From: May 7 to May 13, 2017

Destination: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, UT

  • Llama Trekking in Utah - FULL

    Immerse yourself in the wilderness of the incomparable Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah. This largely roadless area, one of the last regions in the U.S. to be mapped and explored, is known for its sculpted slickrock, countless spectacular high desert canyons, hidden oases, and mazes and mesas. We'll go off-trail into remote wilderness, over slickrock, across streams, and through canyons. We'll each lead our own llama, who will carry all the heavy stuff so our daypacks weigh 15 pounds or less. After establishing a basecamp, we'll spend each day exploring new areas and return every afternoon to camp where we feast on as much fresh food as we can carry in. We have been awestruck by the beauty of the area while driving through it on our Utah trips for the past 10 years. This year we're going to explore it!

    THIS TRIP IS FULL. To get on a waitlist, register for the trip (no deposit required)
  • Below is one possible itinerary for the trip. The actual itinerary will depend on current conditions and may be in a different part of the Monument. All the highlights, other than specific locations, will remain the same.

    Sunday, May 7

    We'll meet at the Salt Lake City airport at 1 pm. After brief introductions we'll get in our van for the four hour drive to Torrey, in southern Utah. Torrey is a small and charming oasis, situated between Capitol Reef National Park and the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Tonight we stay at Days Inn Capital Reef. We'll share a welcome dinner as we continue getting to know each other.

    Monday, May 8
    After a hearty breakfast, we drive for about 1.5 hours into the heart of red rock country. We'll meet our llamas and pack guides at their headquarters in the small town of Boulder, UT. After organizing gear and loading llamas on trailers, we drive to the trailhead at Red Breaks. Arriving at the trailhead we'll help load personal gear we won't need until camp, camping gear, and food onto the llama into special panniers. Carrying only what we need for the day in our daypacks, we'll lead our own llama for the six mile hike across-country over red slickrock and sand, to our base camp. We will have plenty of time to stop and soak in the breathtaking colors and sculptured rock all around. Our wilderness base camp, with kitchen, dining area, latrine, and backpacking tents (and spectacular views) will be home for the next four nights.

    Tuesday, May 9
    After waking up to peace and solitude of the wilderness (and possibly some llama humming) and enjoying breakfast, we leave our llamas in camp and set out for our hike today. Hiking where there are no trails, up and down canyons and rock, our destination today will depend on conditions and will be between 5 and 8 miles. Two possible destinations, depending on conditions, are "The Cosmic Ashtray", a fascinating and bizarre sandstone formation filled with orange sand (the reason for this will become apparent); or possibly to the Cathedral, a great, domed pour-off from upper Neon Canyon, where the water has dug three separate pothole arches into the overhang. We'll return to camp for a dinner that will and made with the freshest ingredients possible for back country cooking, thanks to our llamas!

    Wednesday, May 10
    It may be surprising to learn that some of the early visitors were silver miners but they left a number of trails that are still in hiking condition today. Today we will travel on some of them to a side canyon appropriately named Wall Street. This is a loop hike today, and we will be climbing up and out of the canyon on our way back, before returning to camp and another hearty dinner.

    Thursday, May 11
    Today we will experience the life force that rivers bring to these canyon lands, as we hike along the main Escalante River. This lush riparian community of willows and cottonwoods stands out in the otherwise arid desert surrounding, and sightings and signs of wildlife, such as a river otter, are not uncommon. Our path switches back and forth between the sides of the river, so we'll get excellent practice in learning how to safely cross rivers. Returning to camp for our final dinner in the wilderness, we'll let the quiet seep into our bones.

    Friday, May 12
    This is always a bittersweet day: on the one hand, we're not sure we're ready to leave the peace and quiet of wilderness. On the other hand, hot showers and a soft bed will both be welcome. In any case, whether we're ready or not, after breakfast we will pack up gear, load up the llamas, and hike out to the trailhead, retracing the route we entered. This will likely be the most challenging day of the trip, as it is mostly uphill, over slickrock and loose sand. We say goodbye to our llama pals and guides at the trailhead, and then return to Torrey where we enjoy those hot showers before sharing our final good-bye dinner.

    Saturday, May 13
    After breakfast, we’ll drive back to the Salt Lake City airport. We'll arrive by 1pm and you can plan to fly out after 3
  • Price: $2175 (see this page for travel discounts) $300 deposit. You can see our cancellation policies here.

    Trip Includes

    • Two experienced llama guides and an AGC guide
    • Two nights hotel lodging and four nights tent camping
    • All meals from dinner on Sunday to breakfast on Saturday
    • Shuttles to and from the Salt Lake City airport to the trail head
    • Llamas to carry the gear
    • Group camping, cooking, and safety equipment
    • Llama guide gratuities

    Not included: Transportation to Salt Lake City, alcoholic beverages (not permitted on the trail), AGC guide gratuity

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  • Common Questions

    If you’ve never traveled with us before, you may have some questions about how we do things and what you can expect. We’ve answered the most common ones below and are always available by phone or email to answer any others.

    How do I pay for my trip?

    You can make the deposit by submitting a secure form with your credit card information after filling out the registration form or calling us with your card information. We will send you an invoice for the balance due with your Predeparture Information 4 months before an International trip and 3 months before a domestic trip. You can get a 3% discount for paying the balance by check.

    What if I’m coming alone?

    The majority of women who travel with us come by themselves. If you want to pay a single supplement to guarantee your own room, or if you want to share a room with someone with whom you are traveling, you can indicate that on the registration form. Otherwise we randomly assign roommates and rotate every time we change lodging – it’s a great way to get to know different women on the trip.

    Can you accommodate special diets?

    It depends on both the trip and on your specific needs. With advance notice, we can accommodate most dietary restrictions or allergies on our domestic trips, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten intolerant. This is not always true on international trips, so please contact us in advance if you have specific dietary needs. We've found that if you are willing to bring some of your own snacks and a couple of items to supplement what is on the menu (peanut butter is always good!) and possibly have less variety than you are used to at home, then dietary needs usually are no obstacle. If in doubt about your specific dietary needs, especially if you have Celiac disease, please give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email.

    What if I have to cancel my trip?

    The amount of your refund depends on how close to the trip you cancel and whether it is a domestic or an international trip. You can read our cancellation policies here. We highly recommend travel insurance because cancellations are always unexpected; we will send you additional information about insurance when you register.

    Will my family be able to get in touch with me in case of an emergency?

    Yes, we always send out emergency contact information. On a few trips, because of limitations in communication, the best approach is to give them the office number and let us make the contact.

    What other information will you send me?

    When you register, we’ll send you a Trip Summary that includes the itinerary, travel information, and a packing list. Three to four months before your trip we’ll send you Pre-Departure information that includes detailed information on how to get to the trip starting point, pre- or post-trip lodging suggestions, suggested books and websites etc. Four to six weeks before the trip, we’ll send you a list of everyone who is registered along with their travel plans; and a Pre-Trip letter with the name of your guide(s) and how to contact them if your arrival is delayed as well as any other important updates.

    Do you help with pre-trip and/or post-trip hotel reservations?

    For international trips, if you want to stay at the hotel where we’re staying the first night before the trip, or at the hotel we’re staying the last night after the trip, we’re happy to make a reservation for you. Otherwise our PreDeparture Information will have hotel suggestions. Our travel agent is also happy to help you with this.

    How does the waitlist process work and how often do people cancel?

    If you are interested in a trip that is full, you should sign up here. If there is a cancellation, we send out an email to everyone who has expressed interest and ask them to respond within 24 hours. If more than one person is interested, we give the space to the person who has traveled with us before or in the order of being put on the waitlist. Frequently, even when we have a long wait list, it is the last person to sign up who is still available to go. Whether or not there will be a cancellation is completely unpredictable, although not uncommon.

    What is the role of the guide(s)?

    On every trip, the primary roles of the guide(s) are to ensure your safety and to make sure that, to the extent possible, you are having the trip you want. The guide(s) will also make sure that you know what is happening each day and what you need to bring to be prepared. On domestic trips the guide(s) will also likely be driving, preparing picnic lunches and sometimes other meals, providing skills instruction, and giving you information about the natural history of the area. On any trip where we partner with another company (which is most international trips and some trips that require special equipment), the AGC guide will work with the local guide to make sure that the trip is conducted in accordance with the AGC philosophy.

    What if I have more questions?

    Give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email. A Program Manager is assigned to each trip. Once you have registered, she will send you a registration confirmation letter that includes her name and email, and she will be your primary contact. Her job is to make sure that you get all your questions answered and that you feel completely prepared for your adventure.

    What if I'm the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape/only single woman/only mom on the trip?

    You might be. Someone has to be the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape person on the trip. And while the great majority of our trips have both single and non-single women, and moms and non-moms, sometimes they don't. But it doesn't matter if you're "different" in any of those ways - what you will share with everyone else is a desire to experience adventure in your life, and an appreciation of the joy and camaraderie of being in an all women's group.

Trip highlights

  • Exploring the stunning geology of the high desert canyons of Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument
  • Walking off trail on slickrock and through canyons
  • Combining hiking and camping in remote wilderness with carrying light daypacks
  • Getting to know our llamas and the freedom they give us
  • Unplugging from the modern world

Register for this trip today

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