Escalante Canyons Ride

Utah USA: (RTUT02)

Utah USA
The Grand Staircase/Escalante Canyons National Monument is Utah’s largest tract of unspoiled wilderness.

Over the eons, the Escalante Canyons have been sculpted by wind and water into a maze of gigantic proportions. This is a landscape of slickrock punctured by deep, narrow canyons. A landscape so rugged and remote that the tiny village of Boulder, Utah, which lies within its midst, could not be reached by automobile until 1938. The Escalante River was the last named and explored drainage in the continental United States.

When summer’s heat in the slickrock country becomes oppressive, the lure of glacial lakes and lush meadows beckons both horse and rider. June through August’s rides explore the plateau tops and canyons where Capitol Reef National Park and Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument make their dramatic break towards the Colorado River.

A deluxe basecamp will serve as your home for daily forays deeper into the wilderness. Exploring a new trail each day, you’ll visit ancient petroglyphs, slot-canyons, rock arches, buttes and spires. Experience Circle Cliffs, Indian Gulch, The Stairs, Lamanite Natural Bridge, The Lampstand, The Moodys, Deer Point Overlook, The Purple Hills, Silver Falls Canyon, Little Death Hollow, Wolverine Petrified Forest, and more.


This is a wilderness ride where most nights are spent camping.

On this ride we spend the first night in a hotel or Inn in Torrey (you will be notified the selection at the time of booking) and the 4 remaining nights are spent camping at one basecamp.

Red Sands Hotel (Torrey)
This hotel provides modern and comfortable rooms with TV, microwave, a small fridge, a coffee maker and an ensuite bathroom. The hotel features great views of the surrounding landscapes and offers free Wi-Fi. There is also an indoor heated pool and hot tub.

The Chuckwagon Motel (Torrey)
This motel offers clean and simple rooms with a TV, microwave, mini fridge and private bathroom. The hotel also features a swimming pool with hot tub and free Wi-Fi.

All trail rides utilize a base camp arrangement with daily forays to different points of interest. This allows us to spend less time packing and unpacking, and more time riding and seeing the country. Campsites are located in primitive, backcountry areas, which we seldom use more than once or twice each season. Low- impact camping techniques are practiced. All trips feature deluxe provisions and complete outfitting. We strive to provide the highest level of comfort while practicing low impact, not primitive camping.
Spring-bar tents (single, double or family occupancy) with floors provide our home away from home. Cots, foam pads, sleeping bags, sheets, and pillows are provided. Cook tent, dining tent, and heated shower tent round out the facilities. Chairs are also provided.

Room Occupancy
A single supplement fee applies for single travelers.

All meals from lunch on day 2 through lunch on day 6 are included. Meals at the hotel are not included (dinner on Day 1 & 6, breakfast on Day 7). South-western, home-style cuisine is our specialty! We use fresh food and salads, along with beef and pork that is grass fed and hormone free. Hot drinks in the morning help pull you out of bed while cold non-alcoholic drinks are the perfect touch after a day's ride. Alcoholic drinks are not included in this trip but you are welcome to bring your own.

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to some dietary restrictions with prior notice.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.


While no previous riding experience is required, participants should be in good health and physical condition. And although the minimum age of eight years is required, the important point you should understand is that we do not want to put any participant in a situation which they are physically or emotionally unable to handle. An appreciation of the outdoors is the only prerequisite for joining a trip.

You'll ride at a pace that is comfortable for the group, sometimes splitting into two groups, one faster for the hearty rider, and one well-paced but leisurely for those who wish to take time relishing the beauty and wonder of the sights. All riders will then regroup and make a lunch stop together. Following the afternoon ride you will return to camp with plenty of time to clean up and relax before dinner.

It should be noted that although these trips are designed to accommodate hikers as well as riders, if you plan to combine both activities, let us know so we may plan for appropriate personnel and horses before the last moment.
If you want to accompany someone on a trail ride but you are not a rider, or you simply want to spend time camping and relaxing in a wilderness setting, or you want to hike this spectacular landscape, then you're welcome to join a trail ride. Although the trips are designed for riders, it is not uncommon for participants to not ride one or more days. Daily guided hikes will venture forth as arranged. Non-riders may travel with the cook and campjack to and from the base camp, however we should know in advance.

Our remuda consists of ranch raised Quarter Horses with a few Thoroughbreds, Arabians and Mustangs. Most of the horses we've bred and raised ourselves.

Saddle Time
Usually about 6 hours; more or less time if desired or circumstances require. On camping trail rides, you'll ride to and from basecamp on first and last day of riding, otherwise, ride or rest as you please. Trail conditions range from good to rugged, over rough and rocky terrain. Distances covered between camps usually range from 6 to 12 miles. We sometimes divide the group and approach camp from different trails. Stops at scenic features and Indian rock art panels are common.

About Your Guides
Patricia Kearney or Gary George, lead each and every trip. Pat and Gary have been guiding backcountry travelers for over three decades. They are joined by a small group of seasoned guides who share a similar interest and enthusiasm for the canyonlands. 


Sample Itinerary- subject to changes

Day 1
Arrive scenic Torrey, Utah and check into your specified lodging---- to be confirmed at the time of reservation. Torrey is a town of a little over 200 population which is located at the junction of highways 12 and 24 near the west entrance of Capitol Reef National Park. At 7:00pm meet at the lobby of for an orientation and final packing session with your trip leader and the trip's interpretative specialist.

Day 2
After breakfast, you'll travel a short distance down the road to the trip's headquarters. Transfers will be provided as needed. The headquarters are located on highway 24 in the middle of downtown Torrey. Here, we'll pack your gear in the camp 4X4, meet the remainder of the crew and your horse, then depart (9 am) for our trailhead at Roundup Flat or Circle Cliffs. The 30 mile ride over Boulder Mountain on highway 12 travels along a stretch of road which AAA of California has rated among the top ten scenic drives in America. From the Roundup Flat trailhead you'll ride past the Steep Creek Lakes and the Windmill into Indian Gulch via The Stairs before arriving at the Gulch basecamp. From the Circle Cliffs trailhead with its panoramic view of the Grand Staircase and Escalante Canyons, you'll leave Studhorse Peak and Wagon Box Mesa behind as you ride to basecamp at Moody Canyon or nearby Silver Falls Canyon.

Day 3
After breakfast and preparing lunch, from the Gulch basecamp you'll visit Lamanite Natural Bridge, Water Canyon and Egg Canyon before returning home to a hot shower and cold drinks. From the Moody/Silver Falls basecamp, you'll ride over the Purple Hills to explore the labyrinth of canyons which comprise the Moody Canyon complex.

Day 4
Daylight at the Gulch camp brings the prospect of visiting the Circle Cliff Divide, the Lampstand and the petroglyphs located at its base. From the Moody/Silver Falls camp you'll wind your way into the ever narrowing depths of Silver Falls Canyon with stops at the Pioneer Register and the cooling alcove at Immigrant Springs Peak.

Day 5
From the Gulch camp you'll explore the upper reaches of Indian Gulch where it emerges from Edmund's Hole under the Windmill or Impossible Peak. Or, after a hearty breakfast, you will ride to Deer Point, the Capitol Reef Divide and the Waterpocket Fold Overlook before returning to relax around the evening fire.

Day 6
After packing personal gear and breaking camp, you will ride the length of the Gulch to where it joins Steep Creek and Long Canyon. At Long Canyon you'll exchange your saddle seat for the cushioned comfort of a vehicle ride along the Burr Trail road to highway 12 and beyond. You'll arrive in Torrey late afternoon. From the Moody/Silver Falls camp you'll take in Wolverine Petrified Forest and Little Death Hollow before rendezvousing with our vehicles along the Burr Trail road for return to Torrey late afternoon.

Note: This is a sample itinerary for two of several camps we may use. Each camp is unique and often offers more trails to explore than time will permit.

Rates and Dates for Escalante Canyons Ride

Rates include:

Accommodations (1 night at hotel, 4 nights tent camping), most meals from Day 2 to 6, camping equipment and supplies, 5 riding days, all taxes, Park fees & land-use fees.

Packages and Options

  • SeasonYearDescription US$
    20196 day Camping ride, AP$1600
Tipping is always optional and a personal decision on your part, based on your overall experience. A guide is rewarded by the opportunity to show you a beautiful area and to share your vacation with you. However, a financial gesture of appreciation will always be well received! If you do choose to pass along a gratuity, it is appropriate to direct it toward the trip leader who is responsible for distribution. The industry standard is 18-20%,
% (Tip paid Locally)

Tax 1: 6.95 % * prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy
Gratuity: 18 % (to be paid locally)
Tax: 6.95 %  

Transfer and Other Charges:

2019 Best to rent a car in Las Vegas or Salt Lake and drive in $0
2019 Single supplement for first night hotel and single tent $120
2019 Ground transportation from/to Salt Lake City airport (pp, return) $440

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2019 09/22 - 09/27 6d / 5n 6 day Camping ride, AP 4 /10 Sold Out
A 2019 09/29 - 10/04 6d / 5n 6 day Camping ride, AP 4 /10 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Guide gratuities, dinner on Day 1 & 6, breakfast on Day 7, alcoholic drinks, airport transfers (recommend rental car) & state tax

Other Info
Meeting: Torrey
Airport: Salt Lake City Airport (SLC)
Transfer: Salt Lake City Airport (SLC)

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Utah's portion of the Colorado Plateau region is a semi-arid tableland. It is generally dry with most precipitation falling as snow in the winter and occasional thunder storms during the summer. Higher elevations are cooler and receive more moisture than lower environs. Our trips explore the lower, slick rock and pinyon-juniper forested areas. With warm days and cool nights, it is best to layer your clothing to maintain comfort and you should always pack rain gear just in case.

What To Bring:
The trip features tent camping at primitive sites and are supported by 4 WD vehicles.  The camp wagons allow us to furnish cooking, eating, and shower tents, chairs, a commode, as well as feed for our horses. Participants on the trail rides will be assisted with final packing during the pre-trip orientation, the evening prior to departure.

We recommend that you:
1) pack as light as possible,
2) pack practically and with a utilitarian eye, and
3) pack so you may layer clothing for warmth. 

Suggested Items to Bring  
- Wide brimmed hat with a string
- Heeled, smooth soled, riding boots
- Riding gloves    
- Long underwear, underwear and socks   
- Long sleeved shirts and pants          
- Sweater, medium and heavy weight jackets   
- Bandanas
- Rubber overshoes (optional--For spring & fall mud)
- Camp shoes (Tennis shoes or light hiking boots are good.)
- Quality rain coat and pants (We don't often use them but always have them.)
- Camera and plenty of film (Padded travel case is recommended.)
- Flashlight, extra batteries, dark glasses and plenty of sun screen
- Beer and liquor 
- Personal articles:  towel, lip balm, moisturizing lotion, tooth brush and paste, soap like Ivory or Castile, band aids, mole skin, etc...
- Riding helmet (This is an optional item except for riders under l8 years of age. Stipulations of our insurance require that riders should be encouraged to wear helmets. The outfitter does provide helmets!)
- Chaps and swim wear (optional)
- Cash for staff/guide gratuities
- Stuff sacks or pillow cases (We recommend these for dirty laundry or pillow)
- Insect repellent (Avon's Skin-So-Soft is the only thing that repels the small gnats we sometimes encounter--a rare occurrence.)

Outfitter Provides 
- Sleeping bag                       
- Saddle bags or day pack
- Sleeping pad or cot                   
- Saddle and tack
- Canvas tent                       
- Horse
- 2 quart canteen                       
- Helmets (some sizes are available)
- Water-proof gear bags 

Additional Expenses
Airfare, rental car, personal items and alcoholic beverages. You should note that trip prices have been discounted to reflect the added expense for car rental incurred in reaching Torrey. In the final analysis, the cost for this quality trip make it one of the best buys in the adventure travel market. Also, for those participants who appreciate a cold beer after an eventful day or relaxing around the campfire with a cocktail, enjoy, but bring spirits in unbreakable containers if possible.