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Zion Basecamp Tour

Highlights

  • Zion's Virgin River Narrows
  • Stunning Observation Point
  • 2,200-foot views of scenic Zion Canyon
  • Relaxation in basecamp comfort
  • Fresh-cooked meals & evening fires
  • Amazing natural & cultural history

Description

Our Zion Basecamp Tour is an opportunity to experience Utah’s most famous national park as an easy add-on to a longer trip or as a standalone canyon country experience. Our iconographic hikes will take you to the rim of Zion Canyon, through the cool waters of the Virgin River Narrows and through the incredible, lesser-known red rock surroundings. With our days flush with beauty, our evenings will be spent relaxing in a comfy basecamp on the Zion Canyon floor. Here we’ll enjoy crackling campfires, custom-cooked meals and the chance to explore the historic town of Springdale. Whether it’s splashing through the Virgin River Narrows, standing above the canyon atop 6,500-foot Observation Point, or hiking among surreal, sandstone features, this three-day tour is the best way to experience Zion National Park!
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 trailhead: 1.5-hour drive from St. George, Utah
Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Campground: Watchman Campground in Zion


This Utah hiking tour starts with pick you up at your hotel in St. George, Utah, where we’ll make the 45-mile scenic drive to Zion National Park – our home for the next three or four days. Dropping our gear at the campground, we’ll grab our specialized water hiking equipment before heading to the Temple of Sinawava.

Named for the Paiutes’ Coyote god, the Temple of Sinawava provides a stunning entrance to the Zion Narrows. Our hike starts with a stroll down the paved River Trail. Buttressed by water on our left and a 3,000-foot cliff face on the right, the River Trail gives us an up-close appreciation for the powerful hydrological forces that carved this incredible canyon. After a mile of walking along hanging gardens and under the dappled shade of majestic cottonwoods, the sidewalk ends. Wearing seasonally appropriate water gear, we’ll enter the river. Hiking in moving water can be a new and exciting experience for many. We’ll take time to get our “stream legs” before walking another 1.5 miles upriver to our turnaround point at Orderville Canyon.

Before descending back downstream, we’ll be certain to get a few more photos of the Narrows’ majestic beauty and, of course, stop-off for a relaxing shoreline lunch. Our bellies content and our spirits filled, we’ll make our way back down-canyon to our basecamp site for the chance to relax after a wonderful first day.

Please note: in the event of high water, the Virgin River Narrows hike will be rerouted to a different trail in Zion. The Park is full of unforgettable hiking and scenery, so it's easy to find an excellent substitute. To learn how seasonal river flows can affect your hike of the Virgin River Narrows, please review this article.


Day 2

Hiking Mileage: 8 miles
Difficulty: moderate to strenuous
Campground: Watchman Campground in Zion


Our second day features a challenging hike that affords some of the best views of Zion Canyon. After a fortifying breakfast, we’ll ascend a series of invigorating switchbacks to 6,521-foot Observation Point. With each turn up the trail, we’ll get a better and better vantage of our astonishing environment. Our route – on a maintained trail – switchbacks its way up through red Navajo sandstone before cutting into Echo Canyon, a picturesque gorge filled with sandstone pockets. Beyond Echo Canyon the walls drop sharply, allowing truly breathtaking views as we ascend through the beautiful white cliffs of the Temple Cap formation to reach the rim for an incredible 270-degree view.

At the top of Observation Point, we’ll find some welcome shade and enjoy a well-earned lunch before descending back to our canyon basecamp for the evening.


Day 3

Hiking Mileage: 4 miles
Difficulty: moderate
Shuttle to St. George


This final morning, we’ll eat breakfast, breakdown camp, and begin the culminating activity of our trip: our hiking adventure into the red rock sandstone surrounding Zion National Park!

The environment that we’ll explore today sits on the border of an incredible physiographic region called the Colorado Plateau. The red rock sandstone of this 130,000-square-mile uplift is known for creating incredible features such as arches, bridges, hoodos and waves.

Over 4 million people come to the Park every year, and the vast majority miss the chance to experience any of the incredible canyons and crags outside the Zion Canyon Corridor. We’ll hike beyond the border to explore lesser-known trails and experience sights that few have behold. Hiking amongst these iconographic red rocks is a wonderful way to end three thrilling days in Zion!

After lunch, we’ll load up and head back to St. George, where we’ll say our goodbyes and start scheming about our next 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 day pack
  • 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
  • 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 outdoors – 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 this hiking tour is 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°