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TR: Coyote Gulch, Escalante River

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TR: Coyote Gulch, Escalante River

Postby J ney » Wed May 15, 2013 6:31 pm

Hello... this is my first TR, please forgive any formatting errors or other faux pas!!
======================
Work provided me with the opportunity to spend a few days backpacking in Utah... after considering trips in Zion (West Rim Trail), Bryce (Under-the-Rim), and the Grand Staircase-Escalante area, I decided to try the Coyote Gulch area south of Escalante; it offered a great variety of put-ins and outs, interesting hiking, outstanding scenery, and a bit off the beaeten path.
I flew into Salt Lake City from the Bay Area on Friday and made the 5-hour drive to the town of
Escalante; from Escalante, it is about a 43-mile drive down a graded dirt road (Hole-in-the-Rock Rd) to the trailhead; the road has some deep sand and I'd recommend a vehicle with a bit of ground clearance (my rental Mazda CX-5 did just fine).
photo 1.JPG
The water tanks are off of 40-Mile Ridge Rd

photo 3.JPG
Deep sand on the way to Crack-in-the-Wall

There are several put-ins for Coyote Gulch... I chose to enter through the Crack-in-the-Wall after parking at a water tank off of 40-Mile Ridge Road (free wilderness permits are available at the trailheads). The Crack-in-the-Wall is about a 5 mile hike along a 4WD road and trail through a mix of deep sand and slick rock (if you have an extra vehicle and more of an off-road pedigree, you can set up a car shuttle and shave off a couple of miles by driving through the deep sand). Crack-in-the-Wall is a fun way down into the canyon that will make all but the skinniest folks feel like they need to lose some weight :-). The crack is so narrow that you must lower your bag the 10 or 15 feet before squeezing through. Once through the crack, it is a steep descent down 700 feet of deep sand to Coyote Gulch (about 1/2 mile up stream from the confluence with the Escalante), the views are phenomenal coming down from Crack-in-the-Wall, especially of Stevens Arch.
photo 12.JPG
Shimmying through Crack-in-the-Wall
photo 4.JPG
View from Crack-in-the-Wall
photo 14.JPG
View of Stevens Arch just above Coyote Gulch
photo 11.JPG
Bring some line to lower packs.


It was about 7pm by the time I hit the water so I set up camp on a bench near the Coyote Creek and called it a night.
On Saturday, I headed down Coyote Creek to the confluence w/ Escalante; it is a beautiful walk
along the banks of the creek and you go through areas similar to the Subway in Zion, once at the Escalante, water-hiking becomes essential but rarely was the water above my knees; I headed up Escalante to Stevens Canyon with phenomenal views of the arch before forcing myself to turnaround as I wanted to make it to Jacob Hamblin Arch that night. Coming back into Coyote Gulch, every turn seemed to provide new things to look at and I felt like a kid in the candy store with endless opportunities to explore and scramble. The high canyon walls made my GPS unreliable (and I'm too lazy to scale all the twists out on my topo) but I would say it was about 14-miles or so from the near the confluence of Coyote & Escalante, up to Stevens Canyon, and back through Coyote Gulch to Jacob Hamblin Arch where I set up camp... certainly a long day when a lot of the hiking is through water. Jacob Hamblin Arch is the star of the gulch and attracted a decent crowds (it could be day-hiked from the water tanks). I chose to camp at Jacob Hamblin Arch as my intent was to climb out of the gulch at this point and then make the 2-mile hike back to water tank however I thought the exit was up-stream from arch and even saw some signs that reaffirmed my assumption... after some failed attempts of scrambling up, however, I decided to hike out through Hurricane Wash with another couple I met on the trail and then go cross-country from near the confluence of Coyote & Hurricane back to the water tank. In retrospect, it seems that the exit point from Jacob Hamblin is DOWNSTREAM from the arch rather than up-stream... I've looked at pics and vids of the exit and it seems very doable.
Overall, I easily could have spent several days just in Coyote Gulch and several more in the surrounding canyons... my Tevas proved invaluable and it was quite a pleasant change to transition from hiking on-trail or in the creek as my mood dictated. I only saw a couple of people until I hit Jacob Hamblin arch where folks seemed to clot; other than my second night, I did not have an issue at all feeling like I was in a truly pristine and unique wilderness. There are two self-composting toilets in the gulch: one by Jacob Hamblin Arch and the other one near Cliff Arch. I can't wait to head back there again!!
Attachments
photo2 5.JPG
Waterfalls abound
photo 35.JPG
Jacob Hamblin Arch
photo 43.JPG
Miles of slickrock when hiking cross-country from Hurricane Wash back to the water tank.
photo 44.JPG
Mormon Tea (natural source of ephedra) covered the landscape... chewing on it is a nice pick-me-up!!



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Re: TR: Coyote Gulch, Escalante River

Postby maverick » Thu May 16, 2013 9:08 am

Loved it J ney, gotta love that red rock country! Great descriptions and wonderful
photo's, thanks again for taking the time to put this together.
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TR: Coyote Gulch, Escalante River

Postby J ney » Thu May 16, 2013 10:40 am

Thanks Maverick!! Looking forward to doing a GCofT trip report after Memorial Day.
-Justin
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Re: TR: Coyote Gulch, Escalante River

Postby madeintahoe » Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:24 pm

Just beautiful! I have always wondered about going in VIA crack in the wall
Thank you so much for posting these beautiful pictures...Can't wait to get back there!
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