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Bears Ears National Monument, UT

Oct 21 - Oct 28, 2018 -- $1325 ★★★

In the remote Utah backcountry, lies a magical world of canyons, mesas, and buttes called Bears Ears National Monument. The region contains ubiquitous red rocks, ancient petroglyphs, sandstone arches, turn-of-the-century ranches, winding canyons, natural bridges and wildlife such as brilliantly colored lizards, mule deer, bighorn sheep, raccoons and possibly even a cougar, black bear or ring tailed cat.

Our trek is a 40 mile loop that takes us through Woodenshoe Canyon, Dark Canyon and Peavine Canyon. We'll see towering canyon walls, cliff dwellings, petroglyphs and an occasional arch

Water will be scarce at times so on some days we will need to carry about 2 gallons (16 pounds) of water in our packs. Still, the rewards are many. In October, the days are getting shorter which means great sunsets and amazing star-gazing.

Bears Ears was established as a National Monument in 2016, however there is sentiment in the Federal Administration (as well as the oil and ranching sectors) to de-list or drastically reduce the size of the National Monument. So this is your chance to visit the area before it unavailable, developed or both.


Weather is always an important concern when hiking. Expect daytime hiking temperatures in the 70s and nighttime temperatures in the 40s. However, be prepared for the possibility of day temperatures as high as 90 and as low as 30, with an occasional chance of rainfall and on rare occasion, snowfall. Here is the historical October weather. Be prepared with lots of sun protection and water containers that add up to 8 liters of capacity.

Trip Leaders

Steve Silberberg
Miles Gordon


$1325 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a room with another participant during the 2 hotel nights. You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Moab (CNY), personal equipment, restaurant meals eaten off the trail and any gratuities for guides.

Covered expenses include 2 hotel nights, round-trip ground transportation from Moab to the National Monument, 6 days of trail meals, National Park permits, insurance, backcountry fees and awesome guides.


The trails through Bears Ears can be relatively easy and enjoyable to hike, especially within the level, sandy-bottomed canyons or on the flat, rocky, view-laden mesas. It's pure hiking pleasure. However, there will also be sandy patches and slickrock, sometimes with dramatic dropoffs and a few places where challenging scrambles (using hands and butt) is necessary.

Important Notes

From Visitors traveling to the area today should be aware that the recent designation of monument status has not allowed for the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to develop their management plan, nor create new services or facilities. Don’t expect the same level of infrastructure as Arches, Canyonlands or Zion national parks. Much of the land in Bears Ears National Monument is rugged, wild and remote, requiring greater preparation, fitness and respect on the part of the visitor. Additional care needs to be taken around the numerous archaeological sites in the area. The Bureau of Land Management and Tread Lightly’s “Respect and Protect” ethic should be the mindset for anyone traveling to Bears Ears.

We are uncertain if either reducing the size of or de-listing the area as a National Monument will impact our ability to be permitted or ultimately visit the area. Our fallback is a trip to Canyonlands National Park in the same general region of Bears Ears.

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Sunday, October 21, 2018

Fly into Moab Airport (CNY). The best time to arrive is between around Noon-3PM. However, if you can save a substantial amount on your flight by arriving at say, 11AM or 5PM, then do so. CNY is small so you probably won't have that many choices anyway.

Take the free airport shuttle to local hotel (TBD)

Equipment shakedown

"Before" measurements taken

Trail mix distribution

Go to Gearheads, 471 S Main St #1, Moab, UT 84532, (435) 259-4327 to get last minute equipment

Go out for dinner (Dinner not included in trip cost)

Monday, October 22, 2018

Early (6AM or earlier) wake-up

Second set of "before" measurements taken

All the items that you won't bring on the trail will be set aside and put in storage. Try to keep this to a small amount of stuff.

Free breakfast at Hotel

Car shuttle 3 hours to the Woodenshoe Trailhead in Bears Ears NM. We will actually drive between the Bears Ears as we approach the trail.

If we have a 2nd vehicle, we will shuttle one of them to the Peavine Canyon Trailhead

Start hiking through the hiker maze at the fence near Woodenshoe Trailhead, elevation 8200'.

Hike 4.0 steady downhill miles to Cherry Canyon which enters from the Southeast, elevation 6900'

There is fairly reliable water in pools up Cherry Canyon

Camp at Cherry Canyon, elevation 6900'

Miles today: 4.0. Total miles: 4.0

Possible bailout: Woodenshoe TH

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Hike about 1.0 miles to some cliff dwellings, elevation 6800'

Explore the cliff dwellings. There are well preserved petroglyphs here

Hike about 1.0 miles to an unnamed canyon entering from the East, elevation 6700'

There is a keyhole shaped arch here

Hike about 2.5 miles to a small seep of water, elevation 6600'

Hike about 3.5 miles to Wates Pond, elevation 6600'

Camp at-large near Wates Pond, elevation 6500'

Miles today: 8.0. Total miles: 12.0

Possible bailout: FR 464 a day away

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Hike about 3.5 miles to Hanging Garden Spring, elevation 6000'

This water is about as reliable as any in the area

Fill all water vessels as we will not have any more water today or tomorrow

Hike about 1.0 miles to the intersection of Dark Canyon / the Sundance Trail, elevation 5800'.

Hike about 5.0 uphill miles to the intersection of Trail Canyon from the North and Warren Canyon to the South, elevation 6600'.

Hike about 1.0 miles to a nice campsite, elevation 6800'.

Camp here, many pottery shards nearby, elevation 6800'.

Miles today: 10.5. Total miles: 22.5

Possible bailout: FR 091 unmaintained dirt road

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Hike 5.0 miles amond sagebrush flats to Rig Canyon, elevation 6800'

Fences, a corral and other signs of people (like a road) appear

Hike 1.0 miles to Peavine Canyon, elevation 6900'

Dry-camp somewhere near here practicing Leave No Trace ethics, elevation 6900'

Miles today: 6.0. Total miles: 28.5

Possible bailout: FR 089

Friday, October 26, 2018

Turn right into Peavine Canyon

Hike 5.0 miles to Kigala Canyon, elevation 7300'

Hike 1.0 miles to an dispersed campsite near reliable water, elevation 7400'

Dispersed camp within a reasonable distance of reliable water source, elevation 7400'

Miles today: 6.0. Total miles: 34.5

Possible bailout: FR 089

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Hike 4.0 uphill miles to the Peavine Trailhead, elevation 8400'

End of hiking

Miles today: 4.0. Total miles: 38.5

If there is no vehicle here, one guide will walk to the other trailhead to fetch the vehicle

Shuttle 3 hours back to Moab

Check back into hotel (TBD)

After measurements taken

Dinner and awards Ceremony in Moab. Dinner not included in trip cost.

This is the official end of the trip. You are welcome to spend the night at the hotel, however if you drove and would like to get on the road or if you flew and would like to schedule a late flight (or a red-eye if this is a West Coast trip) you can definitely do so.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Free Hotel Breakfast

Take Free Airport Shuttle

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