Explore the most popular hiking trails near Big Water with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

After enjoying Dance Hall Rock take a short hike around the the south east side of and look for a smaller version of Dance Hall Rock. Go to the right and head north up the grey rock slope (abut 500' directly behind Dance Hall 37°21'25.6"N 111°05'56.5"W) to find several "deep" potholes with large tree growing out of them (see photos). Be careful as some of these are 20+ feet deep with sheer sides.

backpacking
10 days ago

I did this loop as a 1-night overnight. Actually, it was my first backpacking trip though I have day-hiked many, many miles. We dropped in at crack-in-the-wall and exited at the Sneaker Route.

Be mindful of storms in the area, for the few days prior to your hike. I find these warnings fatiguing when I read about canyon hikes, but when you are *in* the canyon and you see how prone you are to water you realize you can’t be too careful with this risk.

As a hike, this is tremendous. It is magnificent and worth all the effort. Take this hike. I would advise this as a day-hike, though. At 11 miles it’s a reasonable day-hike length and the effect of a large pack on your center of gravity at egress is unwelcome.

[1] The drive down Hole in the Rock road takes longer than you think. It’s rough, slow driving.
[2] There are 2 trail heads - the first is called Water Tank and is close to Hamblin Arch, the second is called 40 Mile and is more east. The path from 40 Mile trail head, east to Crack in the Wall, is easy to follow and turns from sandy to bare rock about halfway. Cairns are easy to follow.
[3] In the gulch, the trail miles just zoom past. There is so much to see and the trail is constantly changing. That said, it’s not particularly fast, and it’s not particularly taxing (even with backpacking weight). We did about 25 minutes per mile in the gulch without really trying, and without dawdling.
[4] I found Hamblin Arch, itself, a bit underwhelming, but the rest of the canyon was far better than expected.
[5] The Sneaker Route (called Moki Stairs on Google Maps?) is wildly fun. I ascended it without rope and with 30 pounds on my back - slowly. Prior to my trip I had read countless reviews of this feature and I saw a wide variety of comments representing all skill levels and risk appetites. I found it to be less physically taxing than expected, but simultaneously a bit more unnerving. Know yourself before doing this.
[6] The Sneaker Route is right on the trail and easy to find if you know what you’re looking for. But...if you don’t you might walk right past like I did. I found this AT app to be valuable in this regard.
[7] It is difficult to determine the “top” of the Sneaker Route as the rock simply becomes less steep. The cairns point to Water Tank trail head, so if you parked at 40 Mile TH be prepared to get east before you might think you need to. After the egress, the hike to the TH is anticlimactic.

Great overnight backpack. Shorted the day by going cross country back to the trailhead

hiking
11 days ago

As others have said this is a 16 mile hike. We went down the Crack in the wall. Fantastic views and the gulch itself has new vistas around every corner. Slow going for the first 3 miles in the gulch. The rock scramble up from the Jacob Hamelin arch is totally underestimated in all descriptions. It is hard and the ropes left by others cannot be relied on. Two in our party could not do this and walked out the Hurricane Wash for an extra 5 miles

backpacking
27 days ago

As the reviewer before me stated, the difficulty is very subjective. It’s as hard as you make it! I carried in 2 gallons of water and still wished I had a little more, but not sure if it’s worth the extra weight! I conserved and took my last sip 100 feet from where I was parked! Remember hole in the rock road is 2 hours of dirt and no services, so make sure you have lots to drink waiting for you in your vehicle! Then hit Nemo’s in Escalante!

Beautifull hike but quite streneous. After crack in the rock it was hard to find a passable trail. A couple of German hikers we met gave up there. We went up the rocks to find a passage. After it gets better but still not much of a trail. Took us 8h overall to do the loop. probably can be done faster by experienced hikers. Get out of the canyon was tough, especially for my companion who is a bit scared of heights. Better not underestimate that part. I was glad I brought: a gps, rope, water filter (We drank 11 liters). Otherwise great hike! Enjoyed it.

Started from a boat on the lake. The water level was very low so it was a steep, rocky hike. Very beautiful at the top but not an easy climb. Wouldn’t recommend bringing dogs. The rocks get very hot. Well worth it in the end though.

hiking
2 months ago

This entire trail is not shaded which in August, made it a very hot hike. Trail is not well defined. Follow the cairns and you should be okay.

backpacking
2 months 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.

This was an awesome hike. We started from Lake Powell on a boat and hiked up. Then we hiked back down. It isn’t a marked smooth path though. And the rocks get very hot, painful for dogs little paws so be aware. I felt chills many times as I hiked up to the top. Wonderful history and a bit hard for me but worth it. I loved it.

backpacking
3 months ago

We choose to do the Red Well route to Coyote Gulch and we were very pleased we did. Just as you drop into the wash/Gulch, there is a slot canyon on your right hand side. We saved exploring this for on our way back out due to a making late start on a very warm day. This route was very scenic in our opinion and also gets you to water, trees and shade much quicker. Arches, overhangs, petroglyphs and overall gorgeous scenery throughout. Made us feel very tiny being surrounded by these beautiful towering walls. Especially at James Hamberlin Arch, very impressive. We saw a fair amount of wildlife including lots of deer, a badger, a variety of birds, and the lizards and toads were everywhere. We did also have some mice visit our campsite after dark. And when we were on our day hike, something (maybe squirrels or raccoons) got into our dry bag of food even though it was hung from a tree, but thankfully didn’t get everything. Plenty of campsites along the creek, especially once you pass the intersection of hurricane wash. If you stay in the creek bed the whole way, the distance will be slightly longer then indicated. In total we logged 28 miles and still didn’t quite make it to the Escalante River, first timers errors. It can be done without getting your feet wet if you do creek crossings in the right places and wear waterproof boots. The creek was a refreshing break for those tootsies though. The campsite we choose had a small waterfall (which may be an overstatement to call it a waterfall) that made filtering water easier and also just enough of a pool to get your lower half of your body submerged when sitting. Since it was during warmer weather, it was a nice way to cool off before bedtime.

This was an excellent way to spend an entire day hiking in a beautiful place. The only downside for me was that I only had a day to enjoy this amazing place.

I've done this twice now and recommend starting from crack-in-the-rock and hiking thru to hurricane wash trailhead. This way there is no uphill elevation change. Take two cars and park one at each trailhead. You wouldn't miss much by coming out at Jacob Hamblin arch.

Amazing views, fun hike for the whole family. Take lots of water, the red rocks get very hot.

It’s amazing, but note that it’s more like 16 Miles. The path isn’t marked well, and you have to find rock markers along some parts that aren’t always obvious. Start at the crack in the wall area if you can, because walking up a steep mountain of sand after a day of hiking is rough. It’s even more rough when you don’t have service or a downloaded trail map to tell you how much further you have to go or if you’re on the right path. Take a paper map - you’ll thank me. It’s a pack your waste in, and pack your waste out trail. I avoided going to bathroom all day with light well planned food and minimal water intake ( only enough to stay moderately hydrated ). If you don’t think you can go that long, you must get waste bags at visitor center or bring your own. The trail runs along and through the water so water hiking shoes would be a plus. If you’re scared of heights, getting to the arch may be difficult due to the steep slick rock path down by the arch to get out ( or in if you start at water tanks ) the rocks do have ropes as a courtesy to help you safely enter and exit.

To date, it's the most memorable backpacking trip my kids and I have done. Starting out going down the crack in the rock with our rope. Then the gradual hike along the river bottom. Awesome views, and not too difficult. The only sketchy part is going up out of the canyon, you gotta have some grit. There was another family that had to go around.

backpacking
5 months ago

Outstanding area to hike and backpack. Stunning scenery. It has it all for the desert lovers

My boyfriend and I did this hike over 2 days from Hurricane Wash. We started out about midday which made the first 2-3 miles pretty tough with the sun and heat. The change in terrain on this hike made it a very unique experience. It begins with typical dry, rocky terrain but as you descend into the gulch there are some parts of the trail that make you wonder if you’re still in southern Utah! There are several stream crossings that continue to get deeper the further you go in the trail. I had waterproof hiking shoes and was just fine up until the last quarter mile when I just waded through the stream barefoot. Plenty of areas to set up camp along the way. Beautiful canyon off trail to the left about 9 miles in with a cave and pond at the bottom of the rock walls that had “zebra stripe” coloration. The weather was significantly warmer than we were expecting once we were in Coyote Gulch. The hike down to Escalante River was a great chance for a quick rinse! If I do this hike again, I would definitely do it in 3 days instead of 2. This was my first overnight hike so I found it very challenging but well worth it!

backpacking
5 months ago

Stunning hike, great views, offers everything could expect out of Escalante.

I noticed a lot of these photos are of Corona Arch in Moab - not Willow Gulch in Escalante...

Absolutely stunning. Great variety from sand to slick rock, to scrambling out of the gulch, wading upriver, and views and views. This is a premiere distination hike.

Unique story with the brothers carving out and living in the caves. Fun little detour when hiking the more challenging hikes in the ares.

off road driving
5 months ago

Three caves carved out of rock where two men lived.

hiking
6 months ago

Stunning Rod Rocks, arches, small falls, all breathtaking

Beautiful hike. No issues driving up to the coyote gulch in a small suv without 4WD. Someone had fixed a rope at the exit by jacob hamlin arch. I watched people climb up without rope. I used it and made it out just fine.

backpacking
6 months ago

Such a beautiful hike with lots of great camping spots throughout! Water shoes are a must since you’re crossing over the river every few minutes to stay with the trail. A few tricky climbs along the way, but definitely doable if you’re confident scrambling.

backpacking
7 months ago

This is an absolute must hike for Southern Utah. Every moment of it was enjoyable, the foot traffic was a little high when I went and there are only so many spots you can set up camp in the slot canyons.

Do I need a 4WD or all wheel drive at all for Fortymile Ridge Road? I just want to get to the trailhead without getting stuck.

Started at the water tank "sneaker route" trailhead. only make it coyote natural bridge. Will come back and make it to cliff arch someday! There is usually a rope to descend but we were there during the winter and scaled the wall into and out of the canyon as there was no rope. Would not recommend this scramble unless you are able bodied and pretty confident. Rewarding views and solitude make this hike worth it!

this would be the most usual 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.

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