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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 a standalone canyon country experience or as an easy add-on to a longer trip. Our iconographic hikes will take you to the rim of Zion Canyon, through the cool waters of the Virgin River Narrows and through incredible, lesser-known red rock surroundings.

The environment we'll explore throughout our three days sits on the border of an incredible physiographic region called the Colorado Plateau. This Utah hiking tour starts with pick you up at your hotel in St. George, Utah, where we will make the short drive for our first hike in red rock country though Snow Canyon. From there, we will continue to Zion National Park where we will camp for 2 nights.
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Trip Dates

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800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Itinerary

Day 1
  • Shuttle to trailhead: 1.5-hour drive from St. George, Utah
  • Hiking Mileage: 8 miles
  • Difficulty: easy to moderate
  • Campground: Watchman Campground in Zion
On this Utah hiking tour we start the first day with pick up in St George and shuttle to Snow Canyon State Park. Like a mini Zion, Snow Canyon (named after the man, not the precipitation) is in the same Navajo Sandstone layer as Zion, and cuts impressive walls from the lava-covered country above the rim through the slickrock country below. We will have a break for breakfast in the lower canyon, and continue along to the rim to start our hike from the bleached white rock cap through the red rocks and down to the base of the canyon. Along the way we'll visit (and perhaps explore) young lava tubes and get a great introduction to canyon country. We'll eat lunch on the trail. Our vehicle is shuttled to the bottom of the canyon; from there, it's a 1 hr drive to Zion, while we'll setup camp and cook dinner.

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
Today’s hike is up the East Rim Trail to Observation Point. This hike is by far the most challenging of this tour, but worth the view! It involves a lot of unrelenting uphill on a hard paved trail that was blasted out of the canyon walls. Along the way, hikers get a glimpse into Echo Canyon with its beautiful slickrock formations and stunning white cliffs. Hiking poles are very useful on this hike!

Once through Echo Canyon we continue further up a long series of steep switchbacks up Mount Baldy. The final ascent is rather exposed, where the walls surrounding us drop sharply which could be an issue for individuals who are concerned with heights. The trail levels out 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: 5 miles
  • Difficulty: easy to moderate
  • Shuttle to St. George
This final morning, we’ll eat breakfast, breakdown camp, and begin the culminating activity of our trip: hiking Virgin 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 before returning to the trailhead. Our bellies content and our spirits filled, 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? 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 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.


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 this hiking tour is 6 guests and 1 guide, with a maximum of 12 guests and 2 guides. 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)
  • 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°