Capitol Reef and The Grand Staircase Hiking Tour
(includes all lodging, all meals, park entrance fees, van shuttles to and from Salt Lake airport, leaders, trail maps & narratives)
This coming year we are lucky to be able to offer our first “photo hiking tour”. Cathy and Gordon Illg have been guides for Timberline for many years. They run nature photography tours under the name Adventure Photography. Their photographs can be seen in nearly every major nature publication, including the covers of Backpacker, National Geographic Young Explorer and National Wildlife. Several of their images also decorate the tails of Frontier Airlines’ jets.
The vast expanse of the Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument is daunting, to say the least and the inclusion of Capitol Reef National Park with its geographical proximity and geological affinity with the Grand Staircase, creates hiking andphotography options without limits.
The 1996 creation of Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument, has provided a partial cloak of protection (falling well short of wilderness designation protection) over some of our nation’s most precious remaining wildlands in an area that has been a fierce battleground between developers and environmentalists.
Our hiking tour assembles in Torrey, UT, at the western entrance to Capitol Reef, and we’ll provide van shuttle transportation from Salt Lake City early morning of Day 1. We’ll arrive at the Capitol Reef Resort early enough to visit the Visitors Center within the park and stretch our legs with a short hike along the Fremont River Trail that rises above the river for an outstanding view of the Fruita orchards and several of the park’s prominent formations.
Following our first of two overnights at the Capitol Reef Resort, we’ll hike to Cohab Canyon, climbing initially to a grand overlook of the Fremont River Canyon and then descending into the narrows of Cohab with its soaring sandstone walls. We’ll continue on to Cassidy Arch and through the Grand Wash.The Rim Overlook Trail is our focus for Day 3. We’ll hike from the Fremont River, initially to Hickman Natural Bridge and then well beyond to Navajo Knobs, some 2,000 feet above the valley floor. The views from the Knobs, in a word, are incredible . We’ll van shuttle from Capitol Reef late in the afternoon to Boulder and spend the next two evenings at the Boulder Mountain Lodge. We’re headed for the Burr Trail on Day 4 and a full day’s exploration of the intriguing Waterpocket Fold. We’ll hike Lower Muley Twist Canyon and then climb from the canyon to the crest of the Fold with its striking views of the Fold and the high peaks of the Henry Mountains to the east. On Day 5, we’ll travel west into the Escalante to experience the remarkable slot canyon hiking for which this region is famous. We’ll spend much of the day in the Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch, scrambling, and we do mean scrambling, through slots aptly named “Spooky” and “Peekaboo”. We’ll spend our final overnight in Escalante and hike to beautiful Calf Creek Falls prior to our return to Salt Lake. Don't miss this Capitol Reef and the Grand Staircase Hiking Tour.
|Day 1||Group assembles late afternoon at Capitol Reef Resort in Torrey; visit the Capitol Reef
National Park Visitors Center. Short hike to Fremont River Overlook.
|Day 2||Cohab Canyon Trail: Cassidy Arch, Grand Wash; elevation gain - 2,000’ (approx.)
Rim Overlook Trail: Hickman Bridge view; Navaho Knobs: views of the Fremont River,
|Day 4||Lower Muley Twist Canyon, The Post Overlook and the Waterpocket Fold; elevation
|Day 5||Dry Fork of Coyote Creek: Spooky and Peekaboo Slots
elevation gain - 700’
|Day 6||Lower Calf Creek Falls; elevation gain - 250’; van shuttle return
to Salt Lake City.
Total Hiking Mileage - 47 miles
You do not need to be a photographer to enjoy this trip and if you are, you will love the guidance that Gordon and Cathy offer. A nice camera, point and shoot or just your iphone will all work on this trip . Tripods are recommended, especially for some evening work and taking photos of stars. There will be one optional evening presentation. The best landscape shots will be focused on a few areas of each hike, although you are welcome to photograph along the way.