Trip Details

Type: Backpacking

Days: 5 Days

Distance: 30 mi/ 48 km

Difficulty: Intermediate +

Origin: Needles Visitor Center, Canyonlands National Park

Cost: $1295 (plus Utah sales tax, 6.35%)

Trip Description

The Needles District of Canyonlands is a desert hiker’s paradise and a trip through Salt Creek Canyon is perhaps the best way to experience all that this incredible park has to offer. Towering rock pinnacles, slickrock mazes, shimmering freshwater pools, natural arches and archaeological wonders abound. Spend your days exploring the endless twists and turns and relax in the evenings beneath star-studded skies. The Fremont and Anasazi cultures called this canyon home as far back as 1000 years ago and farmed the broad, open benches, irrigating with the abundant water…a rarity in this otherwise arid landscape. The many signs they left behind are definitely a highlight of this adventure. From the pine forested trailhead along the flanks of the Abajo Mountains, we descend into wide open canyon bottoms, past innumerable cliff dwellings and natural arches and into a narrowing maze of colorful rocks. The exciting hike along the Peek-a-boo Trail on your last day is an epic finale to this outstanding backcountry journey!

Trip Itinerary

Day 1:
Meet your guide at the Needle District Visitor Center at 8am for an orientation and packing session before we catch a shuttle to the trailhead. We leave the rim and descend about 1000 feet before reaching the bed of Salt Creek. The upper reaches of the canyon are uncharacteristically wide and open and the hiking is very pleasant. Tonight’s camp is a short distance from an old rancher’s cabin dating back to the 1890s. The welcoming camp is shaded by junipers. Enjoy a little afternoon exploring before dinner.
Drive Time: 1.5 hours shuttle to trailhead
Distance & Elevation: 5 miles, 1100 foot descent
Lunch, Dinner

Day 2:
Enjoy some hot coffee and a tasty breakfast before packing up and heading off for a great day. It’s just over 4 miles to the next campsite so you will have the whole afternoon to explore ancient ruins and fantastic rock art without carrying everything on your back. The scenery is outstanding!
Distance & Elevation: 8+ miles, minimal descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3:
Today’s hike is a little longer and the canyon begins to narrow as you go. You’ll make numerous stream crossings along the way. Ruins abound through this stretch. We’ll take a detour to visit the outstanding Angel Arch before heading further downstream to make camp. Tonight you’ll sleep deep within the Canyonlands wilderness.
Distance & Elevation: 8+ miles, minimal descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4:
Another day of adventure and exploring! The trail continues to meander around pinnacles and slickrock benches. The red rock against the blue skies makes for fabulous photo opportunities. Tonight we camp at the famous Peekaboo Campsite which sets us up for an exciting final day of hiking.
Distance & Elevation: 7 miles, minimal descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5:
For our final day, we’re off on the Peekaboo Trail, an adventuresome scramble over slickrock expanses, up ladders and through small crevices in the sandstone. You’ll get some fantastic views atop the ridgelines, extending all the way to the La Sal Mountains by Moab. Our hike finishes at Squaw Flat.
Distance & Elevation: 5 miles, minimal ascents/descents
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

4-Day Option: For fitter hikers or those looking for a shorter-duration hike, our 4-day itinerary covers more backpacking miles each day and spends a little less time on side hikes.

*Final itineraries are occasionally subject to change due to permit/campsite availability, park restrictions/closures, weather conditions and/or road closures.

What’s Included:

  • A professional, licensed and medically trained guide
  • All necessary gear: backpack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, trekking poles
  • All cooking/eating gear: bowls, cups, utensils (your guide will prepare all meals)
  • All meals from a light breakfast on Day 1 through lunch on the last day + trail snacks
  • Entrance fees and backcountry permits

What’s Not Included:

  • Transportation to/from Canyonlands National Park
  • Lodging the night before/after the trip
  • Clothing, raingear, and footwear
  • Personal toiletries, sunscreen
  • Water bottles/hydration bladder
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (suggested 10-15% of trip cost)

*Upon booking you will receive a detailed trip information packet

How many people are in the group?

Backpacking trips in Canyonlands will accommodate up to 6 people plus one guide.

Are there age restrictions?

Children under the age of 13 are generally not permitted on backpacking trips. This restriction may be negotiable on private tours. Please contact us with any questions regarding this policy.

How do I sign up?

In order to confirm a reservation, we require an initial deposit of $250 per person, with the final balance due 90 days prior to the trip’s departure. If you book a trip within 90 days of the trip’s scheduled departure, then full payment is due at the time of booking.

Your deposit is payable over the phone by Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, or Discover. Checks by mail are fine as well, as are bank transfers ($35 transfer fee). Call our office Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm Arizona time. 1-877-272-5032

Where does the trip begin/end?

This trip will begin/end at the Needles Visitor Center in Canyonlands National Park (about 1.5 hour drive from Moab). You will need to spend the night prior to your trip’s scheduled departure in Moab . You will want to fly into either Grand Junction, CO (2 hour drive) or Salt Lake City, UT (4 hour drive). Boutique Air offers daily flights between Moab and both Salt Lake City, UT and Denver, CO. Please visit our Travel Resources page for information on airports, shuttles/rental cars and recommended hotels.

Where do meet our guides?

You will meet your guide at the Needles Visitor Center (about 1.5 hour drive from Moab) at 8am the morning your hike begins. We will distribute gear and load backpacks here before boarding a shuttle to the trailhead.

We will go over logistics for the hike, expected weather (and how this might affect what clothing you bring…or leave behind), food, and answer any last minute questions. We will also use this time to fit everyone for their backpacks.

What do we do with our car and extra stuff?

You can leave your car at Squaw Flat at our ending trailhead. Your guide will lead you to this point after everyone is packed up. It is a short drive from the Visitor Center.

What time will we get back on the last day?

Expect to be back at the ending trailhead by 1pm at the latest on the last day of the trip. After lunch and unpacking/gear breakdown, you will be free to depart. In general, it is recommended that you do not plan to fly home on the same day your trip finishes. Since each trip has slightly different logistics, feel free to contact us with specific questions related to the expected return time for your trip.

2017 Dates

Ocotber: 2-6, 9-13

 

2018 Dates

April: 30-May 4

More dates to come soon…

Don’t see your dates? Custom dates may be available!

Call 1-877-272-5032 or email us for details.