blue marble adventure
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World's longest, deepest slot canyon

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800 foot sandstone walls

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Arches, Giant rock falls

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Pleasant hiking in refreshing, watery canyon

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Desert Canyon Oasis

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Bucket-list canyon scenery

TYPE
BACKPACKING

DURATION

5 DAYS

DISTANCE

44 mi/70 km

COST

$1350/Person

ORIGIN

Flagstaff, Arizona

SKILL LEVEL

Undergraduate +

The Undergraduate geologist adventurer will be capable of handling daily hiking mileages of 3 to 7 miles on well-maintained trails with 1500 feet or less of elevation change, and a BackPack weight of 25 to 35 pounds. Participants should be in good health, regularly active and exercise 2 to 3 days per week.  Prior backpacking experience is recommended, but not necessary.

Experience one of the premier canyon hikes on the Colorado Plateau; deep slots, soaring sunset-colored walls, and trickling water everywhere

The Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness and Vermillion Cliffs National Monument is a geologic playground for the intrepid adventurer. It’s home to spectacular geologic features, numerous narrow canyons, outrageous sunsets, solitude, and the world’s longest slot canyon, Buckskin Gulch. A Buckskin Gulch to Paria Canyon Backpacking tour explores a deep, narrow canyon carved by the forces of water, wind, and time into gleaming sandstone walls, towering over 1000 feet above the Paria River. The hike covers roughly 38 miles of canyon, and as you make your way through the canyon, the beautiful sunset red-orange sandstone cliffs clim higher with every step. You will marvel at the beautifully sculpted walls, natural springs, ancient petroglyphs and a natural arch. Near the confluence, Paria Canyon opens to spectacular views of Lee’s Ferry and the Colorado River, the mouth of the Grand Canyon. Paria Canyon is a secret wonder of the Southwest and this backpacking tour is sure to astound, astonish, and leave an indelible mark and memory.

COMFORT RATINGS

FITNESS

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.

COMFORT
BackPack – no showers or electricity available. Restrooms are primitive. Guests can expect to sleep on a pad outdoors or in a small tent. Meals will consist of single-entrée foods, some of which will be freeze-dried or dehydrated foods with few fresh options, and will be served by geologist/guides group-style out of pots and usually eaten out of personal utensils while sitting on ground.
SOLITUDE

Guests will see attractions less visited by the masses with some side trips to more popular areas. They can expect very little waiting time for parking, shuttles, meals, etc. Crowds are moderate and/or are easily avoided if present. Overnight accommodations may be popular but have a feeling of solitude and privacy.

Trip Dates

Don’t see your dates?
Custom dates may be available!

Call 1-602-904-2536 or contact us for details.

Trip Itinerary

DAY 1

The Buckskin Gulch to Paria Canyon Backpacking tour begins at the Wire Pass Trailhead in the Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness of Utah. After final preparations, we will begin our hike along Buckskin Creek.  From the relatively wide Wire Pass Trailhead, the canyon will narrow fairly quickly and dramatically, with sandstone walls rising above us. There are frequent stream crossings, as well as a short jaunt to Cobra Arch, as we make our way deeper and deeper into the amazing narrows of this stone maze. After several miles we will arrive at our camp near the confluence with the Paria River. Kick back as your guide sets up camp and prepares an excellent dinner.
Drive Time: 3.5 hours
Distance & Elevation: 9 miles, 160 foot descent
Light Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 2

Today’s hiking adventure starts with a gorgeous stroll in Upper Paria Canyon to Slide Rock, a unique feature of this canyon, made all the more enjoyable with only your daypack! Bring your camera and sense of wonder…this canyon is outstanding. Returning to camp, we’ll pack up and head further into the depths of Paria Canyon. Expect another day of frequent creek crossings, towering canyon walls and outstanding scenery.
Distance & Elevation: 9 miles, 160 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3

Our third day offers more sunset sandstone, freshwater springs and world-class hiking. A short side hike will take us to Wrather Arch, an excellent geologic feature spanning over 200 feet. It is one of the most secluded natural arches in the Arizona and the American Southwest. Tonight’s camp will be in the vicinity of Shower Spring.
Distance & Elevation: 9 miles, 350 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4

Today’s hike will watch as Paria Canyon begins to open up as we exit the narrows and enter its wider desert gorge reaches.  Geology is the mechanism for this changing scenery, and you will bear witness!  As we pick our way through the rugged gorge, keep your eyes sharp for the ancient rock art that dots the cliffs, ruins, and a homey pioneer ranch near the cree.

Distance & Elevation: 12 miles, 600 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5

The final day in this paradise begins with a lazy morning (or a spectacular sunrise, if you so choose).  We will follow the ever-widening and deepening canyon to its confluence with the Colorado River and Lonely Dell Ranch.  We’ll meet our shuttles, have a tasty lunch, and make the scenic cruise back to Flagstaff.  Cheers!

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.

Trip Details

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 Moab to Dark Canyon and all activities/attractions
  • Entrance fees, camping fees, and backcountry permits

Meals:

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 %50 of trip cost 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 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).

Call our office Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm Arizona time. 1-602-904-2536, or contact us for more information.

Travel Logisitics

 

Where does the trip begin & end?

This trip will begin/end in Flagstaff, Arizona and you will need to spend the night prior to your trip’s scheduled departure in Flagstaff. You will want to fly into Flagstaff or Phoenix. Please visit our travel 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. 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 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 at the host hotel by 6pm 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.

Ready for an Adventure?

Join Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism on geology-themed hiking and backpacking adventures! Find the perfect Grand Canyon hiking tour, Utah Canyon Country Tour, Vermillion Cliffs Backpacking or hiking.

Explore Further, Be Wild, See Through Time.