The 100 Hands Panel is located in Escalante off of Highway 12. There is a left hand turned just after a small bridge that takes hikers to the designated parking area. The trail is about 1.2 miles round trip and is rated of moderate difficulty. Highway 12 is not very busy in this area, keeping the trail quiet and peaceful with few hikers. A short climb allows for incredible views of the nearby area and many rock carvings.
The trail begins by crossing the small private road by the “Trailhead Parking” and “No Camping” signs. The path runs parallel beside the private property and climbs up the side of the hill. Some minor scrambling is required to progress up a sharp ledge. Scrambling is considered the middle ground between hiking and rock climbing, involving using both your hand and feet to move up a hillside.
The trail follows a wash until reaching a juniper tree to the left marked with cairns. The trail turns here and hikers should hug the cliffs to see the petroglyphs. This area is called The Bighorn Sheep Panel, named accordingly for the many sheep scattered across the sandstone. There are marks around a few of the images where someone tried to chisel them away. It is a good reminder that defacing rock art sites in any way is illegal and to support any suspicious activity.
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The path continues to the west and hikers can see the 100 Hands Panel high above on a cliff. The magnificent display of hands features painted pictographs rather than carved petroglyphs. Rows and rows of white handprints spread across the rock.
Continuing west from the 100 Hands, the trail angles up the ledge at the point. The Shaman and the Hunter Panel are carved into the cliff face above the point. An alcove between the Shaman and the Hunter Panel and the 100 Hands Panel contains a few petroglyphs as well as more graffiti. The trail returns the same way it came.
In addition to the rock art, the views of the Escalante River from the trail are stunning. Try and take the time to stop and take in all of the surroundings. Rolling green hills dotted with trees stretch out in every direction. White cliffs decorated with green trees and shrubbery tower in the distance. Bright blue skies and puffy white clouds complete the picturesque scene. The 100 Hands is one of the easiest hikes to access in the area and absolutely breathtaking. It should definitely be added to any hiker’s list.
Written by: Lauren Kehoe