Coyote Gulch is slowly becoming one of the more popular hikes to experience in Utah with its massive canyon walls and world-famous arches like Steven’s Arch and the Jacob Hamblin Arch.
If you’re planning on going as a group down to Coyote Gulch, note that there is a maximum party limit of 12 people per group and you have to pick up the permits at the interagency visitor center in Escalante, Utah.
It is also recommended that you bring high clearance vehicles in order to get to the trailhead due to the last portion of the road being an unpaved, washboard, dirt road.
Hiking Coyote Gulch
If you want to know how to get permits for Coyote Gulch, read about it here.
If you want to know what to pack to hike Coyote Gulch, read about it here to make sure you have everything.
Hiking Coyote Gulch can be done as a day hike but I wouldn’t do that simply because there’s no way experience all that the Gulch has to offer. The hike down is a combination of dirt trail, sand, and slot canyon hiking with the distance to the camp being about 8 miles.
When you start hiking from the trailhead, you start on a dirt trail that will eventually lead you to Hurricane Creek which will be the first sign of water on the trip down.
Even though the first signs of water begin to show around 3.5 miles in, you have to hike almost 2 of it in the sand with limited access to shade.
After about 5 miles of hiking, you should expect to see a meeting of Hurricane Creek, which is what you’re following, and the Coyote Creek, which is the creek you will follow the rest of the way down.
Once you arrive at the confluence of the two creeks, the rest of the hike is slot canyon hiking along Coyote Creek.
For those who may not know what I mean by slot canyon hiking, it’s simply just hiking in between the walls of a canyon with the ground being loose river rocks or a dirt trail. There is plenty of shade and hardly any loose sand once you enter the slot canyon, so the last leg of the hike is nice and easy.
So you hiked 8 miles in, now what?
This is the part of the hike where you decide where you want to set up camp. Most of the camp spots are along the river and not officially marked so all you have to do is find an area that can accommodate your group that isn’t overgrown and claim it.
Tent camping is the most common method of camping down in the gulch but there are trees down there that can support a hammock if you’re a hammock hiker.
Trees are common but not abundant in the gulch, so if you’re looking for a spot to put a hammock up, be prepared to have to potentially walk a little more to find the right spot because there may be sections of the gulch without any trees.
The campsites at Coyote Gulch are no more than a patch of dirt you call home.
There are no tables, water spigots, bathrooms, or trash cans so be prepared for a barebones living for a few days.
Because there are no bathrooms or trash cans, you have to carry out all waste, and by waste I mean poo, and trash with you so that you don’t accidentally pollute the river and hurt the delicate water table.
For those who are uncomfortable with using the bathroom out in the wilderness and having to take it out with you, you may consider taking something to stop you up for those few days or finding a different hike because if you get caught leaving it or anything else behind, the fines will pile on quickly.
With the creek constantly flowing, water is rarely an issue if you have a way to filter it or boil it down to rid of any straggling contaminates.
When we went, they told us that the rangers drink from the stream directly without filters but I’d rather be safe than sorry and just use a life straw or something like that so you don’t happen to catch the one bug that ruins the whole trip.
With Coyote Gulch being in a slot canyon, there are really only two ways to go to get to places; down and back. One of the most, if not the most, famous destinations of Coyote Gulch is the Jacob Hamblin Arch but that doesn’t mean it’s the only place to stop and see.
Stevens Arch, the Black Lagoon, and a waterfall caused by the meeting of the Escalante River and Coyote Creek are just as breathtaking as Jacob Hamblin’s Arch. The distance to Stevens Arch is about 7 miles from Jacob Hamblin’s Arch with everything else falling in between the two.
If you do end up going to Steven’s Arch, be on the lookout for the “mythical outhouse” that’s out there. It’s the only one around in the gulch due to people vandalized them causing them to be sealed and removed.
Hiking Coyote Gulch