West Canyon Lake Powell
​Red Rocks Backpacking
An Epic Experience
Trip Details

Type: Backpacking

Trip Code: RRWC

Duration: 5 Days

Distance: 25 mi/34.5 km

Fitness: 4
Comfort: 1
Solitude: 5

Origin: Flagstaff, AZ

Cost: $1500/person

Trip Description:

West Canyon; thought by some to be the premier slot canyon on the Colorado Plateau, and perhaps in the United States.  Carved into the beautiful Navajo Sandstone, this canyon features sparkling swimming pools, exciting climbing and scrambling, deep and narrow slows, massive undercuts and aloves, and intense solitude.  If you're looking for a unqiue and adventurous trip, look no further thank our West Canyon Backpacking tour.  We will cruise in by boat over gorgeous Lake Powell, camp, and navigate the upper and lower portions of this amazing canyon over a couple of days, reveling in its glorious soaring walls of sandstone.  Bring your camera, and we'll try to keep it dry!

  1. West Canyon, Arizona
  2. West Canyon Narrows, Lake Powell
  3. West Canyon Narrows
  4. Lake Powell near West Canyon
  5. Lake Powell near West Canyon
  6. Hoodoos on Lake Powell near West Canyon
  7. West Canyon Narrow
  8. West Canyon on Lake Powell
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Trip Itinerary

Day 1:

The West Canyon Backpacking tour begins as we procure a vessel at a marina in Lake Powell.  We will cruise this wildly scenic lake and enjoy the open water as we navigate towards the mouth of West Canyon.  We will camp at the beach for the evening and make new friends with some of the day trippers out on the lake.  Enjoy their company, as they may be the last people we see once we hike into West Canyon!
Drive Time: 2.5 hours driving, 2 hours boating
Distance & Elevation: Boat tripping, no elevation change
Light Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 2:

We will break camp in the morning after a solid breakfast, and hike into West Canyon.  Just a short walk into the slot we will encounter our first adventure; a refreshing swim!  After the swim we will encounter three water/dryfalls, more potholes, and some adventurous downclimbs, and pass by an old log hogan, remnants of the sheep-herding trades from days of yore.  Some excellent narrows await us, along with more photo-friendly waterfalls and wading.  We will make after the narrows, and prepare to hike into the exciting upper part of the canyon tomorrow!
Distance & Elevation: 4.5 miles, 500 foot ascent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3:

On our third day, we will hike (without our backpacks) the thrilling upper slot of West Canyon.  The upper slot inlcudes more waterfalls, thrilling shimmies and climbs, and refreshing wading in deep pools.  Fantastic narrows abound in this adventurous slot, some of the best in all of of Arizona!  We will return to our campsite for the evening.
Distance & Elevation: 4.5 miles, 500 feet up, then 500 feet down
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4:

Day 4 will allow us to further hike and explore this fantastic area, as we will broach Cummings Mesa and observe the geologic layercake presented, and make our way into at least one other side canyon for more scenic and fabulous adventures.  We will return to our campsite for the evening.
Distance & Elevation: 6 miles, no elevation gain
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5:

Day 5 will take us back down the lower slots of West Canyon, retracing our steps on the way back to Lake Powell.  More epic swimming, potholes, deep narrows, and fabulous scenery in the fine canyon.  Upon reaching our boat, we will celebrate like geologists; with cold libations while we boat back to our ride, and make our way back to Flagstaff.
Distance & Elevation: 4.5 miles, 500 foot 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, wetsuit, elow/knee pads, drybags, 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 (including boat rental) from your hotel in Flagstaff to Lake Powell 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 Flagstaff, AZ
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 Lake Powell will accommodate 5 people plus one 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 Flagstaff, AZ and you will need to spend the night prior to your trip’s scheduled departure in Flagstaff. You will want to fly into either Phoenix (2 hour drive) or Flagstaff. 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 Flagstaff. Departure times and logistics for the following morning will be discussed at the orientation.  Most trips will depart between 5am and 6am.

*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 Flagstaff 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 Flagstaff by 5pm 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
July: 1-5
August: 1-5

2018 Dates
July: 1-5
August: 1-5

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.