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Flagstaff, Arizona
Coyote Gulch Hamblin Arch and Water

Backpacking: Grand Staircase Adventure

Coyote Gulch, Utah

Backpacking: Grand Staircase Adventure

$1395 per adult

You’ve seen the Grand Canyon, now come see the rest of the story!

Just north of the Grand Canyon lies Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, where another 10,000 feet of flood-deposited sediments are showcased in colorful stair-step fashion. This trip combines an amazing backpacking experience with visits to multiple other attractions in Utah and Arizona. We will learn about the effects of the flood not just on the Grand Canyon, but across the broader region of the southwest.

The highlight of our adventure will be four days of backpacking in one of the incredible canyons that Utah is famous for – Coyote Gulch. Towering cliffs provide the backdrop to this sinuous gorge as we follow the creek bed for 14 miles, all the way to the Escalante River. Numerous sandstone arches greet us along the way, some of the biggest in the region! Picturesque waterfalls encourage us to linger just a bit longer during the day, and at night we will drift to sleep under a stunning sky full of stars. Additional highlights include a visit to a bed of fossilized dinosaur footprints and optional side hikes through incredible slot canyons.

The drive from Flagstaff to Escalante and back provides many opportunities for sightseeing. Along the way we will make stops at world-famous places like Horseshoe Bend and Navajo Bridge. As time allows, we may also visit Glen Canyon Dam, Cameron Trading Post, or any of the other numerous attractions that draw our attention.

Canyon Ministries hiking guides will provide a wealth of information on the history of the region, insight into the geological formations encountered, and more – all from a Biblical Creation perspective. This trip has everything you could ask for in a back-country adventure in one of the most beautiful settings you can find in the southwest!


Important Regulations and Requirements

Waste Disposal – Coyote Gulch, which is within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, requires that all hikers pack out their waste, including human solid waste. With proper equipment and training this is very manageable, but hikers uncomfortable with this requirement should consider one of our other trip itineraries.

Width Requirement – Hikers must fit through an 18 inch wide slot called “Crack in the Wall” to complete this trip. There is no alternate route.

Be sure to click the tabs above for trip details and information.


   Trip Type: Backpacking

   Duration: 6 days

    Distance: 16+ miles

    Origin: Flagstaff, AZ

  Cost: – $1,395

   Difficulty: Details

   Solitude: Details





Questions? Send us an email or give us a call at 928-251-3000.



Remote Utah Wilderness
Massive Arches
Dinosaur Footprints
Captivating River Views
Stunning starlit skies Creek Bed Hiking
Desert oasis camping Waterfalls & Cascades
Horseshoe Bend
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Our adventure begins in Flagstaff, Arizona. We will start early with an orientation meeting, then load up in the van for a scenic 6-hour drive to Escalante, Utah. Along the way, we will make some exciting stops. First, the historic Navajo Bridge near the beginning of the Grand Canyon, with views of the mighty Colorado River nearly 500 feet below, and very likely a glimpse of a massive California Condor roosting under the bridge. Next, we will soak in the panoramic vista at Le Fevre Overlook on the Kaibab Plateau. With hundreds of square miles laid out before us, we get a big-picture view of the Pink, White, Chocolate, and Vermillion Cliffs of the Grand Staircase. Later in the afternoon, we will arrive at our lodging for the night in the town of Escalante, Utah.
  • Hiking distance: 6-8 miles
  • Elevation loss: minimal
Today we leave civilization behind and head down the historic Hole in the Rock Road.  Before reaching our trailhead, we will make a short side-trip to examine a nearby outcropping of dinosaur footprints. Soon afterward, we leave the vehicle behind and embark on our journey into Coyote Gulch. As the canyon deepens, the dry wash in which we began develops into a steady stream. The walls around us grow higher, and lush vegetation beckons us to explore further. Lunch will be enjoyed near a small waterfall, followed by a few more miles of leisurely creek hiking in the afternoon before making camp along the water’s edge.
  • Hiking distance: 6-8 miles
  • Elevation loss: minimal
The gulch continues to deepen and narrow today. The creek grows ever larger, providing for a beautiful environment of cottonwoods, willows, and other vegetation. Yesterday’s views were only a small hint of the splendor that unfolds before us today. Soon we come to the majestic Jacob Hamblin Arch and then Coyote Bridge. These magnificent structures are only the highlights in a day full of surprises. Camp will again be by the water’s edge, but much deeper into the gorge than the night before.
  • Hiking distance: 4-6 miles
  • Elevation gain: 800’
Our fourth day begins with a day hike to the Escalante River confluence. A short walk up the river reveals another terrific arch, Stevens Arch, and if time allows, we may explore a bit further to the nearby Stevens Canyon. A morning of splashing and playing in the river is always a delightful experience. In the afternoon we will break camp and begin our ascent out of the canyon. It is a challenging climb up a sandy slope with rewarding views at the top, followed by a tight squeeze through a narrow crevice called “Crack in the Wall.”  Tonight’s camp is under a wide-open and star-filled sky.
Day 5
  • Hiking distance: 2 Miles + Optional Day Hikes
A two-mile cross-country trek brings us to the trailhead where our vehicle is parked, but there is still more to explore on our way out of this rugged wilderness. Our drive back out Hole in the Rock Road includes potential stops at places like Devil’s Garden, some nearby slot canyons, or other day-hike destinations. Lodging for the night is back at Escalante.
Day 6
Our drive back to Flagstaff includes at least two exciting stops. We will spend about three hours exploring Bryce Canyon National Park, visiting the best overlooks, or possibly taking a hike below the rim. Later, we’ll make a stop at the iconic Horseshoe Bend. With so much to see along the way, arrival back at our home base will be sometime in the evening.   *Itinerary is subject to change and may occasionally be altered based upon weather, campsite availability, access restrictions, guest ability or injury, or other factors outside of our control.



What we provide

  • A professional guide with wilderness medical training and a passion for the biblical message of the region's geology
  • Transportation from Flagstaff, Arizona to our destination in Utah.
  • All necessary equipment: backpack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, trekking poles
  • All cooking and eating equipment: bowls, cups, utensils
  • All meals and snacks, starting with lunch on the first day and ending with lunch on the last day. (We can generally accommodate allergies and dietary restrictions.)
  • Bathroom kit – wag bags, toilet paper, hand sanitizer
  • Backcountry permits
  • A complimentary copy of Your Guide to the Zion and Bryce Canyons, an excellent book on the geology of the Grand Canyon from a creation perspective
  • Emergency equipment: first-aid kit and satellite phone

What we do not provide

  • Transportation to and from our launch point in Flagstaff, AZ.
  • Lodging before or after the scheduled dates of your trip
  • Clothing, including raingear and footwear
  • Personal items, including toiletries and sunscreen
  • Water bottles or hydration bladder
  • Headlamp or flashlight

What you should bring

  • Clothing: we will provide a detailed list of recommended items when you register
  • Toiletries, sunscreen, and lip balm
  • Water bottles
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Personal items such as a Bible, book, writing or sketching materials
  • Camera



Meeting location

Orientation will take place at a convenient location in Flagstaff. This meeting is an important time of preparation for our journey.  We will check all equipment for proper fit, review important safety information, and discuss logistics.  We will also examine some important passages of scripture to set the stage for what we will be seeing over the coming days.

Starting and ending time

Our days will be full. Orientation will start very early, typically 6 AM, to make the most of our travel to Utah. Arrival back to Flagstaff on the final day will vary based on hiking speed, weather conditions, and other factors.  It will usually be in the evening. Guests are encouraged to plan on staying in Flagstaff the final night and not make any time-dependent travel arrangements.


It is impossible to eliminate all risk from any outdoor adventure.  The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is a remote environment with many opportunities for illness and injury.  Our guides are all certified Wilderness First Responders, which means they have gone through intensive training to prepare for a wide variety of emergency scenarios in a backcountry context.  If you have specific questions about safety, medical conditions, or fitness requirements, please give us a call.

Group size

A typical trip will consist of 5 to 10 guests and 1 or 2 guides

Age restrictions

Children must be at least 12 years old to participate in most backpacking trips.  This may be negotiable for private trips or special circumstances.  Please contact us with any questions regarding this restriction.


Temperatures are generally moderate in this area of high desert. Summer highs reach into the high 90s but cool off significantly during the evening. Occasional afternoon thunderstorms often help cool things down as well. Our trips are typically in the spring and fall when temperatures are ideal. When you register, we will provide a list of recommended clothing, and your guide will address season-specific weather expectations with you ahead of time. For detailed weather information, please visit the park service’s weather page: https://www.nps.gov/glca/planyourvisit/weather.htm


Flagstaff offers many hotels if needed, as well as outfitter shops for last-minute gear purchases.  An airport is available in Flagstaff; however, many guests find it more economical to fly into Phoenix. From the Phoenix airport, you can rent a car and drive about 2 hours to Flagstaff. Alternatively, Groome Transportation offers daily shuttle service from the Phoenix airport to Flagstaff.  
Coyote Gulch Arch  

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