We are so excited to have our friends at Super Healthy Kids write a guest post for us. Amy is owner and blogger at Super Healthy Kids where you can find meal ideas, recipes, and more to get your family eating more fruits and veggies every day. Amy and her husband with their older kids (teens and tweens) recently visited Coyote Gulch located here in Utah which gives us a unique opportunity to share a little more mature perspective on a great Utah adventure. Thanks Super Healthy Kids!
If you get a chance to visit Coyote Gulch in the Escalante, Utah area, you will not be disappointed. Recently, our family of 5, decided to hike into the gulch over spring break.
There are four ways into Coyote Gulch. We chose to enter through Jacob’s Hamblin Trail because it is the shortest distance into the gulch. Most people prefer to enter through Hurricane wash or Crack in the Wall. These, entrances are easier, but you have to walk a lot further. Jacob’s Hamblin is shorter, but the descent into the gulch is more technical, and can be scary if your kids are afraid of heights.
To get to the Jacob’s Hamblin Trail, you willl need to travel about 35 miles on Hole in the Rock Road, that begins east of Highway 12 in Escalante. Hole in the Rock Road is a very long, wash board road. It is difficult to drive with a small car. Even with an SUV or truck, your max speed is going to be 40mph.
Once you reach the “Forty-Mile Ridge” turnoff, go left. Travel on this very rocky road about 4 miles till you see a parking lot and a water tank on your left. It will be the first parking lot you see on Forty Mile Ridge. This is the parking lot for Jacob’s Hamblin Arch Trail head.
The trail begins on the northeast side of the parking lot.
We arrived at the trailhead and got our packs on. The trail into Coyote Gulch is about 2 miles. It took our famliy of 5 almost 2 hours . There are some parts of the trail that have some deep sand, there are rocks, hills, and lots of walking!
The Cairns are great on this trail and easy to follow. You would find it difficult to get lost, as they lead you straight into the gulch. If you have a compass, you will go north the entire way! There is one pretty large rock in the middle of the trail. Stay left of it for a shorter hike.
Once you reach the gulch, there is a steep descent. The first portion of it, especially if you have kids, you can scoot down on your bum and feel pretty safe.
The last 200 feet is another story! We tied a 200 foot rope to the beginning of the steepest part of the incline, and used every inch of that rope to the bottom. There is a rock you can use (pictured below) that is perfect for this. Once tied, the kids can use it to guide themselves to the bottom.
I’m not gonna lie! This part is SCARY! If your kids are afraid of heights, it might be very difficult. You can bring rappelling gear if it helps them to feel safe, and definitely recommended if you have little ones. The video below shows us climbing out.
Once you are all safely down, then the fun can happen! Being in a canyon like this is fun for the kids. You can never get lost, as it’s one long, windy river bed, with towering walls on either side. The walk up and down the gulch is flat and allows a leisure walk in either direction.
The first thing we did once in the gulch is filled our water containers. We used both a pump filter, and we found a spring with fresh water that did not need filtering. To find this spring, turn left towards Jacob’s Hamblin Arch as soon as you arrive to the bottom of the Jacob’s Hamblin Arch trail. About 1/4 mile on the north side of the gulch, you will see the rock with the spring.
What we ate
Bringing food for backpacking isn’t easy! You want to have food that is nutrient dense, high in calories, yet light enough to carry. We ended up eating:
- Oatmeal for breakfast, both days. We carried our own dried, instant packets of oats.
- Trail mix with nuts and dried fruit for snacking.
- For lunch we had tortillas with peanut butter and Jelly.
- Day 1 dinner was pasta with tomato sauce
- Day 2 dinner was pasta with canned chicken and alfredo sauce
- and of course, we couldn’t go camping without marshmallows (Our family has a new recipe that we call starburst in a blanket) here is the recipe:
- Take a Starburst and roast it over the fire until the Starburst turns glassy
- Punch a hole in the marshmallow and wrap the marshmallow around the Starburst.
- Roast the marshmallow till golden brown.
To cook the noodles and the oatmeal, we had a little camp stove, pots, and we used our filtered water. Fires are not allowed in Coyote Gulch.
Where we camped
There are lots of places to set up camp all up and down the 10 mile stretch of Coyote Gulch. We chose a spot just a few feet from Jacob’s Hamblin Arch itself. We were able to keep all our gear in this spot while we explored the canyon. We loved doing it this way because the kids didn’t have to carry their heavy packs all day. We only carried our packs in and out of the canyon.
What we did
We hiked between Jacob’s Hamblin Arch where we were sleeping, and Cliff’s Arch. The hike is fun for kids as you can walk in and out of the river. Your feet get wet, but it’s usually welcomed to keep you cool. The hike from Jacob’s Hamblin to Cliff’s Arch is about 4 miles. We headed down, then turned around and walked about. It was about 8 miles for that day, and when we got back to our tents we were ready for dinner!
The risk of flash flooding is very high. If it started to rain, the entire gulch could fill up with water. Only plan your trip when the weather forecast is dry.
It isn’t often we can get away from the business of life, with absolutely no access to our cell phones, cable TV, or the Internet. And I admit, I’m actually the worst one in my family! Always checking my phone or catching up on my to-do list. So, spending three days together without any of these modern distractions was great. We talked, we told stories, we played charades, we walked, we told jokes, we worked together, and we conquered some pretty great challenges! I can’t wait to go back!