Utah Horseback Riding

Escalante Canyons

Horseback Riding in Escalante Canyons National Monument

Horseback Trail Rides to Escalante Canyons: The Grand Staircase/Escalante Canyons National Monument is Utah’s largest tract of unspoiled wilderness.

Over the eons, the Escalante Canyons have been sculpted by wind and water into a maze of gigantic proportions. This is a landscape of slickrock punctured by deep, narrow canyons. A landscape so rugged and remote that the tiny village of Boulder, Utah, which lies within its midst, could not be reached by automobile until 1938. The Escalante River was the last named and explored drainage in the continental United States.

When summer’s heat in the slickrock country becomes oppressive, the lure of glacial lakes and lush meadows beckons both horse and rider. June through August’s rides explore the plateau tops and canyons where Capitol Reef National Park and Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument make their dramatic break towards the Colorado River.

A deluxe basecamp will serve as your home for daily forays deeper into the wilderness. Exploring a new trail each day, you’ll visit ancient petroglyphs, slot-canyons, rock arches, buttes and spires. Experience Circle Cliffs, Indian Gulch, The Stairs, Lamanite Natural Bridge, The Lampstand, The Moodys, Deer Point Overlook, The Purple Hills, Silver Falls Canyon, Little Death Hollow, Wolverine Petrified Forest, and more.

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Departures 2021Highlights
May 16, 23Spring Wildflowers & Slickrock canyons in the Escalante Canyons
August 8, 15, 29Vistas of the Escalante Watershed from High Plateaus-Under the Rim of Boulder Mountain, the Circle Cliffs
Sept. 19, 26Fall Colors: final fling in the Circle Cliffs/Escalante Canyons

Detailed Itinerary for Escalante Canyons National Monument Trail Ride

Note: This is a sample itinerary for two of several spring or fall camps we may use. Each camp is unique and often offers more trails to explore than time will permit.

Day 1: Arrive scenic Torrey, Utah and check into you lodging which will be specified with your reservation. Torrey is a town of a little over 200 population which is located at the junction of highways 12 and 24 near the west entrance of Capitol Reef National Park.  At 7:00PM meet at the lobby for an orientation and final packing session with your trip leader and the trip’s interpretative specialist.

Day 2: After breakfast, you’ll travel a short distance down the road to Hondoo’s headquarters.  Hondoo’s headquarters are located on highway 24 in the middle of downtown Torrey. At Hondoo’s office and gift shop, we’ll pack your gear in the camp 4X4, meet the remainder of the crew and your horse, then depart (9:00am) for our trailhead at Roundup Flat or Circle Cliffs. The 30 mile ride over Boulder Mountain on highway 12 travels along a stretch of road which AAA of California has rated among the top ten scenic drives in America. From the Roundup Flat trailhead you’ll ride past the Steep Creek Lakes and the Windmill into Indian Gulch via The Stairs before arriving at the Gulch basecamp. From the Circle Cliffs trailhead with it’s panoramic view of the Grand Staircase and Escalante Canyons, you’ll leave Studhorse Peak and Wagon Box Mesa behind as you ride to basecamp at Moody Canyon or nearby Silver Falls Canyon.

Day 3: After breakfast and preparing lunch, from the Gulch basecamp you’ll visit Lamanite Natural Bridge, Water Canyon and Egg Canyon before returning home to a hot shower and cold drinks. From the Moody/Silver Falls basecamp, you’ll ride over the Purple Hills to explore the labyrinth of canyons which comprise the Moody Canyon complex.

Day 4: Daylight at the Gulch camp brings the prospect of visiting the Circle Cliff divide, the Lampstand and the petroglyphs located at its base.  From the Moody/Silver Falls camp you’ll wind your way into the ever narrowing depths of Silver Falls Canyon with stops at the Pioneer Register and the cooling alcove at Immigrant Springs Peak.

Day 5: From the Gulch camp you’ll explore the upper reaches of Indian Gulch where it emerges from Edmund’s Hole under the Windmill or Impossible Peak.  Or, after a hearty breakfast, you will ride to Deer Point, the Capitol Reef Divide and the Waterpocket Fold Overlook before returning to relax around the evening fire.

Day 6 Departure day: After packing personal gear and breaking camp, you will ride the length of the Gulch to where it joins Steep Creek and Long Canyon.  At Long Canyon you’ll exchange your saddle seat for the cushioned comfort of a vehicle ride along the Burr Trail road to highway 12 and beyond.  You’ll arrive Torrey late afternoon.

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