Coyote Gulch is an amazing backpacking experience. At first glance, this appears to be a desolate desert, you may be surprised to find that it has a hidden oasis, stunning red rock formations mirrored by spring streams flowing through the canyon, cactus blooms (if hiking in the spring months), greenery, and so much more! What a beautiful place this is. The full hike itself usually takes 2-4 days to complete depending on where they start the hike and what parts of the canyon they are wanting to experience. Although there is the option to do just a day hike as well, and still be able to capture the breathtaking surroundings.
There are a few different trailheads for this hike; Red Well, Hurricane Wash, Fortymile Ridge, Jacob Hamblin. The most famous out of these is by far Jacob Hamblin Arch, the trailhead for this is located 2.6 miles before the Fortymile trailhead on Hole-In-The-Rock Road there will be a left turnoff with a marked sign, there will be another left turn on a small dirt road, take the turn and travel until you see the water tank and the trailhead.
Jacob Hamblin Arch in Coyote Gulch
Jacob Hamblin Arch Trail is famous for it’s stunning rock arch and impeccable camping. The trails a little more difficult than the others to find, but it offers the best day hiking. When you reach the trailhead, just head north on the trail for about two miles, it’s nearly straight and fairly easy. You will reach a 100 mile slick rock slope, at this point hikers will have the option of taking either an upstream trail or downstream. The upstream hike takes you up around Jacob Hamblin Arch where you actually climb the arch itself, and uses either Red Well or Hurricane Wash as exit points. Downstream is about a 6 mile hike until you reach the Escalante River, from there you can use Crack-In-The-Wall on Fortymile as an exit point. This hike can differ in difficulty, but is rewarding either way.
Camping in Coyote Gulch
Camping here is a treat in itself! As said before, this is the most popular camping spot in the Coyote Gulch. Though that may seem inconvenient, or like you will not be able to find a good spot, you’ll actually find plenty of camping sites along the river bend with plenty of greenery to help with privacy. With the river right next to you, this is the perfect place to cool off and relax for a bit and marvel at the natural art of the canyon walls that surrounds you.
Hiking out of the camping spots, (if you take the downstream option) prepare to be stunned by the marvelous canyon walls and nature that seems to almost engulf you as you exit. The canyon walls get steeper and steeper, and hang overhead, breathtaking waterfalls pop up around random turns of the canyon, the rock and canyon formations seem to get more and more dramatic at every turn. As you exit the canyon you’ll run into Cliff Arc, a few more waterfalls and finally Escalate River where the trail ends. This is definitely one of the more memorable and captivating hikes in Grand Staircase Escalante. You can’t really go wrong by hiking and camping on the Jacob Hamblin Arch Trail.