The Dye Clan
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  • TR: Jun 2011

Brimstone Gulch

A typical section of narrows in Brimstone Gulch.

Brimstone Gulch is divided into three parts: Lower Brimstone Gulch, Middle Brimstone Gulch, and Upper Brimstone Gulch. Lower and Upper Brimstone canyons are tight, but they're not nearly as tight as Middle Brimstone, which is impassable for most people. The hike from the trailhead to the mouth of Lower Brimstone is about 2.6 miles and takes about 1 hour. Lower Brimstone is about 0.2 miles long and takes about 15 minutes each way

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Waypoints

Waypoint Latitude Longitude Description
TURN1 37.4666516 -111.2239595 Turn 1, 26.2 miles down Hole in the Rock Road
CAMP 37.4662378 -111.2059334 One good place to camp
PARK 37.4768015 -111.2201705 Park
DFBOT 37.4812382 -111.2176675 Dry Forks Bottom
DFTOP 37.4834545 -111.2249238 Dry Forks Top
PBBOT 37.4816014 -111.2166066 Peek-a-Boo Bottom
PBTOP 37.4852864 -111.2166052 Peek-a-Boo Top
SPTOP 37.4851380 -111.2094564 Spooky Top
SPBOT 37.4814013 -111.2093207 Spooky Bottom
JUNC1 37.4761991 -111.1970365 Junction #1
LBBOT 37.4873471 -111.1932913 Lower Brimstone Bottom
LBTOP 37.4930344 -111.1906222 Lower Brimstone Top
LIBOT 37.4747478 -111.1950517 Little Canyon Bottom
LITOP 37.4769922 -111.1933339 Little Canyon Top

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Trip Report: June 18, 2011


Brimstone Gulch, Little Canyon, and Dry Fork Narrows of Coyote Gulch at EveryTrail

Saturday morning we got up at 6:00 to have breakfast and get ready for the day.

Our campsite in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Sunrise at our campsite in Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument

Anthony and Zac had done Brimstone on a previous trip, and it took them 8 hours to complete lower, middle, and upper Brimstone Gulch and return to the mouth of the canyon. We figured it would take an additional hour and twenty minutes to get to and from the mouth of the canyon, for a total of about 9.5 hours.

We left the trailhead (37°28'35.57"N, 111°13'13.07"W) at 7:10 ...

Brimstone Gulch

... and passed by the mouth of Dry Fork Narrows of Coyote Gulch ...

Mouth of Dry Fork Narrows of Coyote Gulch

... and Peek-a-Boo Slot Canyon 8 minutes later.

Brimstone Gulch

There were tons of fun animal tracks in the sand along the way.

Brimstone Gulch

We passed the mouth of Spooky Slot Canyon after 19 minutes.

Brimstone Gulch

We followed the wash to the southeast and soon entered a slot canyon that doesn’t have a name.

Brimstone Gulch
Brimstone Gulch

The USGS topographic map says the whole wash is called Dry Fork Coyote Gulch, so I shall call it Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch Slot.

Brimstone Gulch

This narrow canyon opens up in the middle then gets narrow again. Notice the four impressive chockstones (large boulders wedged between the canyon walls).

Brimstone Gulch

At the convergence of Brimstone Gulch and Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch, turn left (north).

Brimstone Gulch

You’ll soon come to a huge sand dune on your left.

Brimstone Gulch

On a previous trip, my brother’s group climbed to the top of the dune and rolled down it.

Brimstone Gulch

After almost an hour of hiking,

Brimstone Gulch
Brimstone Gulch

we arrived at the mouth of Brimstone Gulch.

Brimstone Gulch

When my brother was there before, a large pool of freezing cold water caused everyone in the group except for two people to turn back. Luckily for us, the canyon was completely dry on this trip.

Brimstone Gulch

We pressed forward, and it got dark very quickly. At one point, it was almost completely pitch black, with only a sliver of light high above us. I wasn’t able to get any good photographs with my point-and-shoot camera, so I had to settle for a video instead.

There was a fledgling bird that couldn't fly well enough to get out of the canyon. At one point, it landed on my leg.

Brimstone Gulch

The following picture isn't very good by a photographer's standards, but you can see how narrow the canyon is.

Brimstone Gulch

We reached the end of Lower Brimstone about 15 minutes from the mouth. We took a few minutes to eat some snacks and lighten our packs so we wouldn’t be burdened trying to maneuver the packs and ourselves through the super-tight canyon.

Brimstone Gulch

After some snacks, we proceeded on to Middle Brimstone. Aaron went first. He made it about 40 feet before it got too tight for him to continue upright. I’m a pretty small guy (135 lbs), so I offered to go first. Now normally tight places don’t bother me at all. I love squeezing through caves on my belly and stuff like that. But when I tried to squeeze through the 8-inch wide canyon, it compressed my rib cage so I couldn’t breathe, and I freaked.

After a minute or so, I was able to overcome my sudden onset of claustrophobia. Anthony went ahead of me, and I crawled after him down lower where it was a little bit wider. After 10 more feet, we came to another part that was too tight to squeeze through. At this point, Anthony chimneyed up to go over the tight spot. And the claustrophobia returned. There was a person in front of me, two people behind me, tight canyon in front and tight canyon in back. I knew it wasn’t going to open up for over a mile, and I knew that Anthony’s canyoneering book said that Middle Brimstone was impassable. Compound that with me being a little bit sick from drinking too much water all at once and the knowledge that there was no backing out for the next 8 hours, and I had to turn around. I went back to the room where we had lunch and tried to get my cool back, but it wasn’t working for me. Since Zac had already done all of Brimstone, he was kind enough to offer to explore a parallel canyon (Little Canyon) with me while Anthony and Aaron did Middle and Upper Brimstone.

Brimstone Gulch

Here are a few pictures we took of Lower Brimstone on the way back.

Brimstone Gulch
Brimstone Gulch
Brimstone Gulch
Brimstone Gulch

Anthony and Aaron had their own story to tell. In short, they made it to the end of Brimstone a lot quicker than they expected. Then snaked their way back to the mouth of Brimstone and got there around 12:30. That’s when Aaron realized that he was missing his wallet. So they turned around and, luckily, found his wallet in about an hour. They got back to camp around 2:30, and we met up with them there.