Coyote Gulch Hike

Coyote Natural Bridge

On May 10-12, 2021, while staying in Escalante, Utah, we went on a 3-day-backpacking adventure to the remote red rock beauty of Coyote Gulch, a tributary of the Escalante River. Access to this magnificent canyon is via a remote gravel washboard road called Hole-in-the-Rock Road, out on the Grand Staircase-Escalante plateau. We left at 7 am, and drove 33 miles south on Hole-in-the-Rock Road to the trailhead for Hurricane Wash. We began our hike about 8:30, looking forward to this bucket-list destination that we have wanted to do since last year. The hike through the Wash was hot and strenuous, but once we reached the confluence, in about 2 hours, the route winds around soaring sandstone walls up to 900 feet deep, dipping in and out of the sandy stream bed of Coyote Gulch. The first view of Jacob Hamlin Arch was breathtaking. It was originally called Lobo Arch. The renamed natural wonder honors one of the most notable Mormon missionaries and diplomats of the late 19th century, Jacob Hamlin has been noted as one of the bravest men that ever lived. The impressive Hamlin Arch spans 100 feet, and the enormity of this natural cathedral, many claim is one of the most beautiful in the state. We set up camp under this natural dome high on the rock ledge, we were all alone in this amazing setting.  Click on thumbnail to view images

Day 2

The night sky filled with stars was so impressive with the Big Dipper framed in the opening of the dome. After breakfast we started hiking deeper into Coyote Gulch, wearing Chacos so we could walk through the stream made for a very enjoyable hike. Following the stream cutting its way through the sandstone rock in the narrow gorges was unbelievable. The colors and textures of the rocks changing with the light as we walked through Coyote Gulch made for an amazing  eye-opening scene. Then we reached Coyote Natural Bridge with the stream flowing under the bridge. It was a smaller arch, but with the reflecting morning light on its walls magnified the redness in the rocks. We were told about the amazing Black Lagoon from some other hikers but it was a difficult trail to find because it was not marked. So we searched for the trail and were lucky to come upon it, crossing over a log bridge we made our way there. Unfortunately there were leeches in the pool so we did not go swimming. However the reflection in the water was magnificent. Back on the main trial we came to several waterfalls with lots of water still flowing. It was finally time for a dip below one of these beautiful waterfalls. On our way back we spotted a Canadian Goose by the stream, he had a wounded wing so he was not able to go very far. We fed him some of our trail bar which he devoured quickly. When we reached Coyote Natural Bridge the afternoon light lit up the entire bridge for more wonderful photos. Finally back at camp we ate dinner under the dome, enjoying the beautiful setting we were camped under. Click on thumbnail to view images

Day 3

We had another peaceful night under the stars. Knowing that we had to leave this spectacular scenery, we took our time before packing up our camp and heading back out Coyote Gulch. We captured the morning light on Jacob Hamlin Arch before heading down the trial. We came upon a family of mule deer beside the stream and several lizards sunning on the rocks. We stopped under a cottonwood tree for lunch enjoying the break and the shade. Then it was the last 3 1/2 miles of a very hot and strenuous hike out Hurricane Wash back to the Jeep. We highly recommend this hike as a 3-day backpacking trip to take the time to capture the awesome beauty of Coyote Gulch. Click on thumbnail to view images