Coyote Gulch

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The Escalante River has dozens of tributaries that empty into it, and Coyote Gulch may be one of the most spectacular of them all. On this hike, you will spend the majority of your time in and around the clear water in Coyote Gulch. While it is not deep, you will prefer to have water shoes instead of having to wear wet sneakers for the entire hike. There are a variety of ways to enter and exit Coyote Gulch, many of which have long approach routes, while others are very direct. The one discussed in the most detail in this post will be the quickest approach route to Coyote Gulch, however, it does require a Class 3 scramble up and down a 100+ foot cliff. A Class 3 scramble means that you’ll use your hands and feet for balance, and that the path is steep, and the exposure to heights can be substantial. A fall from a Class 3 will most likely not result in death, but could result in serious injury. If this sounds too adventurous for your taste, other alternatives will be included in this article.

Coyote Gulch Hike Details

Distance – 17.0 miles roundtrip
Approximate hiking time – 8-10 hours, or you can choose to spend the night down in the Gulch.
Elevation at Trailhead –  4770 feet
Elevation in Coyote Gulch at Jacob Hamblin Arch – 3995 feet
Elevation at the confluence of Coyote Gulch and the Escalante River – 3700 feet
Elevation Loss of 1070 feet on the way there, a gain of 1070 feet on the way back
Difficulty – Initial descent from canyon wall down into Coyote Gulch – Difficult.
Difficulty – Hike through Coyote Gulch – Easy
Trail – Sandstone, sand, creek bed. No shade on cross-country hike to Coyote Gulch
Amount of water recommended – 3 liters
Bathrooms – None
Season to hike – March to November
Prone to flash floods? – Yes, can be prone to flash floods. Luckily the gulch is wide enough to find high ground, but watch and respect the weather report.
Permits – N/A
What to bring: Packing checklist

(See my Google Map of this hike at the end of this post)

What to Bring:

hiking list
(Click on an item for more information)

For this hike, we recommend wearing lightweight shoes with good water drainage.

How to get there:

From Escalante, Utah, take the main road, Highway 12, east through Escalante. The road will head in a southeastern direction. Follow Hwy 12 for five miles, and as the highway makes a left curve, the unpaved Hole in the Rock Road will be on the right side of the road. There should be a sign near the curve that says Hole in the Rock Road. Turn right off of Hwy 12 here. From the turnoff onto Hole in the Rock Road would be a good spot to reset your trip odometer to 0, because you will be on this road for a long time. If you’re coming from the north on Hwy 12 from Torrey and Boulder, the turn off for Hole in the Rock Road is 21 miles south of Boulder. As you head south on Hwy 12 you’ll want to reset your odometer as you go over the bridge that crosses the Escalante River. You will continue to head south for 9.5 miles. The turn off for Hole in the Rock Road will be on the left during a big curve to the right. Once again, from the turnoff onto Hole in the Rock Road would be a good spot to reset your trip odometer to 0, because you will be on this road for a long time.

The farther down you go on Hole in the Rock Road, the more washboard, rough, and sandy it gets. From here you will head southeast on the unpaved Hole in the Rock Road for 36.2 miles. Plan for about 90 minutes of driving on the road. After the 36.2 miles, turn left onto Forty Mile Ridge Road and follow it for 4.3 miles. You’ll see a little corral and a water tank. There is room for about 12 cars. Here is where the Coyote Gulch sneaker route starts. Some hikers do a loop hike by parking a car here, and taking another one to the end of Forty Mile Ridge Road, which is another 2.6 miles, and starting the hike there and finishing at the water tank. Be cautioned that the last 2.6 miles of Forty Mile Ridge Road can have deep sand, which can be difficult with many vehicles. The trail route discussed here will be up and back from the sneaker route, and the turnaround point will be at the Coyote Gulch confluence with the Escalante River.

Hitting the Trail!

Coyote Gulch

As you hike the 2 miles from the water tank to the canyon rim of Coyote Gulch, look for this white marking on the opposite wall that looks like a “U”

The sneaker route across the desert and sandstone can be difficult to follow at times leading from the water tank to the rim edge where you will scramble down. Look for cairns, but if you don’t see any, don’t panic. Using your compass or GPS head due north and you’ll reach the canyon rim. The first mile or so will be a little sandy until you reach the sandstone, then its smooth sailing to the rim. The opposite rim of Coyote Gulch will soon come into view. When it does, it is vital that you look for a specific marking on the opposite canyon wall, because the steep route down is directly across from it. It looks like a white bird flapping its wings, or a white letter “U”. Either way, this mark on the canyon will lead you to cairns that will guide you down to Coyote Gulch.

Coyote Gulch

This is looking up to the rim from about halfway down the sneaker route. It doesn’t look as imposing from below.

Looking down from the canyon rim, it appears impossible to make it to the canyon floor safely, however, cairns help lead the way to the best route down. Some use ropes to pass their backpacks down, especially if they have bigger backpacks and plan on camping in Coyote Gulch for the night. In the picture on the left, you may see some hikers nearing the top. It was a group of six young adults scaling the rock with 50 lbs packs and without the aid of ropes. They seemed to have no problem, but I would have some rope handy just in case. The two girls that came with me, didn’t have much trouble either. When I go this route I normally just take a day pack. However, when I’ve gone with my backpacking pack, I haven’t had problems making it down or back up.This route may not be for the faint of heart. I would not recommend this route for children or adults with a mild fear of heights. I do recommend taking your time. There’s no hurry to get down, Coyote Gulch will still be there if it takes an extra twenty minutes to descend. Survey the best way down, and don’t be afraid to scoot down on your backside like the girls I was with did. It worked for them. I like this route because it’s the fastest and most direct route in and out of Coyote Gulch, and when you reach the bottom you’ll find that you’re in the best part of Coyote Gulch. There were restrooms located down in Coyote Gulch right where one would come down from the sneaker route. Unfortunately, in the spring of 2012 they were mysteriously burned down. They helped serve as a marker for where you needed to ascend out of the gulch, but there are still some remnants to help guide you. There have been rumors of newer bathrooms being installed, but the estimated total cost is around $100,000, so I wouldn’t get your hopes up.

If after reading this, you may find that the sneaker route down into Coyote Gulch described above is a little too much to attempt. I would recommend entering Coyote Gulch by either Hurricane Wash, Red Well, or Crack in the Wall. Hurricane Wash and Red Well trailheads begin west of the heart of Coyote Gulch, and require longer, hotter, and dryer approaches, but they eliminate any scrambling, and are the best routes for groups of younger individuals. Entry via these trailheads will require at least two days and camping equipment, as the routes are several miles longer than the sneaker route or Crack in the Wall.

Crack in the Wall is accessed by continuing to drive down Forty Mile Ridge Road. As stated the conditions of this dirt/sand road vary and the last couple of miles may have deep sand. Park either at the end or shortly before depending on the road conditions, and then start your trek from there.

The trail is normally marked, and will go in an east/northeast direction until it reaches the Escalante River. The “crack” in the wall is exactly that, a crack. It’s about 18 inches wide, so one will likely have to remove their backpack to squeeze through. You’ll then descend a huge sand dune to reach the canyon bottom. I would highly recommend getting the National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map – Canyons of the Escalante before going. It’s a great reference and also covers all the area along Hole in the Rock Road. It is waterproof and tear-resistent. I never go anywhere down there without it. While a GPS may not work inside the canyon, it’s a good tool to have with you when you’re hiking through the desert to get to Coyote Gulch.

Coyote Gulch

Once in Coyote Gulch, one of the first highlights will be of the large Jacob Hamblin Arch.

Once you’re on the canyon floor of Coyote Gulch, you will be impressed by just how small you feel and how tall the canyon walls are. While the canyon winds back and forth, the stream in Coyote Gulch flows from west to east, down to the Escalante River. You may find yourself taking a picture every couple of steps. The amazing part of Coyote Gulch is that there is a surprising number of trees down in the gulch. The green makes for an outstanding contrast with the canyon walls. The first major point of interest in Coyote Gulch is Jacob Hamblin Arch. It will be less than a half mile upstream from where you descended. You’ll also find that Coyote Gulch winds back and forth, clearly carved out by the meanders of the water that flows through the gulch.

The nice thing about dropping down through the sneaker route is that it cuts out long approach hikes that take hikers through dry sandy washes that offer little or no shade. Hikers who enter Coyote Gulch from Hurricane Wash or Red Well usually hike for the majority of the day before they even arrive at Jacob Hamblin Arch. A hike to and from the Hurricane Wash trailhead to the Escalante River will be 28 miles roundtrip, and to and from the Red Well trailhead is even farther. The other way to enter Coyote Gulch is to drive past the water tank on Forty Mile Ridge Road and take it to the very end, where you then walk 1.9 miles in a northeast direction and squeeze through Crack-in-the-Wall and then another mile down a huge sand dune which takes you nearly to the confluence of Coyote Gulch and Escalante River. From this direction, you’ll hike upstream to see all the arches, waterfalls, and the natural bridge.

Once you leave Jacob Hamblin Arch and head back downstream, you will have the option to try to avoid getting wet and staying on the banks as much as possible, or if you have water shoes, you can embrace the water, and walk right through the clear stream. Not only is it clear, but it rare rises above your calf. This is an amazing hike from late April to early October most years. Don’t be preoccupied about hiking as fast as you can through Coyote Gulch down to the Escalante River. Enjoy your surroundings, because they are some of the best around!

Coyote Gulch

This gives you some perspective on how deep it is in Coyote Gulch. Can you spot the tiny hikers in the background?

As you head downstream, you will pass beautiful canyon walls streaked with desert varnish. As word of Coyote Gulch has gotten out, more and more people visit it. We were lucky and went on a weekday, which resulted with us only seeing a handful of hikers the entire time. During most weekends in the summer, there may be dozens of people down in Coyote Gulch.

A little over a mile and a half downstream from Jacob Hamblin Arch, you’ll see Coyote Natural Bridge, an impressive and photogenic natural bridge. On the north side of Coyote Natural Bridge there is an alcove that contains an Indian ruins site. The ruins can be seen from the upstream side of Coyote Natural Bridge, 150 meters from the trail. About 0.5 miles after passing under Coyote Natural Bridge, look for a spur trail and a large sand dune on the north side of the gulch. Climb this sand dune, and at the base you’ll see Fremont Indian pictographs. Just west of the pictographs you may see a small ruin in the alcove.

Coyote Gulch

Coyote Natural Bridge

After returning to the trail you’ll continue downstream and in less than 100 meters you’ll see a side canyon thick with vegetation on the north side of Coyote Gulch. You may see a narrow trail choked with weeds and snake grass that leads into the side canyon. A five-minute walk down this trail will take you to a spring fed swimming hole of sorts which was undoubtedly used by the Indians that frequented the gulch centuries before. Leave any pottery shards or corn cobs, or any other type of relic you may find in the gulch. Allow for all to enjoy the history of the gulch.

Coyote Gulch

The green and gold colors made for great pictures

Around 2.0 miles past Coyote Natural Bridge, you’ll see Cliff Arch, ahead on the canyon wall, and come to a small waterfall. This is not only a great place to have lunch, but will provide you with pleasant views and relaxing sounds during your break.

Even though the part of Coyote Gulch between Cliff Arch and Jacob Hamblin Arch is considered the best and most scenic, if you have the time, I would recommend hiking down to the Escalante River. After passing Cliff Arch you will pass two or three other small waterfalls in the next mile, depending on the water flow in the gulch. You should be able to see trails that safely bypass the waterfalls, so don’t think that you have to scale any of them to get down. Just look around for a minute and you’re bound to see a route around the small waterfalls.

Coyote Gulch

Located near Cliff Arch, this is a nice place to relax and enjoy the sounds of the water

Coyote Gulch

The aptly named Cliff Arch can be spotted along the cliffs of the canyon walls

When you’ve hiked for an hour past Cliff Arch you’ll be nearing the confluence of Coyote Gulch and the Escalante River. You’ll likely see the huge sand dune that hikers coming from Crack-in-the-Wall, an 18 inch wide crack in the rock used to reach Coyote Gulch on the southeast side of the gulch. If you have parked a vehicle at the end of Forty Mile Ridge Road, you will climb the sand dune, exit through Crack-in-the-Wall and hike about 2.0 miles back to your vehicle. You may decide that since it is only 0.6 miles farther down to the confluence, that you go there before climbing the huge sand dune. The water depth  near the confluence is generally around two feet deep or less, however, since Lake Powell backs up into the Escalante River, it may be deeper if it’s been a wet year. Less than 500 feet upstream from the confluence, up the Escalante River, you’ll get a great view of the impressive Stevens Arch.

Coyote Gulch

Stevens Arch is found near the confluence of Coyote Gulch and the Escalante River. It is massive.

After reaching Stevens Arch, we took a short break, and since we parked at the sneaker route trailhead, we had two options. We could have ascended the giant sand dune, squeezed through Crack-in-the-Wall, and then hiked 4.5 miles along Forty Mile Ridge Road to our car, or we could return upstream past Cliff Arch, Coyote Natural Bridge and exit out the canyon where we climbed down earlier in the day. We decided to retrace our steps back upstream, which was a little longer, but definitely more enjoyable than trekking 4.5 miles along a boring sandy road with no shade.  Also, the light was different in Coyote Gulch on the back than it was on the way down just hours earlier, which made for several more great photos.

The restrooms in the gulch served as a great landmark for reminding you where you came down and you will just scramble up the way that you came down. Unfortunately, some careless hiker burned them down in 2012, but remnants still remain to help point where the route starts. Once again, it’s not too crazy, just take your time climbing out, and you’ll do just fine. Head due south from the top of the canyon rim back to the water tanks. Then you’ll retrace your steps for the 2.0 miles across the sandstone to the water tank where you parked. We spotted a lot more cairns along the sandstone on the way back to the water tank than we did in our morning trek to the canyon rim. By the time you make it back to your car you will have experienced one of the best hikes around, and hopefully you’ll have plenty of pictures to remember this amazing trip!

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About Author

Adam is an experienced hiker and canyoneer, who has visited some of the most breathtaking and remote places in the United States. As an instructor for Desert and Wilderness Survival, and for Leave No Trace camping practices, he shares his passion and respect for the outdoors to all. Adam is currently a Scoutmaster in the Boy Scout of America, and is an Eagle Scout. As the founder of www.yourhikeguide.com, his goal is to educate others on the joys of hiking.

73 Comments

  1. Great post! I’m hoping to do Coyote Gulch later this year and this is the most detailed, comprehensive guide i’ve come across. Inredible photos too, thanks!

    • Thank you, Dan! I’m glad that the Coyote Gulch post helped you out! You are going to absolutely love it! If you have any more questions regarding this hike, or you want to know of other amazing hikes nearby, let me know and I’ll be happy to answer them! Happy Trails!

  2. I’m taking a scout group in April, what kind of temps do you think we will encounter? Is there enough to see and do to spend 2 night 3 days?

  3. April is a great month to visit Coyote Gulch, especially since there won’t be so many people down there. What part of April are you thinking of going? Temperature can vary wildly between the beginning and end of April. What are the ages of your scouts and what hiking experience do they have? What approach will you be using to access Coyote Gulch? You can email me directly at yourhikeguide@gmail.com.

  4. Nice summary of hiking Coyote Gulch. FWIW, the Coyote Gulch Trailheads (Redwell & Hurricane) are in the Grandstaircase-Escalante National Monument but one soon crosses into the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area before reaching the canyon

  5. Unless the national park service has recently rebuilt it, there is now no toilet near the Jacob Hamblin Arch as a result of it being burned down by a group of visiting Boy Scouts from Phoenix, Arizona, approximately one year after it was first installed. I was told by the rangers at the visitor center in Escalante, UT, that the national park service did not have the $100,000.00 required to replace and airlift in a a new toilet facility.

    • True story. No replacement will likely happen for quite a while, but at least the burned down remains serve as a landmark 🙁

  6. Thanks for the great information – your trail details compared to some of the other blogs/info. concerning this trip have been the most helpful. A group of us are heading down soon, probably going for the longer Red wash round trip with a second vehicle as a shuttle at the crack-in-the-wall trailhead (making it ~20 miles). Looking forward to it!

  7. Great description. One question: would it be possible to sleep in a hammock while backpacking here?

  8. Hey there, Lovely account on the gulch. I was down there about a dozen years ago and am looking at taking my husband and brother down early this November. Have you ever been that late in the year? I’m just wondering what the temps and water levels are like then.

    • Mandy, I usually like to hike the Gulch in the Spring, but I have been down there in the Fall. This fall season may be a little different than others mainly because we had such a wet summer, and I know that many of the nearby slot canyons had several feet of water in them for a good portion of the summer. Hopefully, the water levels will return to normal here shortly. By November, the water levels should be perfect. As far as the temperature, it might be a little cool down there in November, especially when walking through water. However, with that being said, I find that hiking through Coyote when the temps are in the 60’s (which is right around the average for early November) are ideal for Coyote Gulch. Feel free to email me any other questions that you may have about routes, etc, at yourhikeguide@gmail.com. Thanks for the message!

      • Thanks Adam, I really appreciate the reply. The last time I was down there it was early fall and though I can’t compare it to any other time I can say that it was incredible and I’m eager to return. Thanks for giving out your e-mail, I may contact you again as I plan this trip!

  9. Great post – lots of info here! I have a few questions…I’m planning to spend 2 nights/3 days doing this hike/backpack in late March. Wondering….and a bit concerned about the temperature/water levels though? Also, I don’t have a 4X4/high-clearance vehicle… 🙁 Would it be too much of an issue without one? If so, is there any access points where I could park my car and hike to some of the trailheads mentioned in your post?

    • Late March is a great time to hike through Coyote Gulch! It’s usually when I go. You bring up some good questions. Temperatures and water levels can vary wildly during the month of March. Up to this point, southern Utah has had an unseasonable warm winter, so there hasn’t been a lot of snow, which would contribute to higher water levels in the gulch. The water will be a little chilly, but in most sections of the Gulch, the water will be ankle to calf deep. As far as air temperatures, at night you may see lows in the 30’s. The lows right now are mid 20’s.

      In regard to transportation, once again, it varies depending on the current conditions of the roads. Hole in the Road is normally graded twice a year, so it is usually fine for passenger cars for the 36 miles to Forty Mile Ridge Road. Speeds of over 25 miles an hour are not recommended.The trailhead for Hurricane Wash sounds like your best bet, and it starts off Hole in the Road, and is accessible by passenger car. Red Well, is accessed by turning off Hole in the Rock Road, and can be rutted getting to the trailhead. If you want to take the sneaker route, you’ll turn onto Forty Mile Ridge Road, the condition of which can change from week to week, depending on the weather. Sometimes the sand is really deep, other times not so much. I’ve made it to the sneaker route trailhead with just a front wheel drive SUV.

      If you have any more questions, feel free to reply here or email me at yourhikeguide@gmail.com!

  10. Hi there, thumbs up for detailed info and some really great pics. Your article actually inspired us to travel to GSE all the way from europe!

    Coyote and the slot canyons in the area are just stunning – we’ve had much fun crawling + climbing around there.
    Thanks to people like you who share their journeys, if interested check out our experience

    https://theboabnut.wordpress.com/home/utah/

    cheers

  11. Thanks for such a detailed report; this was really useful as I’ve been planning a trip with me and another adult taking 5 teenaged boys next month. I wanted to make it a 3 night trip, but didn’t want to be carrying packs the whole way. But I haven’t quite been able to figure out how to make that work; in particular, where we could camp besides near Jacob Hamblin Arch.

    • Matt,

      I’m glad that you found the report useful, this trip you’re planning sounds like a lot of fun! I’ll send you an email with some additional info.

      • Hi–

        If you emailed, could you try again? I have an aggressive spam filter and I didn’t see anything. Thx, Matt

  12. chris whitworth on

    It has been many years since I was down there, but we camped at the confluence of Hurricane Wash and Coyote; there is a huge overhang where we did not feel the tent was necessary. Further down, we camped at Cliff Arch. Dry, sandy area well above the stream. We did pitch our tent there. It is a surreal trip. We encountered a guy who told us “this place is bitch’n!”. We didn’t know whether to high five him or burst out laughing! Do go, for sure.

  13. Adam,
    Thanks for a great write up. We are heading to Coyote Gulch this week with wife and kids (boys ages 13 and 15). We’re all pretty adventurous but havent done overnights with heavier packs so a little concerned that getting used to pack weight combined with a step descent might be dangerous? We’re trying to decide our best route option. We’ll have 2-3 nights to camp out. Definitely leaning towards the Water Tank Sneaker Route and then setting up camp somewhere between Jacob Hamblin Arch and Cliff Arch. The big concern is the steep hike down into the gulch. Some reviewers where freaked out by the steepness while others say just take your time, no big deal. Since none of us have experienced it were a little skittish but it seems like the most logical way into the best part of this area and will leave us more time to explore, relax, etc.
    Our other idea was to drop a car at Water Tank TH and hike to Forty mile Ridge TH to Crack in the Wall back up through the Gulch and eventually back out the Sneaker Route to Water Tank TH.
    Would really appreciate your input so we can make a call and get on with the adventure.

    • @Jeff and @Matt Glad you found the trip reports useful, I’ve emailed you both my suggestions. Have a great trip!

    • chris whitworth on

      Been many years, but the hike down Hurricane Wash isn’t that bad. You wind up a mile or so above Jacob Hamblin. Seems like it is a little over 5 miles from the parking area to the confluence. Not more than a couple of hours. Might be worth it to not have to deal with someone freezing on the slope – seen it happen.

  14. Thanks for the info on this site, Adam.
    I did Coyote Gulch 4 years ago with a couple of scouts. We started at Hurricane Wash and exited via Crack in the Wall and had a great trip.

    We have a new group of boys now, and they will be doing that same route next Tuesday. I have to work part of the day, but my plan is to park at Jacob Hamblin Arch trailhead near the water tower in the evening and descend down the emergency exit / entrance near JHA and meet the group at their camp that night. I have heard that there is a small “jughandle” we can tie a rope to to aid in our descent. Is that true? No one seems to mention that on any of these blogs. I would hate to get there and chicken out. I saw this route (from the bottom) last time, and I don’t think I have the stomach to descend it without a rope.

    Thanks.

    • @Chris @Kevin @Jeff Chris brought up a good point, and Hurricane Wash is the route that I recommend for most people, especially when they are with youth or beginning hikers. Hurricane Wash is not a bad option. If you choose to use the sneaker route, come prepared with proper hiking shoes, no sneakers. Don’t take unnecessary risks. I have seen a jug handle that others have spoken about, but I can’t pinpoint where it is along the canyon wall on the descent. I would definitely make sure that you have adequate daylight to descend the sneaker route. Trying it at dark is not a good idea. Personally, I’ve never had a problem descending or climbing out. I found that if I just took my time, and used a couple of extra moments to find the easiest route down, that I had no problem. I always bring 50 feet of climbing rope, but I’ve never used it getting into Coyote Gulch using the sneaker route. If you’re not accustomed to hiking with a heavy backpack, let alone descending with one on, I wouldn’t recommend it.

  15. I really enjoyed the report too. Am planning to be there next week in a rental car. You said the road to the sneaker route is not so good? We have 3 days to explore. We can handle the down climb on the sneaker route. What is your suggestion? Thanks for helping all these people out!

    • @Martyn

      We’re glad you enjoyed the report. The condition of the road varies during the hiking season depending on the weather and the use. I’ve not had problems, but sometimes I’ve had to drive a little slower is all along the way. If you have three days, I would recommend starting at Hurricane Wash, and you can camp near Jacob Hamblin Arch, or you can hike farther in and camp. The second day you could just use daypacks and explore Coyote Gulch as much as you want, and just use the same campsite the 2nd night, and then return via Hurricane Wash the third day. Remember to pack out whatever you pack in, including waste and waste papers. Hope this helps!

  16. Hi Adam, first of all I just want to thank you for your website – great information! I admire the wonderful pictures you post of your hikes. I do a lot of hiking and backpacking myself and wondered specifically what camera do you use to get such great pictures? I carry a subcompact camera but it does not produce such great photos as your camera appears to do. If you don’t mind sharing, please let me know what camera you use and/or if you have any recommendations for a good hiking camera. Thanks.

    • Thank you, Robert. I’m so happy to hear that you’re finding this website so helpful. I use a Nikon D5000. I shoot everything on “Manual” mode, which gives me more freedom to adjust the amount of light and shutter speed. I’m more lucky than good, though. I take hundreds of pictures during every hike, and I’m usually pleased with 10%. As far as hiking cameras, they are always coming out with great new point and shoot cameras that are small but take great, high resolution pictures. I also carry a Go Pro Hero 3 with me, but use it mainly for video. If you have any more questions let me know!

  17. Great, great review of the trip. Thank you for the detailed advice and pictures. Much appreciated.
    I am planning a trip in November with a group- all of us are experienced backpackers, comfortable doing heavier packs between camping areas, then day hikes in-between. We are backpacking Paria for 5 days first, then looking for a second trip to follow up with. I would love the second trip to be about 5 days in the back country. Could this trip be made into a lonegr one? Maybe camp at one place for 2 days then do some day hikes? Or do you have a suggestion for another trip we could do?
    I looks like water isn’t much of a concern, am I right?
    Our group flies in from Hawaii, California, and New Jersey yearly for trips somewhere- this is my year to plan. Any suggestions would be wonderful.
    Thank you again for your great posts! Aloha

    • Beth, I apologize for the delay in responding, I just home from a long backpacking trip. You could make Coyote Gulch a five day backpack, by hiking up the Escalante past Steven’s Arch, but it would be hard to find enough things to see in Coyote for 5 days. It’s always possible to tack on Spooky Gulch, Peek-a-Boo Gulch, and Brimstone Gulch either at the beginning or end of the trip along Coyote, but that could be a long sandy slog. I suppose you could do Death Hollow starting at the Boulder Mail Trail and take it down to the Escalante River, but water levels in upper Death Hollow can require swimming. Little Death Hollow is another fun hike that could be done over a span of several days by adding additional canyons like Wolverine Canyon and Horse Canyon. Hopefully that gives you some ideas!

  18. Thanks for a review! A group of us are planning a trip there this weekend (assuming the weather holds). You mentioned a map at the beginning, but I can’t seem to find it. We’re all first timers to Coyote Gulch and are trying to be as prepared as possible!

    • You can purchase the National Geographic: Canyons of the Escalante Map which we have embedded in our article, or the look at our Google Map that is posted within the article. You guys will have a great time at Coyote Gulch! If you can spend 2-3 days there you can see pretty much everything and not feel rushed. Bring warm clothes as it will get chilly at night and early morning. Have fun!

  19. Hi Adam,

    I greatly enjoyed your description of the routes to Coyote Gulch. A few years ago I spent 3 days in the Gulch, accessed via Hurrican Wash. Do you think it would be too cold to do another trip there during this Thanksgiving weekend? (I have a Big Agnes backpacking tent which is pretty much a mesh tent with a rainfly. I do have a nice warm sleeping bag.) I did not care much for the Hurricane Wash entry, is Redwall better? (The other options are not for me.)
    Thanks.

    • It was the most perfect day we could have ever asked for! Every time I’ve been there, I’ve had excellent weather. You’ll love it!

  20. I would love to hike this and was wondering if it’s ok to hike alone? I know it’s a bit againts my own rules, but I’m impressed with the beauty and would love the solitude.

    • While Coyote Gulch is a popular hike during the Spring and Summer months, it is very remote, and I would not recommend doing Coyote Gulch by yourself, especially if it is your first time in the area. It is easy to get disoriented and lost out there between the trailhead you choose and getting into Coyote Gulch.

  21. Adam, i plan on taking my family of 6 to coyote gulch in mid-august (i hear it may be a little warm). We are inexperienced hikers so the sneaker route and crack in the wall would be out. So you have a preference, hurricane wash or red well? Also would we be able to hike in, camp, and hike out the next day? Or would you recommend camp 2 nights? What are the approx times to hike to the gulch from either of these TH? I’m guessing we would use a whole day just exploring the gulch. Sorry for all the questions. First timers from iowa

    • Brian,

      I sent you an email regarding your questions. Thank you for stopping by! Hopefully I was able to answer all of them. If you have additional questions, let me know!

    • July and August in Coyote can be very hot. I’ve done over a dozen CG hikes over the last 20 years and I did one in July when it was oppressively hot, nearly a 100 degrees at 5am one morning. I would certainly not suggest taking a family of six in CG in August unless the temps are a bit more moderate.

    • Without doing some research into historical weather history for that region, I would guess during hotter periods such as stagnant high pressure, clear, hot days when the daytime temps could be over a 100, nighttime could still be high 70s/80s. As I recall, when I did the July hike, the daytime temp got upwards of 110 and that particular night it just didn’t cool off. At 5am after a very restless night, it was still pushing a 100, I packed up and hiked out. Fortunately, I have had many other great hikes in CG. One year an April hike brought a snow storm.

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  23. Great Article. I have never been to CG before. I am taking two of my boys (12, 14) and brother in a week. The weather actually looks to be the same as Salt lake with nearly identical elevation. I hope it is not to cold! We are backpacking in and plan on descending through Crack in the wall and doing a sort of loop over two days (Thursday and Friday) to explore around and coming out on Saturday morning. Any advice or tips? I have been planning this for some time and hope it turns out to be fantastic.

    Todd

    • It sounds like you are well-prepared and will have a great time! It will be cold at night in Coyote Gulch, so come prepared for that. My guess is that it will be close to freezing during the night, and the water may be a little chilly, but besides that, sounds like you and your two boys will have a blast! Where are you thinking that you’ll exit Coyote Gulch?

      • Adam,

        Thank you for the reply. I was thinking of exiting at Jacob Hamlin and scrambling up the rock there. Unless of course you have other suggestions. I don’t want to push the boys too much but I do want to see all that we can while we are in the gulch.

        Todd

  24. Thanks for the great post! I am planning on hiking coyote gulch in May. I am looking at entering either red well or hurricane wash. Do you have a recommendation?

    • Christi,

      Thank you for visiting yourhikeguide.com. I’m glad you liked the post on Coyote Gulch. I have sent you an email in response to your question. Have a great day!

    • Damian,

      I have been able to make it to the sneaker route with just front wheel drive, but it all depends on the current road conditions. I would recommend stopping by the Escalante Interagency Vistor’s Center for current road conditions. (435) 826-5499. Hope this helps!

  25. Thanks for all the great info and insight on this hike.
    I will be taking a group of Scouts down in August and hoping for the best with the heat (it was our only option this year). First time to CG. We will have 2-3 nights we can spend in the canyon so looking for some ideas on best route, camp locations, etc. One thing to keep in mind with any recommendations is one of my Scouts does not have use of his arms so something like the sneaker route would be out for us. Not sure if crack in the wall would be possible for an entry/exit route or not but would appreciate your insight.
    Thanks!

    • Greg,

      Thanks for visiting YourHikeGuide.com. In your case, I would recommend using the Hurricane Wash Trailhead, as it will only require walking to enter Coyote Gulch. It’s longer than the sneaker route, but it is easy and straightforward, with no climbing nor use of upper body needed. I would recommend starting the hike at the trailhead before sunrise, to avoid the heat of the day. There is no shade along the trail until you make it to the confluence of Coyote Gulch. If you leave before sunrise, you should be able to make it to the Coyote Gulch before it gets too hot. Then you can spend the rest of the day hike through the stream through Coyote Gulch which will help the boys cool off. I recommend finding a camping spot around Jacob Hamblin Arch. Another good reason to leave early in the morning is to find an open campsite, since you will not be the only ones down there. I hope that helps. Remember that there are no bathrooms down there, so be sure to have your scouts pack out their waste. Let me know if you have any other questions!

      • Adam, thanks for the quick reply and additional information. Is the Hurricane Wash trailhead area sufficient for rough camping to get the recommended early start? Are there other/better options?
        Thanks,
        Greg

  26. Hi Adam, this is great information and a great site. I am thinking of hiking Coyote Gulch in mid May, do you know if the water will be warm enough to swim in? Also, my wife is pregnant so I was thinking of renting a satellite phone, do you have experience with those down in the canyon? Thanks!

    • Scott,

      I’m glad to hear that you found the information useful on YourHikeGuide.com. The water may be a little chilly, but there may not be many places to swim in Coyote Gulch, unless you go to the hidden swimming hole which is found on the north side of Coyote Gulch, just past Coyote Natural Bridge. I think you’ll be fine with just a GPS, although a satellite phone can be used if necessary in most parts of Coyote Gulch. I hope that helps! If you have any other questions, just let me know.

  27. Hi, I am visiting Southern Utah in late June and was planning on spending a day at GSENM along Hole-in-the Rock Road. I was wondering if a loop route could be done for a Coyote Gulch day hike? I was thinking of starting at the Crack-in-the-Rock TH, descending via the crack, hiking upstream to Jacob Hamblin Arch, exiting the canyon via the sneaker route, and returning to the Crack-in-the-Rock TH. Also, rather than hiking the sneaker route all the way back to the water tower TH, then northeast to the crack-in-the-wall TH (we don’t have two cars to park at each), can a more direct route east be taken after exiting Coyote Gulch somewhat parallel to the canyon?

    We are a fairly fit family with 2 kids (11 and 13) and moderate hiking experience. Is this a plausible route for a day hike? I get the sense that descending via the crack and ascending via the sneaker route is less intimidating than vice versa. Thanks!

    • Jack,

      Thanks for the message. In order to enjoy Coyote Gulch, I recommend spending more than one day there. Going from Crack in the Rock to the sneaker route and back to your car near Crack in the Rock, is extremely ambitious, especially in June with an 11 year old and 13 year old. If you have a GPS with you, one can definitely cut across the desert to get back to your car, but unless you’re experienced at orienteering and the area, I would not recommend the it. Coyote Gulch is best enjoyed with some time. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask!

      • Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately, we have only one day, but I would at least like to taste Coyote Gulch, Maybe we will just take the sneaker route into the canyon, have lunch and poke around the arch for a while and hike back the same route (and then maybe see one of the slots too). With light daypacks, how difficult is the climb in and out of the canyon on that route (and which direction is easier?) Thanks!

  28. Hi me and my friend are very interested in doing the coyote gulch we were wondering is it really easy to get lost or is the trail pretty well laid out . Also if you know if there’s any guides that take people through there unless you think it’s pretty well laid out were a person want to get lost really easy ,we do hiking a lot but never been on a long hike like that

    • Monica,

      I’m more than happy to help you out with your questions about Coyote Gulch. I’ll be sending you an email this weekend with some of my suggestions. Have a great weekend, and I’ll talk to you soon.

  29. Hi! Love the all the information you’ve helped people with! My husband and I are planning on doing this trip the end of June. How do you think it would be weather wise? This will be our first time, my first backpacking trip, doing the Gulch. I’m going off your list of what to pack, but I’m also wondering if my Vibram toe shoes would be ok? We hike down in Moab with them and they grip well on the sandstone. Would that help with the sneaker route?

    • Aloha Melinda,
      I hiked Coyote Gulch about 15-18 times (lost count) over the 28 years I lived in Utah. I’ve hiked the W in Torres del Paine in Chilean Patagonia, hikes in New Zealand, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, as well numerous other backpacks in Utah. Without question, Coyote Gulch remains right there with any of them in terms of beauty. I’ve always hiked in wearing boots with enough support for the load on my back, switching to lighter, ‘water’ shoes for day hikes in Coyote, after establishing a campsite.

      One word of caution, which I ‘m sure many would choose to ignore, is to think carefully about camping inside the Jacob Hamblin Alcove. Years ago one of my friends who first took me to Coyote Gulch, told me of one of her prior hikes with another couple. They were taking a rest break inside the alcove and had placed their backpacks together on the sandbank about ten feet from where they were. They heard a whistle and then a crash. A large flat section of the alcove ceiling had fallen, crushed the backpacks flat into the sand. I’ve camped outside the alcove, never in it. Have a great hike, hopefully you’ll have several days to take it all in.
      Oh, FWIW, I prefer the Hurricane Trailhead as an entry point.

      Charles Wood
      Big Island Hawaii

      http://www.cdwood.zenfolio.com

    • christer whitworth on

      I have hiked Coyote twice, both times through Hurricane Wash as the entry point. You will want water sneakers once you are in the gulch; you cannot avoid hiking through the stream without major allowances. Depending on when you arrive, the confluence of Hurricane and Coyote provides a great place to overnight, under the overhand on the opposite band, the risks of falling rock not withstanding. Never occurred to us. Next morning, Jacob Hamblin is only an hour away. Stunning scenery. Pictures you have seen are only a facsimile….

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  31. My friends and I are backpacking down coyote gulch this weekend. What will the weather be like at night down in the gulch? I’m just wondering how many layers I’ll need. Thanks!

  32. Hi Adam,
    My wife and me are planning to do the Coyote Gulch hike during the September Long weekend (Sep2nd – Sep 5th). Our primary goal is to see the Jacob Hamblin Arch.
    At this point, we have no plans to camp. We would like it to be a day hike, may be start early at around 6 – 7 am and be back by 6 – 7 pm.
    We have been on several hikes, the longest being a 5 mile RT hike of Mt Washburn at Yellowstone.
    My only concern is that we are not comfortable with Rock climbing.
    Is it necessary to do rock climbing if we use the Hurricane Wash Trailhead.

    I am really looking forward to see the Jacob Hamblin Arch. Any help is appreciated.

  33. Hi Adam,

    My wife and me are planning to do the Coyote Gulch hike during the September Long weekend (Sep2nd – Sep 5th). Our primary goal is to see the Jacob Hamblin Arch.

    At this point, we have no plans to camp. We would like it to be a day hike, may be start early at around 6 – 7 am and be back by 6 – 7 pm.

    We have been on several hikes, the longest being a 5 mile RT hike of Mt Washburn at Yellowstone.

    My only concern is that we are not comfortable with Rock climbing.

    Is it necessary to do rock climbing if we use the Hurricane Wash Trailhead.

    I am really looking forward to see the Jacob Hamblin Arch. Any help is appreciated.

    • Nikhil,

      Thank you for visiting YourHikeGuide.com! Coyote Gulch is beautiful place! The best and quickest route to Jacob Hamblin Arch that requires no scrambling nor rock climbing is Hurricane Wash. Get an early start as it will be HOT while walking in the wash. I’m a little concerned that if you’re longest hike is 5 miles that this one is definitely going to push your limits, especially since it will still be VERY hot. From Hurricane Wash to Jacob Hamblin Arch and back is going to be close to 12 miles RT. I would encourage you to stay try and make it down to Coyote Natural Bridge while you’re down there. It’s very photogenic as well. Best of luck and let me know if you have any other questions.

      • Thanks a million for the response. I think 12 miles RT should be ok for us. 4 more questions:
        1) how long do u think it will take on the hurricane wash trail to reach Jacob Hamblin arch and how far is it from the Jacob Hamblin Arch to coyote natural bridge ? Again is there any scrambling or rock climbing or under water swimming required from Jacob Hamblin Arch to Natural bridge ?
        2) is it easy to get lost on the Hurricane Wash trail ?
        3) if yes, what can I do to avoid it ?
        4) How do u suspect the weather will be during the Sep 2 – 5th weekend ?

      • Thanks a million for the response. I think 12 miles RT should be ok for us. 4 more questions:
        1) how long do u think it will take on the hurricane wash trail to reach Jacob Hamblin arch and how far is it from the Jacob Hamblin Arch to coyote natural bridge ? Again is there any scrambling or rock climbing or under water swimming required from Jacob Hamblin Arch to Natural bridge ?
        2) is it easy to get lost on the Hurricane Wash trail ?
        3) if yes, what can I do to avoid it ?
        4) How do u suspect the weather will be during the Sep 2 – 5th weekend ?