Capitol Reef & Grand Staircase-Escalante
Includes all lodging, all meals, park entrance fees, van shuttles to and from Grand Junction airport, leaders, trail maps and narratives.
Grand Junction, CO
Timberline van shuttle is included from and to Grand Junction.
Not included: Airline service to Grand Junction Regional Airport, CO; Guide Gratuity.
Hotel 8:00 am
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, created in 1996, is a vast expanse of public land that includes three distinct areas: Grand Staircase, Kaiparowits, and Escalante Canyon. The cliffs and terraces of the Grand Staircase, the rugged Kaiparowits Plateau and the wondrous Escalante River Canyons are combined to preserve a diverse geologic treasure. When linked to the adjoining Capitol Reef National Park, which protects the 100 mile monocline of the Waterpocket Fold, you’ll find a territory presenting a hiking and photography experience of a lifetime. This area was one of the last places in our country to be mapped due to the rugged remoteness. Cliffs, monoliths, slot canyons, natural bridges, domes, petroglyphs and arches can all be found on the trails that we will explore, when entail only a small portion of this immense wilderness.
The boundaries, and indeed the creation of the monument, have been controversial from the start. The Fremont and ancestral Puebloans lived peacefully in the area, taking shelter in the rocks and farming in the canyons. Then came the white man, seeking to forge a passage through the labyrinth, and then to claim the wealth of its resources. The remoteness of the area provided some protection, and by presidential proclamation, a large portion was declared a National Monument in 1996. But the peculiarities of Utah law made claims of control over the area contentious between agencies and political parties. A new federal administration ordered a reduction of the protected area by almost a half, but litigation is still pending on its legality. The lesson learned so far? – Never put off an opportunity to enjoy and protect this country’s extraordinary wilderness.
|Day 1||Van shuttle from Grand Junction, hike Lower Calf Creek Falls (700 feet)||6|
|Day 2||Zebra and Tunnel Slot Canyons||7|
|Day 3||Rim Overlook Trail: Hickman Bridge view; Navaho Knobs: views of the Fremont River, Fruita orchards, Water Pocket Fold, La Sal and Henry Mountains; (2,000 feet)||9.5|
|Day 4||Chimney Rock Canyon to the Fremont River through Spring Canyon||10|
|Day 5||Cohab Canyon Trail: Cassidy Arch, Grand Wash; (2,000 feet)||6.5|
|Day 6||Visit the Capitol Reef National Park Visitors Center. Hike Fremont River TrailVan shuttle return to Grand Junction, CO||3|