RATING: Easy to Moderate depending on route
LENGTH: A few hours / 3-4 days depending on route
GEAR: Standard Hiking Gear, 7 m ( 23 ft. ) rope. Good navigation if doing the full loop.
WATER: Intermittent, requires filtering to drink. Can be dry in the summer.
SEASON: Spring, Fall
The Gulch, not to be confused with Grand Gulch on Cedar Mesa, is one of the area jewels. It is officially designated a National Outstanding Natural Area, and easy to see why.
The Gulch itself is long, running both north of the Burr Trail, and south from the trailhead about 12 miles to the Escalante River. The length makes it good choice for a backpack, though those wishing a shorter trip can easily day hike part way down and back. The area has abundant evidence of Indian habitation, as well as relics from the more recent cowboy history. The full loop hike described here returns via an old cattle trail, and is highly recommended for the experienced backpacker with good navigation skills. Those without strong navigation skills can go to the Escalante river and return the same way.
A few warnings:
- The Gulch can be very dry in the summer and even early fall. Call the Escalante BLM office (435) 679-8980 to ask about current conditions if going in early fall. All water will need to be filtered.
- Deer flies can be a serious problem at certain times of the year. Bring long pants/sleeves and repellent.
- Heat, lack of water, and deer flies make this the last place you want to be in the summer. A short dayhike down from the trailhead might be tolerable, but a long hike or backpack will not.
- Finally, about 1/2 way through The Gulch, a short section of slot provides the biggest challenge of the trip. Most will want to bypass it, which requires a little bit of 4th class/easy 5th class climbing (10 m ( 33 ft. )) to bypass. Dogs and beginners will need a rope.