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Canyonlands National Park

Monday, April 24, 2023 - Monday, May 1, 2023 -- $1700 ★★★★ SOLD OUT - Put me on the waiting list

In the remote Utah backcountry, lies a magical world of colorful canyons, mesas, and buttes called Canyonlands National Park We will be backpacking in the Needles District, a remote red-rock wonderland. The Needles can be challenging primarily due to dramatic drop-offs, climbs and precipices, so if you have a fear of heights, this trip is not for you. However with great challenges come great rewards like ubiquitous red rocks, ancient petroglyphs, colossal sandstone arches, turn-of-the-century ranches, winding canyons, natural bridges and elusive wildlife such as lizards, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and possibly even black bear.

Our trek begins in Moab where we shuttle by vehicle to Salt Flat Campground to start hiking. The terrain will start moderately but will soon begin to ascend rocks and canyons. We'll camp at the iconic Chesler Park and squeeze through the slot canyon known as 'The Joint'. Eventually we'll camp at-large in the enormous Red Lake Graben which is a gateway to the Confluence Overlook and the Colorado River.

We will end the trip with a several hour jet boat ride up the Colorado that is spectacular in itself, with Tex's Riverways.

Water will be scarce at times so we will need to have enough capacity to carry as much as 8 liters (16 pounds) of water in our packs when we find it. We will know the water situation better as the trip approaches. In April, the temperatures are moderate (even cold at night) and the days get longer, with great sunsets and amazing star-gazing opportunities if you are able to stay up past dark.

Topographical Map of Proposed Route

See CalTopo map


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 rain or possibly even snow. Here is the historical April weather. Be prepared with lots of sun protection and water containers that add up to 8 liters of capacity.

Probable Trip Leaders

Steve Silberberg
Beau Devlin
Any Other Guide(s) TBD


The trails through Canyonlands National Park are often gentle, enjoyable and dare we say easy to hike, especially when inside the level, sandy-bottomed canyons or on the flat, rocky, view-laden mesas. However, getting from the mesas to the canyons or vice-versa can be a terrifying challenge for some. A few of these transitions consist of extremely steep slickrock with sometimes dramatic, near vertical dropoffs. Almost all of these transitions contain rock scrambles that require the use of your hands and butt to navigate, all while carrying a full pack. If you have a fear of heights, this is not the trip for you.


$1700 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a room with another participant during the 1 hotel night. You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Moab (CNY), personal equipment, restaurant meals eaten off the trail and any gratuities.

Covered expenses include 1 hotel night, 1 night in a campground, round-trip ground transportation from the airport to Moab, 6 days of trail meals, Jet Boat transportation, National Park permits, backcountry fees and awesome guides.

Tipping: In order to keep our prices competitive with (and hopefully favorable to) other outfitters, we shamefully can’t pay our guides as much as we think they deserve. Like most other guiding services, we rely on the generosity of our participants to make up this shortfall by tipping the guides. While tips are not required or expected, if your guides have served you well, please consider a gratuity so they can continue living their extravagant lifestyles of eating powdered meals, sleeping in the dirt and pooping in smelly outhouses and small holes they've dug.


Canyonlands National Park (as well as Fitpacking) takes Leave No Trace seriously. Toilet paper does not decompose in the Canyonlands desert ecosystem, so it must be packed out. And although we can leave human waste in much of the park, there may be areas where we can't. Because of this, human waste may also need to be packed out from this location. Sorry! When you see the campsites, you will understand why this is the case.

Canyonlands National Park requires all participants to veiw this video before entering the backcountry

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Monday, April 24, 2023

Fly into Moab (CNY). The best time to arrive is between around 9AM-Noon but flights are limited. We can make later times work. Because flights are infrequent and flight costs can be high, you might instead choose to fly into Salt Lake City and take a shuttle bus for around $65 to moab: Salt Lake Express

We'll pick you up at the airport and shuttle you to a local campground to gather the group

We will assemble at: Pack Creek Campground, 1520 Murphy Lane #23, Moab, UT 84532, 435-259-2982.

Although you will have already had your online equipment shakedown, we will still do a mini-shakedown at camp.

"Before" body compostion measurements taken

Make Your Own Trail Mix Bar

Go to Gearheads 471 S Main St. (Hwy 191), Moab, Utah 84532 for any last minute equipment

At around 3PM, shuttle to campsite: Pack Creek Campground, 1520 Murphy Lane #23, Moab, UT 84532, 435-259-2982. Site(s): 2

Shuttling will take about 0.5 hours

Guides prepare dinner in camp. On some trips with longer shuttle times, we may opt to go out for an opening dinner at a local restaurant. (Cost of restaurant dinner not included in trip price)

Camp at Pack Creek Campground, 1520 Murphy Lane #23, Moab, UT 84532, 435-259-2982. Site(s): 2

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Second set of "before" body composition measurements taken

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

Break camp and shuttle to Newspaper Rock on the way to Canyonlands National Park. Tour Newspaper Rock for about 10-15 minutes, bathrooms in the parking lot.

Begin Hiking at Salt Flat Campground, Loop A elevation 5125'.

Hike 2.6 miles to the Lost Canyon Trail, elevation 5075''

Hike about 0.9 miles on the Lost Canyon Trail to LC2, elevation 5125

Camp at LC2

There may be no water here

Miles today: 3.5. Total miles: 3.5

Possible bailout: Salt Flat Campground

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Hike about 2.4 miles on the Lost Canyon Trail to the Wooden Shoe Canyon Trail, elevation 5200'

Hike 1.0 miles on the Wooden Shoe Canyon Trail to the Big Springs Canyon Trail, elevation 5400'

Hike about 1.5 miles to BS2, elevation 5175'

Camp at BS2, elevation 5175'

There will probably be no water here

Miles today: 4.9. Total miles: 8.4

Possible bailout: Salt Flat Campground

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Hike about 1.5 miles on the Big Springs Canyon Trail to the Wooden Shoe Canyon Trail, elevation 5400'

Hike 2.1 miles on the Wooden Shoe Canyon Trail to Elephant Canyon, elevation 5275'.

We expect to find water nearby, so fill all vessels

Hike 0.5 miles to the Druid Arch Cutoff, elevation 5350'

Hike 4.0 round-trip miles to Druid Arch, elevation 5850'

Hike 1.0 miles to Chesler Park, elevation 5650'

Camp at CP3, elevation 5650'

Miles today: 9.1. Total miles: 17.5

Possible bailout: Salt Flat Campground

Friday, April 28, 2023

Hike 1.5 miles on the joint trail through The Joint to the road, elevation 5325'

Hike 0.9 road miles to the Devil’s Pocket Trail, elevation 5250'.

Hike 0.4 road miles to the Chesler Park Loop Trail, elevation 5450'.

Hike 1.3 miles on the Chesler Park Loop Trail, elevation 5600'.

Turn left and hike 2.5 miles to Devil’s Kitchen, elevation 5300'.

Hike 1.6 miles to Cyclone Canyon, elevation 4825'.

Dispersed camp in Red Lake / Grabens Zone, elevation 4825'

There is no water here

Miles today: 8.2. Total miles: 25.7

Possible bailout: Confluence Overlook Trailhead or Colorado River

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Day-Hiking only today, no full pack, leave camp set up

Hike 2.5 miles to the Confluence Overlook Trail, elevation 4900'

Hike 1.2 round trip miles to the Confluence Overlook, elevation 4925'

Hike 0.7 miles on the Confluence Overlook Trail to the road, elevation 5050'

Hike 4.2 road miles to the Devil’s Kitchen turnoff, elevation 5200'

Turn right and hike 0.9 miles to Cyclone Canyon, elevation 4825'

Dispersed camp in Red Lake / Grabens Zone, elevation 4825'

There is no water here

Miles today: 9.5. Total miles: 35.2

Possible bailout: Confluence Overlook Trailhead or Colorado River

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Hike 4.0 miles on the Lower Red Lake trail to the Colorado River across from Spanish Bottom, elevation 3900'

We may need to arrive as early as 10AM

End of hiking

Miles today: 4.0. Total miles: 39.2

The Jet Boat shuttles us 4 hours back to Moab

Shuttle back to local hotel: 6D Clean Moab RedCliff Condo, Moab - VRBO.

Gather your off-trail items from storage

After body composition measurements taken

Dinner and awards ceremony at a local restaurant (Dinner cost not included in trip price)

Stay in our local hotel (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.

Monday, May 1, 2023

We will either drop you at the airport or pay for a shared cab / Uber

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