletrack and slickrock.

Steve Springer

Features Commonly Backpacked · Lake · Views

Free overnight permits can be obtained in the Escalante Visitor Center.

Overview

This is a challenging route with great views of Navajo Mountain on the way to Reflection Canyon. Plan to arrive at Reflection Canyon in time for sunset and then get up for sunrise. Both events result in stunning views that are worth the effort it takes to reach the canyon!

Description

The trailhead is located at mile 51 on Hole In The Rock Road, which will take 2+ hours to drive when the road is dry. At mile 51, the terrain on both sides of the road flattens, which is unlike most of the road. This is where you can pull off the road and park, but neither the parking area nor the trailhead is marked.

This trail from the parking area heads upwards to a bench at about 4400' and follows that contour through dirt and dry creek beds for about 5.5 miles. At 5.5 miles, you begin to head east and around mile 6, you'll reach the slick rock. By taking a more direct route across the slickrock, we were able to cut some distance on the beginning section but lost it later when we went around a mesa that we could have gone over. The slickrock section is not marked at all, and the dirt section has a few cairns, but there can be multiple routes or no visible routes at all depending on when it has last rained. You need to carry all your water for your entire trip, as there is no consistent water source on the trail. The route is constantly up and down but with very little net elevation change.

While the viewpoint is stunning year-round, you'll want to check on the elevation of Lake Powell. Generally, anything under 3600' offers prime viewing, but lower is probably better. Based on historical Lake levels, September through May offers the best viewing window and February through April has the lowest Lake levels.

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  5.0 from 6 votes

#431

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  5.0 from 6 votes
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Run Rankings

#23

in Utah

#431

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257 Views Last Month
12,057 Since May 8, 2017
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Photos

Camping on slickrock at Reflection Canyon is like nothing else.
May 8, 2017 near Escalante, UT
The sun sets over Reflection Canyon.
May 8, 2017 near Escalante, UT
Reflection Canyon glints in the morning sun.
May 8, 2017 near Escalante, UT
Overlooking Reflection Canyon
Apr 25, 2018 near Escalante, UT
Navajo Mountain stands in the distance along the Reflection Canyon Trail.
May 8, 2017 near Escalante, UT
Awesome sandstone cliffs await along the Reflection Canyon Trail.
May 8, 2017 near Escalante, UT

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