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Coyote Gulch, Crack-in-the-Wall to Jacob Hamblin Arch

HARD 103 reviews

Coyote Gulch, Crack-in-the-Wall to Jacob Hamblin Arch is a 12.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Lake Powell, Utah that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November.

Distance: 12.6 miles Elevation Gain: 1,879 feet Route Type: Loop

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

river

views

wildlife

rocky

scramble

no shade

no dogs

This would be the most common route - park at the Water Tanks if 2WD (37.389971, -111.034848) or Coyote Trailhead if 4WD, descend via the Crack-in-the-Rock (37.419111, -110.984897) and down the dunes to the river, passing Stevens Arch (37.433528, -110.979202) and Coyote Natural Bridge (37.416267, -111.027685), camping somewhere along the way and exiting near Jacob Hamblin Arch (37.419008, -111.043115) At least 120 feet of rope is strongly recommended to exit near Jacob Hamblin Arch, it's fairly steep (see photos), not for the acrophobic - generally an able bodied person will be able to climb up and secure a rope for the less agile. It's also possible to tie a rope, descend near Jacob Hamblin Arch for a day trip, then remove the rope on the way back up. Extra ropes are recommended for lowering packs at Crack-in-the-Rock or Jacob Hamblin Arch. DOGS ARE NOT ALLOWED IN COYOTE EVEN WHEN LEASHED.

hiking
2 months ago

Utah the hidden gem ! I don't do to many reviews, however this was a great hike I think is a must and what was especially rare was we saw only one other person on what I was told would be a fairly popular trail.

icy
muddy
rocky
2 months ago

One of my favorite hikes of all time. It's rigorous, but breathtaking. At times it's hard to determine if you're on the trail or not. Follow the footsteps and markers. You'll be okay if you do that. Going in is easier than coming back. Have some upper body strength to get back through the hole in the wall. Oh, and bring rope. You'll need it for lowering and hoisting your gear. It will not fit in the crack with you. Again, be ready to use your muscles. This trail is incredibly satisfying to complete.

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail. We only had time for a day hike so we parked at the water tank and dropped in at JHA. The was a rope at the Canyon edge but we used our own. The arch is so big it’s had to get a good pic. We hiked upstream to see both sides and then down stream to the Coyote Bridge for lunch. Then back up stream and up the rope and back to the car. The total hike was about 6.5 miles and took a total of 5 hours. Yes we missed the falls and the Cliff Arch but it was awesome anyway. Worst part was 36 miles on Hole-in-the Rock road. The last 10 miles was very washboardy. You could do the descent and ascent without a rope but it sure was nice to have one. The is a very good anchor to tie off on

hiking
5 months ago

We did this hike last weekend (7/19-7/21) and I definitely do not recommend doing it in July. I had done this hike last year in April and it was my favorite hike ever but in the heat of the summer the river was mostly dried up and the heat was almost unbearable. I love this hike, it is difficult but manageable in the appropriate months. It is also not as pretty with out water. If you plan to do this hike make sure it’s not in late June to August

hiking
6 months ago

*For those that have completed the climb at Hamblin Arch... What are the anchoring options to set a rope (any boulders, trees, etc. in the area)? Is meat anchoring an option? Is a 100ft rope enough to get down the majority of the climb? If I am bringing beginners with no climbing or desert hiking experience (but they are athletic males), do you think they could handle climbing with a full pack?

hiking
bugs
rocky
scramble
7 months ago

The Hole-in-the-Rock road is not for the faint of the heart. It’s washboarded and downright terrible. Plan on an hour from the main road to the trail. We started our hike from water tanks, descended down the sandstone, climbed down at Jacob Hamblin Arch and walked the Gulch until we exited out at Crack in the Rock. We started at 11 AM and finished at 8 PM. Hiking it in a day is totally doable (very strenuous) with the right provisions. Total, it was 14.8 miles. I have no climbing experience and the first descend at JHA was pretty terrifying. We didn’t have rope, but we had on great hiking shoes that helped us grip the sandstone. We just took it VERY slow. The foot and hand holds are few and far between and with the hot sun, it was especially hard to grip. My partner went down first and helped hold my shoes in place as I went down. Definitely wouldn’t recommend this route the way we did it. Take rope or find a different route. Once you drop into the Gulch, it’s truly breathtaking. The arches, the natural bridge and the constant changing of scenery made the challenge totally worth it. Cascading rock walls, waterfalls, scrambling over rocks, walking through the water (hugely recommend this, it helps you from overheating and is a great way to navigate the trail), trees and marshes. You see so many different landscapes on this trip. And lizards everywhere! The deep sand wasn’t a challenge at first, but after 8 miles, you probably won’t want to see sand again. Ever. Luckily we had downloaded a map, otherwise we wouldn’t have had any idea where the ascent up to Crack in the Rock started. That trek up was trying. A steep elevation gain in a pretty short amount of time, in deep sand, with full sun exposure. Once we got up to where the Crack showed to be, we navigated around and found it, but weren’t sure it was the right way or how we’d get up once we shimmied through it, so we resorted to climbing up the other side. This was FAR more sketchy than our descent. But if you can’t fit in the crack, you would have to take this way on this specific route. Once we reached the top, we saw a few cairns but lost them within a mile. We ended up heading in the direction of the car and following the sandstone and footprints in the sand. We ended at the Crack trailhead and a very generous man drove us back to our car. We lucked out! The views on this trip are truly fantastic and one in a million! If you’re up for the challenge, you won’t regret it. Do your research and be prepared. Tips: Without climbing experience, I’d suggest doing the trail from Hurricane Wash. Because there’s no cell service, have a paper map and a map saved in your phone. Bring more water & snacks than you think you need and a filtration system is highly recommended. Wear hiking shoes with grip and also bring a pair of water shoes. Pack bug spray and spray up as soon as you enter the Gulch. If you are afraid of heights or prone to anxiety, this route will test you mentally, in a big way. There is shade in areas, but majority of the trail is exposed. Plan accordingly. Lastly, don’t do this alone. We passed people a few times in the Gulch but saw absolutely no one on the hike in or out - which were the most difficult and most likely places to run into problems. Stay safe!

hiking
7 months ago

Really solid trail with diverse views and hiking aspects. One of my favorite moments was standing at the top of crack in the wall looking down at the huge canyon! Tons of beautiful rock formations and other views at every bend in the river. I was surprised at how diverse the hiking is: 1 minute you are hiking through the river, the next scrambling on rocks, the next weaving through greenery, and the next trucking through sand (my least favorite). We camped about 2 miles past crack in the wall. As other reviews have noted, the climb at Hamblin Arch is more intense than we anticipated. Sandstone and not fantastic hand/foot holds. There also weren’t any ropes (nor should anyone trust a random rope). Doable with some climbing experience and a rope as a safety but quite dangerous. The exposure with a slip on the stone is significant and climbing with a pack is awkward. Not a good combination. We made it about half way up and decided it was too dangerous to continue. Instead, we opted to continue down the river to Hurricane Wash and trek across the desert back to our vehicle at water tank. This is a pretty straight forward option but things to be careful with this loop are it (a) adds miles and (b) takes some navigation skills (to not walk the road, which would take forever, you need to cut east). There is a very poorly marked trail that makes a close to direct cut after surfacing via Hurricane Wash. We got really lucky with the weather and there was a good overcast that made the desert walk pretty reasonable back to water tank. On a hot afternoon and without a couple liters of water, this portion of trail could be dangerous. We had to swallow our pride a little at Hamblin (2 Indiana guys who aren’t used to backing down from anything outdoors), but an awesome hike and would highly recommend. We had a blast and our pride will be alright. A big part of successful backpacking is knowing your limits and adapting anyway!

hiking
7 months ago

Got a late start so the sun was unrelenting. Once through the crack, we went right (the most obvious trail from the top) instead of left. Hiked back up a wee bit and found the trail. Hiking through the river was magical. Didn’t make it all the way to the arch because of the late start so turned around. Hiking back up to the crack in the sand was TOUGH in the late afternoon sun. Incredible incredible sights and experience. Can’t wait to come back and do the whole loop. Favourite place I saw in Utah by far.

hiking
7 months ago

There is no rope for the climb out and it is very slick and steep. Do not hike this if you do no have a rope and some experience climbing. But beautiful and fun hike!

hiking
no shade
over grown
scramble
7 months ago

This hike had some of the most beautiful landscapes I've ever seen. Red rock that is so dark it begins to look iridescent and blue. Then to walk in a shallow, perfect temperature steam that follows the canyon for miles is something I could have never imagined. We didn't end up doing the full loop or even get to the Jacob Hamblim Arch. We got a late start and ended up turning around. Next time! WARNING: This hike is strenuous. I did Angels Landing in Zion days before this hike and that doesn't come even remotely close to the challenging parts of this hike. ADVICE AND WHAT WE LEARNED ALONG THE WAY: - Hole in the Rock road conditions as of right now are perfect. Not scary at all. It's any typical dirt road that is well kept. 2WD recommended but I think anyone else could as well. No reason to be freaked out to go down it. - Make sure you make a left at 40 mile. Because if you miss it and aren't paying attention (like we did) you'll end up going down a serious 4WD road that leads you straight to Lake Powell. We weren't disappointed, personally, it was a fun adventure! - You can park at the water tanks or take the 4WD road down (and yeah, I'd recommend the 4WD unless you want you get stuck in deep sand) and park there to start your hike from the opposite end of where the arch is (which is what we did). - Make sure you know where you're going once you drop into the canyon. Stay to the LEFT. It looks a bit overgrown but look for the foot prints. There are quite a few trails and we ended up taking the wrong (that went to the right) and had to double back in up hill soft sand. - DON'T start this hike late unless you're planning to set up camp for the night. You won't compete the entire loop as suggested here unless you start at ass crack in the morning. We started hiking in at 1:30pm. By the time 4pm hit we were barely a couple of miles into the stream walking and easily had 5 or so miles to go to get to Jacob Hamblin Arch. We had to do a quick regroup and decided for the safety of our group that we should we turn back. And let me tell you, hiking BACK UP a hard incline in 6in soft sand in exposed sun for miles is NOT FUN. It broke me. And I'm a fit individual that has played sports my entire life. I'd recommend parking at the water tanks and starting with the left route of the trail. You'll get the arch quickly and have ample amount of time to explore and get back to your car.

To start off, I didn’t do the loop as suggested, I just went down the Jacob Hamblin climb and hiked to the Black Lagoon and then back. It very much lives up to its difficulty rating: doable but with very demanding spots you have to be vigilant about. The two miles getting to the climb is very exposed so definitely plan carefully for that desert trek, but the cairns are very helpful if you don’t have GPS loaded. The climb is pretty steep for a class 4, but I’ve seen it done very easily by children and older adults. On one hand, you can do it without the ropes (and especially gearless) because there’s a fair amount of level spots, but if you’re intimidated, the ropes that were present have you climb a non-optimal route and you may struggle more. I did it with the ropes for gear and it sucked, I did it without gear and without rope and it sucked a small bit less. Once down it’s a wonderful and beautiful reprieve. There’s plenty of cover near the biggest points, but if you plan on doing some hiking you’ll be exposed a lot. Going down the climb was a great decision for me because I ended up setting up camp by Jacob Hamblin and was able to trek minimally to the Black Lagoon. Be ok with wet shoes or bring water shoes (I did). All in all, a very rewarding and beautiful hike but you really have to make sure you’re prepared for desert hiking and more difficult rock scrambling. Just one rant about the drive in: if you have any disposition towards anxiety, definitely get something with high clearance and AWD, because the 50 minutes between the Dry Fork trailhead and Fortymile Ridge road shot my nerves, I had rented an intermediate SUV but that wasn’t enough. It’s 50 minutes because it seared itself into my brain so much that I timed it once I left Fortymile Ridge this morning.

8 months ago

The road isn't as bad as people made it seem. I seen a Honda element at the access in the back by crack in the rock. However, after a rain there is some pretty muddy spots and the red sand sticks to your tires when its wet. Took me 3 hours in my Subaru, but I took it really easy on the washboard sections. Parked at the water tanks and entered through Crack in the Rock. A 30ft rope will be more than sufficient. The first drop you can do with your pack on but the second will need to be lowered by rope. This can be done in one day as I made it to the Hamblin Arch by noon. I turned around to camp at the alcove in the canyon of the best kept secret in Coyote Gulch. I suggest a good pair of hiking boots with ankle support to wear up top. Once I made it to the gulch I then switched out for my water shoes. You will get your feet wet so don't even bother trying to rock hop. Best time to go is right before memorial weekend as the crowds are not there and the weather is warm enough to enjoy the water. I may have enjoyed it more than the narrows as I was able to set up a basecamp and explore. Don't forget your permit and your wag bags if you plan on camping. Also make time to do the Peekaboo and Spooky canyons that are also on Hole in the Rock road as well as Zebra Canyon. my suggestion is on the way in do the smaller canyons the camp at the trail head for Coyote Gulch and get an early start. Wait to see the sunrise at Crack in the wall. Go in the Gulch, set basecamp and then explore for the day. Camp that day and get an early start back to your car. It's a several mile hike with no shade once your out of the canyons. Morning sun is easier than a noon day sun.

hiking
8 months ago

What a great Utah hike! One of the best I've ever done, and I've done Whitney to Half Dome to canyoneering to CO 14ers, et al. It's a great combo of good desert hiking, good canyon, and spectacular JHA. To answer Justin R: no solid anchor points, no. No boulders to throw over, no. There was a small eyelet in the rock that often was used as a tie point for a rope, but the eyelet itself is hard to find and is down further than ideal. 100' is enough to get noobs down, that's what I used for my group. With beginners you describe, athletic males, there will be no serious trouble. It is class 4, though. Meaning, yes someone would be seriously hurt if they tumble from up high. It's not a joke e/e. You can lower packs if needed, though they'll be scrapped up since the drop isn't vertical. It is possible to have packs and go down without a rope, but be damn, damn good on your feet with good soles. I have gone with and without rope, and in my peak condition 15 years ago with no fear did just that. I wouldn't do it that way again, though.

8 months ago

Such an amazing hike through the canyon. A whole other biome exists down there. Lots of alcoves and camping spots make it perfect for two days, but if you don't like heights you may have trouble exiting at the end. I did and hiked all the way back out. Be sure to look for the petroglyphs. Amazing to see.

backpacking
8 months ago

ropes at the exit as of 5/19. parked at 40 mile ridge and did loop hike back to the cars instead. followed old trail from exit point to cars instead of the cairned trail back to the water tanks

8 months ago

As always, a gorgeous hike. There was no rope at Hamblin when we got there, but the group behind us left one there. Pretty crowded camping near Hamblin. Note, there is fresh spring water just before your get to Hamblin, so you can avoid most filtering. One of the best canyons in the state! Update: just spoke with a ranger at the Escalante visitor center, and they said that they actively remove ropes that are left at the exit at Hamblin Arch. So, plan for no rope ever being there. If you are doing this hike, you should either be very confident climbing class 4 sandstone or be with someone who is, who also has a rope.

hiking
8 months ago

Easily the most amazing hike I’ve ever done! We did it the day after a rainstorm and the sand was compact and very soft—we hiked most of it barefoot with all the stream crossings. Saw a few people, but mostly had it to ourselves! Every turn has an incredible scene of oasis amidst towering red rocks. We had planned to camp at the base of the arch and hike out the next day, but we ended up doing the whole thing in one. There was no rope at Jacob Hamlin’s Arch and it was very slippery to me, although my husband didn’t seem to have a problem. Very steep, definitely more than 45 degrees. I don’t recommend it without a rope unless you have VERY grippy shoes. Also, the map underestimated the distance. It’s more like 15 miles round trip.

backpacking
8 months ago

This is one of my favorite backpacking trips I've done. 10/10 would recommend. Went while on a field study for my university so our group was too large for the permit maximums. We divided into two and each started on opposite ends and basically did a vehicle keys swap when we met up for lunch on the second day. My group went down the Moki Steps and up Crack in the Wall. It was helpful to be able to anchor in with a rope at the top of Moki Steps. Going up Crack in the Wall was another story. I already hate walking in sand so it was pretty much death for me - I thought we'd never get to the wall lol. Wouldn't necessarily recommend going up that way but it's definitely doable. We sent someone ahead with a rope and carabiner then hoisted our packs up and over because the crack won't fit both you and your pack. Really beautiful hike, loved walking through the water. Cool ruins and petroglyphs as well if you know where to look. Fresh spring that is drinkable unfiltered in hanging gardens near Hamblin Arch.

backpacking
8 months ago

amazing views that just keep going. Probably the best hike I've done.

backpacking
9 months ago

This trail was awesome. Coyote gulch is beautiful, the arches are epic. The only issue we ran into was trying to climb out at the Jacob Hamlin arch. I’m not an experienced climber, and there was only one rope to help climb, and it was about 50 ft up the cliff. We ended up continuing up hurricane wash, and finding our own route out up to the left. It added about 4 miles to our planned hike. Other than that, we loved every minute of it!

9 months ago

shane were there ropes out at hamblin exit? will be there this wednesday!!!

9 months ago

This was a beautiful hike absolutely loved it. Happy I brought along my water shoes for all the river crossings. Absolutely amazing hike. PSA - Between Coyote Natural Bridge and Cliff Arch my group lost a pair of black Smith mirrored sunglasses. If you happen to find them could you contact Shane Mogan (NOT Morgan) on Facebook or Instagram.

hiking
9 months ago

Sooo worth it! Loved this hike.(in at the Crack, out at Jacob Hamblin’s Arch) Loved the challenges. Great planning made it possible. Will definitely hike this trail again.

backpacking
9 months ago

Great hike, do need at least a 50ft rope, water filter and a great attitude! love this place and so thankful for memories made there

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