Premier Hiking Company

Wildland Trekking Phone Number

Coyote Gulch

Highlights

  • Vast, remote Utah wilderness
  • One of the most beautiful canyons in the West
  • Arches, natural bridges, cascades & petroglyphs
  • The enchanting Escalante River in winding canyons
  • Soaring sandstone canyon walls
  • Delicious backcountry cuisine
  • One of the clearest night skies you've ever seen

Description

This is our most popular hike in Utah and deservedly so. We give you a glimpse of what Glen Canyon was like before being flooded by Lake Powell, and as such this is a true treasure. Highlights include beautifully sculpted streambeds, intimate cascades and waterfalls, deep overhangs and alcoves, and numerous natural bridges and arches. This hike has incredible diversity, as we finish with an exciting ascent out of the canyon and across a stretch of signature Utah slickrock.
Our backpacking trip begins in St. George, Utah where we get an early start and drive to the remote trailhead. From the trailhead we'll work our way down the Coyote Gulch drainage. For the next four days this dramatic canyon takes us through some of the most beautiful country in the United States. It culminates on Days 3 and 4 with an amazing arch, natural bridge, pictographs, waterfalls, fantastic side canyon exploration, and a memorable ascent out of the canyon.

Our guests tend to fall in love with this route but we want to forewarn you, the power of this place awakens strong emotion. People often feel compelled to return again and again throughout their lifetime in search of more “good times!"
Please note: the public agencies that oversee this region require that everyone doing Coyote Gulch pack out all solid waste, including human waste. We provide resources and training on how to accomplish this. If you'd rather embark on a trip in this region where that isn't required, we recommending checking out the 4-day Boulder Mail Trail.
Click here to have a detailed PDF information packet emailed to you, or request a reservation today. You can also call us at 800-715-HIKE.

 

Photos of this Trip

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Shuttle to the trailhead: 5-hour drive from St. George
Mileage: 3.5 miles
Elevation Loss: 300 feet


This Utah backpacking trip begins at the Red Well Trailhead, on the rugged Hole-in-the-Rock road, at the “headwaters” of Utah's Coyote Gulch. From the trailhead we hike a short distance before entering an open and dry wash, the upper section of Coyote Gulch. The day’s hike continues downstream and gradually the wash begins to resemble a canyon as short walls of Navajo Sandstone begin to appear on either side of the wash and we come to several pour-offs and short waterfalls. Just as the canyon begins deepening we’ll find ourselves in a beautiful cottonwood grove and our camp for the evening.


Day 2

Mileage: 6 miles
Elevation Loss: 200 feet


Continuing our hike downstream through stands of cottonwood and willows, the gulch deepens and narrows and encloses us in a towering corridor of sandstone. The creek is flowing continuously now and there are numerous crossings. As we progress, the day’s changing light plays on the canyon’s walls in a brilliant show of reds, yellows and browns. These imposing walls are the backdrop for features closer at hand: beautifully sculpted streambeds and intimate little cascades and waterfalls.

After a few miles of hiking, in an especially sinuous and narrow part of the gulch, we’ll hike by Jacob Hamblin Arch. Another half mile hike downstream brings us to Coyote Natural Bridge. We’ll walk directly underneath this unbelievable feature. Camp will be made in the vicinity of Coyote Natural Bridge.

After dinner we’ll explore the truly amazing Native American ruins nearby. Bands of Fremont people, a pre-columbian culture that lived contemporaneously with the Anasazi through 1300 AD, once called Coyote Gulch their home. They farmed plots of land and made their dwellings beneath the canyon’s walls. Our second night’s campsite allows us to see a fine pictograph panel at the base of the Navajo Sandstone, a small ruin littered with artifacts, and a Fremont Indian dwelling.


Day 3

Mileage: 5.5 miles and 4 miles optional day hiking
Elevation Loss: 200 feet


A casual morning and delicious breakfast will precede more beautiful hiking downstream. Several miles from camp we’ll hike beneath Cliff Arch, a spectacular arch several hundred feet above the canyon floor. The character of the canyon changes again as we progress, becoming wider with steep vegetated hillsides beginning to appear beneath the canyon’s walls. Larger pour-offs accompany a higher stream volume and sandstone terraces begin to appear above deep overhangs where the stream flows. Later in the day we’ll use these terraces for easier hiking and after traversing a sandstone slab we’ll arrive at the confluence of Coyote Gulch and the Escalante River. We’ll make camp here under steep cliff walls and, time permitting, we’ll have the opportunity to day hike upstream along the Escalante River to the remote and spectacular Stevens Canyon. Those so inclined are more than welcome to relax in camp rather than day hike.


Day 4

Mileage: 4.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 800 feet
Shuttle to St. George: 5-hour drive


Following breakfast we’ll break camp and re-trace our steps one mile upstream where we’ll turn south and ascend a long sandy slope. It is a strenuous hike in soft sand to the “crack in the wall,” a narrow crevice we’ll use to escape the canyon’s upper-most cliff wall. From the top we’ll have a brilliant view of the Escalante River and Steven’s Arch. After the guide hauls everyone’s backpack over the rim with a rope we’ll hike two miles across the desert to the Fortymile Ridge Trailhead and our vehicle. Refreshing drinks and a comfy suburban signify the end of our Utah backpacking trip and will get us comfortably back to St. George.


Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary park restrictions, campsite availability, weather, road closures, guest ability/injury, and natural events like fires and flooding.

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Top-of-the-line tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and technical backpack
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified Utah hiking guide
  • Roundtrip transportation from your hotel in St. George, Utah to the trailhead and back
  • National park entrance fees
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)
See the Packing Lists page for more information.


Meals: What To Expect

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.


Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:
  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware sleeping bags
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki or Black Diamond trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Satellite phone


What Gear To Bring

We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are two 1-liter water bottles per person and either a headlamp or flashlight per person. Basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.


What Clothes to Bring

Please refer to the trip packet for a recommended clothing list (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots (reliable brands include Montrail, Lowa, Merrell, Vasque, and Salomon), rain gear, and non-cotton and cotton clothing layers. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required, and we recommend Neoprene socks and water shoes for this trip. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

NOTE: See the Packing Lists page for more detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your hiking tour. The trip packet you receive when you contact us will have the most accurate clothing and gear list for the tour you're interested in.

Trip Logistics

How do I Register?

Ready to hike? Simply click here and complete the form to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you're ready to register we'll email you a link to a registration profile. You'll have 48 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit ($500).

Feel free to call us for more info - we're here 7 days a week!


Where Do We Meet?

You will rendezvous with the guide and group in St. George, Utah for an orientation meeting at 5:00 PM the evening before the trip begins. Your guide will be in contact approximately 2 weeks before your trip starts to specify the orientation location, and we are more than happy to pick you up if the meeting if you are staying at one of our recommended hotels but the orientation is taking place elsewhere. The guide will then pick you up at your hotel the next morning for transport to the trailhead. For Private Utah Tours your guide can meet you at your hotel in St. George or Cedar City, Utah at an agreed upon time.

Check out our Travel Resources page for information on flights, shuttles, lodging and more.


Start/End Times

Your guide will inform you of the first day's pick-up time at the orientation meeting. Generally, you can expect it to be between 5 and 8 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will drop you off at your hotel on the final day no later than 7 PM.


Safety Considerations

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT's, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We've developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and most tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.


Guides

Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.


Group Size and Age Restrictions

The standard group size on backpacking trips is 5 guests and 1 guide, with a maximum of 10 guests and 2 guides. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 800-715-HIKE (4453) and we'll answer all your questions.

Age restrictions are as follows:
  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis


Weather in the Southern Utah

Weather in Southern Utah
Southern Utah is a high desert. The weather is very moderate: occasional dustings of snow in the winter that melt rapidly, and summer temperatures in the low 90s (°F) that often cool down with thunderstorms. To be fully prepared, please follow the recommended clothing list closely (this list comes as part of your trip packet when you register). The ideal time to be in the Canyon Country is Spring and Fall. Read below for average high and low temperatures in Utah's Canyon Country:

Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)
 
 
Month
High
Low
 
Dec-Feb
43°
18°
 
March
55°
27°
 
April
64°
33°
 
May
73°
40°
 
Jun-Aug
88°
55°
 
September
79°
45°
 
October
67°
35°
 
November
53°
25°