Explore Coyote Gulch - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Coyote Gulch Map
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I took this hike in the middle July, which made the arrival to the falls well worth the hike. The trail is mostly sandy and rocky. The sand can get hot towards the middle of the day, but people hike in sandals and chacos nonetheless. Consider getting booties for your dog, and have something to carry their feces in (unfortunate but courteous), a mason jar typically works. There isn’t a substantial amount of elevation change either during the hike. Upon arriving to the falls, it is very much an oasis, with plenty shade from trees. The water is very cold, as it should be. It’s fun swimming as close to the falls as possible too. During the hike back, I encountered some light rain, so be rain ready too. Be sure to check out the upper calf creek trail if you can. As far as traffic goes, be sure to arrive as early as possible if you want to have good parking. During the time I went, the crowd was small enough for everyone to swim and play around. I’d estimate 50 or so other hikers at the falls. The weather at the time was about high 90s during the day, and lower 70s at night. Be sure to take lots of water too.

Just a great drive with scenery everywhere. We took the trail to the bullfrog intersection and turned north to Capital Reef!!!

Awesome hike. Easy trail. Bring at least 2 liters of water and definitely jump in the water. It’s like an ice bath, but you gotta do it lol . I tracked it at a little over 6 miles.

the falls are beautiful. the hike is predominantly in sand which made the experience slow going.

Exceptional beauty relative to the geology and flora. The falls are gorgeous and offer a great respite on a hot day. Pack a lunch and enjoy a picnic in the shade. Another wonderful Utah experience.

Sooo beautiful. Yes quite a few people, but you don’t notice. Worth every step.

Easy, but worth it

So fun! Getting within one mile of the trailhead was easy in a small 2wd rental car and took about an hour from the paved road - however the last mile before the trailhead was definitely *not* passable in a low clearance car.

The hike was incredible! So much fun. There’s lots of scrambling involved - the first crux is climbing into peek-a-boo canyon which was a little slippery, and the second crux was going deep into spooky slot under a few large boulders. Was definitely glad to have GPS navigating between the end of peek-a-boo and the start of spooky - the trails and cairns are all over the place.

Such a fantastic adventure! Last word of advice is to not keep any soft fruit in your backpack, it will likely be crushed 

Really fun hike! Quite the long, empty desert drive out to the hike though. Make sure you have a full tank of gas before you make the drive ‘cause there are no gas stations nearby—at least not when we did the hike, (which was in 2013). Also, it’s a very rough road...four-wheel drive adventure vehicles recommended for the road to this hike.

It offers great, beautiful canyon exploring. My family & I really enjoyed the hike. Just be prepared with water. Though it seems like it would be a short hike, it is hot and it does take awhile. Snacks and other random things you might not normally bother to hike with, like tissues, are also a good idea for just-in-case scenarios. (For instance, my brother had a major nosebleed half-way through the hike, prob. b/c the extreme, dry heat. Tissues would have been nice...) Also, a compass might be useful, or using this gps trail map. Once you leave the first canyon, it is a little difficult to find the next canyon. Maybe directional signs have been added since we hiked it, but there weren’t any indications of where to go back when we hiked it.

The road getting to the trailhead is about 26 miles of washboard, gravel, sand and decent sized rocks. If you have a vehicle built for these conditions you can make it there pretty quick but we took our time to spare the wear and tear on our vehicle and it took us about 2 hours to get to the trailhead (from the paved road). When making the turnoff from the road to the trailhead most vehicles can make it to the first parking lot (about 1 mile) but the last mile plan on walking in cause the ruts in the road are very large.

As for the trail. The first portion of the trail is descending down into coyote canyon. From Here you will see about a 10 foot wall with some handholds, this will get you in to peek a boo gulch. From here you can take your time exploring the gulch. It gets pretty narrow towards the end. The gulch widens and ascends back up.

You then are above the ground for a while as you follow the cairns to spooky gulch.

Spooky gulch is much narrower than peekaboo and you are a lot further down. We were in this gulch around 5 PM and there was not a ton of light. Our saving grace was these reviews that stated about when you get to the obstruction of the trail by the rockslide. We found the opening on the left side. My husband went down first, then we used a rope to drop our bags down, then he helped me through. There is about a 9 foot drop down onto a flat and stable rock. At this point there is no turning back. The gulch gets EXTREMELY narrow and you have to carry your backpack for most of it. Just keep going because there is an end the the gulch eventually widens. The footing is not flat through the very narrow portion. You then follow the dried up riverbed back to coyote canyon.

I highly recommend downloading an offline map, that saved us from getting lost from peekaboo to spooky gulch. (We used the app maps.me). Thanks to the offline map keeping us on the trail took us about 3 hours including the 1 mile walk in from the first parking lot.

Bring lots of water!! This would be a difficult/scary hike to do alone!

Amazing views! Did this in June and it was HOT. One of the best hikes I’ve done, amazing slots. A little tricky point in Spooky you have to climb down- there were 4 of us and we had to assist, but might be difficult for some first timers. Went on a Friday around 10 am and wasn’t crowded at all. Would do again in a heartbeat.

We did this over the 4th of July. HOT and no shade!
It's a 30 mile drive on Hole in the Rock Rd, which takes 1 hour. It's not paved, but rather a dirt, sandy, bumpy road. You'll prefer a truck or SUV that has a higher clearance. Get your map ahead of time, as it is not clearly marked. You will find Cairns along the way in efforts to help, but know where you are going ahead of time.
We got lost trying to find Peek-a-Boo and Spooky, but didn't much care because everything was so beautiful.
After 3+hours we found Spooky and it was worth the long hot day. SO Frickin' Cool!! We went to Peekaboo next and then finally to the car. We ran out of water because we hadn't planned on the 5 hour day of full July Desert sun. A fabulous day, but longer and hotter than we expected due to having trouble finding the canyons.

** The best advice I've ever seen on here is this: Have a gallon of water in your car for when you are done. **

Four stars because this trail needs better signage. There are many confusing cairns, strange graffiti on rocks and a metal box containing trail notes with the ominous advice: “don’t trust the maps”. Also, check the weather multiple times and don’t take any chances. After all my research, obsessively checking the forecast and calling the shuttle company in Escalante about it, my group was still caught in a flash flood. Luckily we were rescued by said shuttle company and our own emergency supplies. We made it out with some scrapes and mild hypothermia. Here’s what we thought of the hike: we really loved Peekaboo and would do it again easily. Wish it had gone on for miles. Spooky was a different story. Puzzling out those boulders and dropping into that little hole underneath while thunder boomed above us was not ideal. We figured we had to go through it as quickly as possible and get the heck out of dodge. This slot is probably beautiful and a blast to go through when it’s a sunny warm day. On this morning it was dark and suffocating and it seemed like it would never end. We desperately shimmied through it and got pretty skinned up by the walls in the process. The rain and hail began shortly after we started ascending towards the parking area. Seeing the dirt red cascades of water pouring down the slickrock and into those canyons is a a chilling sight I will never forget. Thank god we weren’t in the slots. We were told after rescue that people die in that area every year, usually after wandering around lost in the heat. Bring your 10 essentials. Don’t go alone. Be safe out there folks.

24 days ago

This is one of the best hikes I’ve ever done. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be (I’m an avid hiker). I did this hike in the afternoon in late August and it was fine. There was a decent amount of shade on the way there and on the way back it was mostly shaded. The falls were so beautiful! I’m so happy I did this hike.

Stunning hiking trail, $5 for the day and $15 for overnight camping. If you go early and the sand is wet from a recent dew or rain shower, it makes the hike a tad easier.

Definitely worth while - one of our favorites so far in Utah. We had a rental sedan - so we opted to pay for a shuttle from town. Saved time and worry of damaging the rental. There was a Camry (rental) at the trailhead - don’t know how they made it through a couple of the rough spots in the road. The hike itself was awesome. Go early on the weekend to avoid the crowd. Really appreciate the advise here on how to navigate the boulders on Spooky. Not sure we would have made it otherwise. We saw a small snake on the way back up to the trailhead - looked like a rattlesnake, did not get close enough to confirm.

hiking
1 month ago

As others suggest, definitely do Peek-A-Boo to Spooky and take lots of water. And definitely download the topo so you have it offline on the hike.

We were intimidated by the climb at start of Peek-A-Boo ... you need to scale up about 12 feet of slick rock. We thought the adults could do it but weren't sure we could get the kids up (ages 8 and 9) so we went around and rejoined the trail as you go overland to Spooky. In retrospect we could should have brought a short rope or strap ... or sent an adult up first and used a daypack as a rope.

Even Spooky by itself was amazing the kids' favorite hike of the vacation. We are indebted to others on this site for telling us about the rock blockage and were able to do the full hike because of their advice. As said by Alan Ketelson below "About 1/3 way into Spooky, we came to some huge boulders the seem to block the way. If you look over the top of the you will be about 30 feet above the bottom but if you look underneath the left side of the biggest boulder, you’ll see a small hole that drops down to another small boulder. From there, it is a short drop to a large flat rock, then a few hundred feet of some pretty narrow slots." The adults jumped and spotted each other and handed the kids down. The slots get even tighter after this point -- we had to take off daypacks and hand them forward through tight spots in a chain but it is passable and wonderful. Not ideal if you get claustrophobic. If you get nervous, just keep going -- it's amazing!

Beautiful views the entire way and access to water virtually whole time courtesy of a stream running alongside the trail. At least 3/4 of the trail is sand so took little longer than usual. Not much tree coverage so expect to be exposed to the elements. But the falls are oh so pretty! Refreshing dip on a hot day.

backpacking
1 month ago

I have to remember that these reviews are all subjective. I almost decided not to go based on reviews. However, this hike is not hard. I did it in August, 99° weather, and just did it right.

I hiked in at 6 pm. It was still almost 100° but it was mostly in shade. Took me only 3 hours, and the last half hour was in the dark. I found it just fine.

The morning view is worth sleeping on the rocks. Just remember that water is very important. I have a very large bladder for my backpack, and also took my 32 oz hydroflask. It was barely enough.

hiking
1 month ago

The prettiest canyon I’ve ever seen.

Hike was great and trail well marked. Definitely remember it is an impacted 26 mile venture from the turn off. You will encounter a few deep perpendicular ruts as well as pockets of loose sand along the way. Be careful as a tow truck runs up to a $1000 according to the clerk at the nearest convenience store. Trail well worth the effort.

It was hot going but the water was cold. Was a great hike.

Fun trail, really busy in the beginning, very narrow in some places.

Did this on 25Jul18. (5th time I've done this) Waited out a thunderstorm and the trail had puddles in some spots. A portion of the trail close to the falls was washed out and there are a couple of rocks to hop on in the river, to get across. Also falls were fuller than I've ever seen them. Roaring, really. Amazing as always hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Trail is relatively easy with very little elevation gain, but be prepared for sandy trails. Can be very hot and sunny at midday. Falls are gorgeous and a great place for a wade to cool down!

1 month ago

Definitely start early to beat the heat! Coming back was rough. They mean what they say about the water, drink it all! Some of the most amazing views I have ever seen and up close and personal. Crawling through these sandstone slots was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. Highly recommend. We want to do Zebra Slot next time!

Side note, the road was over an hour driving in from the Escalante side of Hole in the Rock Rd, and well maintained but more comfortable with a high clearance vehicle for sure !

Awesome well worth it

Hiked July 9th. Yep, the sand was a butt-kicker, and the 102F heat didn't help matters with very little shade on the trail. That said, highly recommended trail. It turned out to be 6 miles round trip. Payoff at the end is so worth it. Plenty of space at the falls to lay on a towel. The pool at the falls started to shade around 1pm, and by 2:30 was fully shaded.

Loved this hike. It feels long when it's got in the summer, there's not a lot of shade. The places we found shade were really humid. This was a pretty easy hike. There is hiking through some sand and up rocks, but it wasn't bad. Definitely bring yourself a lot of water if you are planning on going in the summer, without cloud cover. If you bring kids, there are frequent access spots to the creek so they can cool off. There are fun places for them to explore and climb around on.
At marker 8, there are pictographs- when you see the bench.
So worth it once you finally get to the end of the trail- the waterfall is beautiful, water is cold. Kids can play/slide on the rocks to the right. The water is deep enough to swim in closer to the falls. Feels long, but it's definitely worth it!

Go in the late afternoon to walk in the shade, and enjoy the colors. We went after 6pm. Amazing!!! We went the weekend after 4th of July and the temp was nice. Still hot, but the shade was great! BRING CASH!!!! $5 PARKING FEE IN CASH! Honor system.

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