Driving approx. 40 miles roundtrip; about 1 hour. Hiking a total of approx. 7 miles throughout the day; mostly maintained trails of packed dirt, some sandy sections; about 700 feet in elevation change. Exploration of the "Toadstools" offers opportunity for some off-trail rock scrambling (use of hands required to navigate the rocks).
At the hotel, we’ll enjoy a hot buffet with choices including an egg dish, breakfast meats, potatoes, fresh fruit, toast, and a variety of hot and cold cereals, plus juice, coffee, tea and water.
Throughout the day we will take a few different hikes with our Group Leader to get a taste of the amazing country that surrounds us. We’ll reach the trailheads by passenger van and, starting with a hike along the Hanging Garden Trail, we’ll get acquainted us with local landmarks, plants, slickrock hiking techniques, and the desert vegetation phenomenon known as "hanging gardens.”
In the field, we’ll have healthy sack lunches including a choice of cold cut or veggie sandwich, fruit, granola bar, chips, and water.
We’ll then drive to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Our hike will be about 3.85 miles roundtrip with a 500-foot elevation change as it showcases fantastic hoodoos called The Toadstools. Hoodoos are unique geological formations produced by drainage resulting in tall spindly towers of rock. At the conclusion of our hike, we’ll then return to the hotel with time to freshen up before dinner.
Hotel plated meal.
In the hotel conference room, we’ll be joined by a local expert for a presentation on the Dominguez-Escalante Expedition of 1776, which passed through this area. The two Franciscan priests were trying to establish an overland route between Santa Fe (in present-day New Mexico) and Monterey, California.