Trip Details

Type: Backpacking

Days: 4 Days

Distance: 25 mi/ 40 km

Difficulty: Intermediate

Origin: St. George, UT

Cost: $1100 (plus Utah sales tax, 6.35%)

Trip Description

Join us in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument for an amazing guided backpacking trip. The Canyons of the Escalante offer unparalleled solitude in a colorful landscape and breathtaking sandstone canyons awaiting exploration. This region best exemplifies Glen Canyon before the creation of Lake Powell. This is some of the most wild, remote and beautiful canyon country in the Southwest. The remote trailhead on Egypt Bench hints towards the scenic wonders to be discovered on this exciting backpacking tour. The Egypt & Golden Cathedral loop is one of Escalante’s best-kept secrets and offers solitude in a vast wilderness of slickrock, sandstone gorges, ancient ruins and amazing hidden oases. Daily backpacking mileages are relatively few and we spend a lot of time exploring with day packs. A cross-country route will take you into the Escalante River gorge via an historic horse trail used by the cowboys in the late 1800’s. Once in the riverbed, there are many side canyons offering endless exploration. Our expert guides will lead you through this maze of sinuous canyons to all the best destinations, including the Golden Cathedral, a true gem of the Escalante Region. After a few days of exploration, we will exit via one of several exciting Native American routes.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1:
This rewarding Utah backpacking tour starts at Egypt Bench, a remote location down the famous Hole In The Rock Road in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. After final packing at the trailhead, we will begin our hike across open slickrock and descend into Fence Canyon. Our camp that night will be along the Escalante River, in what used to be an old cowboy camp.
Drive Time: 4 hours
Distance & Elevation: 6 miles, 1000 foot descent
Lunch, Dinner

Day 2:
After a hearty breakfast we continue down into the depths of this fantastic canyon towards Neon Canyon, home to the Golden Cathedral, a remarkable sandstone alcove featuring an amazing triple arch in the ceiling. After snapping some photos, we’ll load up the backpacks and head further downstream to our camp for the night. Each bend of the canyon will bring more and more rewarding views. The afternoon offers the opportunity to explore some overland routes that offer incredible views of Navajo Mountain, Chop Rock and the Straight Cliffs.
Distance & Elevation: 6 miles, minimal elevation change
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3:
Today’s journey will head further down the ever-winding Escalante River Gorge, passing ancient rock art and stopping along the way to investigate more inviting tributary drainages and secret slot canyons. Our backpacking miles will be short today so that we can enjoy more day hiking exploration.
Distance & Elevation : 6 miles, up to 800 foot ascent/descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4:
After a great sunrise over canyon country, we will begin our exit out of this sandstone maze. Once on the rim, you will enjoy incredible vistas of the Escalante River canyons, Capitol Reef, and the Henry Mountains, one of the last places in the lower 48 states to be mapped. The cross-country route is one of the highlights of the hike and will offer views you won’t soon forget. Once back at the trailhead, we’ll celebrate with a delicious lunch before heading back to St. George.
Distance & Elevation: 6 miles
Breakfast, Lunch
Drive Time: 4 hours

*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
  • Roundtrip transportation from your hotel in St. George, UT to trailhead
  • Entrance fees and backcountry permits

What’s Not Included:

  • Transportation to/from St. George, UT
  • 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?

Most backpacking trips in Utah will accommodate 5 people plus one guide. On occasion, a group may be as large as 10 people plus 2 guides.

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 in St. George, UT and you will need to spend the night prior to your trip’s scheduled departure in St. George. You will want to fly into either Las Vegas (2 hour drive) or St. George. Please visit our Travel Resources page for information on airports, shuttles/rental cars and recommended hotels.

Where do meet our guides?

We will hold a pre-trip orientation at 7:00pm the evening prior to your trip’s departure at the Best Western Abbey Inn in St. George. Departure times and logistics for the following morning will be discussed at the orientation. Most trips will depart between 5:00am and 7am. *This meeting is not mandatory, but highly recommended, as we will depart early the next morning. If you are unable to attend, please let us know in advance so that we can make alternate arrangements.

What do we do with our car and extra stuff?

We will provide all transportation to/from trailheads for the duration of the trip. We will pick you up at your hotel in Flagstaff and return you there at the trip’s conclusion. Guests staying at the Best Western Abbey Inn (recommended) can leave their cars at the hotel. The hotel will often store your luggage for you, as well, but please confirm this option in advance. If you are staying at a different hotel, you will need to check with them as to whether you can leave your car/luggage there.

What time will we get back on the last day?

Expect to be back in St. George by 5pm at the latest on the last day of the trip. Many trips will return earlier but we cannot make any guarantees. 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.

2019 Dates

April: 8-11, 18-21, 22-25

May: 6-9, 11-14, 15-18

September: 22-25, 27-30

October: 2-5, 10-13

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

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