historic pioneer trail
Quintessential Slickrock hiking
thrilling canyon descent
Deeply Entrenched Narrows in a Watery Canyon
Desert Canyon Oasis
24 Mi / 61 km
The Graduate geologist adventurer will be capable of hiking 4 – 10 miles daily. Trails are generally maintained and have 5000 feet or less of change in elevation. Your backpack will weigh 30-45 lbs. Graduate time traveling hikers should be in good health, and exercise regularly. Previous backpacking experience is advised.
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!
Hikers should have the ability to walk up noticeable elevation change and over uneven ground and surface for up to 9 miles per day and carrying a small pack of gear. Many routes and trails don’t have a shortcut or turn-around option. The hiking party moves at a gentle but steady walking pace with breaks.
A real back-packing trip, comfort is what you carry with you. There are no showers or electricity on the trail and restrooms are primitive. Backpackers can expect to sleep on a sleeping pad outdoors or in a small tent. Food consists of single-entrée meals, some food are freeze-dried or dehyrdrated with a few fresh food selections. Meals are prepared by your guide and served “group-style” out of pots and usually eaten out of personal meal-kits while sitting on the ground.2
While hikers will pass through areas popular with tourists, they will spend most of the time in areas specially selected to be off the beaten path. There will be practically no wait time or crowds anywhere past the trail-heads. Overnighting is private and remote.
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.
Time in the car: 2.5 hours
Elevation & Distance: 6 miles, 300 foot ascent
Food: 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.
Elevation & Distance: 6 miles, 1400 foot descent
Food: 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.
Elevation & Distance: 9 miles, 350 foot descent
Food: 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.
Elevation & Distance: 6 miles, 600 foot descent
Food: Breakfast, Lunch
Time in the car: 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!
Elevation & Distance: 5 miles, minimal descent
Food: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Time in the car: 2 hours
Give me some details!
What is included in the Trip Rate?:
Your geologist/guide with all professional, medical, and backcountry certifications
Gear: backpack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, trek poles
Kitchen: bowls, cups, utensils, backcountry kitchen
Food: Full meals and trail snacks
Transportation: Roundtrip from the host hotel to all activities/attractions
Fees: Permits, Entrance Fees, Camping Fees, all necessary trip fees
What is the Food Situation?:
Blue Marble takes care of all meals on your tour. Starting with breakfast on your first day through lunch the final day, your geologist/guide will prepare a variety of chef-inspired meals on the trail and in camp. All dietary needs are accommodated, so please get in touch with us to give us details of your requirements. There may be times where special needs necessitate a small rate increase.
Meals with include one main dish, which is prepared by your geologist/guide. Fresh options may be limited, as backpacking typically requires lightweight, non-perishable foods. Trail snacks will include meats, cheeses, nuts, chocolate, and other filling, delicious, and varying backcountry food.
Is there anything that i need to provide myself?:
Transportation to and from the host city/hotel
Lodging prior to and following your trip
Gear such as clothes, rainwear, and boots/shoes
Personal items such as toiletries and sunscreen
BMAG does not provide water bottles or Camelback-Style bladders
Personal lighting such as headlamps or flashlights
We suggest gratuities for your guide, typically 10-15% of the total trip cost
*Booked guests will receive a detailed information packet
What kind of group size can i expect?
Standard backpacking tours will accommodate 6 people plus one geologist/guide. The maximum group size is 10 guests and 2 guides.
Can I bring small children?
Children under 12 are generally not permitted on any of Blue Marble’s scheduled trips due to insurance liabilities. This can be negotiable on private tours, please contact us to discuss this policy
I want to book a trip, how can i do that?
Tour bookings can be completed through our online booking platform or through our office. A 50% deposit is required, and the full trip rate will be due 90 days prior to trip departure. Bookings within the 90-day window require payment in full. Trip rates are payable through our online booking platform or over the phone by Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, or Discover. Checks by mail are fine as well, as are bank transfers ($35 transfer fee).
Tell me more!
Where do tours start and finish?
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 or Las Vegas.
Can I meet the guide before the trip?
A pre-trip briefing is held at the host hotel the evening before trip departure. Any questions will be answered, and you will have the opportunity to discuss anything you wish with your geologist/guide. Most trips will depart between 6am and 9am the following morning.
ummm, what should i do with all my luggage and whatnot?
BMAG provides all transport throughout the trip. Our guests staying at the host hotel may choose to leave their car at the hotel. Our designated host hotels will typically store your luggage if necessary. In the event that this cannot be arranged, BMAG is more than happy to store luggage and personal belongings in a private and secure location during your tour.
how should i plan my travel after the trip?
In general, most trips can expect to be back to the host hotel by 6pm on the final day of the trip. Some trips may return earlier. BMAG typically recommends that you do not plan to fly home on the same day your trip finishes. Each trip has its own particular set of circumstances and logistics, so please contact us with any specific questions you may have.
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