historic pioneer trail
Quintessential Slickrock hiking
thrilling canyon descent
Deeply Entrenched Narrows in a Watery Canyon
Desert Canyon Oasis
24 Mi / 61 km
$1425 (5 day custom option)
$1550 (6 day custom option)
The graduate geologist adventurer will be capable of handling daily hiking mileages of 5 – 9 miles on generally well-maintained trails with up to 5000 feet or less of elevation change, and a backpack weight of 30 – 45 pounds. Participants should be in good health, regularly active and exercise several times per week. Prior backpacking experience is recommended. The ‘+’ indicated that, although rated at Graduate, this trip may require short sections of increased physical exertion, rougher terrain, pr a step-up in skill.
Trace a historic pioneer trail into one of the most spectaular canyons in Grand Staircase-Escalante
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!
Guests will need the ability to hike on established trails with noticeable elevation change over uneven natural surfaces for up to 10 miles per day, carrying up to 15 pounds of gear. Some routes may not have a shorter or turn-around option and the group will move at a 2 to 3 mph pace with breaks.
Guests will move through popular attractions but will spend most of their time in hard-to-reach or less popular areas. They can expect no wait time and a practical lack of crowds once they’ve left these more populated areas. Overnight accomodations are remote and/or private.
The Boulder Mail Trail Backpacking tour will depart Escalante, Utah, traversing the highway through outstanding slick rock country. The trail begins near the town of Boulder and snakes its way into a wonderland of gnarled sandstone. We cross Sand Creek before coming to a most impressive landscape, Death Hollow. We will make camp here, and dream of the breathtaking descent into this wild canyon.
Drive Time: 2.5 hours
Distance & Elevation: 6 miles, 300 foot ascent
Meals: Light Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
After some warm coffee and a hearty breakfast, we begin the fabulous descent into Death Hollow. The canyon looks as though it might swallow us, as it did the many mules that gave it the name Death Hollow! Upon reaching the bottom we find a gurgling stream, cottonwoods, and ponderosa that are the refuge of myriad wildlife. We are heading for Mamie Creek this evening, still tracing the old pioneer mail route. Another outstanding camp awaits us this evening.
Distance & Elevation: 6 miles, 1400 foot descent
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Today we head downstream to explore Mamie Creek, and one of the most unique natural bridges in Grand Staircase-Escalante. Mamie Creek Natural Bridge creates an almost grotto-like feel, and we’ll spend the day finding the hidden pools and waterfalls of the creek. Sweeping views into Death Hollow are the backdrop for this amazing day of exploration. After returning to camp, expect wild sunsets across the slickrock and an evening of pure wild.
Distance & Elevation: 9 miles, 350 foot descent
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Our adventure this morning is across Antone Flats. Drink in the panoramas of canyon, cliff, forest, and mountain as we nearly dance across the multi-hued slickrock. We’ll make another descent of a high plateau into the scenic Escalante River Valley, and imagine ourselves as the hardiest of mailmen making our adventurous deliveries! We’ll pile into the shuttle, and celebrate like geologist, with a cold beverage at a local watering hole.
Distance & Elevation: 6 miles, 600 foot descent
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Drive Time: 1 hour
DAY 5 or 6 Options
The 5- and 6-day custom options give us some flexibility. The 5-day option takes us back down into Death Hollow and out to the Escalante Canyon, the a signature Utah landscape. The 6-day option allows us to have a bit of a rest day along Mamie Creek before making our break for Escalante. No matter the itinerary you choose, the extra days allow for stupendous exploration and adventure!
Distance & Elevation: 5 miles, minimal descent
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
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.
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
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.
Whats Not Included:
Transportation to/from Escalante, 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 6 people plus one geologist/guide. On occasion, a group may be as large as 10 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).
Where does the trip begin & end?
This trip will begin/end in Escalante, Utah and you will need to spend the night prior to your trip’s scheduled departure in Escalante. You will want to fly into St. George (2.5 hour drive). Please visit our / 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.
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