Backpacking Coyote Gulch – Glen Canyon Recreation Area

After I arrived to the town of Escalante and got resupplied, I picked up a hitchhiker that had just finished hiking the Boulder Mail Trail by the name of Chris. Chris was super cool and we quickly became friends. Chris writes science fiction books and has a turquoise blue converted van. He recommended this backpacking trip in Coyote Gulch that was absolutely epic! With my new lifestyle I was able to quickly shift gears and get in another desert backpacking trip.

Every day I camped off of the Hole in the Rock Road I was greeted with views of the the Grand Staircase in the Escalante National Monument.  After staring at it for awhile it really looked like a staircase and began to appreciate it subtle beauty.

Illustrated map from the Non Technical Colorado Plateau Hiking Guide.  This guide was both highly informative and wacky! It proved to be invaluable for my time in Escalante. I originally bought the guide a few years back because I was interested in hiking Knowles/Mee canyon loop in the Colorado National Monument outside of Grand Junction. I never did use it for that hike but was able to use if for several hikes in  Escalante.

Here is the start of the trail into Coyote Gulch.

One of my favorite parts of this hike was the contract in climates. The first 3 miles or so were completely dry.

After a while you cross the Coyote Gulch stream that is fed by a spring. The canyon quickly becomes saturated with foliage.

There were lots of frogs and tadpoles….

As I made my way down the canyon the cliff walls became more dramatic.

Often I think how dorky self timer shots are. Setting up your camera, tring to time the shot to make it look like you are hiking. The back to retrieve the camera. It becomes time consuming but lately it seems like all I have it time.

This is the highlight of the entire hike, the Jacob Hamblin Arch! You should click on this one and view it full size. The picture does not do the view justice. I felt the massive undercut was more impressive than the arch. It had a cathedral feel that was out of this world.

Some very brief narrows in Coyote Gulch near the natural bridge. This hike is a get your feet wet kind of hike. It was just a matter of time before you were wading through the water.

The Coyote Natural bridge.

As I made my way down the last third of the canyon I crossed several waterfalls. I failed to find the easy way around and dropped my pack and jumped down into the sand. On the hike back out I found the easy way.

Here is a natural shower coming off of the cliff side. I should have taken a moment to enjoy the shower more. Especially when showers come few and far between living on the road in a van.

This is the end of Coyote Gulch just before you reach the Escalante River connection of Lake Powell.

There was a bypass around a final waterfall crossing at the very end of the canyon. It was the end of the day and I was tired and brain fried and the route options I was finding around the waterfall looked sketchy.

Searching for a way around the final waterfall led me to a view of Stephens Arch. It was big!

After a failed attempt to hike around the waterfall I decide to look for a camp. I recalled a flat spot along the cliff side and made my way back to find it. If you are doing this hike it is very clearly stated that you need to pack out your own poop. I was not happy about it but wanted to comply. When I went to set up my camp I was greeted to somebody’s poorly covered poop and TP! Grrrrr, so I move down the cliff side to another flat spot and what do I see??? More poorly covered poop and TP. Not only are these people not packing out your poop and TP like you are supposed to, they do a half ass job covering it up so nobody can enjoy this spot. Now I was mad!!

I cleaned up the nasty mess the best I could and eventually decided to set up at the spot in the photo above that was literally on the edge of the waterfall.  Although it was not very safe (don’t roll around at night) it was tp and poop free.

Rise and shine. I cowboy camped this night and will never forget the mega sized daddy long leg spiders crawling around me that I saw when I decided to turn on my head lamp at 2:00am for some reason.

I had enough food to hike for one more day. I wanted to make it to where the Escalante River and Lake Powell met then hike up Stephens Canyon. I was less then a mile away, but trufully I was not feeling this hike. It was a very popular hike and did not offer the seclusion that I normally enjoy on my backpacking trip. It seemed like every corner I turned was some young couple taking selfies. Plus I was still mad about the unburied  poo by my campsite. So I pack up and b line it back to my van all they way through the canyon with just a short stop for lunch. I hiked 16 miles in just under 6 hours.

On they way back I came across a small heard of deer. I normally do not get excited about deer but it was neet to see them living in the desert canyon.

On my hike back I caught some really good light at Coyote Natrual Bridge and got this excellent picture. My favorite from the hike.

It was nice that this canyon was packed with cool shade and trees along the creek. It was amazing that this small spring feed creek made such a massive impact forming the large sandstone features of Coyote Gulch.

A small slot section with the echoing sound of water falling inside.

This is where I camped the night prior to the hike and the night after I got back. Not the most beautiful but loved to convenience of camping right at the trail head which seemed perfectly legit to do. This hike was spectacular but a bit to crowded and popular for my liking. If I were to do this hike again I would start near the end of the canyon and make my way to Stephens Canyon which is much less popular.

Hiking Peekaboo, Spooky, and Brimstone Slot Canyons – Escalante UT

Peekaboo, Spooky, and Brimstone Slot Canyons are some of the narrowest in the Escalante – Grand Staircase National Monument. If you are ever in the area this is a must do hike. This day was one of the best on my spring desert adventure and will be an experience and location that I will  never forget.

After my backpacking trip at Little Death Hollow I made my way back to the town of Escalante to resupply and shower. Along the way I drove the highly scenic Highway 12 between the town of Boulder Utah and Escalante. You drive along an exposed hog back with 360 degree views. I have never seen so much slick rock before. Down below is another backpacking route called the Boulder Mail Trail which is an old burro trail used to deliver mail between the towns of Boulder and Escalante.

So I camped about a mile away from the trailhead and my only visitors weere a couple of cows. I decided to take my mountain bike up the rough 4×4 road to the trail head. The Hole in the Rock road to reach this spot was a bitch to drive. It was 30+ miles of sandy washboard road. It was maintained but felt like it was trying to rattle my whole van apart.

Peekaboo starts off with this triple arch. Thanks Google for stylizing my photo.

I love the layers and depth in this photo.

 I was smiling the whole time. I felt so connected to the rock and would run my hands down the sides of the canyon and feel the textures as I walk by.

Spaces so narrow I had to remove my pack. Suck in your gut Jay!

After hiking Peekaboo slot canyon for about 20 minutes I exited the narrow part and came to a wash. I decided to make my way to the next drainage that Spooky was in. It was sunny and 90 degrees at least.

I found some shade under a bush and ate my lunch while listining to my head phones. I remeber feeling really connected to the desert this day.

One of the choke points in Spooky. It took a bit to figure out how to get through many of them. I enjoyed the challenge.

Spooky was really narrow……

and lived up to its Spooky name….Cue the haunted house sound track now!

After hiking through Spooky I made my way over to the Brimstone slot canyon. It was a side hike about 2 miles away where Peekaboo and Spooky can be done as a loop. Brimstone was my favorite slot to explore and since it was a couple miles away I had the whole canyon to myself.

Large boulders caught up in the narrow part of the canyon on your way to Brimstone.

It took awhile for Brimstone to start to narrow. I loved the sandy floor of this slot canyon.

As you make your way down the canyon the lighting begins to do magical things.

Brimstone gets narrower and narrower….

Until you can’t  go any further. This was the furthest I could make it. You can see the branch blocking they way. I felt like if I tried to proceed I would have put my self at risk of getting stuck. I am pretty skinny these days but not that skinny.

This sections reminded me of a subway terminal.

I took a seat and spent some time enjoying the magical slot. The wind was blowing very strong outside but I was sheltered from it down below.. Dust from the wind storm above would slowly drop specks of dust that would twinkle in the light as they descended their way to the sandy floor.

Natures art. Reminds me of the inner ear.

I really had a great time hiking these slot canyons. I was at the peak of my adventure and was really feeling this hike.

This video shows how windy it was. 30 mph gusts all day long.  I remember right after I took this video my hat blew off and tumbled about 20 yards down the canyon before I could grab it. Hiking the slots was a good choice as it protected me from the elements.

I made my out of the canyon floor, hopped on my bike, and coasted down the 1.5 mile jeep road down to my van.

My camp spots at the trail heads were working out great. They were not the most secluded but offered tons of convenience and plenty of beauty.

Backpacking Little Death Hollow/Wolverine Canyon Videos

This video covers the start of the hike and the slot canyon in Little Death Hollow. 
Part 2 This video shows off my campsite along the Escalante river, Wolverine Canyon, and the Petrified Forest. 

Desert Backpacking at Little Death Hollow

So for many years I’ve been dreaming about this location that my good friend Nick had told me about. It’s located deep in the Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument and finally had a chance to check it out on my road trip. It was the best adventure so far!  I found an amazing car camping locations along with a overnight backpacking trip down little death Hollow to the Escalante River and back up Wolverine Canyon. It was such a joy and I feel very lucky to be able to experience an adventure like this. .

After my trip to Bryce Canyon I made my way to Escalante and did a resupply. After resupplying in the town of Escalante I made my way to The Little Death Hollow Trailhead. and found an amazing campsite for my van with this view just a mile away from the trailhead.

Upon getting there in the evening I took a quick hike to explore the area. If you take a look you can see my van off in the distance.

Starting the day right with some hash browns scrambled eggs and bacon. Got to get fueled up for the backpacking trip!

So I started off at about midday and was greeted to some footpath down the wide part of the canyon.

The guidebook I’ve been using had mentioned petroglyphs near the start of the trail on a big boulder. After inspecting a couple Boulders I found what I was looking for. If you ever plan on hiking this area be sure to get this book Non-Technical Canyon Hiking Guide to the Colorado Plateau

Along the way I was greeted with a couple neat little arches off to the left side of the canyon.

And after about a mile or so down the canyon it starts to narrow up. It’s a cool feeling to hike down and know that eventually this canyon is going to turn into a narrow slot.

I thought this tiger striping on the side of the cliff always pretty neat!

And here I am starting to enter the tights slot area of Little Death Hollow Canyon. I was looking forward to getting into the narrow part of the canyon to cool off.

Eventually the slots led to some pools. The pools were in the deep parts of the slot and we’re only about 20 – 30 ft long .  It was a little out of my comfort zone jumping into  water pools but I quickly got used to it. Especially on this very hot day

Slot canyons are so photogenic.

Here I am exiting the slot canyon area making my way down towards Horse Canyon and eventually to my campsite at the Escalante River.

I had one of the most amazing camp spots located right off the Escalante River at the end of Horse Canyon. I had my own private sandy beach and a cool Escalante River to cool of in.

After a good night’s rest the next day I headed up Horse canyon to connect with Wolverine Canyon. There was water in Horse Canyon but it was alkaline and I avoided drinking it. The water from the Escalante River was much better.

Impressive rock walls were surrounding me 360°.

I believe this type of rock is called wingate sandstone.

A little ways down Horse Canyon near the exit of Little Death Hollow I found this old cabin. After inspecting, it was pretty gross.

There actually was a dirt road section going up Horse canyon after the the Little Death Hollow exit and before the start of Wolveriene. It was about a mile long and went by quickly.

So here I am in Wolverine Canyon. Wolverine Canyon had its own personality. Although there wasn’t a slot in this canyon at did narrow up nicely and was very scenic.

This was the narrowest part of Wolverine Canyon.

Wolverine Canyon also has a couple large undercuts like this one. Much more spectacular in person.

As I make my way higher up Wolverine Canyon the heat really turned up. It was at least 95 degrees with no shade.

Near the exit of Wolverine Canyon there’s a very impressive petrified forest. I just recently visited Petrified Forest National Park and felt these petrified logs were more impressive.

Check out my video of Wolverine Canyon and the petrified forest. 

Video of my trip to the Petrified Forest National Park.

So after finishing up the hike I treated myself with some all natural hot dogs and grass fed burgers topped with kimchi. Along with an extra large salad and a side of grilled mini peppers.

A little mini canyon next to where I car camped post hike.

Here’s a cool shot of a neat little car camping spot I found outside of the Little Death Hollow trailhead.
Sunsets! I live for the sunsets! What a great trip to this area and definitely will put it on my radar to go back. Studying the Colorado Plateau hiking guide there is so much more to explore in the Escalante area. . 

Bryce is Nice

Bryce Canyon National Park was fantastic! It was my first time to this National Park and really enjoyed my visit. This was my 3rd National Park along my journey and by far the best.

Great video of me hiking Bryce Canyon National Park!

Of course Bryce was extremely photogenic. Not only did I get a early start and beat the crowds I had really nice weather. Enjoy the pictures! I would suggest clicking on them to enlarge.

Here is a shot of my free campground in the Dixie National Forest about 15 miles outside of Bryce.  I loved this campsite. I had this huge meadow all to my self and not a bad view.

Grilled Pork Chop, Cooked Red Beets, Cucumber Salad

Chicken Italian Sausage, Fermented Red Cabbage, Fried Sweet Potatoes, Cucumber Salad.

Thunder Mountain

One thing that became very evident while I was on the road was weather. Yeah, weather happens! And when you’re living in a small space you become more vulnerable and aware to the elements outside. In this case I ended up waiting out 2 days of snow, sleet, and rain. I was feeling a bit stir-crazy being cooped up in the van that long but I found ways to entertain myself. Usually on these inclimate days where I’m stuck in the van I edit videos or practice yoga.

Check out my video of my time in this area!

So before I left Hurricane Utah one of our neighbors at the RV park mentioned to visit Casto Canyon on your way to Bryce Canyon. I decided to check it out. Right next to Casto Canyon I found a really cool free camping spot in the Dixie National Forest with hoodoos and this great hiking trail right next to it called the Arches Trail.

In between the crappy weather I was able to get out and do a hike this neat little area. Here’s a stone house that’s probably the tourists put together. I didn’t get the felling it was ancient ruins.

The Arches Trail meander’s up the ridge and passes by several cool hoodoo formations.

Great views but the weather was still lingering.

The Arches Trail was well-maintained and there was even a little staircase to help you get to the higher sections.

As I near the top I could look over the ridge and see my van camped in its spot far away. It always feels good to see your van / home in near view. In case you did not know I have named my van ODY-ONE.

Nature’s picture window.


Very neat looking Hoodoos!

 The Arches Trail name lived up to the hype. As you made your way across the loop there was this really cool Arch!

So after the two days of waiting out the weather I was chomping at the bit for some exercise. I was camping right at the trailhead of the a loop that consisted of Casto Canyon to Cassidy Trail returning down Loosee Canyon. After doing some research on my mountain biking trail apps on my phone it looks like a great option to ride and had some good reviews.

As I started up the canyon there was a little runoff from the snow melt further up the valley in the higher elevations.

Not bad so far. I mainly followed ATV track up to this point then it turned a single track.

As the day warmed up the water in the wash increased.

After leaving the ATV track I got on the Cassidy Trail. I was literally stopped dead in my tracks by this nasty nasty mud! I couldn’t even push my bike. The mud was so bad it would chock up my wheels to a complete halt. So I turned around and made my way back down to wash where I came from. At least the water in the wash would clean the mud off of my bike a bit.

Back at camp I was a little discouraged about the ride…. I didn’t get to do the full loop and should have waited out the day to let the trails dry more. Here I am airing out all my gear and getting ready to wash the mud off my bike. I was able to use my shower set up to spray the mud off and get my bike back in order.

Ah! This is the following day and I’m finally at the Thunder Mountain Trailhead. The sun has been out for over a day and I am greeted with nice tacky riding conditions.

Really really good views from the top of the Thunder Mountain Trail

The Thunder Mountain Trail was a blast and I really didn’t take much time to photograph it. I did get video but my camera wasn’t positioned properly during the ride and was only able to use about a quarter of the footage. Luckily what I got was okay and showed off some of the hoodoos and riding highlights the trail offers. I was expecting a 7 1/2 mile down hill on the Thunder Mountain Trail but really it was a bunch of ups and downs and short steep climbs for about half of the ride. About 2/3 of the way down you hit the large hoodoo area and finish with a fast descent to the trail head.

Time for some food! Grilling up a couple bison burgers and chicken italian sausage. This little propane grill is been working out great from Coleman.

Bison burger topped with California kimchi, 1 Italian chicken sausage, fresh avocado, and fresh cut cantaloupe! My kind of meal!

Hurricane UT and Gooseberry Mesa

After my time in Little Creek Mesa, I made my way into the town of Hurricane Utah to spend some time with my dad. I was able to pull into his RV slip at the Willow Winds RV park and take advantage of the facilities. It was great to have laundry and showers right there and be able to hang out with my dad for a week.
Video with some great slickrock riding segments. 

When I first got to St George I did a resupply and me and my dad checked out the temple in Downtown St George. It was impressive and certainly looked holy.

We also did a bike ride in Zion National Park. It was great to ride through the Zion Valley as they only allow bikes and shuttle buses up and down the main road. As we cruise through the valley we felt like we had the whole place to our self except for an occasional shuttle bus we had to pull over for.

The Virgin River.

All the way up the canyon there were stunning views of the red rock cliffs that make Zion so popular.

The views seem endless as we make our way up the canyon.

Impressive rock everywhere! I will have to make another trip to Zion and hike Angels Landing and the Zion Narrows. There are some great hikes in this National Park.

Here we are getting a father and son picture by the entrance of Zion. What a great ride this was. I left my cross bike at home and didn’t mind riding pavement on my MTB for this one.

Later on that week we made our way to the JEM Trail. It was fantastic and my dad rode great on very technical singletrack.

The JEM Trail was really flowy and fast coming down. Lots of fun little jumps and drops.

Back at the camp my dad purchased a hummingbird feeder it was fun to watch the antics of hummingbirds as they took advantage of the sweet nectar.

It was late April and roses were blooming everywhere in the St George area. It was nice to get an early jump on summer as everyday was about 85 degrees and sunny.

I love this picture of me, my dad, my Aunt Nola, and Uncle John. I got to spend some quality time with all of them and this night we had a delicious barbecue at my dad’s campground.

Whiskey’s by the fire pit in the Willow Wind RV Park.

So after a few days of taking advantage of the camping at my dad’s RV park I wanted to get out for some more adventure. I made my way to Gooseberry Mesa and found this amazing camp spot right on the  North ridge of the Mesa. I was one of the best camping spots I had so far. Amazing views, seclusion, and amazing trails just yards from my camp. Click on this panorama and check it out full size!

Here is a sample of the massive slick rock area on Gooseberry Mesa. This day I rode the Windmill Trail to South Mesa. South Mesa was rated double black. 

One morning I managed to get up and enjoy the spectacular sunrise.. My spirit was high and every day was a blast!

My campsite was overlooking the Red Bull Rampage riding area. It was really neat to look down and see this infamous free riding area. This picture was taken during my ride on the Gander Trail.

I was able to take advantage of all the amazing riding on Gooseberry Mesa and there is still a good bit of single track that I missed. The sunshine, warm weather, and scenic location made this one of the best destinations so far. I can not recommend this area enough.

This night I had a full moon to rock me to sleep.

Little Creek Mesa

During my journey so far the Sun sets have been my most favorite part. Here I am enjoying one at my free camp right next to Little Creek Mesa trailhead just outside of Hurricane Utah.

Enjoy this video with some great riding segments. 

On my way from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to the Hurricane UT area I got the privilege of driving through Colorado City. If you don’t know much about Colorado City it’s a controversial polygamist town. This is one of the scenes on my way through it.

Arriving at camp late I made a quick dinner of leftovers. A salad, bacon, and some hot dogs.

 And it ended up raining with a little bit of snow that night. I woke up to some crappy weather and ended up waiting out some rain for the day. A little bit of water leaked into my van that cause me some stress. I decided I would troubleshoot the leak when I got to hurricane at the RV park with my dad. Later on I was able to pinpoint the problem coming from my rear vent window not being closed properly.  So for now it was time to just wait out the weather and go ride.

That evening the weather did clear up and I was able to get out for a quick hike and check out the trail system briefly. What I found was a huge expanse of slickrock and neat little carins stacked everywhere taunting me to follow.

One of the carins up close and personal.

I thought this tree was unique and took some time to take a picture of it.

Here’s my first glimpse of the amazing mesas that surround the St George and Hurricane Utah area. I was already impressed.

With the weather improving I was able to get my van fully set up and really start to enjoy camp. The camp site I had was really neat, secluded, and super clean.

A panoramic of the views of the valley below.

Here I am out on my bike checking out one of the exposed sections of trail. These are always fun to come across and you got to snap a picture if you can. I did this shot with my self timer. Not that easy of a shot to set up. 

And now I’m really starting to feel it! I am having a great ride and soaking in all the views

Dinner tonight is a free-range grass-fed beef patty with curry mayo,  fermented red cabbage, avocado with bean sprouts, and cantaloupe. So delicious! So I stayed at this camp for 3 nights and 2 full days. From here I will be meeting my dad at the Willow Wind Rv park and do some bike rides with him. 

North Kaibab National Forest and the Arizona Trail

After leaving the  Zuni Mountains I had my sights set on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. While I was riding in the Zuni Mountains a couple that I had met on the trail recommended the Rainbow Ridge Trail that skirts along the edge of the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Doing some research on the trail it looks spectacular. So I called the ranger station and they said that they had no reports of getting out there this early in the season but could be possible. When I arrived in the area the highway was closed that gives access to the dirt road out to the trail system so I was unable to ride the Rainbow Ridge trail but still made do. The picture above is outside at Marble Canyon Crossing the Colorado River just before the Grand Canyon starts. It was a spectacular drive from Flagstaff to the North Rim.

AZT trail markers! I ended up camping just outside of Jacob Lake Arizona at this beautiful free Campsite in the Kaibab National Forest. I was able to still get some riding in and found I was situated right next to the Arizona Trail and spent two days exploring two different segments of the trail. I really wish I would have brought my bike packing gear because I could have made a two-day trip out to the north rim of the canyon and really wanted to see see it. Oh well next time.

Here I am cruising along the section of the Arizona Trail that is 50 miles north of the Grand Canyon there was a lot of double track and some raw single track. .

Remnants of an old ranch that made for a good photo spot.

And here’s my lovely camp situated in the ponderosa forest. I stayed here for 4 days and truthfully it was fairly cold it never got above 45 degrees. The lows in the morning we’re down to 20. It made for some chilly nights but I was able to stay comfortable and warm with my van setup. There was plenty of fire wood and conditions were  safe to have a good camp fire to keep me company.