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Lower Harris Wash

Description: Lush vegetation and towering red-hued walls make this a classic canyon hike.  A perennial stream flows in the wash bottom.  This is one of the easiest hiking routes to the Escalante River.  Harris Wash is one of the largest tributaries of the Escalante Canyons with headwaters high on the Kaiparowits Plateau.

From the trailhead, follow the old road a short distance to the wash.  (Do not continue on the road as it dead ends at an abandoned drill pad.) The route is downstream right in the dry, sandy wash bottom.  The perennial stream starts approximately 1.5 miles downstream.  Two miles downstream there is a stock fence and another 0.5 mile further is the signed Glen Canyon National Recreation Area boundary.  At this point, the wash has already developed into a canyon filled with a lush riparian community of willows and cottonwood trees.  The canyon continues to become deeper and narrower as it makes its way to the river.  For more information, detailed maps, and current conditions contact the nearest GSENM visitor center.

Type of Trip:  Best done as a 2-3 day backpack.  Those who want to extend their trip can explore Silver Falls Creek on the east side of the Escalante River, 0.3 mile up river from the mouth of Harris Wash.  Allow 4 or more days if Silver Falls Creek is explored to it's upper reaches.  Day hikers can explore the upper portions of Harris Wash.

Mileage: 10 miles one way from the trailhead to the Escalante River. 

Trailhead location: South from Hwy 12, follow the Hole-in-the-Rock road 10 miles to the signed junction (220), turn left (east) and continue 6 miles to the trailhead.

Water Availability/Hiking in Water: Harris Wash contains a perennial steam and a number of seeps and springs.  The stream is usually flowing right at the trailhead.  In dry years, the stream begins about 1 mile down steam from the trailhead.  Treat all water before drinking.  You will be walking in and out of ankle deep water all the way to the Escalante River.  Silver Falls Creek is predominately dry.

Obstacles/Technical Features: None.

Safety Concerns: Heat-related injuries and dehydration could be potential problems.  Hikers must carry adequate amounts of water, especially when hiking in Silver Falls Creek.  Predominately narrow canyons, hikers must be extremely cautious during flash flood season.  Harris Wash drains a large area and is prone to big floods.  Quicksand may be encountered, especially after floods.  Biting deer flies can be bad in late spring/early summer.  Wear long pants to avoid bites.  Poison ivy can be a problem in some areas.

Maps: USGS 7.5 minute quads: Red Breaks, Silver Falls Bench 


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