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23226
Utah

Off the Beaten Path: Backcountry Hiking in Southwestern Utah

Take on challenging hikes off the beaten path through the backcountry of Utah with a small group of fellow adventurers, learning about geological and human history of the region.
Rating (5)
Program No. 23226RJ
Length
8 days
Starts at
1,699
Utah

Off the Beaten Path: Backcountry Hiking in Southwestern Utah

Take on challenging hikes off the beaten path through the backcountry of Utah with a small group of fellow adventurers, learning about geological and human history of the region.
Length
8 days
Starts at
1,699
Program No. 23226 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
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Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 11 - Apr 18, 2021
Starting at
1,699
Apr 25 - May 2, 2021
Starting at
1,699
Oct 10 - Oct 17, 2021
Starting at
1,699
Oct 31 - Nov 7, 2021
Starting at
1,699
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 11 - Apr 18, 2021
Starting at
2,139
Apr 25 - May 2, 2021
Starting at
2,139
Oct 10 - Oct 17, 2021
Starting at
2,139
Oct 31 - Nov 7, 2021
Starting at
2,139

At a Glance

Are you ready for a challenge? Rock scramble and hike your way along the red rock backcountry of southwest Utah for a scenic learning adventure with your expert group leaders. Hike little-known paths to learn about the geological history of the swirling patterned Navajo sandstone, slot canyons, hoodoos, lava tubes and petrified forests and sand dunes, and investigate the human history of the area, from Anasazi Ridge to Silver Reef mining district.
Activity Level
Outdoor: Challenging
Strenuous hiking up to 12 miles daily with bouldering, rock scrambles, slick-rock climbs and elevation gains up to 2300 feet. Agility, balance and stamina required. Terrain includes deep sand, loose rocks, very steep inclines and declines and some small vertical cliff faces. Elevation up to 6500 feet.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Enjoy challenging, small-group hikes off the beaten path with expert instruction from your group leaders about geological formations, flora, fauna and human history.
  • Hike Ancestral Puebloan sites to learn about petroglyphs dating back 4,000 years, and search for ancient pottery pieces along the Santa Clara River.
  • Hike Zion's West Rim trail and climb switchbacks with sheer drop-offs to Scout Lookout.
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8 days
7 nights
20 meals
7 B 6 L 7 D
DAY
1
Check in, Registration, Welcome, Orientation
St. George
D
Holiday Inn Convention Center

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 3:00-5:00 p.m. Come to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, other important information, and to confirm when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. We’ll transfer via passenger vans to a local restaurant for dinner.

Dinner: At a local restaurant enjoy a buffet dinner that includes coffee, iced tea, soda and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Returning to the Holiday Inn, the Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Transportation will be provided primarily by passenger vans unless otherwise specified. Durations of hikes vary depending on the group. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, engaging in available activities on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local conditions/circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Silver Reef Mining Town, Yankee Doodle Hollow, Candy Cliffs
St. George
B,L,D
Holiday Inn Convention Center

Activity note: Driving distance 16 miles, 20 minutes. Hiking distance for the day is 8 miles, about 5 hours in full sun. Elevation gain/loss about 1000 feet, elevation of hiking area approx. 4500 feet. This hike is a combination of deep sand on the trail crossing Yant Flats and undulating to steep areas of bare sandstone in the Candy Cliffs.

Breakfast: At the Holiday Inn, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as hard boiled eggs, hot oatmeal, fruit, yogurt, pastries, toast, coffee, tea, milk and juice.

Morning: In the Holiday Inn meeting room, our instructor will provide an overview of the local and regional geology. After short break, depart via passenger vans to Leeds, Utah for an instructor-led field trip of the Silver Reef mining district and historic buildings. See old mining shafts from the 1870's where 8 million oz. of silver was extracted from sandstone. Following is a short hike to look at how quickly a slot canyon can form in sandstone. We will look at a popular canyoneering destination called Yankee Doodle Hollow on our way to the hike for the day.

Lunch: On the trail to the Candy Cliffs we’ll have box lunches including a sandwich, chips, cookie and fruit.

Afternoon: After lunch we will continue our exploration of the Candy Cliffs. After a 1.3 mile trek across Yant flat we arrive at access to three bowls of multicolored, swirling patterned Navajo sandstone that includes many unique sedimentary features. We will have time to explore and enjoy about 4 miles of sandstone in three major bowls with incredible views of the surrounding area. We will return via passenger vans to Saint George for dinner.

Dinner: At a local restaurant we will enjoy a plated meal that includes coffee, iced tea, sodas and water, other beverages available for purchase.

DAY
3
Water Canyon, Canaan Mountain, Squirrel Canyon
St. George
B,L,D
Holiday Inn Convention Center

Activity note: Driving distance 43 miles; 50 minutes. Hiking distance for the day is 9-11 miles, elevation gain/loss about 1800 feet, elevation of hiking area approx. 5000 feet. Today's hike requires boulder hopping, rock scrambles, ledge obstacles, steep drop offs and assisted lifts.

Breakfast: At the Holiday Inn.

Morning: Travel via passenger vans to Hildale, Utah on our way to the trail head for Water Canyon. Water Canyon is a narrow canyon with beautiful cascades, pools and slot-like passageways that follow fractures in the canyon wall. This is an amazing and seemingly impossible trail that ascends to the high country of the Canaan Mountain plateau. Some places require scrambling and use of your hands.

Lunch: On the trail, we’ll have box lunches including a sandwich, chips, cookie and fruit.

Afternoon: After lunch, we will continue our hiking exploration of the area around Canaan Mountain, which is a plateau of Navajo sandstone, heavily fractured and eroded, forming countless hoodoos, domes, pinnacles and small ravines. From the top you get impressive views of the peaks of Zion National Park and spectacular panoramas of the valley 2000 feet below. This can be an in-and-back hike or a loop hike up Water Canyon, across part of Canaan Mountain and down Squirrel Canyon. We will return via passenger vans to Saint George for dinner.

Dinner: At a local restaurant we will enjoy a plated meal that includes coffee, iced tea, sodas and water, other beverages available for purchase.

DAY
4
Petroglyphs of Anasazi Ridge and Gunlock
St. George
B,L,D
Holiday Inn Convention Center

Activity note: Driving distance 10 miles, 20 minutes to first hike. Hiking distance for the day is 6 miles, elevation gain/loss about 900 feet, elevation of hiking area approx. 4100 feet. Afternoon hikes include a steep climb up old road bed; colorful wash and navigate minor obstacles. Second afternoon hike involves some deep sand and steep sandstone inclines and declines.

Breakfast: At the Holiday Inn.

Morning: We’ll depart via passenger vans for Anasazi Ridge and hike to Ancestral Puebloan sites that overlook the Santa Clara River and include ancient home sites as well as evidence of farming on the fertile floodplains of the river. We will explore on the rim and over the uplifted ridge for petroglyphs dating back it is thought over 4,000 years. We’ll return to Saint George for lunch.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy a plated meal of local favorites.

Afternoon: We will travel via passenger vans to, and continue our hiking investigations of, a little known site upstream on the Santa Clara River where pottery pieces are commonly seen as well as rock chippings from tool making. Our last stop will be near Snow Canyon State Park in the 62,000 acres of the Desert Tortoise Preserve. Here there are multiple petroglyph panels that require hiking between each among breathtaking scenery as we navigate from site to site. One site is a slot canyon thought to be a Native American spiritual place. Another is called newspaper rock. We will return to Saint George for dinner.

Dinner: At a local restaurant we will enjoy a plated meal that includes coffee, iced tea, sodas and water, other beverages available for purchase.

DAY
5
Dalton Wash, Coal Pits Wash
St. George
B,L,D
Holiday Inn Convention Center

Activity note: Driving distance 42 miles, 60 minutes. Hiking distance for the day is 7 miles, elevation gain/loss about 1000 feet, elevation of hiking area approx. 5000 feet.

Breakfast: At the Holiday Inn.

Morning: We’ll depart via passenger vans for Virgin, Utah. We will drive Dalton Wash road just past Virgin, Utah and access the seldom seen western wilderness adjacent to Zion National Park. From here enjoy stunning views of the iconic Zion cliffs clearly visible from St. George. We are now in the Chinle Formation that that hosts petrified wood from ancient buried forests. This is the opportunity to visit backcountry near and in Zion National Park to enjoy, explore and be away from the crowds. This hike will be a cross country route winding into the upper reaches of Coal Pits wash.

Lunch: On the trail, we’ll have box lunches including a sandwich, chips, cookie and fruit.

Afternoon: We will continue our exploration of the back country of Zion National Park. We will return to Saint George for dinner.

Dinner: At a local restaurant we will enjoy a plated meal that includes coffee, iced tea, sodas and water, other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: On your own

DAY
6
Snow Canyon State Park and Padre Canyon
St. George
B,L,D
Holiday Inn Convention Center

Activity note: Driving distance 12 miles, 20 minutes. Hiking distance for the day is 6 miles, elevation gain/loss about 1200 feet, elevation of hiking area approximately 3800 feet. The trail includes a steep ascent and descent with loose rocks and a section of deep sand in the dry wash on our return. The trail to the lava tubes is easy to moderate due to loose cinders and lava rock.

Breakfast: At the Holiday Inn.

Morning: We’ll depart via passenger vans for Padre Canyon to begin our hike in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve and Red Mountain Wilderness Area. The trail takes us over a saddle gaining 800 ft. on a rocky trail then descends into a beautiful drainage of Snow Canyon State Park that is not visible from any other trails in the park. This route, that requires a good deal of boulder hopping, will take us into the heart of the transition area of Navajo sandstone as it changes from red at the lower end of the park to the white at the upper end. This transition area creates a random lacing pattern of white and red sandstone unique to Snow Canyon State Park and adds further dimension of beauty to this area. Hikers will find the trail challenging, beautiful and awe-inspiring as it meanders through the drainage complete with fascinating differential erosion and towering 1400 foot cliffs of Red Mountain beside you.

Lunch: On the trail, we’ll have box lunches including a sandwich, chips, cookie and fruit.

Afternoon: We will continue hiking through a hidden canyon via a large wash and head over to the heart of Snow Canyon State Park. We will walk on petrified sand dunes, observe massive cross-bedding in the sandstone, and see round balls of iron concretions both free and still eroding from the sandstone. Two of the three major lava flows are visible from this area. The most recent flow happened about 27,000 years ago. Time permitting we will enter a lava tube, a natural conduit formed by lava that flowed beneath the hardened surface of a lava flow. We will return to Saint George for dinner.

Dinner: At a local restaurant we will enjoy a plated meal that includes coffee, iced tea, sodas and water, other beverages available for purchase.

DAY
7
Zion National Park
St. George
B,L,D
Holiday Inn Convention Center

Activity note: Scout Lookout hike is a moderately strenuous 4 mile round trip with 1100 ft of elevation change. Observation Point is a strenuous 8 mile round trip with 2300 ft of elevation change. Elevation of Zion is approximately 3000 feet. Driving distance from St. George to Zion is 45 miles and will take about 1 hour.

Breakfast: At the Holiday Inn.

Morning: We’ll travel via passenger vans to Zion National Park where you will have the option of guided hikes of the East or West Rim trails with your instructor or group leader. The 4-mile round trip West Rim trail takes you to Scout Lookout from the trail-head at the Grotto. The trail includes a series of steep paved switchbacks that has steep drop-offs, but is wide, which is helpful for those with a fear of heights. The trail includes the famous Walters Wiggles feature of tight switchbacks up towards Scout Lookout. The East Rim trail begins at Weeping Rock and is a 8- mile round trip to Observation Point that is on a steep roughly paved trail with sheer drop-offs. The trail takes you through the slots of Echo Canyon before the final ascent to the summit that gives you incredible views of Zion’s main canyon.

Lunch: We’ll enjoy a box lunch on the trail.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our exploration of Zion’s main canyon and return to Saint George for dinner.

Dinner: Our farewell dinner buffet will be a plated meal at Magelby's restaurant. Iced tea, juice and water are served. Other beverages are available for purchase.

DAY
8
Check out and prepare for departure
St. George
B

Breakfast: Abbey Inn buffet. This concludes our program. Hotel check-out is 11:00 a.m.






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