Utah Backpacking Highlights 2015

The wild and colorful Canyon Country of southern Utah is a true highlight of the American West! We ran two guided Utah hiking treks in 2015: the Escalante Canyons in the spring, and Canyonlands National Park this recent October. We had a small group in the Escalante and two groups in Canyonlands because the first group filled to the size limit allowed by the Park Service. So I led one group and our longtime trusty guide Bob Clark led the other.

For me the Escalante Canyons trek is all about canyons and slickrock: deep spectacular sheer-walled canyons of red sandstone with cool streams and verdant foliage topped by vast open “slickrock” mesas with big vistas of southern Utah’s amazing canyon and mesa wilderness! Although the entire week was a wonderful mix of canyon and mesa exploration, my personal highlight was the last night of the trip, camped high on the slickrock mesa with big wild vistas from Navajo Sandstone domes punctuated by sheer-walled canyons falling away beneath us!

Canyonlands National Park is also a land of sandstone canyons, but the canyons are more open and the rock colors are a kaleidoscope of red, orange, tan, white and purple. The colors are unbelievable! Ancient ruins of the near millennia-old “Ancient Puebloan” culture abound, and over most of the route there is good water so we don’t have to load our packs with any more than a liter. On this relatively easy-walking trek, our layover camp in the cottonwoods and day-hike up a big wide-open spectacular side canyon was one of many trip highlights (note that I usually do not divulge the specific place names of our routes and the features therein).

These are two of our three wonderful guided Utah backpacking trips. Both of these trips will be offered in 2016. In addition, we will also offer our Grand Staircase Back-country trek, in the heart of the Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument. In summary, backpacking in Utah is unlike backpacking anywhere else on this planet! If you’ve never backpacked in the other-worldly Utah Canyon Country, any one of these trips will provide an experience you’ll never forget. For the canyon country truly is a land like no other!


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