Canyonlands Hiking Guides
Canyonlands Guided Treks
Canyonlands Backpacking
Canyonlands National Park Hiking Tour
Canyonlands Guided Backpacking
Canyonlands Backpacking Tour
Canyonlands Hiking Guides
Canyonlands Hiking Vacation
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Ancient Canyonlands Traverse

Highlights

  • Rock art, granaries and ancient cliff dwellings
  • Largest collection of ruins in Canyonlands
  • Soaring sandstone canyon walls
  • Red rock desert oasis
  • Canyonlands' most remote arch
  • Delicious backcountry cuisine
  • Stunning night skies

Description

This Canyonlands backpacking trip explores an unlikely, lush oasis surrounded by vast Utah desert and towering red rock scenery. (The red rocks we see on this trip are a unique anomaly of the desert of Southern Utah.) The portion of Canyonlands National Park that we hike into is a wonderland of canyons, spires, alcoves, natural arches, spring-fed creeks, and remnants of ancient cultures. Our journey traverses the canyon of one of the only perrennial streams in Canyonlands, winding through a microecosystem of riparian vegetation, desert plants and hanging gardens, with a backdrop of swirling red, white and black Cedar Mesa Sandstone canyon walls. It's stunning!
Not only are we treated with a maze of sandstone delights, this hike also holds the story of the ancient Native Americans who lived here centuries ago. Their story is told through rock art, prehistoric granaries and cliff dwellings tucked into the sandstone cliffs. Every day of the trip holds new sights to be seen!

The public agencies that oversee this region require that everyone pack out all solid waste, including human waste. We provide resources and training to make this manageable and efficient. However, if you'd rather embark on a trip in Utah where that isn't required, we recommending checking out our Capitol Reef Backpacking Trip

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Trip Dates

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You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.
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800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Itinerary

Day 1
  • Shuttle to the Trailhead: 4-5 hours
  • Hiking Mileage: 4.3 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 1000 feet
We begin this exceptional Canyonlands backpacking trip with pickup in Moab and a drive out to the Needles District Visitor Center where we will begin our shuttle to the trailhead. We will bid our farewells to civilization as we head down a historic road that once led to winter grazing land for local ranchers. Once at the trailhead, we will begin a steep descent into the canyon. At the canyon floor the trail brings us through lush riparian vegetation to the mouth of one fork of the creek we'll follow for the next 5 days. We'll pass by a 128 year old cabin (in surprisingly good shape) that was once inhabited by a rancher who ran cattle in this area. We will settle into camp, have our first backcountry dinner, stare up at one of the most vivid display of stars you've ever seen, then turn in for a peaceful night's rest.
Day 2
  • Hiking Mileage: 4.8-8.1 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 200-300 feet
After a tasty breakfast we will break camp and continue our trek deeper into the canyon. We will almost immediately be greeted by several ancient ruins and sandstone arches on our way to the largest collection of cliff dwellings in Canyonlands National Park. This epic ruin is followed by one of the most beautiful natural arches in the park. We pass some of Canyonland's most interesting and famous rock art panels as well, making today a trip highlight for many guests.
Day 3
  • Hiking Mileage: 5.8-8.8 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 200-300 feet
Today we continue along the canyon floor past more ancient wonders and surprises along the way. The canyon trail narrows and our route encloses us in a towering corridor of sandstone. The creek is flowing continuously now and there are numerous crossings. Once we reach tonight's camp, which is nestled under cottonwood trees, we have the option to take a 3-mile roundtrip hike to the unforgettable Angel Arch. At Angel Arch we can relax and watch the evening light begin to dance across the rocks. Angel Arch is incredibly special as it is one of the most remote arches in all of Canyonlands and is an absolute privilege to see! Eventually we'll make our way back to camp for a wonderful dinner and relaxing evening.
Day 4
  • Hiking Mileage: 8.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 200-300 feet
After a big breakfast and breaking camp, we will almost immediately be rewarded with a view of Crescent Arch as well as many more small arches along the begining of today's hike. The canyon will eventually come to a fin-like formation that protrudes out into the canyon. We hike around and through a window on the fin to our next highlight, Peekaboo Springs. Here we will visit an amazing rock art panel unlike the others, soak up our last night in the remote canyon wilderness and enjoy a celebratory dinner!
Day 4
  • Hiking Mileage: 3.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: minimal
  • Shuttle to Moab: 2 hours
After a casual morning and breaking camp for the last time, we wrap up our journey with a relaxing, shorter hike along forest roads, allowing us to reflect on the natural wonders and ancient stories that we lived for the last 5 days. Out of the canyon and back to our vehicle, we will enjoy a comfortable drive back into Moab for our fond farewells and much deserved showers.



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 and Microspike Crampons if necessary
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified Canyonlands hiking guide
  • Roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Moab, utah to the Canyonlands trailhead and back
  • Entrance fees and national park permits
  • 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 three 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. 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? In the Dates section of this trip page, the green dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here 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 72 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 meet your guide and group at a hotel in Moab, Utah at 5:00 PM the evening before your trip begins. Your guide will be in contact apprximately 10 days before your trip begins to coordinate this rendezvous and answer any last-minute questions you have.

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 4 and 7 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 normally before 5 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time).


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.


Guide Working Parameters

Guides are required to take 8 hours off each 24-hour period to sleep, recuperate, take personal/down time...etc. In addition, as part of the 8 hours off they must sleep/rest or be in their tents/rooms uninterrupted for a minimum of 5 hours each night. We ask guests to respect these requirements and to not interrupt guides' off time and sleep time unless there is a true emergency.


Group Size and Age Restrictions

The standard group size on Canyonlands backpacking trips is 6 guests and 1 guide. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) and we'll answer all your questions.

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


Weather in Canyonlands

Canyonlands is an arid, high desert ecosystem characterized by mild winter temperatures, moderate spring and fall weather and temperatures, and hot, dry summers. Average temperatures in Canyonlands are as follows:

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°