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Grand Staircase Llama Traverse

Highlights

  •   Fascinating history
  •   Traverse of Escalante
  •   Desert oases
  •   Stunning rock formations
  •   Classic Utah landscapes
  •   Breathtaking night skies
  •   Wonderful desert solitude


Description

Beginning at an escarpment known as the Circle Cliffs, this hike traverses from one side of the Escalante Canyons to the other. The two canyons that permit this access across this National Recreation Area, Silver Falls and Harris Wash, create a natural corridor of travel through the region. In fact, this route was part of what was known as the Halls Crossing Road in the 1880’s. We will see signs of both the historical and pre-historical people who have been traveling this route since time unknown. Historical context aside, this is simply a fantastic hike in a world class destination, made all the better with the help of our pack llamas!

This trip is operated by Wildland Llamas, an authorized guide company and llama outfitter in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Wildland Llamas is a separate, partner company of Wildland Trekking with partially shared ownership, guide teams, and infrastructure.

We're Here to Help!
 
Multi-day Llama Trek
Difficulty:
Solitude:
Origin: St. George, UT*
4 days
23mi / 37km
Per Person: $1855

* Travel to St. George

  See Trip Dates


Trip Dates

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800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Itinerary

Day 1
  • Shuttle to Trailhead: 6.5 hours
  • Hiking Distance: 9+ miles
  • Elevation Loss: 600 feet
Beginning at the boundary of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, we enter the rising walls of Wingate sandstone that will become progressively taller and the canyon floor narrower as we make our way toward the Escalante River. Massive alcoves, boulders, and ecologically sensitive habitat above the flood zone pave the way. This hiking is all considered “off trail” within the bottom of the canyon wash. We conclude the day by establishing a camp for the next two nights at the Escalante River.
Day 2
  • Hiking Distance: 6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: minimal
  • Elevation Loss: minimal
Today is all about a relaxing morning deep in the heart of the Escalante canyons. Sunrise in the canyon is a special experience. After our breakfast we’ll set off along the river with nothing better to do than explore this amazing region. The river corridor is walled in by shear sandstone cliffs and lined with high benches populated by huge cottonwood trees and fields of big desert sage. We will cross the river several times as we make this day our own.
Day 3
  • Hiking Distance: 5.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 250 feet
After breaking camp we will say goodbye to the river and enter the sinuous world of the Harris Wash canyon. There is a perennial flow of water in this canyon that we will cross throughout the hike as we are immersed in a very special desert riparian ecosystem framed by georgeous walls of Navajo sandstone. Camp will be a quiet bench above the creek where we will experience a quintessential evening deep in a desert canyon.
Day 4
  • Hiking Distance: 5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 250 feet
  • Shuttle to St. George: 5 hours
On the final day of this trek, we’ll pack up our llama friends for the last time and make our way to the Harris Wash trailhead. As we continue to get further up canyon the walls get shallower and further apart, changing the character of the place with every step. When we reach the vehicle we will unpack the llamas and say a heartfelt goodbye to the animals, thanking them for all the work they did for us to experience this beautiful and unique place with just small day packs.



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

  • Pack llamas to transport the majority of gear and food
  • One or more professional, knowledgeable, certified Utah hiking guides / llama handlers
  • 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
  • Roundtrip transportation from your hotel in St. George, UT to the trailhead and back
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and your 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 (Oboz hiking shoes and boots recommended)
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Waterbottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-15% of trip cost)
See the Packing List 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 or Mountain Hardware tents
  • Sierra Designs sleeping bags
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki trekking poles
  • Mountain Safety Research cooking stoves
  • Mountain Safety Research 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 waterbottles per person, either a headlamp or flashlight per person, and a lightweight waterproof stuff sac for your clothes and belongings. 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, rain gear, and non-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

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.


Safety Considerations

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional Wyoming 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, training in llama-handling, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.


Group Size

The standard ratio of guests to guides on llama trips is 1 guide for 1-4 guests; 2 guides for 5-8 guests; and 3 guides for 9-10 guests. Private trips can have can have up to 12 guests. 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.


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°

Camping on Llama Hiking Trips

backpacking tent

Backcountry Sleeping

Tent Camping

Sleeping on llama treks is in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Solo travelers, and anyone else who requests it, are issued single tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.

backpacking meals

Backcountry Cuisine

Fresh & Delicious

Meals from breakfast Day 1 through lunch the last day are fully included and prepared by your trekking guide. We never use dehydrated backpacking meals, instead serving freshly prepared, delicious backcountry cuisine made with a variety of common and specialty ingredients that travel well in the wilderness.

backpacking campsites

Amazing Campsites

In the Action

Of course campsites vary tremendously by destination, trip and even by the individual day of a trip. However, you can expect to camp in beautiful areas that put you right in the action to make the most of your llama trekking adventure. We carefully design our itineraries with campsites in mind.

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