When it comes to canyoneering in Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument, there are much more sexy options than the Peek-a-boo Spooky loop. Ever since the embedded bessie blunder, spooky has become a lot more spooky and a lot less sexy. Dismembered bovines aside, the Peek-a-boo Spooky loop makes for a great cap or warm-up to your Escalante adventure. For families with young kids, it could be the crux of your trip.
Peek-a -Boo and Spooky have special places in my heart. They were the first canyons that I ever did. They are great options for dogs and children. There are no obstacles that are too difficult to lift a dog over, but the obstacles can prove exciting for children to overcome on their own. What they lack in technical excitement they make up for in convenience and ease of access.
The charming red rock loop is a 21 mile drive down the Hole-in-the-Rock Road. The Hole-in-the-Rock Road is a 45 mile long dirt road that is named after a break in the sandstone cliffs. It was this break that a wagon company used to lower their wagons to the ground in order to cross the Escalante River several hundred feet below. The history aside, there are a numerous side distractions along the way and each one has their own merit worthy of exploring, if you have the time.
The entrance to Peek-Boo requires a small upclimb. Some people may not be comfortable with this, so it may be best to bring along a rope. Once inside the canyon, people are treated with a magnificent view of red rock sculpting, a scene so lovely that it warranted its own design on U-Haul trucks. The picturesque undulating narrows open and close for a total of three sections that never reach more than 20 or 30 feet up. The lack of height doesn’t diminish the overall beauty or the casual experience.
To the east of Peek a Boo, about a quarter of a mile, is the sandy wash that leads to Crispy Cow canyon aka: Spooky. Spooky is also a shallow canyon but becomes significantly more narrow than Peek-a-Boo does. It isn’t as scenic as Peek-a-Boo and you aren’t going to see it immortalized on the side of a low- budget moving van but it does give the new canyoneer a feel for how tight some of the canyons may become.
There are two more attractions in the area that some may want to check out. Further to the east. is a third canyon called Brimstone. It is very technical for people coming from the top down. However, you can walk from the bottom to the top for a way, before people are forced to turn around. Brimstone is deep and dark. Watch out for rattlesnakes in this canyon. It doesn’t receive the traffic the others do and during hot summer months rattlers have been known to slither up the canyon to get a respite from the heat.
The final attraction is the alternate approach to Peek-a-Boo and Spooky. Many people drive all the way in to the parking area, hike down the slickrock and sand hills to get to the bottom of the wash. However, just before the turn-off, there is an old corral. People can park there and then follow the wash. The wash will take people through another set of less than spectacular narrows and leave you where the main trail enters the wash. This adds about a total of an hour round trip, but it’s easier and gives you another section of narrows.