Sept 26-29 Coyote Gulch
- Vast, remote Utah wilderness
- Stunningly beautiful canyon
- Arches, natural bridges & cascades
- Cultural history & petroglyphs
- The enchanting Escalante River
- Soaring sandstone canyon walls
- Delicious backcountry cuisine
- Amazing night skies
This is our most popular backpacking trip 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. What a place to learn to backpack!
BACKPACKER Intro to Backpacking Courses
- Shuttle to the trailhead: 5-hour drive from St. George
- Mileage: 3.5 miles
- Elevation Loss: 300 feet
This This 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
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.
- 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 stream beds 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.
- 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.
- 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 Forty-mile 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 access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes.
- 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!
- Clothes, raingear, and footwear (Oboz hiking shoes and boots recommended)
- Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
- Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
- Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)
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.
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
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.
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, 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.
Ready to hike? In the Dates section of this trip page, the green dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here 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 72 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Guides are required to take 8 hours off each 24-hour period to sleep, recuperate, take personal/down time...etc. In addition, as part of the 8 hours off they must sleep/rest or be in their tents/rooms uninterrupted for a minimum of 5 hours each night. We ask guests to respect these requirements and to not interrupt guides' off time and sleep time unless there is a true emergency.
The standard group size on backpacking trips is 6 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 1-800-715-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 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)|