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Coyote Gultch - Grand Staircase Escalante

Summary: A nice walk through a scenic, well watered canyon.  Warning: one steep downclimb is required to enter the canyon via the route specified below.
Directions: From the small town of Escalante.  Drive east on Utah State Highway 12.  Turn right on Hole-in-the-Rock Road and follow about 36 miles, turn left on to Forty Mile Ridge Rd and follow to the Jacob Hamlin Arch Trailhead & parking area.
Road Conditions: High Clearance Vehicle? - It really depends on when you arrive.  After a recent grading the roads might be passable using a passenger car, though there are some sand traps that might prove challenging.
Navigation: Moderate - some short cross country stretches to get in and out of the Gulch
Length: Sorry, not really sure - plan on a full day of hiking though, or perhaps a two day backpack
Date Hiked: November, 1999
Weather Conditions: Cool/cold in the canyon, (in fact the water was semi frozen in places making for some painful wading) warm in the sun.  That's the desert for you.
Required Skills:
Hike Description: From the Jacob Hamlin Arch Trailhead begin at the metal tank and head directly north up/down and around the sandstone hills towards the big canyon in the distance.  Once near the edge (but not too near) look for the big arch which comes out of the north wall of the canyon.   There is a steep slick rock slope just east of the arch that will allow you to enter the canyon (Note: This section is really steep, the author and his wife made it down with careful negotiation, but one slip and you'd be in trouble - take care descending or bring some rope).  Once in the canyon, head east (right).  You'll be walking in the stream (up to knee deep when the author was there), or on one of many use trails that run along side.  On the way downstream you will pass Coyote Natural Bridge & Cliff Arch before eventually reaching the Escalante River several hours later.  Once at the Escalante turn around and head back upstream a few hundred yards.  Your exit point is the sandy slide on stream right (the right side of the stream if you are facing the direction the water is flowing).  There is an easily visible trail that leads up this tedious sand slog (check out the view behind you as you ascend of Stevens Arch to the north) which leads to a sandstone ridge.  Climb up the ridge to the bench, at which point you'll have to route find your way south-west to the Fortymile Ridge Trailhead (this will make sense with a glance at the map recommended below).  Once at the trailhead follow Fortymile Ridge Rd back to your car.
Rating (1-5 stars):
Though this is a popular area by Escalante standards, it is quite a nice hike.  The author and his wife completed this hike on Thanksgiving day in about 8 hours and saw several groups of people particularly around the sandy slide near the end of the hike.
Maps: Trails Illustrated - Canyons of the Escalante
Books:  Canyon Hiking Guide to the Colorado Plateau - Michael Kelsey
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.
Coyote Natural Bridge Climbing the sand slide with Stevens
Arch in the background