28 mi (45 km)
Drop into the depths of Canyon Country
This loop trek in the heart of Southern Utah takes you through some of the area's most distinct desert features: erosion-carved arches and bridges, waterfalls, wide open washes, narrow fins, plateaus of slick rock, and deep canyons filled with native cottonwoods and willow trees.
From Red Well Trailhead head east and follow the wash into the canyon. Slowly the small trickle will grow into a stream and you'll have to navigate the best route on either side, so be prepared for wet feet! Soon you'll arrive at Jacob Hamblin Arch, a 100-foot wide geologic spectacle and one of Utah's prettiest arches. From here you'll find several campsites in spacious amphitheaters.
Continue a few miles further to reach Coyote Natural Bridge and Cliff Arch. Near mile 13 you'll arrive at Crack-in-the-Wall, your ticket out of the canyon. Before heading out, however, continue to the confluence of the Escalante River and head upstream 1.4 miles to see Stevens Arch up close.
Crack-in-Wall is a slab of rock so narrow you might need to take off your pack to navigate through it. Climb 700' over the next mile to make your way out of the canyon towards the 40 Mile Ridge Trailhead. Follow the dirt road for two miles then cut cross country on a northwestern bearing to reach the Red Well Trailhead.
When to go
Temperatures are most ideal in spring and fall. Avoid July and August as even in the depths of the canyon temperatures can easily soar into the 100's.
Red Well Trailhead is located 30 miles down Hole-in-the-Rock Road, a historic unpaved road full of washboards. 4WD is recommended but most 2WD vehicles should be able to take it slow and reach the trailhead. The road may be impassable during and after rains.
Know before you go
- Free overnight permits are required to camp in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and are available at the Interagency Visitor Center in Escalante.
- The area is home to a number of ruins, petroglyphs, and other artifacts from the Anasazi culture. Please treat these ancient relics with care!
- Flash floods are extremely dangerous in canyon country. Be prepared and check local weather conditions.