Hiking Project Logo

A loop hike along the Coyote Gulch, Crack-in-the-Wall and the Jacob Hamblin Arch trails.


Your Rating: Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add To-Do · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

13.4

Miles

21.6

KM

Loop

4,793' 1,461 m

High

3,790' 1,155 m

Low

1,414' 431 m

Up

1,424' 434 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

28%

Max Grade (16°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Commonly Backpacked · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Waterfall · Wildlife

Overview

A long day hike or a great overnight loop, this hike explores the scenic and rugged terrain of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

Need to Know

Bring a water filter and water tablets if you plan on refilling water in the Gulch, as there have been high levels of E.coli reported. You must also bring a wagbag as all waste must be carried out. If backpacking, be sure to bring at least 20 feet of rope to lower your pack through the Crack in the Wall.

Description

This trail starts at the Coyote Gulch Trailhead and can be done as an overnight loop trail or a long day. Most of the premier camping is closer to Jacob Hamblin Arch, but you can find decent camping throughout the loop.

You must get backcountry permits at the Escalante Visitor Center if you plan on camping overnight. Per the land management: "All human body waste solids shall be contained and carried out using a portable toilet or a specifically engineered bag waste containment system in Coyote Gulch." Bring wag-bags regardless of whether you'll be doing an overnight or a dayhike in Coyote Gulch. The health of this delicate riparian ecosystem depends on you!

It takes about an hour and a half to drive to the parking spot from the start of Hole in the Rock Road, and it's located on a side road called Forty Mile Ridge Road. Park in the dirt clearing on a low hill next to a large water tank. It is not advised that you go further than this unless you have a high-clearance 4WD vehicle, but the sandy road does keep going to a second trailhead. After parking at the tank you'll walk this road for just shy of three miles to begin the trail. If you happen to have two vehicles that are both capable 4WD, then you could set a shuttle to cut out this portion.

Although the parks department does not maintain the trail into Coyote Gulch, there are some directional cairns that we followed successfully, but be sure to bring a map, old school or downloaded on your device. The route enters the Gulch at a place called Crack-in-the-wall that is just that. I recommend bringing about 20 feet of rope or cord to lower your packs through this narrow slot. It will make the downclimb much easier.

From the crack in the wall, you can continue north towards the confluence of the Escalante River and the Coyote Gulch, or follow a path to the left which is a shortcut of sorts to get into Coyote Gulch canyon. Continuing up Coyote Gulch is the way to Jacob Hamblin Arch and the rest of this loop.

The natural spectacle in Coyote Gulch is mind-blowing, and this is well-known as one of the most scenic canyon routes anywhere. You have to work for the views, however, by wading upstream through flowing water. I went in mid-April and the water was VERY cold and about ankle deep. There were definitely spots where hiking through water was unavoidable so I'd recommend you bring a pair of water shoes to change into for this section, or just embrace having wet feet for the day.

Several miles of this trekking in and out of the water and scrambling over small ledges will lead you eventually to the highlight rock formation, which is Jacob Hamblin Arch. Take time to linger here and get photos from all the angles, because the next part of the hike could be the toughest yet.

You'll need to take the Jacob Hamblin Arch Trail exit route, which leads straight out of the canyon on sloping slickrock. Sometimes fixed ropes are in place, sometimes not. You'll want good traction for this and a good eye for routefinding. There will likely be cairns to lead you on, but they aren't always reliable. Once out of the canyon, you'll have a hot hike through open desert on the trail back to your car.

Note: You can just as well do this loop in reverse, which makes the river walking in Coyote Gulch a bit easier. However, the entry via Jacob Hamblin Arch Trail is much harder going down, and going upward through Crack in the Wall would be trickier too. I recommend going counterclockwise as I've described.

Here are some GPS coordinates that may be helpful:

Trailhead: 37.389971, -111.034848
Crack-in-the-Rock: 37.41911, -110.984897
Down the Dunes to the River
Stevens Arch: 37.433528, -110.979202
Coyote Natural Bridge: 37.416267, -111.027685
Jacob Hamblin Exit: 37.419008, -111.043115

Flora & Fauna

Deer, free-range cows, birds, lizards.

Contacts

Shared By:

Caitlin Zupancic with improvements by Jesse Weber

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 9 votes

#576

Overall
  5.0 from 9 votes
5 Star
100%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#47

in Utah

#576

Overall
43 Views Last Month
16,866 Since Apr 6, 2018
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

14%
0%
0%
0%
86%
0%

Photos

Jacob Hamblin Arch will blow your mind!
Feb 1, 2017 near Escalante, UT
Jacob Hamblin Arch
Apr 5, 2023 near Escalante, UT
View from atop the nearby Crack in the Wall.
Jun 11, 2017 near Escalante, UT
Heading into the canyon.
Feb 13, 2020 near Escalante, UT
Fall is a gorgeous time to enjoy Coyote Gulch.
Feb 1, 2017 near Escalante, UT
Remains of a former arch along Coyote Gulch.
Dec 24, 2016 near Escalante, UT
loading

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Unknown
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Jul 1, 2023
Richard Rohr
May 23, 2023
Atsuko Ohtake
Apr 30, 2022
Alex Temus
May 19, 2021
Atsuko Ohtake
May 12, 2020
Brice Sanchez
Apr 7, 2020
Becca Sutton
8h 03m
Apr 6, 2020
Becca Sutton
Mar 23, 2020
Shawn Penick
Hiked to ledge of canyon under darkness and camped till first light. Entered canyon @ Jacob Hamblin Arch Trail. Exit @ Crack-in-the-Rock. 24mi
Welcome

Join the Community

Create your FREE account today!
Already have an account? Login to close this notice.

Get Started