Photo: Russ Nordstrand

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Harris Wash

Highlights

  • Old West camps & engravings by 19th century pioneers
  • The enchanting Escalante River
  • Secluded and uniquely scenic landscape
  • Stunning part of Utah's vast canyon country
  • Serpentine canyons & a sea of classic Utah slickrock
  • Delicious backcountry cuisine & expert guides
  • One of the clearest night skies you've ever seen

Description

This classic Utah Canyon hiking adventure begins in a beautiful, serpentine canyon and finishes with a cross-country traverse of a sea of quintessential slickrock. We'll start by hiking down Harris Wash and past overhanging cliffs, deep alcoves, and sandy beaches. Moderate hiking means we’re in camp early and have time to identify rare wildflowers, explore ancient Indian sites, or simply relax. After a few more timeless days winding through the canyon, we'll hike up to the beautiful pine-studded bench lands of the high country. Here we’ll navigate the rolling slickrock and drink in the endless views, before eventually arriving back to civilization.
If you're looking for a moderate hike through some of the most beautiful lands in the Southwest, then this backpacking tour is for you! Give us a call today to reserve your spot on one of our scheduled tours or book a private hiking trip.
Click here to have a detailed PDF information packet emailed to you, or request a reservation today. You can also call us at 800-715-HIKE.

 

Photos of this Trip

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Shuttle to the trailhead: 3-hour drive from St. George, Utah
Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
Elevation Loss: 250 feet

This Utah backpacking trip begins at the Harris Wash Trailhead just off the rugged Hole-in-the-Rock road. From the trailhead we hike downstream in an open and dry wash and after 1 mile the wash begins to resemble a canyon as short walls of Navajo Sandstone begin to appear. Next the stream begins to flow continuously and after 3 miles of hiking we arrive at a narrow notch where the stream once cut through a bend and straightened its course. The abandoned stream course, or rincon, is north of the notch. Camp will be made after approximately 5 miles under overhangs in the canyon.


Day 2

Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
Elevation Loss: 250 feet


Continuing our hike downstream through stands of cottonwood and willows, we'll watch the gulch deepen and narrow between towering walls of sandstone, streaked with patterns of desert varnish. After hiking 5 miles we come to the confluence of Harris Wash and the Escalante River. We'll make camp at this junction on a "bench" overlooking the canyon bottom. The "bench" was once a cowboy camp for settlers in the late 19th century, as evidenced by the engravings they left in the rock near camp.


Day 3

Hiking Mileage: 2 miles and 4 miles optional day hiking
Elevation Gain: 500 feet


A casual morning will precede a day hike to Silver Falls Creek. We’ll hike upstream in this dry but magnificent canyon to an impressive amphitheater and the George Hobbs memorial. In February, 1883, Mr. Hobbs was ferrying supplies by pack string to Bluff, Utah when he was trapped for five days by a snowstorm. Believing he would not survive he inscribed his own memorial on the canyon wall. After our day hike we’ll proceed 1.5 miles up the Escalante River and ascend a long sandy slope. It is a strenuous hike in soft sand to the beautiful pinyon-juniper benchlands of higher country and our camp.


Day 4

Hiking Mileage: 7 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 0 feet
Shuttle to St. George: 3-hour drive


Following breakfast we’ll break camp and hike the rolling slickrock before eventually arriving back at our starting point. En route we’ll take time to drink in the endless views and reflect back on this amazing backpacking adventure!


Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary park restrictions, campsite availability, weather, road closures, guest ability/injury, and natural events like fires and flooding.

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Top-of-the-line tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and technical backpack
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified Utah hiking guide
  • Roundtrip transportation from your hotel in St. George, Utah to the trailhead and back
  • National park entrance fees
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)
See the Packing Lists page for more information.


Meals: What To Expect

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.


Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:
  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware sleeping bags
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki or Black Diamond trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Satellite phone


What Gear To Bring

We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are two 1-liter water bottles per person and either a headlamp or flashlight per person. Basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.


What Clothes to Bring

Please refer to the trip packet for a recommended clothing list (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots (reliable brands include Montrail, Lowa, Merrell, Vasque, and Salomon), rain gear, and non-cotton and cotton clothing layers. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required, and we recommend Neoprene socks and water shoes for this trip. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

NOTE: See the Packing Lists page for more detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your hiking tour. The trip packet you receive when you contact us will have the most accurate clothing and gear list for the tour you're interested in.

Trip Logistics

How do I Register?

Ready to hike? Simply click here and complete the form to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you're ready to register we'll email you a link to a registration profile. You'll have 48 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit ($500).

Feel free to call us for more info - we're here 7 days a week!


Where Do We Meet?

You will rendezvous with the guide and group in St. George, Utah for an orientation meeting at 5:00 PM the evening before the trip begins. Your guide will be in contact approximately 2 weeks before your trip starts to specify the orientation location, and we are more than happy to pick you up if the meeting if you are staying at one of our recommended hotels but the orientation is taking place elsewhere. The guide will then pick you up at your hotel the next morning for transport to the trailhead. For Private Utah Tours your guide can meet you at your hotel in St. George or Cedar City, Utah at an agreed upon time.

Check out our Travel Resources page for information on flights, shuttles, lodging and more.


Start/End Times

Your guide will inform you of the first day's pick-up time at the orientation meeting. Generally, you can expect it to be between 5 and 8 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will drop you off at your hotel on the final day no later than 7 PM.


Safety Considerations

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT's, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We've developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and most tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.


Guides

Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.


Group Size and Age Restrictions

The standard group size on backpacking trips is 5 guests and 1 guide, with a maximum of 10 guests and 2 guides. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 800-715-HIKE (4453) and we'll answer all your questions.

Age restrictions are as follows:
  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis


Weather in the Southern Utah

Weather in Southern Utah
Southern Utah is a high desert. The weather is very moderate: occasional dustings of snow in the winter that melt rapidly, and summer temperatures in the low 90s (°F) that often cool down with thunderstorms. To be fully prepared, please follow the recommended clothing list closely (this list comes as part of your trip packet when you register). The ideal time to be in the Canyon Country is Spring and Fall. Read below for average high and low temperatures in Utah's Canyon Country:

Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)
 
 
Month
High
Low
 
Dec-Feb
43°
18°
 
March
55°
27°
 
April
64°
33°
 
May
73°
40°
 
Jun-Aug
88°
55°
 
September
79°
45°
 
October
67°
35°
 
November
53°
25°