Coyote Gulch PLUS

Janice

Member
.
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
1,076
Incredible Coyote Gulch trip! We are so appreciative of all the info and advice we received here and through other sources online. I won't detail all of our trip, as there are many reports elsewhere about the outstanding scenery in Coyote Gulch, but I wanted to share some special things that made this such a wonderful experience.

We flew into Vegas. I always try to get a window seat and love looking down when the clouds aren't too thick. When we were getting near Utah, I kept track of where we were and was thrilled to see Coyote Gulch and the Escalante River below.
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 4.49.30 PM.png
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 4.49.58 PM.png

We spent the night in St. George, then drove to our trailhead the next day. Since we had a full week for our trip, we wanted to stretch things out and decided to enter and exit via Red Well. We loved this and thought it worked great! The scenery was interesting right away, it wasn't too brushy, and we saw no one the whole day. We checked out the entrance to Sleepy Hollow, which we hoped to be able to explore near the end of the week... We camped the first night at a wonderful campsite at the confluence of Coyote Gulch and Hurricane Wash, and with perfect weather we didn't bother putting up our tent. The bright moon (almost full on April 21) lit up not only the rock walls but also the shiny cottonwood leaves. This was my view while falling asleep:
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 5.00.20 PM.png

The next day was terrific - we thoroughly enjoyed all the fabulous things that make Coyote Gulch such a desirable trip, but I'm not going to bother sharing photos in this report: Jacob Hamlin Arch, a zillion alcoves, Coyote/Natural Bridge, petroglyphs and Native remains, waterfalls, etc etc etc. The mix of green, orange, and blue repeating over and over again was gorgeous, and I took a million reflection shots with glowing green leaves, orange rock, and blue sky. We saw our first cactus bloom, which always delights me. We made our way past the poison ivy up to the Black Lagoon, and I captured this reflection there:
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 5.08.19 PM.png

Most of the lizards darted away when I tried to photograph them. Not this one!
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 5.10.09 PM.png

We thoroughly enjoyed that full day. We saw some people along the way but not too many to diminish our enjoyment. We set up camp for two nights at a wonderful spot a little bit upstream from the confluence with the Escalante; thank you for the info, @TrailScot! Here's a view of Stevens Arch from behind our campsite:
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 5.34.21 PM.png

That evening, we had time to explore and went up the trail behind the campsite to the fantastic promontory across from Stevens Arch that @Jammer describes in his acrossutah website. We loved being up there and had a great time not only viewing the arch (would we make it there the next day???) but also checking out lots of things down below where we might be the next day... Here's one of my photos from up there with the glowing golden light:
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 5.21.59 PM.png

The next day, we took small day packs and set out for some adventure, unsure of what we'd be able to manage but hopeful. We had an incredible day! First, we went up to the Crack in the Wall. (Along the way, we saw some people on the "slanted sketchy ledge" that can be used to get to the Escalante; my husband did not like the looks of that at all.) We had fun in the crack and didn't have to worry about using a rope since our packs were small. At the top, we spent almost an hour wandering around on the glorious slickrock and looking down on the Escalante. It was fun to see different bends in the river and a different view of Stevens Arch from what we had seen at our campsite and from the Crack in the Wall route:
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 5.31.43 PM.png
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 9.24.47 PM.png

Navajo Mtn off in the distance
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 9.24.36 PM.png

Then we went back down Crack in the Wall (fun to do it both ways!) and instead of returning the way we came, we used the trail that @desertvic had told me about (thank you!) and enjoyed new scenery along the way. We were able to go down the "steep descent" (again, thanks for the info @desertvic and @Jammer) and found that a little intimidating but definitely do-able. Here are pictures going down and looking back up afterward:
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 5.39.58 PM.png
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 5.40.14 PM.png
By the way, here's a close-up of what that descent looks like from across the way - taken the previous evening when we were on the promontory:
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 5.41.29 PM.png

We helped each other get down to Coyote Gulch via a sandy mini-cliff that was a bit too long for us to comfortably slide down:
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 5.45.29 PM.png
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 5.45.38 PM.png

Then we were down at the gulch, having bypassed the rock jumble and "slanted sketchy ledge." I was thrilled to get to the river! Now would we be able to accomplish the next goal of getting up to Stevens Arch?

I'm happy to say that YES, we did! @Jammer's wonderful acrossutah descriptions gave us the inspiration and information to get there. It is terrific! The previous evening, we had seen from the promontory the spot where you go up, and my husband assumed it wouldn't be possible for us to make it:
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 5.54.53 PM.png

But Jamal is correct when he says it's doable. Hooray!
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 9.38.03 PM.png

Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 5.57.44 PM.png

We went through the arch and down the other side for a little while. Here's a picture of the arch from that side: (Is it possible that the plane was on the same route that my plane was on a few days earlier?)
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 6.03.03 PM.png

We saw a little bit of Stevens Canyon from the top:
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 6.01.33 PM.png

Then we made our way back through the arch and down the way we had come. We got down to the river and were happy to cool off on this hot day. We walked upstream, not sure if we'd go as far as Stevens Canyon. Along the way, I took a zillion photos of the beautiful scenery. One of the times I turned around and looked behind me I was rewarded with this incredible reflection that I would have missed if I had turned around a moment earlier or later:
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 6.08.13 PM.png

We ended up going to Stevens Canyon and enjoyed chatting with some packrafters who were also heading up there. We had set for ourselves a turn-around time of 5:30pm so didn't make it up to the Grotto but were glad to get into the canyon a little bit and see Stevens Arch from yet another vantage point. (Yes, Stevens Arch was our fixation for the day - so magical!)
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 6.17.08 PM.png

After Stevens, we decided to try getting back to our campsite via the other part of the alternate route, exiting the river a little bit downstream of Stevens and going up from there to the promontory and then following the route from the previous evening back to our campsite. There were a few sketchy spots, including one where my husband made some rocks tumble below (thank goodness I was above him at that point), but we made it. Yet another view of the arch!
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 6.21.00 PM.png

Both nights at that campsite we slept under the stars (well, under the full moon is more accurate) and were serenaded by sheep frogs for hours. Perfect!

The next day, we headed back up Coyote Gulch. Typically, we prefer a loop to an out-and-back, but when the scenery is this outstanding who minds seeing it twice? Plus, you see things differently. For example, our view of Cliff Arch in this direction made us think it should be called Monster Arch:
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 7.27.05 PM.png

Early in the week, there was almost no cottonwood fluff. By this point, though, we enjoyed lots of flying fluff, something I had wanted to see on a previous Escalante trip but was too early for. The fluff looked great when it was backlit by the sun, but I couldn't get good photos of that. Here are some other pictures of the fluff:
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 7.34.05 PM.png
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 7.34.18 PM.png
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 7.34.33 PM.png

It was a hot day. Over and over we dunked in the water or took off our shirts, wet them, and put them back on so we could stay cool while hiking. Such an easy way to cool down! Here's my husband at Swiss Cheese Falls:
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 7.44.20 PM.png

Our original hope for this evening was to camp in Sleepy Hollow under one of the giant alcoves there. However, we talked to a few people who knew Coyote Gulch well and the previous day had tried to get up Sleepy Hollow to the alcoves. They said it was slow going with lots of poison ivy, cattails, and thick brush. We decided that instead of trying to get up there with heavy packs late in the day we would camp nearby and attempt it with small packs the next day. We found a wonderful campsite and headed to Sleepy Hollow the next morning. Fortunately it was a cool, overcast day, so I wore my rainpants to reduce poison ivy exposure and my jacket to minimize scratches from the bushes. We didn't know what to expect and figured we'd give it our best shot. We ended up having a glorious day! We made our way through the thick brush and eventually got up to the giant alcove on the right (going up canyon). It was spectacular! Then we went to the other giant alcove across the way. It was spectacular, too!

Going to the top of the big sand hill inside the first alcove
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 7.56.24 PM.png

Looking down from the sand hill inside the alcove
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 7.56.35 PM.png

View from inside first alcove
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 7.56.46 PM.png

If you're not flexible, you can get a neck-ache trying to see the top here and throughout Coyote Gulch!
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 7.56.58 PM.png

Going up the sand dune inside the second alcove
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 7.59.52 PM.png

Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 8.00.02 PM.png

View from inside second alcove - elephant head?
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 8.00.12 PM.png

Going back down sand dune in second alcove
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 8.00.24 PM.png

After exploring a bit, we headed back the way we came and thrashed through the reeds, cattails, and other brush. Earlier, on the way in, we had noticed some slickrock up above that would be fun to explore if we could get up there. By this point, I had forgotten all about that, but my husband had not.
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 8.07.08 PM.png

Hmm... how can we get up? Ah, look at that those logs...
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 8.42.48 PM.png

Let's do it!
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 8.43.04 PM.png

Success! We explored up there for hours. Let's go look at Sleepy Hollow from above. Ok! Let's go look at Coyote Gulch from above. Ok! Let's go look at Long Branch from above. Ok! Let's go look at Don't Do It slot canyon from above. Ok! Let's go look at these fabulous rocks. Ok! And on and on. Lots of beautiful cacti and other great stuff to look at up there. We couldn't get far enough up Sleepy Hollow to see the giant alcoves from above because Long Branch was in the way, but that was ok. Sometimes the clouds were tinged orange from the rock below, and sometimes there were interesting threatening clouds off in the distance. We had a couple of sprinkles here and there but nothing bad. We had a great time - this was a totally unexpected delight!
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 8.58.11 PM.png
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 8.58.26 PM.png
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 8.58.39 PM.pngScreen Shot 2024-05-05 at 8.59.14 PM.png
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 8.59.37 PM.png
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 8.59.52 PM.pngScreen Shot 2024-05-05 at 9.00.06 PM.png

It was fun to see where our campsite was - behind that tall rock (or whatever you call such a thing)
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 8.59.01 PM.png

The next day we headed back to the trailhead, sad to be finishing but thrilled with the wonderful trip. We had fun doing things differently from our way in, often going up above the gulch rather than alongside it. At one point, we took a cut-off we shouldn't have taken which led us to go up Dry Fork a bit. Before we realized this, I was fascinated to see this dead tree up on the slickrock. What a big flash flood there must have been to bring that tree up so high and deposit it there.
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 9.08.30 PM.png

On our way back to the trailhead, we had originally hoped to drive down the road a few miles and have fun at Spooky/Peekaboo/Brimstone. But there were dark clouds and rainstorms off in the distance, so we knew there would be no slot canyons for us that day.
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 9.11.46 PM.png

Instead we went to Escalante Outfitters for some pizza. :)

On our way to St. George, we made an impromptu visit to Bryce, first to the Mossy Cave trailhead and then around to the main entrance for a quickie at that glorious amphitheater. The brooding skies made for a great backdrop!
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 9.16.40 PM.png
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 9.17.38 PM.png
Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 9.17.03 PM.pngScreen Shot 2024-05-05 at 9.17.13 PM.png

The next morning we had hoped to explore Yant Flat / Candy Cliffs, but we got in so late the night before that we slept in and didn't have time before driving back for our flight. We had such a perfect week! Thanks again to those who provided us with such great information - you helped make our experience the best it possibly could be!
 

Attachments

  • Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 9.00.35 PM.png
    Screen Shot 2024-05-05 at 9.00.35 PM.png
    1.5 MB · Views: 0
Last edited:
Great photos! Didn't make it to Stevens but the rest of that area was spectacular. Added Bryce and Zion as well. Rain nixed a slot canyon for us too, but the motel we were at was right across from the BLM office. Won a permit to the Wave. Managed to hire a guide to get us in, after 3 said it was too dangerous. Good region to explore.
IMG_3129_Custom.JPG
 
Great photos! Didn't make it to Stevens but the rest of that area was spectacular. Added Bryce and Zion as well. Rain nixed a slot canyon for us too, but the motel we were at was right across from the BLM office. Won a permit to the Wave. Managed to hire a guide to get us in, after 3 said it was too dangerous. Good region to explore.
View attachment 131139
So glad you got to the Wave. What a magical place!
 
Great report and beautiful pictures. Makes me regret doing CG as a day hike, I missed a lot.
 
Great report and beautiful pictures. Makes me regret doing CG as a day hike, I missed a lot.
After learning about our trip, my sister would like to go to CG, but back & neck issues prevent her from backpacking. I was talking to her about doing a day hike and think that spending just one day in CG is better than none at all. Agree?
 
Awesome report and photos! Coyote Gulch as been off of my to-do list for some time now because of fear of crowds, but after seeing your photos I may just have to put it back on the list. How crowded was it when you were there?
 
Awesome report and photos! Coyote Gulch as been off of my to-do list for some time now because of fear of crowds, but after seeing your photos I may just have to put it back on the list. How crowded was it when you were there?
My husband had originally been concerned about the same thing, but because we were able to go midweek in late April (after spring break crowds, before college lets out) we decided to go for it and were glad we did. On the first day and last day going to and from Red Well we didn't see other people. On our Sleepy Hollow day we didn't see anyone until evening when we met again the group of 3 who had given us advice the previous day, and we were glad to see them to thank them! On the middle days, we saw maybe 15-20. On our Crack & Stevens day, we saw 3 different sets of packrafters and 1 group of 5 women. For us, this was not a problem, but I realize others may feel that's too many. No one was camped near us on any of the nights; perhaps that would have been different if we had camped near Jacob Hamlin, but we decided ahead of time not to do that and planned accordingly. We did not see a single piece of trash or toilet paper and did not hear anyone blaring their music!
 
Thanks @Janice , for sharing your experience in Coyote Gulch ... your descriptions and superb photos really bring the whole place to life ... wonderful !
 
Awesome report and photos! Coyote Gulch as been off of my to-do list for some time now because of fear of crowds, but after seeing your photos I may just have to put it back on the list. How crowded was it when you were there?
Go in Oct- you won't have crowds. Nights are a bit longer and colder but if you want to avoid other people, this is the best.
 
After learning about our trip, my sister would like to go to CG, but back & neck issues prevent her from backpacking. I was talking to her about doing a day hike and think that spending just one day in CG is better than none at all. Agree?
For sure it was for me, but I suppose it would depend on how you tackle it and how much ground you can cover. I spent the night near the corral and went in at JH Arch and out the crack so it was beautiful the entire way (except walking the road back from the crack to the corral) and I got to see all the major highlights.
 
Great TR! I found the perspective from the rim around Sleepy Hollow to be a fun new way to see this area. Glad you braved the brush to get up underneath, I think it's one of the better places to visit around there.

For sure it was for me, but I suppose it would depend on how you tackle it and how much ground you can cover. I spent the night near the corral and went in at JH Arch and out the crack so it was beautiful the entire way (except walking the road back from the crack to the corral) and I got to see all the major highlights.

I found the best way is to loop in from Chimney Rock. Less steep climbing that way. I day hiked down to the falls after dropping into Hurricane Wash and then back up the Dry Fork with a visit to Sleepy Hollow all in a longer October Day. This is also a good way to avoid carrying blue bags if backpacking here.
 
Awesome! Inspiring too, as after we dayhiked there via the crack in about 2012, we talked of spending a couple of nights in Coyote to fully experience it. But, we never did anything about it. Now it's back on the list for our next desert excursion.
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
Janice Coyote Gulch Plus... Trip Planning 22
XID_AZ Coyote Gulch Northish Side Canyons Trip Planning 0
RyanP Coyote Gulch to Halls Creek via Steven's Canyon and the Baker Route (car/key swap) Meet Up (Members Only) 8
A Coyote Gulch crowds? Trip Planning 0
C Coyote Gulch via Chimney rock trail Trip Planning 0
J Trip first week of April 2021 Southern UT/Anywhere AZ - Death Hollow, Coyote Gulch, or other suggestions? Trip Planning 9
D Coyote Gulch to Lake Powell Trip Planning 8
D Coyote Gulch additional parking Trip Planning 3
RyanP Coyote Gulch to Halls Creek via Stevens Canyon Trip Planning 28
F Coyote Gulch via Dry Fork? Trip Planning 2
Jon Carbaugh A Leisurely Stroll Through Coyote Gulch Backpacking 11
DrNed Coyote Gulch Pit Toilet Trip Planning 14
Mikjik86 Backpacking Coyote Gulch, 3 Days, 2 Nights- October 2018 Backpacking 2
cjhaines Coyote Gulch Trailhead Trip Planning 2
Stephanie Quick trip to Coyote Gulch via Red Well Trip Planning 4
C New Member - Coyote Gulch Solo Trip Noobs: Introduce yourself! 8
Devin Ashby Coyote Gulch Loop Starting From Water Tanks Trip Planning 4
Eric_LV Hiker Coyote Gulch trip May 20-23 Trip Planning 16
Nick New Waste Disposal Requirements for Coyote Gulch Visitors General Discussion 11
J Big Escalante Backpack Loop: Stevens/Fold/Bobway/Coyote Gulch April 25-30, 2015 Backpacking 8
mike54704 Backpacking in Coyote Gulch the first week of March Trip Planning 26
slc_dan Too Good for the Cinema Thread-Andrew Bird in Coyote Gulch! General Discussion 3
steve Coyote Gulch Backpacking 10
natylka Backpacking: Hurricane Wash into Coyote Gulch of 26 miles back in May Backpacking 3
IntrepidXJ Coyote Gulch Backpacking 18
BrendanLB Coyote gulch via 40 mile ridge road Trip Planning 17
DrNed Coyote Gulch April 10-12 Backpacking 27
DrNed Springs in Coyote Gulch Trip Planning 2
DrNed Map for Coyote Gulch Trip Planning 6
Tater Head Coyote Gulch... Trip Planning 11
Bob Coyote Gulch Resource Discussions 0
M Coyote Gulch next week and footwear recommendations? Trip Planning 1
Howells Outdoors Coyote Gulch Backpacking 15
powderglut Return To Coyote Gulch Backpacking 7
Aldaron Coyote Gulch Backpacking 4
NAYR Coyote Gulch Backpacking 7
Dave Coyote Gulch, March 22-24 2013 Backpacking 22
Ericephoto Coyote Gulch via Jacob Hamblin Arch trail and Crack in the Wall Backpacking 11
powderglut Coyote Gulch Route? Trip Planning 56
Nick Coyote Gulch Pit Toilet Destroyed? General Discussion 32
J Coyote Gulch btw 22 and 27 May - anyone wanna share a ride? Trip Planning 0
Bill Coyote Gulch Conditions 7.2012 Trip Planning 0
Nurrgle Backpacker's America's Best Camp Sites - Coyote Gulch General Discussion 7
wes242 First time to Coyote Gulch Backpacking 4
Tyler Coyote Gulch, Escalante Utah - 5 year anniversary backpacking trip Backpacking 6
Yvonne Invite Coyote Gulch Meet Up (Members Only) 49
gloo Coyote Gulch Trip Planning 20
Nick Coyote Gulch Loop Backpacking 20
SteveR Coyote Buttes South- New Daily Permit Process Trip Planning 8
S Driving to poverty flats (South Coyote Buttes) on AWD Trip Planning 11

Similar threads

Back
Top