Escalante Backpack

Escalante Backpack: Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument

Leader: Don Keller
Dates*: October 3–8, 2011 (6 days / 5 nights)
Cost: $1000 Members/$1050 Nonmembers
Difficulty: Strenuous

Cost includes transportation, meals, permits, and group gear.

Cut deep into sandstones of the Glen Canyon formations, the sweeping meanders of the Escalante River are verdant with willow, cottonwoods, and a number of beautiful springs and hanging gardens. Tributary canyons run like oases from the uplands of Boulder Mountain and the Circle Cliffs down to the inner canyon of the Escalante. Sandy benches and sandstone alcoves hold the evidence of long prehistoric use at open campsites, rockshelter granaries, and elaborate rock art panels. In addition to better-known agricultural period Fremont and Anasazi sites, there are a number of millennia-old Archaic period hunting-gathering camp and rock art sites. Archaeologist Don Keller will lead this twenty-mile, self-supported backpacking hike into and across portions of the Escalante River canyons east of Big Spencer Flats between Boulder Creek, Brigham Tea Bench, and the lower stretches of The Gulch, revisiting sites and landscapes his team studied during the creation of the National Monument. Along with being a physical commitment in a remote area, this hike will engage us with fascinating cultural and natural history and a beautiful, challenging landscape under the warm sun of early fall. Our itinerary will give us ample opportunities for off-trail exploration and interpretation, group interaction, and stimulating discussion. This unforgettable hike and camping out under the southern Utah sky will be greatly enjoyed by both experienced and beginning backpackers. Tasty camp meals, snacks, and field transportation are provided. Readings, weather information, and equipment recommendations will be provided prior to our trip.

About the trip leader

Don Keller strives to help participants understand the landscapes, the resources they contain, and how these resources have been used over time to create human settlement… Read more…

Hear what past trip participants say…

“Trip was well-planned and visits to sites were very interesting. Don adds much to the enjoyment of the trip…I thoroughly enjoyed it.” —J.S.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the trip. The extra time built in allowed time to really stop and enjoy the scenery…I didn’t feel pushed from point A-to-B! ”—R.S.

Read more…