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26-28 March 2006
Coyote Gulch is a popular springtime backpacking destination in the sprawling canyonlands of southern Utah. This tributary of the Escalante River is full of enough arches, waterfalls, and giant natural ampitheaters to keep a photographer- or any backpacker- busy forever. It's accessible by driving 40 miles south of Escalante, Utah on the infamous Hole-in-the-Rock Road.

My sister Anne, her friend Ashley, and I made a trip here in late March 2006- which is still just the beginning of springtime in the Gulch. We followed the route described in Steve Allen's Canyoneering 3 guidebook: a loop passing over miles of slickrock, then down the sandy Hurricane Wash, and finally following Coyote Gulch all the way to its confluence with the Escalante.

Three arches crop up along Coyote as it evolves from a dry wash to a steep-walled spectacle: The giant Jacob Hamblin arch, followed by the Coyote Natural Bridge, and finally the spindly sideways Cliff Arch. Stevens Arch, the fifth largest natural arch in the United States, is located directly across the Escalante River from its confluence with Coyote, but an incoming storm front prevented us from visiting this arch up close.

We took three days to do the loop; an experienced canyoneer could blaze through it in two, but this canyon is really worth four days or more to fully explore. There are some tricky bits to descending the canyon, but it's entirely non-technical and can be hiked with standard backpacking equipment.
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