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America’s Best Campsites

Park your tent in one of these 10 spots, and you'll be happy in the morning. Guaranteed.

Coyote Gulch
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, UT

If there was a hall of fame for classic canyon-country sights, it would include soaring sandstone walls, lush riparian oases, gravity-defying arches, massive alcoves, and Native American rock art—all highly concentrated in one moderate hike. In other words, it would look like Coyote Gulch. A rare perennial stream feeds an unusually vibrant canyon bottom, with cottonwood trees that turn gold in the fall. And this expansive campsite on a sandy beach is the primo spot to hole up, in part because it has “one of the best night-sky views in the canyon,” according to photographer David Collier. The site is about seven miles into a 26-mile out-and-back hike down Coyote Gulch to the Escalante River. Make it a two-night basecamp, and on your middle day, hike to the Escalante, a tributary of the Colorado. At the Escalante, hike upstream about a half mile for a view of Stevens Natural Arch. At 160 feet high and with a span of 225 feet, it’s one of the largest arches in the country. Fairly popular in spring and fall—quieter before mid-April and after mid-October—Coyote Gulch features 50-foot-wide Coyote Natural Bridge arcing over the canyon, 150-foot-wide Jacob Hamblin Arch (a few minutes’ walk downstream from this campsite), walls undercut 200 feet, Fremont Indian pictographs, and several waterfalls all within a couple miles. Start at Hurricane Wash trailhead on Hole-in-the-Rock Road (high clearance recommended), 33 miles south of UT 12; the turnoff from the highway is five miles east of Escalante.

Permit Required and free, available at trailhead or visitor center in the town of Escalante.
Contact (435) 826-5499,

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