Sweeping High Plateau Canyon
Remote, Wild Canyon Complex
Waterfalls, Ruins, Petroglyphs
200 million years of Earth's History
One of the least-explored places in lower 48
Geologic Immersion or Luxury Backpacking
30 Mi/38Km, up to 35 Mi/42Km
optional side hiking
POINT OF ORIGIN
The Graduate geologist adventurer will be capable of hiking 4 – 10 miles daily. Trails are generally maintained and have 5000 feet or less of change in elevation. Your backpack will weigh 30-45 lbs. Graduate time traveling hikers should be in good health, and exercise regularly. Previous backpacking experience is advised.
Venture into Robbers Roost, Fable Plateau, and Bears Ears to explore of America’s last wilderness frontiers
The Dark Canyon Wilderness and Primitive Area Complex is truly one of America’s last frontiers. Our Sundance to Dark Canyon Backpacking tour explores Robbers Roost, Fable Plateau, and Bears Ears in this Grand Canyon-like setting that has a little bit of everything; sweeping views of the Dark Canyon Country, cross-country hiking and exploration, deep and spectacular narrows, fascinating geology, and utterly remote solitude. Just getting here is an adventure in and of itself, as we take our shuttle off the beaten path along thrilling 4wd trails to the Sundance Trailhead where this epic hiking adventure begins. We will have the opportunity to hike and explore much of Dark Canyon’s outstanding wilderness, and see some of the finest views in Utah or the American Southwest. The best thing is, you just might have Robbers Roost, Fable Plateau, and Bears Ears all to yourself!
Hikers should have the ability to hike on and off marked trails, to scramble over obstacles and/or barriers with frequent changes in elevation for up to 14 miles per day, carrying medium sized packs of gear. All hikes are one-way, except in case of emergency, and are traveled at a steady walking pace with breaks.
A real back-packing trip, comfort is what you carry with you. There are no showers or electricity on the trail and restrooms are primitive. Backpackers can expect to sleep on a sleeping pad outdoors or in a small tent. Food consists of single-entrée meals, some food are freeze-dried or dehydrated with a few fresh food selections. Meals are prepared by your guide and served “group-style” out of pots and usually eaten out of personal meal-kits while sitting on the ground.
Hikers will visit the remote frontier. Guides will take you to the hard-to-reach and hard-to-find attractions that remain completely untouched by the crowds. Groups will see few, if any, other hikers through the trip. Overnighting is private and secluded.
The Sundance to Dark Canyon Backpacking tour begins in Moab, UT where after final preperations we will hit the road on a scenic drive into Utah’s famed Roober’s Roost Country, through the wonderful “Bears Ears”, and onto the idyllic Fable Plateau. After an epic 4×4 adventure, we will arrive at the Sundance Trailhead, where we will make camp overlooking this impressive desert canyon landscape. Just getting here is an adventure in itself!
Time in the car: 4 hours
Elevation & Distance: Optional side hike
Light Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Today’s hiking adventure begins with sunrise yoga overlooking Dark Canyon before we start our thrilling descent. The hiking is rugged, but you are up for the challenge! The outrageous scenery will distract any misgivings however, as this is one of the most spectacular views in the entire American Southwest. The sun will dance across the orange, red, purple, and blonde rocks as we descend into Dark Canyon, arriving in its depths after a few miles to make our basecamp for the remainder of the journey. After a well-earned lunch, we will begin our exploration of the Dark Canyon Complex. Get ready, this canyon is absolutely outstanding, and its hiking opportunities are nearly endless!
Elevation & Distance: 6-12 miles, 1500 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAYS 3 & 4
Days 3 & 4 of the Sundance to Dark Canyon Backpacking tour is all about exploration from our basecamp. We will navigate the depths of Dark Canyon along with its several tributary canyons such as Lost Canyon, Youngs Canyon, Lean-to Canyon, and even make it down to the Colorado River!
Elevation & Distance: 6-12 miles each day, 300-600 foot elevation gain/loss per day
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Our final day on the trail retraces our steps up and out of Dark Canyon via the Sundance Trail, continuing to marvel at the sweeping and seemingly endless views across the Colorado Plateau and Escalante Canyon Country. After we reach our shuttle, we will pile in and celebrate our great trip like geologists, with a cold beverage at a local watering hole before heading back to Moab.
Elevation & Distance: 6 miles, 1000 foot ascent
Drive Time: 6 hours
Give me some details!
What is included in the Trip Rate?:
Your geologist/guide with all professional, medical, and backcountry certifications
Gear: backpack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, trek poles
Kitchen: bowls, cups, utensils, backcountry kitchen
Food: Full meals and trail snacks
Transportation: Roundtrip from the host hotel to all activities/attractions
Fees: Permits, Entrance Fees, Camping Fees, all necessary trip fees
What is the Food Situation?:
Blue Marble takes care of all meals on your tour. Starting with breakfast on your first day through lunch the final day, your geologist/guide will prepare a variety of chef-inspired meals on the trail and in camp. All dietary needs are accommodated, so please get in touch with us to give us details of your requirements. There may be times where special needs necessitate a small rate increase.
Meals with include one main dish, which is prepared by your geologist/guide. Fresh options may be limited, as backpacking typically requires lightweight, non-perishable foods. Trail snacks will include meats, cheeses, nuts, chocolate, and other filling, delicious, and varying backcountry food.
Is there anything that i need to provide myself?:
Transportation to and from the host city/hotel
Lodging prior to and following your trip
Gear such as clothes, rainwear, and boots/shoes
Personal items such as toiletries and sunscreen
BMAG does not provide water bottles or Camelback-Style bladders
Personal lighting such as headlamps or flashlights
We suggest gratuities for your guide, typically 10-15% of the total trip cost
*Booked guests will receive a detailed information packet
What kind of group size can i expect?
Standard backpacking tours will accommodate 6 people plus one geologist/guide. The maximum group size is 10 guests and 2 guides.
Can I bring small children?
Children under 12 are generally not permitted on any of Blue Marble’s scheduled trips due to insurance liabilities. This can be negotiable on private tours, please contact us to discuss this policy
I want to book a trip, how can i do that?
Tour bookings can be completed through our online booking platform or through our office. A 50% deposit is required, and the full trip rate will be due 90 days prior to trip departure. Bookings within the 90-day window require payment in full. Trip rates are payable through our online booking platform or over the phone by Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, or Discover. Checks by mail are fine as well, as are bank transfers ($35 transfer fee).
Tell me more!
Where do tours start and finish?
This trip will begin/end in the point of origin city and you will need to spend the night prior to your trip’s scheduled departure there. Contact our office for travel arrangements and recommendations.
Can I meet the guide before the trip?
A pre-trip briefing is held at the host hotel the evening before trip departure. Any questions will be answered, and you will have the opportunity to discuss anything you wish with your geologist/guide. Most trips will depart between 6am and 9am the following morning.
ummm, what should i do with all my luggage and whatnot?
BMAG provides all transport throughout the trip. Our guests staying at the host hotel may choose to leave their car at the hotel. Our designated host hotels will typically store your luggage if necessary. In the event that this cannot be arranged, BMAG is more than happy to store luggage and personal belongings in a private and secure location during your tour.
how should i plan my travel after the trip?
In general, most trips can expect to be back to the host hotel by 6pm on the final day of the trip. Some trips may return earlier. BMAG typically recommends that you do not plan to fly home on the same day your trip finishes. Each trip has its own particular set of circumstances and logistics, so please contact us with any specific questions you may have.
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Join Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism on geology-themed hiking and backpacking adventures! Find the perfect Grand Canyon hiking tour, Utah Canyon Country Tour, Vermillion Cliffs Backpacking or hiking.