Grand Staircase National Monument Trek via the Boulder Mail Trail
- Trek 30 miles across a massive slickrock expanse teeming with sagebrush, juniper, and pinyon.
- Refreshing, yet challenging, river crossings throughout Death Hollow will keep you cool and presents a truly unique challenge.
- Far friendlier and more accessible than it sounds, Death Hollow is truly an oasis of life - a breathtaking box canyon with amazing vistas, year-round water flow in the desert, fish, ferns, and mosses.
- An unparalleled opportunity to learn about the Anasazi and Fremont people who occupied this land - leaving behind rock art panels, occupation sites, campsites and granaries.
Your trip begins with arrival in Las Vegas, NV and a group transfer in the afternoon to your lodge in St. George, UT. After an orientation to break down the logistics of your trek, enjoy a welcome dinner and get to know your hiking companions.
In the morning, you will depart Saint George, Utah early for the remote town of Escalante which is truly in the heart of Utah’s Canyon Country. After reaching Escalante we will shuttle up to the Boulder-Mail Trailhead and have lunch while preparing for our cross country hike.
The overland route from Boulder to Escalante features a sea of endless slick rock sandstone, deep twisting side canyons, spring-fed creeks, and towering Ponderosa Pines typical of Utah’s high canyons. Today’s hike is 5 miles to a primitive camp overlooking Death Hollow – one of the most impressive canyons in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
Near the start of the day's hike, you begin the descent into Death Hollow. The steepness, exposure and uneven terrain make this a physically and emotionally challenging descent for the first morning on the trail. Death Hollow is large, deep and full of water – it gets its name from mules falling into the canyon as they attempted the mail route from Boulder to Escalante. We descend downstream for about 1.5 miles where you will be in and out of the (typically knee-to-waist-deep) water the entire time. After lunch, you will exit Death Hollow.
The ascent out of the canyon is 600' and not as steep as the descent. The destination this evening is Mamie Creek – a large tributary of Death Hollow which will be reached later in the evening to set up camp against a massive rock wall overlooking the canyon.
Today's hike brings you all the way into the upper Escalante River Canyon. The day begins with the short climb up and over the relatively mild divide between the Mamie Creek and Anton Flat drainages. At Anton Flat, follow the slickrock drainage up and over the final divide (6743') of the trip. From the divide, you make a challenging 1k' decent over two slick rock miles. At the bottom, the trail intersects Pine Creek and some irrigation channels, and follow these along the border of the Monument and private farm land to the confluence with the Escalante River.
Begin heading downriver, and back into the Wilderness. The canyon walls grow quickly and dramatically on either side. One mile downstream brings us to the first really pretty camping area — desert-varnished 500' canyon walls as the backdrop to a stand of weathered old cottonwoods.
Today is the last day of the trek. After your final trail breakfast, you will traverse along the Escalante River canyon for 4-6 miles until finishing the hike. A shuttle will pick up the group and transfer you back to St. George.
Tonight you will have the opportunity to celebrate with your fellow travelers and enjoy a lovely farewell dinner as a group.
After breakfast, the group will be shuttled back to the airport in Las Vegas and depart for home!