Coyote Gulch: A perfect adventure in three days

Coyote provides waterfalls and buttes. What more do you want?
Coyote provides waterfalls and buttes. What more do you want? (Click image to buy print)

After my trip to Bryce Canyon, I loaded the truck with Marneé, my father, my mother and friend Bob and headed into the heart of the Staircase-Escalante National Monument. We drove down the washboard ridden Hole in the Rock Road to the trailhead of Coyote Gulch (Red Well). The two ladies and I descended into the canyon first, while my father and Bob shuttled a truck to our exit at Crack in the Wall.

With all canyons, the farther down you go, the larger and more dramatic the canyons walls become. At first, the canyon is shallow, maybe 200 feet deep, but by the third or fourth mile, the sky becomes a sliver, obscured by 800 foot walls. The sunlight and shadows dance with each other, creating temperature variances of 20 degrees.

 

Marnee and my mom Sandy walking down Red Well.
Marnee and my mom Sandy walking down Red Well.
Marnee crossing the creek.
Marnee crossing the creek.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sun peaks through Jacob Hamblin Arch.
The sun peaks through Jacob Hamblin Arch.

 

Getting out of the canyon can provide some amazing sunsets, especially from above Jacob Hamlin Arch.
Getting out of the canyon can provide some amazing sunsets, especially from above Jacob Hamlin Arch.

We camped under the Jacob Hamblin Arch the first night, where there is a nature spring. The is probably the cleanest water in the world, filtered through layers upon layers of densly compacted sandstone.

Not all the beauty is confined within the canyon. If you have the scrambling skills, there are a couple of routes out of the canyon. There are two right by the first toilet. One heads south, right next to the toilet and the other route goes north, up the arm of Jacob Hamblin Arch.

 

Around every bend there are magnificent features, such as little waterfalls.
Around every bend there are magnificent features, such as little waterfalls. (Click image to buy image)

 

A little reflection does the soul some good.
If you look in just the right places you can find the perfect reflection. (Click image to buy print)

As the canyon carves deeper into the sedimentary rock, it begins to take a different shape. The layers of rock become more pronounced, giving the canyon a tiered look. Up top, the Navajo Sandstone stands tall with it’s colossal shapes and gestures, towering over the crumbling lower layers of rock. And down below the river finds the easiest route, squeezing through boulders and cascading over ledges.

 

Natural Bridge
Yes, this is a natural bridge. (Click image to buy print)

 

A view into Coyote Gulch from the head of a side canyon.
A view into Coyote Gulch from the head of a side canyon.
Jug handle arch and blooming cactus: gorgeous.
Jug handle arch and blooming cactus: gorgeous. (Click on image to buy print)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our second night we camped two turns from the exit route, roughly a mile upstream from the confluence of the Escalante River. The night came quickly, as did our game of cribbage.

In the morning, we awoke to wispy clouds and a slight breeze. It was a tell tale sign that a storm was to come. We packed the bags and lugged them up to the crack in the wall, which is only wide enough for a human being.

 

My mom Sandy squeezing through the crack in the wall.
My mom Sandy squeezing through the crack in the wall.

 

Here I am pulling up the bags.
Here I am pulling up the bags.

Once we pulled up the bag, trying not to tear them too much, we headed across the open desert to the car, where surprisingly the beer was still cold.

 

My mom walking in the clouds.
My mom walking in the clouds.

 

Leave a reply

About Dylan H. Brown

Contact

Connect