Coyote Gulch

IMG_6219It’s been a long time since I have done a backpacking trip. Luckily for you guys this one is awesome!

For additional pictures check out my other blog!

Coyote Gulch is located in the deserts out side of Escalante, Utah. After passing through the town of Escalante head down Hole in the Rock road which travels through some of the best hiking places in the United States. There are other websites that have better maps and description to get to Coyote Gulch, so here is a link to take you to the hike.

This trip was for my backpacking class (awesome right). We began our day at 7 A.M. here in Cedar City and headed out towards Escalante. The drive is about 3 hours plus time going down Hole in the Rock road.

Hurricane Wash

We began out trip on the Hurricane Wash trial head. We brought two vehicles so we would not have to hike in and out. I suggest this, but it does require a vehicle that is 4 wheel drive and has clearance to park at the FourtyMile Ridge. The last section of the road is in deep sand.IMG_6133

Hurricane wash begins like most trails in the region, just an unassuming stream bed. The farther you travel down the trail the more it turns into a slot canyon. The trail is in the sun most of the way, but after a few miles the stream forms and there is water. This part of the trail is interesting but it is not breath taking.

Since we had arrived late in the day we stayed in Hurricane Wash and made camp near the confluence of it and Coyote Gulch. This is an ideal area for your first first night of camping in you are heading down this way. There is access to water that you can purify and you can go to the bathroom in the woods.

Side Note: Bathroom details for this hike is pack it in pack it out, that is toiletries. Bring a ziplock bag and some hand sanitizer. You also need to make sure you are 200 feet away from the stream before you go. Also bury it. No one wants to see it. Also fires are not allowed within the region so to cook food you do need a camp stove.

The next morning we packed up camp and headed out entered into Coyote Gulch.

Coyote Gulch

IMG_6173Coyote Gulch is a huge canyon formed by a small stream that cuts its way through the red rock. Most of the trail is the stream itself, but there are some social trails that get you out of the water. The first section of the trail is mostly a winding canyon with huge cliff faces. The trail from this point on is easy and enjoyable to follow.

After about an hour of hiking you reach the first of the amazing geological structures, Jacob Hamblin Arch. This massive arch was formed from the collapse of the wall that is formed by the winding of the river. As you work your way around the arch you will experience on of the most impressive walls/ geological features.

The river cuts deep into the cliff wall creating a massive overhang in which you walk through. It simply cannot be fully experienced with words or pictures.

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On the other side of the arch, this is going down stream, is a spring that comes out of the rocks on the left and you can refill your water here. There is also a bathroom right around here on the right side of the stream that is pretty disgusting. I suggest finding a bush instead.

From this point on the trail continues as normal. You will pass an ancient indian ruin up on the hill. It’s easy to miss, but if you keep an eye out for it, you will spot it.

The next geological site you encounter is Coyote Natural Bridge. This is a place where the water has cut through the rock wall creating a bridge. Our group rested here and went over some compass work. Part of the trip was not simply hiking, but was backpacking skills and back country techniques.

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After we were done with our lesson we continued on. Soon after the natural bridge there is an ancient Indian site up on the hill that has pictographs and some of their artifacts. This was really interesting because it still had left over corn husks, pottery, and even a grass baskets. It is amazing that it was preserved all these years, but they had.

We camped soon after this. I was craving protein by this point because I had mostly eaten oats in one form on another all day. That night we had chillie mac from Mountain House (good stuff by the way).

Soon after our camping spot, the canyon opens up some and begins to have waterfalls. There are about four, most of which are not to huge, but do make for good photo moments. There is also another bathroom up on the hill which is new and is well maintained. This is a good spot to use a bathroom not covered in flies and is private.

Getting Out

Getting out of the canyon occurs at the confluence of Coyote Gulch and Escalante River. There is a spot on the trail that has a bunch of signs that say no hiking off trail. The trail is extremely sandy and is kind of like hiking up a mile of sand dunes. Before you do that through, you can swing over to the Escalante River and look at Stevens arch, which is massive. Its impossible to miss.

stevens arch

To see it you need to go up the Escalante River for a few hundred yards. It is located up on the cliff face is probably 150 feet wide. It’s rumored that planes have flown through it. (Not recommended)

When heading out you will head up a huge sand hill. At the top it appears that the trail ends into a cliff, but there is a fissure that has formed causing the rock to peel back from the rock face. Here is where is much appreciated. Someone can shimmy up the wall and then peoples backpacks can be pulled up.20140413_143713

This is repeated twice, but once you get to the top its an open trail back to the car. There are cairns that are located onto of the petrified sand dunes the help guide you back to the car. Eventually the trail is spotted and it is back to trudging through sand. This last little bit is killer. While we were doing it, we were experiencing 40 mile an hour winds.

Here are the photos from the trip. Enjoy

 

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