Nestled in the heart of Escalante’s canyon country, Coyote Gulch contains two arches, a natural bridge, and several waterfalls. This concentration of outstanding natural features, relatively easy route finding and water availability make Coyote Gulch the most popular backpacking destination of all the canyons of the Escalante. To ensure this area of proposed wilderness remains a special place for future generations, please follow all regulations and plan accordingly. Thorough trip planning is not only your first step in having a safe and enjoyable trip, but also in protecting the natural and cultural resource in the area.
When hiking in Coyote Gulch plan on encountering other visitors, particularly in the spring and fall. If solitude is one of your primary objectives, consider another route.
Backcountry permits are required for all overnight stays in the Escalante District of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Obtain permits at the Escalante Interagency Visitor Center in the town of Escalante or at one of the entry trailheads. Day use does not require a backcountry permit, but please sign the trail register.
Group Size Limit
Large groups create large impacts in the backcountry. The group size limit for Coyote Gulch is 12 people. Groups larger than 12 people must break up into smaller groups and maintain a minimum distance of ½ mile from each other while hiking and camping. Group size limits are strictly enforced. Permits will be denied and violators will be cited if limits are exceeded.
Leave No Trace
Make every attempt to leave the backcountry nicer than you found it. “Take only pictures and leave only footprints” is a good reminder. Do not remove anything from the canyon. Leave the flowers, rocks and everything else for others to enjoy. Carry all of your trash out of the canyon, including toilet paper and other hygiene items. Do not burn or bury it.
Human Waste Disposal
Human waste must be removed from Coyote Gulch. With the increase of recreational use, the National Park Service has introduced a human waste disposal program in the Escalante River corridor and its tributaries within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. All human body waste solids shall be contained and carried out using a portable toilet or a specifically engineered bag waste containment system in Coyote Gulch. Use of a plastic or paper bag as a receptacle for solid human waste and/or for disposal of solid human waste is prohibited unless part of a specifically engineered bag waste containment system containing enzymes and polymers to treat human solid waste, capable of being sealed securely and state approved for disposal in ordinary trash receptacles. Visitors are responsible for providing their own removal system that is adequate for the size of their group and length of stay. There are many “portable toilet” human waste bags available on the market. Some examples are Restop II Bags, Wag Bags and Biffy Bags. These products can be found at many outdoor product retailers. Homemade PVC “poop tubes” or other hard sided screw top containers can be used directly or in conjunction with a bag system. The pit toilets by Jacob Hamblin Arch have been closed. The composting toilet by Big Spring Alcove is currently open. Please do not leave trash at this facility.
Fires are not permitted in Coyote Gulch.
Pets are not permitted in Coyote Gulch. This includes pack animals such as horses, llamas and goats.
Do not feed wildlife. Food and trash should be stored in a manner impervious to entry by birds and other wildlife.
Do not build them. They can mislead other visitors and cause resource damage to build. Rely on your map and compass and know your route. There are no maintained trails.
Preserve the Soundscape
Your voice carries farther than you think in canyon country. Respect other visitors by keeping your group quiet and not playing amplified music. If you must have music in the backcountry wear headphones.
In canyon country, always be Flash Flood Aware! Flash flooding can result from heavy rains and thunderstorms. Even if the skies above you are clear, a storm hundreds of miles away may have triggered a flash flood in your area. Check weather conditions before hiking, and especially before entering a slot canyon.
Coyote Gulch may be enjoyed as an overnight backpacking trip or as a long day hike. The mileage and length of time required will depend on your point of entry into the canyon.
Red Well - Follow the Hole-in-the-Rock road 30 miles to the signed junction, then drive 1.5 miles to the trailhead.
Hurricane Wash - Follow the Hole-in-the-Rock road 33 miles to the parking area beside the road. The trailhead is located across the road.
Fortymile Ridge: Water Tank- Follow Hole-in-the-Rock road 35 miles to the signed junction, then drive 4 miles to the trailhead. This route requires 100+ feet of class 5 friction climbing.
Fortymile Ridge: Crack in the Wall - Follow Hole-in-the-Rock road 35 miles to the signed junction, then drive 7 miles to the trailhead. The last two miles of this road is through deep sand and is not suitable for low-clearance vehicles. This route contains a large sand dune (700 feet of elevation) that can be strenuous to climb.
From Red Well trailhead to the Escalante River - 13 miles (one way)
Hurricane Wash trailhead to the Escalante River - 12.3 miles (one way)
Fortymile Ridge: Water Tank to Coyote Gulch- 2 miles (one way)
Fortymile Ridge: Crack in the Wall to Coyote Gulch– 2.5 miles (one way)
Coyote Gulch contains a number of seeps and springs in addition to a perennial stream. One particularly good spring flows from the canyon wall just downstream from Jacob Hamblin Arch.
Be Ready to Get Wet
The perennial stream in Coyote Gulch begins about one mile from the Red Well trailhead. The stream in Hurricane Wash begins about 3.5 miles from the trailhead. The stream is encountered upon reaching the canyon bottom from the other two trailheads. Most of the hike includes many stream crossings or walking in the stream. Your feet will get wet. From Red Well or Hurricane Wash trailheads, the canyon develops from wide, sandy washes to a narrow canyon with towering walls as you travel toward the confluence with the Escalante River.