Utah River and Wilderness Expeditions since 1964... come Tag-A-Long with us!

Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument & San Rafael Swell Hiking and Jeep Tour 5 Days- (WE4)

Adventure Description

One of Americas newest national monuments, the 1.7 million acres of the Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument is a vast wilderness area that has not yet been discovered by the average tourist. Dotted with slot canyons carved by water and wind, Tag-A-Long Expeditions can take you into this formidable backcountry via four-wheel drive vehicle so you can hike the amazing slot canyons youve only seen pictures of! Youll also spot petroglyphs over a thousand years old. This hiking and 4X4 excursion includes visits to the Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument, the San Rafael Swell and Capitol Reef National Park.

Adventure Level

This is an expedition for the true pioneer. This little explored wilderness area is extremely remote and is perfect for the person with a sense of adventure. Hiking through slot canyons, finding petroglyphs, and wilderness camping make this trip a once in a lifetime opportunity! It’s 5 days in a remote, inaccessible area. Rugged Jeep trails and some challenging hiking (but arrangements can be made if hiking isn’t your cup of tea) make it a diverse, enjoyable trip.

Fitness Level: Excellent to above average. Summer heat can make it more challenging.


Day 1 – Lunch & Dinner
Your expedition begins at the Tag-A-Long office in Moab at 7:00 a.m. where you will board 4X4 rigs around 7:30 a.m. for the drive to the San Rafael Swell. This formation can be seen far in the distance as a giant uplift in the earth. We stop here for a hike into Big Wildhorse Canyon to view the ghostly Barrier Canyon petroglyphs left by ancient American Indians over 1000 years ago. Tonight you’ll camp under the stars and enjoy a surprisingly delicious cowboy style supper.

Day 2 – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
After a hearty breakfast to prepare you for your day’s activities, we’ll set off for Little Wildhorse Canyon and Bell Canyon. These gorgeous slot canyons made famous by western landscape photographers were carved in sandstone by the power of water and wind. Your trekking today takes you through narrow, shady canyons. Your professional naturalist guide can explain the geology, history and wildlife of the canyons as you explore them. By the end of the day, you’re back at camp waiting for another sumptuous meal.

Day 3 – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
This morning we board the vehicle again to travel through Capitol Reef National Park. In spring, you’ll see the apple, peach and pear orchards in full bloom. Mule deer wander through the meadows. This area was home to historic pioneer settlements along the Fremont River and many of the structures and homesteads still stand. We’ll pass over Boulder Mountain for spectacular views of the Waterpocket Fold and in the afternoon, we hike the lush and cool Calf Creek Valley. This is a shady, magical oasis and a welcome relief from the desert. The area is home to petroglyphs from the ancient Fremont Indian culture, which we will visit today. As the day comes to an end, we will follow the “Hole in the Rock” pioneer trail to our camp. Camp tonight is in the “new” Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument.

Day 4 – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Today is your most unique and exciting day of hiking as we enter Spooky and Peekaboo canyons. These are more narrow slot canyons. Around every corner there’s a new sandstone sculpture and filtered lighting plays with color and form. This is a day full of photographic adventures. Brimstone Gulch and the dry fork of Coyote Gulch come alive as your guide interprets the history, folklore and wildlife of the region. By the end of the day, you’ll also know all the desert plants and species of lizards that live in this wild country! Camp tonight is on the rim above the dry fork of Coyote Gulch and you’ll enjoy your last evening meal in the canyons.

Day 5 – Breakfast & Lunch
Our destination today is the small town of Escalante. You may choose to take a short walk into Escalante Canyon while you have lunch and wait for your flight back to Moab. You’ll board the charter aircraft for an unforgettable scenic flight over southeastern Utah as you return to Moab. We will arrive back in Moab about 4:00 p.m.

Trip Highlights

  • Two National Parks; Canyonlands National Park and Capitol Reef National Park
  • One National Monument; Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument
  • Slot Canyons
  • Backcountry Exploration
  • Scenery, Petroglyphs, Pictographs
  • Jeeping Trails
  • Hiking on wilderness trails
  • Charter Scenic Flight

Who Should Go

Photographers, those wanting solitude, anyone wanting a true backcountry adventure.

What To Bring

See our Packing List

Dates Available

First Departure: March 13
Final Departure: October 16

Call to inquire about adding another date!

Rentals Available

Sleeping Bag w/Mattress – $30.95 / each

Tent – $35.84 / tent (sleeps 2)

Booking Request Form

$1319.49 per person, includes tax

Camping gear rentals available.

20% deposit due at the time of booking and is non-refundable. Balance due 30 days prior to departure.

Cancellation Policy

(800) 453-3292

Call for reservations or:

Trip Inquiry Book this Trip