Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is one of our newest national park areas. Hidden in a remote basin in southcentral Utah, the Escalante River and its maze of canyons are a wild treasure. We backpack through a riparian desert canyon through some of the most fascinating geologic formations in the Southwest. Embraced by red sandstone walls, a gentle river flows, verdant with ferns, willow thickets and thick-barked cottonwood trees.
Smooth-walled amphitheatres of rock muraled with desert varnish and prehistoric rock art soar above the canyon floor. We hike and explore for 8 day, sleeping under star-studded skies, sharing the silence, magic and poetry of the desert.
Day 1: Meet the group in Salt Lake City for breakfast, load gear into van and drive to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah. (Plan to arrive in Salt Lake City the day before the start of the trip. We can recommend a couple hotels). If we get an early start from Salt Lake City, we can hike a couple miles into our canyon, then set up camp for the night. If not, we'll camp near Calf Creek Falls, then take off the following morning. (L) (D)
Day 2: Each day we cover 4-9 miles, either backpacking, or taking day hikes to explore side canyons, caves, grottoes, or to climb atop mesas and domes. (B) (L) (D)
Day 3: Hiking and exploring. We wade across streams and those who care to may learn the art of canyoneering, as we ascend and descend slickrock canyons with water pockets at their bases. We camp in tents or under the sky. The weather is generally superb. (B) (L) (D)
Day 4: Hiking and exploring. Meals are prepared with the utmost care, to provide us with tasty backpacking meals without having to carry too much weight. (B) (L) (D)
Day 5: Hiking and exploring. (B) (L) (D)
Day 6: Hiking and exploring. (B) (L) (D)
Day 7: Hiking and exploring. (B) (L) (D)
Day 8: We climb out of the canyons today, returning to our vehicle, and taking the long drive back to Salt Lake City. Farewell dinner. Lodging on your own. (B) (L)
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