Coyote Gulch

From an overnight stay in Escalante, we drove 33 miles down the Hole in the Rock road, to the Hurricane Wash trailhead. After we donned sunscreen and backpacks, cows and calves stood in a staring line, watching us descend out of sight down the Wash. Hurricane Wash runs about 4.5 miles down to Coyote Gulch. The Wash starts as a wide, shallow, sandy canyon, shaded occasionally by juniper and mountain mahogany, and gradually cuts more deeply into the red rock. A stream begins to percolate and flow about 3 miles down, nurturing cottonwoods (whose leaves seemed to glow), willows, sweet peas, Munro globemallow, and Eaton penstemon. We named different parts of the trail : Cottonwood Cove, Willow Way, Lizard Lane, Prickly Pear Place, and Sweet Pea Gardens. A small cairn marks the confluence with Coyote Gulch (note your surroundings, so you don’t miss Hurricane Wash on your return), and the stream now required water proof sandals. Raucous ravens, canyon wrens, and mourning doves encouraged us along, as we continued downstream. After 1.5 miles we came upon Jacob Hamblin Arch (a Mormon pioneer to southern Utah, known for his peacekeeping among the Indians). After a couple more bends in the Gulch, we dropped our packs to “establish” our overnight camp. From there we trekked on downstream for another couple miles, past the fluted waterfalls, and to the Coyote Natural Bridge. After we had drunk in the sights and sounds of birds chirruping, we headed back upstream to our campsite. As we settled in for the night, we noticed swallows swooping from the cliffs above, to catch insects in the fading sun. Later we heard frogs “singing” (and saw some clusters of frog’s eggs in the stream the next day). We witnessed a parade of small clouds, gathering color, as they marched along our sliver of sky, between the canyon walls. Finally, the stars began to creep out into the moonless dark. What a light show, starting with the dipper part of the big dipper. All the while, the burbling of the stream, and occasional distant voices of fellow campers. Next morning we lingered in our sleeping bags until the sun had warmed the canyon somewhat. Packed up and headed back upstream, enjoying the same massive walls and glittering stream in different light. BeUtahfull!

Hurricane Wash, near the Coyote Gulch confluence
Hurricane Wash, near the Coyote Gulch confluence

Jacob Hamlin Arch in Coyote Gulch
Jacob Hamlin Arch in Coyote Gulch

coyote gulch fluted waterfall
coyote gulch fluted waterfall

Coyote Gulch, downstream from the fluted waterfall
Coyote Gulch, downstream from the fluted waterfall

Karen at the lower fluted fall in Coyote Gulch
Karen at the lower fluted fall in Coyote Gulch

Coyote Natural Bridge
Coyote Natural Bridge

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