Stride climate

Trip Type : Small Group Tour
Side Canyons of the Escalante River, Utah tour

Side Canyons of the Escalante River, Utah

Sierra Club Outings
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Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Full day hiking or trekking over medium to long distances. Moderate expectation of physical fitness. Strenuous
Lodging Level: You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping. Basic - 2 star
7 days
From: $ 2,295 $ 328 / day
Checking price



  • Hike in the wilderness of a newer national monument
  • Enjoy the rewards of a llama-supported hike: camp comforts without having to carry 50 pounds on your back
  • Help care for the llamas; don’t be surprised if you get attached to your favorite!

Short Description

Our trip will emphasize enjoying the wilderness experience, and learning to understand and appreciate the unique aspects of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument while minimizing the impacts of our presence in the wilderness. The use of llamas will facilitate our ability to realize these goals. The llamas bear the weight of supplies and equipment that otherwise limit the scope and enjoyment of a wilderness outing. Because of their natural adaptation to the areas we will be exploring, llamas can have minimal impact on the environment. Working with the amusing llamas adds another dimension to your whole experience.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
Spend most of the time outdoors. Common trip themes and activities include cycling, hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting.
Itinerary Focus Active
You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Lodging Level Basic - 2 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Salt Lake City
End City Salt Lake City

Travel Theme

Hiking & Walking


United States

Cities & Attractions



Hiking Nature

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Trip Includes

  • Transportation from Salt Lake City airport to a guest house in Teasdale, Utah (price of accommodations included the first and last night of the trip) and return to Salt Lake City airport
  • Llama/guide service (includes tips to the guide) and one of our most experienced volunteer leaders
  • Camping gear (tent, pad, and sleeping bag)

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Day 1

You will be picked up at the Salt Lake City airport and driven as a group to a guest house (price of transportation and lodging included), in Teasdale, Utah. The drive will take roughly four hours.

Day 2

After an early breakfast, we’ll drive to the trailhead. You can leave excess luggage secured in the guest house while we’re away. The trip starts with an alpine drive over the shoulder of Boulder Mountain, part of the Aquarius Plateau to the small town of Boulder where we’ll meet with the llama packer and guide. This leg will be about 1.5 hours. The drive to our trailhead will take us east on the beautiful Burr Trail road, soon turning south for a long drive on dirt roads to our trailhead. On the way, we’ll marvel at the variety of terrain and surrounding slickrock country. At our trailhead, you’ll will help unload gear and llamas from the trailer. Then we help saddle and load gear onto the llamas’ panniers (llama packs). With gear and llamas in tow, we will start an eight-mile hike downstream following Silver Falls Creek to our basecamp. You will carry approximately 20 pounds in your packs and lead your llama. Frequent breaks for photos, water, snacks, llama adjustments, and terrain considerations will make this trek into camp a full day. We will arrive to our base camp (on a sand bar of the Escalante River) where we’ll set up tents and the kitchen. This will serve as our base camp for the trip. Expect spectacular views!

Day 3

Every day we will go on a different day hike that varies in length and difficulty of terrain. All day hikes are subject to change due to weather considerations and group ability. Our average hike will be five to eight miles. That may not seem like much, but the terrain will make our hikes all-day adventures! Our agenda today focuses on exploring Harris Wash. We’ll enjoy a packed lunch in the field. Hiking in the Escalante River will require balance in moving water. Hiking poles are a good idea, but if you don’t have any you can borrow someone else’s. You’ll experience a lush riparian community of willows and cottonwoods. Leaders will assist those who are uneasy about the crossing.

Day 4

After a hearty breakfast, our plan is to hike back up Silver Falls for a closer look at pictographs and evidence of the passage of Mormon settlers. Most famous of these is the inscription by George Hobbs, a pioneer stranded in the canyon by snowstorm in February 1883. We’ll pause to admire beautiful narrows and pools along the way. Contrasting with Harris Wash, this extraordinary canyon is generally dry, so carry all the water you may need. We will eat a packed lunch in the field.

Day 5

Today we will spend more time hiking along the main Escalante River. We’ll discuss destination options based on group ability and interest. Expect beautiful desert views and challenging routes as we cut across oxbows and complete multiple river crossings. We’ll eat a packed lunch on the way.

Day 6

After a hearty breakfast together, we will pack up gear, load the llamas, and hike out to the trailhead, following the route we entered. Saying goodbye to our llama pals, our ETA to the trailhead is after 3:00 p.m. We expect to be back in Teasdale and settled in the Teasdale guest house by 5:00 p.m. Tonight we will spend the night at the same guest house in Teasdale (lodging included) and share a good-bye dinner (included).

Day 7

After breakfast, you will be transported from Teasdale, Utah to the Salt Lake City airport. This is a four-hour drive, so scheduling an afternoon/evening flight would be best.


Checking price
Price From $ 2,295
Price Per Day: $ 328 per day
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  • Deposit Price: $ 200

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Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 8

Capacity: 8


Accommodations and Food

The Teasdale guest house has a nice living room area for our first night's group meeting and a fully equipped kitchen. It’s located in a residential neighborhood and has multiple bedrooms with shared bath and a large kitchen, dining, and living room area. Some will sleep upstairs, some in basement quarters. The flanks of Boulder Mountain and the Aquarius Plateau loom to our south. Wow, what a view!

Our hike will begin in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, but most of our hiking and camping will be in the adjacent Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Our llama packer/guide will provide you a tent, sleeping bag, and foam pad. You need to provide your own small backpack or roomy daypack. All meals and cooking equipment are included for the seven-day trip.

We’ll try to incorporate as much fresh food as is reasonable, but as there is no refrigeration, we’ll also rely on typical but tasty backpacking fare for much of our food.

Cancellation Policy:


Time of cancellation and Cancellation fee per person

If 60 or more days prior to trip start date, then Cancellation fee is Amount of deposit

If 14-59 days prior to trip start date, then Cancellation fee is 50% of trip fee

If 0-13 days prior to trip start date, then Cancellation fee is Entire trip fee

If "No-show" at the starting point, or you leave during a trip, then Cancellation fee is Entire trip fee

Trip ID#:


Trip Excludes

  • International Flights
  • Passport and Visa Charges
  • Personal Expenses
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