Utah Rocklands

Slot Canyon colours, Peek-A-Boo, Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

Impressions of a 10 day trip to Utah in April 2014, mostly spent in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and Zion National Park.
Coyote Gulch is a tributary of the Escalante River where it flows through southern Utah. We spent one night in the Gulch and there are a couple ways to descend the canyon. The route we hiked starts at Fortymile Ridge carpark just a couple of km off the main “Hole in the Rock Road”. We entered the Canyon close to Jacob Hamblin Arch, made our way to the end where the Gulch meets Escalante River and finally climbed out at the famous Crack in the Wall. On this route, ropes are strongly recommended to transport your camping gear in and out in more or less one piece. Of course, Coyote Gulch camping means leaving no trace – fortunately, most people visiting seem to be aware of that which is good to notice.
Best thing about starting from and returning to Fortymile carpark is that you turn your hike into a roundtrip rather than having to enter + leave by the same route.
Other trails start at the dry fork of Coyote Gulch or at Hurricane wash but these ways you either have to walk back inside the gulch or climb out at some point and do a rather boring walk back along Fortymile ridge road.
The slot Canyons in the area, of which we visited Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Gulch, are very atmospheric when the light is right and loads of fun to crawl and climb around in.
In Kanab, we didn’t win the lottery to visit Coyote Buttes North – there were ’round 100 other people applying for the 10 (?) day permits! Hence, we went to CB South which also is a great place to hang around plus you get the bonus of no people. Guess CB North is just that famous that most people visiting the area either want to go there or nowhere else.
In Zion, the track to the aptly named Subway was most interesting. During our stay, we overnighted at a great free campsite on a beautiful plateau which is quite close to the NP gates and accessible by high clearance / 4wd (when wet) car only.
The Utah / Arizona backcountry is a hiker’s dream and easily qualifies for a return trip – we missed White Pocket (lack of a proper car), Zebra Slotcanyon or the Zion Narrows (lack of time) just to name a few places we would come back for..

6 thoughts on “Utah Rocklands

  1. Stunning photos! Especially the ones of Angel’s Landing. So glad to hear that you had an enjoyable time here in Utah, although it’s tragic that you missed Zion Narrows. That is a must do from Top to the Bottom, not just the day hike. Since it looks like you enjoy slot canyons, you must look into Buckskin Gulch as well.

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    • Photo opportunities in the area are tremendous and it’s easy taking good pics there 🙂 Thanks for the advise, the Narrows are definitely on our bucket list, as well as White Pocket. I’m sure there are tons of good walks in the area.

      brgds

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    • Hi there! I’d say that – like any dirtroad – you cannot really predict the road conditions on a long term basis. We experienced Hole-in-the-Rock-Rd. as a well maintained, easily doable road with some corrugations + minor washouts. If it’d be raining a lot you’d probably be screwed with a low clearance sedan due to the puddles that most likely come up on these types of roads. So watch the forecast :)!

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