Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
October 6-10, 2016

Updated 9/11/2016: Currently, this trip is sold out

The allure of Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument (GSENM) is phenomenal. Nearly 3,000 square miles of sun-drenched Utah backcountry spread out well beyond the visible horizon from the road, whether you’re traveling along the All-American Highway, Scenic Byway 12, or on Highway 89. That's nearly 1.9-million acres of colorful sandstone cliffs soaring above narrow slot canyons; picturesque washes and seemingly endless slickrock; prehistoric village sites and abandoned old Western movie sets, among many other treasures.

At Grand Staircase–Escalante, Utah visitors will find a vast and pristine backcountry that affords excellent opportunities for solitude and unconfined wilderness recreation, along with great scenic driving opportunities and endless camping options, both developed and primitive. But wherever you travel in this magnificent landscape, whether a drive down remote desert roads or a hike up lonely canyons, you will be rewarded at the end of your trip with vivid memories and a yearning to return.

If you never have been to Escalante or camp before, we highly encourage you to attend. The only gear you need that you might not have is a tent (you can share or rent one) and a sleeping bag. It is going to be a fun, social, and amazing trip you will never forget!

HighlightsGeneral ItineraryCancellation Policy

Escalante Petrified Forest State Park
Escalante Petrified Forest State Park is located at Wide Hollow Reservoir, a small reservoir that is popular for boating, canoeing, fishing and water sports. The park includes a developed campground with RV sites and a nice group area. There is also a pleasant picnic area. On the hill above the campground you can see large petrified logs. A marked hiking trail leads through the petrified forest. At the Visitor Center you can view displays of plant and marine fossils, petrified wood and fossilized dinosaur bones over 100 million years old.

Lower Calf Creek Falls
Calf Creek Falls is one of the most enchanting areas of the Grand Staircase-Escalante area, a verdant oasis amid the tumbled stone monoliths of the desert. Named for its use as a natural pen for calves back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, the creek remained relatively unknown as a tourist destination until the formation of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, under the Clinton administration. Walking between mineral-streaked cliffs of Navajo Sandstone, hikers pass beaver ponds and pre-historic rock art sites en route to the paradisiacal pools. The trailhead is located at the Calf Creek Campground on Highway 12, 11 miles south of the town of Boulder, and 15 miles east of the town of Escalante. The highway follows the route of the creek for most of the distance, atop the bluff to the east of the canyon.

Peek-a-boo and Spooky Gulch
Peek-a-boo Gulch is a short slot canyon in the Dry Fork area of the Grand Staircase- Escalante area, located on the Hole-in-the-Rock Road, 26 miles south of the town of Escalante. Peek-a-boo is not very long, or physically demanding, but it requires some navigational and rock-scrambling skill in order to get through its twists and chutes. Peek-a-boo can be combined with Spooky Gulch to make a fun loop hike. Spooky Gulch isn’t for the claustrophobic, but it is a thrilling experience. The canyon walls are so narrow in some places that an average-sized adult will have a hard time passing through. The walls begin closing in just 300 feet in, requiring hikers to turn sideways and squeeze between the slot canyon walls. The bottom openings are typically a little bit wider for those willing to crawl and scoot. Hikers have occasionally gotten stuck in Spooky Gulch so be aware of your girth before squeezing into tight spaces.

Devils Garden
Devils Garden is a natural playground located in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument about 17 miles southeast of Escalante. This surreal high desert landscape is accented by natural sandstone escalante, hoodoos and monoliths colorfully sculpted over 170 million years by wind, ice, and thermal erosion. Distinct layers of red and white sandstone, blended with erosion-resistant caprock, create some of the area’s most notable rock formations such as Metate Arch, Mano Arch, Gnome Rock, the Marching Trolls, and the Four Wise Men. This outstanding natural area beckons you to wander carefree and see with your imagination. A series of interconnected footpaths — there are no marked trails — winds through the whimsically shaped 170-million-year-old rock formations.

Golden Cathedral
The Golden Cathedral is a unique hiking destination within lower Neon Canyon in the Grand Staircase-Escalante area. The Cathedral is locates just over 3/4 of a mile up Neon Canyon from its confluence at the Escalante River, and consists of a great, domed pour-off from upper Neon Canyon, where the water has dug three separate pothole escalante into the overhang. When the sun is overhead, the daylight shines down through the escalante in great, golden columns. Getting to the Golden Cathedral is tricky, and requires a good measure of navigational skill. This hike does not take visitors the entire length of Neon Canyon—that trip is technical and strenuous, though very much worth the effort. This trip will only take visitors into the lower canyon, below the pour-off.

Coyote Gulch
Located in the vast Grand Staircase-Escalante desert, Coyote Gulch is a winding, semi-narrow canyon that snakes its way down through incredible red rock country, and joins with the Escalante River just above Lake Powell. The hike is long, best suited for an overnighter, though it can be hiked in one day by those satisfied with a march instead of a casual exploration. Hikers will pass a good number of escalante, as well as the hardy wetlands that thrive within the shade and moisture of Utah’s desert oases. The trailhead is co-located with some water tanks on the Fortymile Ridge, just south and west of the confluence of Coyote Gulch and Escalante Canyon. From that position, hikers can choose to follow the popular route, going from the tanks up to Crack-in-the-Rock, and down to the river, before heading upstream, and eventually climbing out of Coyote Gulch at Jacob Hamblin Arch, or they can choose any of the other routes, such as beginning at Hurricane Wash, which is just under a mile and a half upstream (northwest) of Jacob Hamblin Arch. Though non-technical, this route is long and strenuous, and requires experience with both overland navigation and major rock-scrambling.

Make Reservation
Land package: $420
Departing from Los Angeles, CA
Trip Includes

Passenger van or SUV transportation; 1 night hotel in St. George, UT (double occupancy); 3 nights camping in Escalante Petrified Forest State Park; all breakfasts + 3 lunches + 2 happy hours + 2 dinners

Have a Question?
Send an e-mail to the organizers.
Trent Nguyen
Main Coordinator
Assistant Coordinator
Assistant Coordinator
John Corcoran
Assistant Coordinator
Ron Domash
Assistant Coordinator
61 Participants
c2 (+1)
John Corcoran
kresimir (+1)
Ron Domash
Tatyana (+1)
Tatyana S
Trent Nguyen