Escalante Canyon BackpackingExplore the heart of a desert canyon

Utah
Utah
4 Days
4 Days
Intensity
6/10
18+
$1,595
$1,695 non-peak member
Book Early & Save $100
About the trip

Explore the heart of a desert canyon

A river courses through the canyon as it has for millennia while each drop of water and grain of moving sand etches the continuing story of a tale as old as time. From the environmental masterpiece created by erosion to the petroglyphs left by the Anasazi, this landscape speaks with a voice that flows from eternity. Escalante is the desert’s heart, and it is full of love.

Your early morning footsteps will follow the riverbed tracks of elk, mountain lions, or desert tortoises that have passed in the night. You will learn and practice Leave No Trace, and while your team will take away a wealth of memories, the wind singing in the cottonwoods will keep the secret that you were ever there.

Your Guide
Sam Combs
Senior Guide

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Info
Level 6/10
Utah
4 Days

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Itinerary

Arrive in Vegas, Drive to St. George

You'll meet your guide upon arrival at McCarren International Airport in Las Vegas. Once the group has all arrived, you'll be transported to St. George, your home for the night. Today is your chance to get settled and organize your gear before your team briefing and dinner (not included). Get a good night's rest tonight to prepare for your adventure. (Meals: No meals provided)

Enter Escalante River Gorge

Today is your first day on the trail. While the mileage may be short today, you'll certainly feel the effort of carrying your gear in your pack and plenty of breaks will be built in to let you soak up the beautiful and unique views while you rest. Your guide will point out many interesting sights along the way to Bigler's Bench, your camp for the evening. (Meals: L, D)
Hiking Distance: 3.5 milesHiking Time: 4 hours

Sand Creek, Hike to Death Hollow

Wake up early and you can catch the epic sunrise from Bigler's Bench before breakfast. Inspired, you'll head to Sand Creek for a morning of exploration without the weight of your pack. After a morning taking in the landscape, you'll gear back up and hike to Death Hollow with time for lunch at one of our favorite lookouts along the way. (Meals: B, L, D)
Hiking Distance: 7 milesHiking Time: 8 hours

Hike to Big Willow Camp

This morning is another chance to explore the canyon without your gear. With plenty to see, you'll enjoy some time to reflect. After packing up camp, you'll then hike to Big Willow Camp with time for lunch at the Big Red wall. You'll arrive at your next camp with plenty of time to set up and enjoy dinner while the sun sets. (Meals: B, L, D)
Hiking Distance: 7 milesHiking Time: 8 hours

Last day in Escalante

Today may be your last day on the trail, but there is still plenty to see. You've now become accustomed to enjoying your morning coffee in the silence of the desert so today's hike will be a chance to enjoy a mild pace. Arriving at the end of your hike, you'll drive to a nearby campground and reflect on your adventure. (Meals: B, L, D)
Hiking Distance: 3 milesHiking Time: 4 hours

Buckskin Gulch, Return to Las Vegas

You'll spend today exploring Buckskin Gulch, the longest and deepest slot canyon in the southwest United States - and perhaps the longest in the world. The full canyon runs thirteen miles and today we'll explore just a few along our hike. After your morning in the gulch, you'll have time for lunch on the road before returning to Las Vegas for the night. (Meals: B)
Hiking Distance: Up to 4 milesHiking Time: 4 hours

Departures

Enjoy a day exploring Las Vegas before your flight. Your guide will provide transportation to the airport for your flight.
Planning

Here’s what you need

Bring

Essential Gear
  • Backpack, sized 55-70 L
  • Backpacking Tent (available to rent for an additional fee)
  • Sleeping Bag, rated 20 degrees or lower (available to rent for an additional fee)
  • Sleeping Pad (available to rent for an additional fee)
  • Water bottles or Camelbak, 3L total minimum capacity
  • Headlamp
  • Mug, bowl, and utensil
  • Small towel or facecloth
  • Toiletries
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
Recommended Gear
  • Camera
  • Book
  • Journal
  • Sleeping bag liner

Wear

Essential Clothing
  • Hiking boots
  • Wool hiking socks, multiple pairs
  • Long sleeve base layers (synthetic and moisture wicking)
  • Long pant base layer (synthetic and moisture wicking)
  • Light synthetic shirt or tank for warmer days
  • Hiking pants or shorts (at least one pair should be long pants)
  • Insulating mid layers (fleece jacket or vest, down jacket)
  • Waterproof, windproof shell
  • Light gloves
  • Warm hat
  • Balaclava or buff
  • Casual clothes for camp

What's Included

Included
  • Round Trip Transportation from Las Vegas
  • Licensed and medically trained guide team
  • Meals as outlined in itinerary
  • Group equipment
  • Park permits and fees
Not included
  • Personal gear and equipment
  • Meals not outlined in itinerary
  • Gratuity for guides

Flights

This trip departs from Las Vegas. If you are not arriving into Las Vegas in advance or staying past the duration of the trip, your flight should arrive no later 9 AM on day one of the itinerary and depart no earlier than 4 PM on the final day.

Weather

Be prepared for wild temperature swings in the desert. 80º during the day with a frost at night is normal for the spring. Early summer shifts those temps up 10 degrees with nights in the low 40s. Rain is uncommon.

Training

This trip does not require technical climbing skills or experience. It does, however, require a moderate level of physical fitness. We strongly encourage our hikers to experience hiking while carrying weight. The difference in difficulty while carrying the weight of a fully loaded backpack can sometimes come as a surprise to hikers, so you are encouraged to try challenging day hikes with a weighted backpack. Those who are in good shape are more likely to enjoy the experience and the views along the trail.

Give yourself adequate time to prepare, particularly if this form and intensity of exercise is new. Additional training advice is available to registrants.

Dates and Prices

The right trip,
at the right time.

Start
Finish
Availability
Price From
Monday
Mar 11, 2019
Sunday
Mar 17, 2019
Available
$1,595
Book Early & Save $100
Before Dec 17
Monday
Apr 1, 2019
Sunday
Apr 7, 2019
Available
$1,595
Book Early & Save $100
Before Jan 1
Monday
Apr 22, 2019
Sunday
Apr 28, 2019
Available
$1,595
Book Early & Save $100
Before Jan 22
Monday
Sep 30, 2019
Sunday
Oct 6, 2019
Available
$1,595
Book Early & Save $100
Before Jun 30
Monday
Oct 28, 2019
Sunday
Nov 3, 2019
Available
$1,595
Book Early & Save $100
Before Jul 28