Arch in Canyonlands National Park

Ancient Canyonlands Traverse

Trip Highlights

  • Soaring Canyon Walls
  • Hike in Ancient Footsteps
  • Stunning Arches
  • Breathtaking Night Skies
  • Red Rock Desert Oasis
  • Amazing Native American History
  • Delicious Backcountry Cuisine

Description

This Canyonlands backpacking trip explores an unlikely, lush oasis surrounded by vast Utah desert and towering red rock scenery. (The red rocks we see on this trip are a unique anomaly of the desert of Southern Utah.) The portion of Canyonlands National Park that we hike into is a wonderland of canyons, spires, alcoves, natural arches, and spring-fed creeks. Our journey traverses the canyon of one of the only perrennial streams in Canyonlands, winding through a microecosystem of riparian vegetation, desert plants and hanging gardens, with a backdrop of swirling red, white and black Cedar Mesa Sandstone canyon walls. It’s stunning!


Need to Know: Waste Regulation

The public agencies that oversee this region require that everyone pack out all solid waste, including human waste. We provide resources and training to make this manageable and efficient. However, if you’d rather embark on a trip in Utah where that isn’t required, we recommending checking out our Capitol Reef Backpacking Trip.

5 Days
$1455 PER PERSON
Return Guests get a 10% discount on all Trips!
Trip Type: Guided Backpacking Trip
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 4-12 Guests
Trip Length: 5 Days
Distance: 33MI / 53KM

DIFFICULTY LEVEL 3

Our difficulty ratings are based on a scale of 1-5, tours with a rating of 1 being least difficult, tours with a rating of 5 being most difficult

Backpack Weight:
35-40 pounds
Daily Hiking Distances:
5-10 miles
Most Elevation Loss:
1,230 feet
Most Elevation Gain:
100 feet
Quality of Trails:
Lightly maintained to not maintained, generally rugged
Additional:
This trip has rugged, moderately strenuous canyon hiking but without significant elevation change, which is why we rate it a Level 3 difficulty.

Participants should:

  1. be active and healthy
  2. exercise several times per week
  3. be comfortable hiking 6-8 miles per day in hilly or mountainous terrain with a 25-pound backpack

SOLITUDE LEVEL 3

1 least solitude, 5 most solitude

We rate this Canyonlands hike a solitude 3. You can expect to see a couple other groups of hikers per day.

This Utah trip originates in Moab, Utah where you’ll meet your guide and group. Moab has a small airport (Canyonlands Field Airport) served primarily by United. Some major cities including Salt Lake City and Los Angeles have direct flights to Moab. From the Canyonlands Field Airport you can take a taxi into town or some hotels offer a complimentary airport shuttle.

Private Trips

Traveling in perfect company is a wonderful thing! With our private trip offerings you can book a trip exclusively for your group. Whether it’s with family, friends or colleagues, private trips are a fun and enriching way to explore the outdoors.

Private trip pricing is based on a sliding scale, depending on the number of people in your party. Rates are per person and do not include sales tax and national park fees (where applicable) or guide gratuity. Give us a call at 800-715-HIKE to get the ball rolling!

Private Rates FOr This Trip

  • 2 People: Rate x 2
  • 3 People: Rate x 1.3
  • 4 People: Rate x 1.1
  • 5+ People: Rate x 1

*all rates are per person

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TRIP ITINERARY

TRIP ITINERARY

DAY 1

  • Shuttle to the Trailhead: 4-5 hours
  • Hiking Mileage: 4.3 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 1000 feet

We begin this exceptional Utah backpacking trip with pickup in Moab and a drive out to the Needles District Visitor Center where we will begin our shuttle to the trailhead. We will bid our farewells to civilization as we head down a historic road that once led to winter grazing land for local ranchers. Once at the trailhead, we will begin a steep descent into the canyon. At the canyon floor the trail brings us through lush riparian vegetation to the mouth of one fork of the creek we’ll follow for the next 5 days. We’ll pass by a 128 year old cabin (in surprisingly good shape) that was once inhabited by a rancher who ran cattle in this area. We will settle into camp, have our first backcountry dinner, stare up at one of the most vivid display of stars you’ve ever seen, then turn in for a peaceful night’s rest.

DAY 2

  • Hiking Mileage: 4.8-8.1 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 200-300 feet

After a tasty breakfast we will break camp and continue our trek deeper into the canyon. We will almost immediately be greeted by several sandstone arches on our way to the largest collection of cliff dwellings in Canyonlands National Park. This epic ruin is followed by one of the most beautiful natural arches in the park.

DAY 3

  • Hiking Mileage: 5.8-8.8 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 200-300 feet

Today we continue along the canyon floor past more canyon country wonders and surprises along the way. The canyon trail narrows and our route encloses us in a towering corridor of sandstone. The creek is flowing continuously now and there are numerous crossings. Once we reach tonight’s camp, which is nestled under cottonwood trees, we have the option to take a 3-mile roundtrip hike to the unforgettable Angel Arch. At Angel Arch we can relax and watch the evening light begin to dance across the rocks. Angel Arch is incredibly special as it is one of the most remote arches in all of Canyonlands and is an absolute privilege to see! Eventually we’ll make our way back to camp for a wonderful dinner and relaxing evening.

DAY 4

  • Hiking Mileage: 8.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 200-300 feet

After a big breakfast and breaking camp, we will almost immediately be rewarded with a view of Crescent Arch as well as many more small arches along the begining of today’s hike. The canyon will eventually come to a fin-like formation that protrudes out into the canyon. We hike around and through a window on the fin to our next highlight, Peekaboo Springs. Here we will soak up our last night in the remote canyon wilderness and enjoy a celebratory dinner!

DAY 5

  • Hiking Mileage: 3.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: minimal
  • Shuttle to Moab: 2 hours

After a casual morning and breaking camp for the last time, we wrap up our journey with a relaxing, shorter hike along forest roads, allowing us to reflect on the natural wonders and ancient stories that we lived for the last 5 days. Out of the canyon and back to our vehicle, we will enjoy a comfortable drive back into Moab for our fond farewells and much deserved showers.

Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes.

Trip Dates & Booking

TRIP DATES & BOOKING

Click on a date to register. You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.

Available to Book

AVAILABLE TO BOOK

This trip is available and bookable online! Click on the date to register now or contact us online to book through our award-winning customer service team!

Going Fast

GOING FAST

This trip has 1 or 2 spots remaining and is bookable online! Click on the date to book now or contact us online to book through customer service.

Request a Reservation

REQUEST A RESERVATION

This trip is exclusively booked through customer service due to logistics with lodging, permits, staffing, availability, or something else. Please contact us online or call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to request a reservation.

Don't see your dates? Call us! We may be able to add new trip dates.

800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Details

Trip Details

WHAT'S INCLUDED

  • Top-of-the-line tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and technical backpack
  • Use of trekking poles and Microspike Crampons if necessary
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified Canyonlands hiking guide
  • Roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Moab, utah to the Canyonlands trailhead and back
  • Entrance fees and national park permits
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear (Oboz hiking shoes and boots recommended)
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about what to pack.

MEALS: WHAT TO EXPECT

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

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.

GEAR WE PROVIDE

We provide all group gear which includes the following:

  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware sleeping bags
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki or Black Diamond trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Emergency communication device(s)

WHAT GEAR TO BRING

Please refer to the trip packet for a recommended clothing list (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, and non-cotton and cotton clothing layers. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

NOTE: See the Packing Lists page for more detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your hiking tour. The trip packet you receive when you contact us will have the most accurate clothing and gear list for the tour you’re interested in.

WHAT CLOTHES TO BRING

When you register for this tour you’ll receive access to a printable, downloadable trip information packet with detailed guidance about what clothes to pack (click here to see it now.) All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, and our recommended clothing system. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

Trip Logistics

Trip Logistics

HOW DO I REGISTER?

Reserve your spot today! In the Trip Dates & Booking section of this page, the green and red dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you’re ready to register we’ll email you a link to a registration profile. You’ll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit.

Feel free to call us for more info – we’re here 7 days a week!

WHERE DO WE MEET?

You will meet your guide and group at a hotel in Moab, Utah at 5:00 PM the evening before your trip begins. Your guide will be in contact apprximately 10 days before your trip begins to coordinate this rendezvous and answer any last-minute questions you have.

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about flights, shuttles, recommended lodging and more.

START/END TIMES

Your guide will inform you of the first day’s pick-up time at the orientation meeting. Generally, you can expect it to be between 4 and 7 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will drop you off at your hotel on the final day normally before 5 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time).

SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT’s, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We’ve developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and most tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 877-405-5188 for more information.

GUIDES

Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.

GUIDE WORKING PARAMETERS

Guides are required to take 8 hours off each 24-hour period to sleep, recuperate, take personal/down time…etc. In addition, as part of the 8 hours off they must sleep/rest or be in their tents/rooms uninterrupted for a minimum of 5 hours each night. We ask guests to respect these requirements and to not interrupt guides’ off time and sleep time unless there is a true emergency.

GROUP SIZE AND AGE RESTRICTIONS

The standard group size on Canyonlands backpacking trips is 6 guests and 1 guide. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 877-405-5188 and we’ll answer all your questions.

Age restrictions are as follows:

  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 10 and older to join private tours, with final approval on a case by case basis
  • specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis

WEATHER IN CANYONLANDS

Canyonlands is an arid, high desert ecosystem characterized by mild winter temperatures, moderate spring and fall weather and temperatures, and hot, dry summers. Average temperatures in Canyonlands are as follows:

Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)
Month
High
Low
Dec-Feb
43°
18°
March
55°
27°
April
64°
33°
May
73°
40°
Jun-Aug
88°
55°
September
79°
45°
October
67°
35°
November
53°
25°

Accommodations

Accommodations

Backcountry Sleeping

TENT CAMPING

Sleeping on backpacking trips is in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Solo travelers, and anyone else who requests it, are issued single tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.

Backcountry Cuisine

FRESH & DELICIOUS

Meals from breakfast Day 1 through lunch the last day are fully included and prepared by your guide. We never use dehydrated backpacking meals, instead serving freshly prepared, delicious backcountry cuisine made with a variety of common and specialty ingredients that travel well in the wilderness.

Amazing Campsites

IN THE ACTION

Of course campsites vary tremendously by destination, trip and even by the individual day of a trip. However, you can expect to camp in beautiful areas that put you right in the action to make the most of your backpacking adventure. We carefully design our itineraries with campsites in mind.

Trip Reviews

Trip Reviews

  • Average Customer Ratings:

  • 5.0 (5 reviews)
Jim L.
5.0

Perfectly planned and executed trip

2 years ago

All aspects of the trip were perfectly planned and executed. The trail was difficult to follow and difficult to negotiate in many areas due to flood debris and excess growth of brush and weeds. Fortunately our guide new the area well and even made a pre-trip hike to scout the best route. She also was able to show us the hard-to-find and amazing native American pictographs. Food was great! Camaradarie was great.

Randy W.
5.0

Superb!

2 years ago

The equipment was great; scenery and pictographs totally amazing and only visited by backpacking for several days; distances and duration of hikes per day were well chosen; food was excellent and well-tailored to the requests that our group had expressed; the guide and the overall experience were absolutely superb!

Matthew S.
5.0

Couldn't have asked for a better experience.

2 years ago

Alexi made our experience comfortable, fun and interesting the entire 4 days. The camp set up was perfect, the food was excellent. Alexi's knowledge of the park was impeccable- a great mix of education and exploration with the mood being light and friendly the entire time. We were very lucky to have another guide, Montana, join us. She brought an excellent dynamic to our group with her knowledge of plants and wildlife. Couldn't have asked for a better experience.

See All Guest Reviews!

Go to our reviews page

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