There’s all kinds of ways to explore Coyote Gulch. This is the hike I did on the weekend of 11/3-11/5/17. Starting at the Hurricane Wash trailhead we did a 25 Mile round trip and it was really cool.
Friday morning QB and I found some omelettes in Panguitch, UT then drove over to Bryce Canyon NP. Bryce was cool, a lot to see even on a short walk through the canyon and up along the rim(to see pictures of Bryce Canyon check out my instagram @endlesspsummer). From Bryce we drove to the town of Escalante and stopped at the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument Visitor Center(that’s a mouthful, from now on I’ll refer to the area as: GSENM). We talked to the rangers at the VC and got a little info about the area plus our permits and wag bags(portable toilets). There’s no pooping in the canyon so wag bags are required, I’ve never used one and hope that streak continues. From the town we drove 4 miles to Hole in the Rock Road and followed it for 34 miles to a little parking area at the Hurricane Wash trailhead. This was a slow going, bumpy, and rocky dirt road. 4wd is encouraged but the Mazda 3 that I rented got us there, fingers crossed we make it back. It’s important to check the odometer on Hole in the Rock Road because the little pull off is easy to miss and there’s no reception down that way. We got to the trailhead at Hurricane Wash around sunset and walked less than half a mile before we set up for the night. Had I known better I would have night hiked further and found a canyon to camp in to keep out some of the wind.
Saturday morning we started walking down Hurricane Wash and it wasn’t long before canyon walls grew up around us and a trickle of water developed at our feet. After about 5 miles the wash reaches a confluence with Coyote Creek where we took a right into Coyote Gulch. The creek twists and turns for 7+ miles before joining the Escalante River which eventually turns into Lake Powell. Along the way it created huge red rock canyon walls, a land bridge that we walked under and a few natural arches. We also saw ancient ruins of a cliff dwelling just upstream of the land bridge and about 3/4 of a mile after the bridge there are American Indian pictographs on the canyon wall. Shortly after the pictographs there’s a cairn marking a short trail to Black Lagoon. We checked out this reflecting pool that was home to hanging gardens high up on the wall. For the majority of this hike the trail is flat and simple until we were about a mile or two from the Escalante River. It gets a little dicey towards the end but there’s nothing too tricky, just be prepared to get your feet wet. There’s a handful of ways to get down to Coyote Gulch and there are ways to do this hike as a loop but we went with the out and back option. We turned around from the river and walked back about 5 miles to Jacob Hamblin Arch. I think this is the most impressive feature of the whole trip. We found a spot to camp next to a canyon wall just downstream of the arch. The weather was decent enough to cowboy camp, so even with a bit of an overhang we have a view of the arch and also a slice of the starry Utah sky. Add in the soothing sound of the creek plus the soft, flat, sandy ground and this just might be the greatest campsite of all time. Jacob Hamblin Arch Jacob Hamblin ArchLandbridge! Pictographs or petroglyphs The Black LagoonHanging gardens I want to live in a cliff dwelling so bad but this one is falling apartMilk Jug Arch
On Sunday we got up from our arch view campsite and walked upstream a couple miles back to Hurricane Wash. The trail follows the wash for about 5 miles to the parking area. Slowly the canyon walls got smaller and smaller and the stream dried up and transformed back into the sandy desert. Once back at the car we drove towards some slot canyons a few miles away and spent the afternoon exploring those.