Boulder Mail Trail
Utah Backpacking
An Epic Experience
Trip Details

Type: Backpacking

Trip Code: UTDH

Duration: 4 Days

Distance: 38 mi/61 km

Fitness: 3
Comfort: 1
Solitude: 4

Origin: Kanab, Utah

Cost: $1150/person
$1325 (5 Day option)
$1450 (6 day option)

Trip Description:

The Escalante Canyon Country is chock full of incredible canyon and slickrock adventures, and The Boulder Mail Trail traces a historic route into one of the greatest.  Death Hollow Canyon, Slickrock Saddle, and The Escalante River are wondrous, scenic, and remote places to explore and hike, and we will do just that on The Boulder Mail Trail Backpacking tour.  This is located right in the heart of southern Utah's canyon country, and the Boulder Mail Trail is precisely what its name implies; an historic pioneer mail route that connected the burgeoning towns of Boulder and Escalante.  Our adventurous tour here delves into some of the grandest scenes in all of Utah and the Grand Staircase, so come along! 

  1. Death Hollow Slickrock, Utah
  2. Box-Death Hollow Wilderness, Utah
  3. Death Hollows Narrows, Utah
  4. Escalante Canyon Country, Utah
  5. Mamie Natural Bridge, Utah
  6. Slickrock Country, Utah
  7. Hiking on the Slickrock, Utah
  8. Little Death Hollow, Utah Backpacking
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Trip Itinerary

Day 1:

The Boulder Mail Trail Backpacking tour will depart Kanab, Utah this morning for the remote town of Escalante which is truly the heart of Utah’s Canyon Country. The hiking route from Boulder to Escalante features a vast expanse of fabulous slick rock sandstone, deep twisting side canyons, spring-fed creeks, and towering Ponderosa Pines typical of Utah’s high canyons. Our hike today is 5.4 miles to a primitive camp overlooking Death Hollow – easily one of the most impressive canyons in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The camp features a beautiful sandstone amphitheater and large natural water pockets teeming with Utah’s unique aquatic life forms such as Fairy Shrimp. Huge panoramic views, a tasty dinner, and fantastic canyon country star gazing are how it's going down!
Drive Time: 2.5 hours
Distance & Elevation: 6 miles, 300 foot ascent
Light Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 2:

Today we will wake up with the rising sun, pack our gear and prepare for the descent into Death Hollow. Death Hollow is large, deep and full of water – it gets its name from mules falling into the canyon as they attempted the mail route from Boulder to Escalante. As we descend deeper into Death Hollow we will be trekking through the water – so bring those water shoes! This canyon is filled with huge Ponderosa Pines and natural springs pouring out of the ancient Navajo Sandstone walls. Our destination this evening is Mamie Creek – a large tributary of Death Hollow which we will reach later in the evening to setup camp against a massive rock wall overlooking the canyon.
Distance & Elevation: 6 miles, 1400 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3:

This morning we will awake with the sun and morning coffee before heading downstream to explore one of the most unique and interesting features in the region – the Mamie Creek Natural Bridge. The bridge is situated above a massive valley where Mamie Creek pours into Death Hollow. Today is all about exploration – and because we will leave our camp setup we’ll do it with light daypacks! After exploring the bridge we’ll head upstream for some amazing swimming holes and slickrock narrows! Kick back this evening and watch the sun set over massive canyon walls and let your worries slip away.
Distance & Elevation: 9 miles, 350 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4:

Today we will pack up early for the 7.5 mile trek across Antone Flats – which features a kaleidoscope of intricate Navajo slickrock formations, canyons and high altitude Ponderosa forests. The hike ends with a massive view into the Escalante River Valley and a steep descent off of the high plateau we’ve been traversing – the old mail route from Boulder to Escalante that bypasses the nearly impassable Escalante River Canyon! We'll pile into our shuttle and celebrate our epic trip like a geologist; with a cold beverage at a local watering hole.
Distance & Elevation: 12 miles, 600 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Drive Time: 2.5 hours

5 or 6 Day Options:

The 5- and 6-day variations of this trip allow us to finish with a 14-mile traverse of the Escalante River, which runs through a breathtaking, signature Utah canyon. On the 5-day itinerary we skip our layover on Day 3 and instead continue on so we can spend two full days along the Escalante River. On the 6-day itinerary we'll still enjoy our day hike and exploration of Mamie Creek on Day 3 and add two extra days for the Escalante River. Regardless of which itinerary you join, this extension is well worth the extra day or two and caps off this trip fantastically!
Distance & Elevation: 5 miles, minimal descent
Breakfast, Lunch
Drive Time: 2 hours

*Final itineraries are occasionally subject to change due to permit/campsite availability, park restrictions/closures, weather conditions and/or road closures.

What’s Included:
A professional, degreed, licensed and medically trained geologist/guide
All necessary gear: backpack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, trekking poles
All cooking/eating gear: bowls, cups, utensils (your geologist/guide will prepare all trail meals)
All food, including a mix of fresh and pre-made backcountry meals
Roundtrip Transportation from your hotel in Kanab to Death Hollows and all activities/attractions
Entrance fees, camping fees, and backcountry permits

Meals: what to expect
We provide all your meals from a light breakfast on day 1 through lunch the last day. Your geologist/guide will prepare a variety of meals on the trail that will fit the day's activity. Feel free to tell us about your food preferences, as we're more than happy to tailor the menu to your needs/desires. Some specialty diets may require an additional fee.

All meals will consist of one entree, prepared by your geologist/guide.  Fresh options will be limited, as backpacking typically requires lightweight, non-perishable foods.  There will be trail snacks that consist of nuts, fruits, chocolate, and other "gorp" style mixes.

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

What’s Not Included:
Transportation to/from Kanab, Utah
Lodging the night before/after the trip
Clothing, raingear, and footwear
Personal toiletries, sunscreen
Water bottles/hydration bladder
Headlamp or flashlight
Guide gratuity (suggested 10-15% of trip cost)
*Upon booking you will receive a detailed trip information packet

How many people are in the group?
Most backpacking trips in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument will accommodate 5 people plus one geologist/guide. On occasion, a group may be as large as 8 people plus 2 guides.

Are there age restrictions?
Children under 12 are generally not permitted on any of Blue Marble's scheduled trips.  This can be negotiable on private tours, please contact us to discuss this policy

How do I sign up?
In order to confirm a reservation , we require an initial deposit of $500 per person, with the final balance due 90 days prior to the trip’s departure. If you book a trip within 90 days of the trip’s scheduled departure, then full payment is due at the time of booking.  Your deposit is payable over the phone by Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, or Discover. Checks by mail are fine as well, as are bank transfers ($35 transfer fee). Call our office Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm Arizona time. 1-602-904-2536
Travel Logistics

Where does the trip begin/end?
This trip will begin/end in Kanab, Utah and you will need to spend the night prior to your trip’s scheduled departure in Kanab. You will want to fly into St. George (1.5 hour drive). Please visit our  Travel Resources  page for information on airports, shuttles/rental cars and recommended hotels.

Where do you meet our guides?
We will hold a pre-trip orientation at 4:30pm the evening prior to your trip’s departure at the host hotel in Kanab. Departure times and logistics for the following morning will be discussed at the orientation.  Most trips will depart between 6am and 8am.

*This meeting is not mandatory, but highly recommended, as we will depart early the next morning. If you are unable to attend, please let us know in advance so that we can make alternate arrangements.

What do we do with our car and extra stuff?
We will provide all transportation to/from trailheads for the duration of the trip. We will pick you up at the host hotel in Kanab and return you there at the trip’s conclusion. Guests staying at the host hotel can leave their cars at the hotel. These hotels will often store your luggage for you, as well. If not, we are happy to store extra luggage at a secure location for the duration of the trip. If you are staying at a different hotel, you will need to check with them as to whether you can leave your car there

What time will we get back on the last day?
Expect to be back in Kanab by 6pm at the latest on the last day of the trip. Some trips will return earlier but we cannot make any guarantees. In general, it is recommended that you do not plan to fly home on the same day your trip finishes. Since each trip has slightly different logistics, feel free to contact us with specific questions related to the expected return time for your trip.

Trip Dates

2017 Dates
April: 7-10
May: 9-12
Spetember: 15-18
October: 3-7

2018 Dates
April: 7-10
May: 9-12
Spetember: 15-18
October: 3-7

More dates to come soon…
Don’t see your dates? Custom dates may be available!
Call 1-602-904-2536 or email us  for details.