Length: 9.2 miles roundtrip
Description: The Golden Cathedral is a unique hiking destination within lower Neon Canyon in the Grand Staircase-Escalante area. The Cathedral is locates just over 3/4 of a mile up Neon Canyon from its confluence at the Escalante River, and consists of a great, domed pour-off from upper Neon Canyon, where the water has dug three separate pothole arches into the overhang. When the sun is overhead, the daylight shines down through the arches in great, golden columns.
Getting to the Golden Cathedral is tricky, and requires a good measure of navigational skill. This hike does not take visitors the entire length of Neon Canyon—that trip is technical and strenuous, though very much worth the effort. This trip will only take visitors into the lower canyon, below the pour-off.
The trailhead is located on the overlook in the Egypt area, off of the Hole-in-the-Rock Road. The road leaves the Hole-in-the-Rock Road and heads east before swinging up toward the north and overlooking the cliffs of Egypt.
There is a small turnoff from the Egypt Road that heads southeast to a parking area and turnaround. This serves as the trailhead for Neon Canyon.
Fence Canyon-Escalante River Confluence
Leaving the parking area, hikers will begin to descend the cliffs of Egypt, and immediately below the parking area, they will enter the wash that deepens into Fence Canyon as it drops into the Escalante River to the east.
Neon Canyon-Escalante River Confluence
Neon Canyon empties into the Escalante River only one mile south of Fence Canyon, coming down from the northeast.
Neon Canyon is a beautiful and amazingly colorful canyon—hence the name. The trip would be worth it even without the Golden Cathedral, though it is without a doubt the main attraction. The pool below the domed pour-off can be deep enough to swim during seasons of high precipitation. Those who wish to do the entire—technical—Neon Canyon route will need to ascend the Choprock Bench that makes up the northern wall of the canyon. Climbing across the bench will allow visitors to bypass the Golden Cathedral pour-off and to drop into upper Neon Canyon in order to climb and rappel down.