Join us for this adventure of lifetime through the American Southwest as we travel through the Canyonlands of Utah. Our journey begins in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and crosses the continental divide on our way into the heart of the desert, where we follow the path of legendary explorer John Wesley Powell. For this trip we explore Red Rock country by raft, by foot and by mountain bike, riding wild rapids, exploring narrow slot canyons and traversing high alpine meadows and vast desert. Along the way we will visit ancient Anasazi ruins, view 1,500 year old petroglyphs, and have an opportunity to see desert big horn sheep, pronghorn antelope, mountain lions, black bears and peregrine falcons. As we travel through this ancient land we will learn first hand why Native American Tribes believed this land to be sacred, experiencing stunning pinon-juniper forests and delicate desert dotted with yucca, sagebrush and red-tinged sandstone carved into dramatic mesas, canyons and arches.
The Colorado River forms one of the greatest eco-systems on the planet, meandering some 1,450 miles through the American Southwest carving some of the most incredible rock formations and features in the world – including the Grand Canyon. But before this great river was tamed and damned, it was home to many populations of Native Americans, leaving behind many ancient ruins and relics, painting a picture of ancient life in this delicate and dramatic landscape. Then in the late 1800’s one of the world’s most famous explorers, John Wesley Powell, changed the fate of the entire region when he took on the audacious adventure of navigating and mapping the length of the river from Colorado through Arizona. Upon exploring the Utah sections he was quoted by saying, ” What wonderful features—carved walls, royal arches, glens, alcove gulches, mounds and monuments. From which of these features shall we select a name? We decide to call it Glen Canyon.” This is where our journey begins, traveling in his footsteps, and exploring this unique landscape which has been left nearly unchanged since his first explorations.
Our route for this trip will encompass a full circle journey, starting in the town of Moab and a visit to renown Arches National Park. Here over thousands of years the rock has been shaped and carved by wind and erosion forming windows, archways, alcoves, spires and hoodoos that are found in very few places on Earth. We will have opening ceremony and pay homage to the land at Delicate Arch, which is the symbol of Utah. The following day the real adventure begins as we board rafts and begin a three day journey down the Colorado River, passing huge grottos, alcoves and steep canyon walls, stopping off at various spots such as Lockhart Canyon, where Butch Cassidy hid his stolen cattle, and Horseshoe Bend where you’ll be able to hike up and over a four mile bend in the river than rises nearly 1,000 feet. Camping in this pristine environment is an experience not to be forgotten, along with the five star meals prepared under incredible views of the Milky Way. After reaching the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers, the excitement begins to heat up as we enter world renown Cataract Canyon, which during high water produces some of the biggest Class V whitewater in North America. Here we switch from motor to rowing, and get to experience the exhilaration of all the river can throw at us from the safety of our J-Rig expedition rafts. After what is sure to be one the the most memorable experiences of the trip, the river calms and narrows, as it rises more than 2,000 feet before reaching the confluence with the Dirty Devil River. After three days we arrive at Lake Powell and transition to the next leg of the journey.
Today we will hike the Black Hole of White canyon. This is one of the deepest and most spectacular non-technical slot canyons in Utah, and offers beauty and mystery around every corner. The canyon is known for it’s 500 foot section of permanently water filled narrows, where at times very little light penetrates. This canyon is wet, and wetsuits will be worn as we negotiate many of the water filled potholes and narrows through this 3-mile canyon.
We will stop off for lunch in one of the drier sections of the canyon and marvel at the incredible canyon walls and shimmering light reflecting off the water. At the end of our hike we will meet our biking guides and be transported to our first mountain biking camp near Natural Bridges National Monument.
Over the next four days we will bike through some of the most spectacular scenery in Utah, traversing alpine meadows, red rock canyons and expansive desert, exploring the newly formed Bears Ears National Monument. “Rising from the center of the southeastern Utah landscape and visible from every direction are twin buttes so distinctive that in each of the native languages of the region their name is the same: Hoon’Naqvut, Shash Jáa, Kwiyagatu Nukavachi, Ansh An Lashokdiwe, or in English: Bears Ears.” This 1.35-million-acre national monument covers a broad expanse of red rock, juniper forests, high plateau, cultural, historic and prehistoric legacy that includes an abundance of early human and Native American historical artifacts left behind by early Clovis people, then later Ancestral Puebloans, Fremont culture and others.
We begin by visiting some of the area’s abundant Anasazi ruins near Butler Wash, biking through a beautiful desert landscape, and stopping for short hikes through red rock and pinyon pine. We will then ride up over Bears Ears Pass to camp overlooking Hammond Canyon, a spectacular deep canyon blending the lush green sub-alpine area of Elk Ridge with the high desert landscape below. The following day we will ride from camp to a hike to visit Lewis Lodge, the most spectacular Anasazi cliff dwellings in Utah. The ruins are located below the cliffs edge on a narrow ledge 500 feet above the canyon floor, offering an exhilarating experience of what it was like living in a very exposed cliff dwelling (not for the faint of heart). The next day we’ll ride 27 miles across Elk Ridge stopping occasionally at viewpoints into the dramatic canyons below. Elk Ridge traverses spectacular sub-alpine forests and high desert. Our destination is one of the more spectacular campsites around – Cathedral Point, which overlooks the upper Salt Creek area of the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. Our final day on the bikes takes us mainly downhill into Cottonwood Canyon emerging at Indian Creek, a famous climbing area. Options include extending the ride up to Newspaper Rock for a late lunch and viewing of the Anasazi rock art, or biking into the Needles District to see some of the rock formations that give this area its name. After our day we’ll shuttle back to Moab for a welcome shower and bed.
The following day is a free day in Moab where you’ll have the opportunity to ride some of the more technical slick rock trails, take an off-road Jeep tour or shop for arts and crafts in the many local artesian shops. That evening we’ll have a final group dinner and party at one of the local brewpubs, and celebrate our successful adventure. After our final night in Moab, we’ll make our way back to Denver, making one last special stop along the way to fully rejuvenate ourselves before departing home the following day.
The American Southwest is home to some of the most breathtaking scenery on the planet, and home to the largest population of Native Americans and preserved ancient sites in the country. Out trip includes all transportation from Denver, and includes hotel and camping accommodations throughout. We begin with one nights stay in a luxury hotel, and enjoy a night exploring downtown Denver and have a group dinner. The following day the adventure begins an incredible scenic private bus ride through the heart of the Rocky Mountains, stopping of at various points on our way to Moab, Utah.
From here we have an opportunity to visit this quaint desert town, and have a bus tour and opening ceremony at Arches National Park. The next day we depart to begin our rafting adventure where we take an early bus to our put in on the Colorado River. We spend the next three days alternately motoring and rowing on fully equipped J-Rig raft with our raft guides who will look after every detail, down to the exquisite dining out under the stars.
Once arriving at Lake Powell we meet our Canyoneering guide, and spend the day exploring one of the most spectacular non-technical slot canyons in Utah. After an incredible lunch in one of the most amazing spots on the planet, we head on back up and meet up with our mountain biking crew, camping out near Natural Bridges National Mountain. We then spend the next four days mountain biking through pristine desert and alpine meadows of the newly formed Bear Ears National Monument, fully supported by our guides and chefs. Throughout the trip all you’ll need to carry is a small pack with extra, food, water and clothes for the day.
On the last day we have the option to visit the Needles District of Canyonlands Nationals Park, before completing our round trip return back to Moab, where we have an opportunity to cleanup for our closing party at one of the local brewpubs. The next day is a free day, where you ride, take a 4×4 tour, take a hike or get out and shop. The final day we return back to Denver, making one last special stop before returning to the Mile High city and departure the following day.
Since 1993 Rob has traveled to over 20 countries leading people on climbing, kayaking, mountain biking and multi-sport adventures. He has experience as a certified Mountain Guide and Search and Rescue Practitioner, climbing mountains on five continents and is a veteran of over fifty expedition adventure races and ultra running events. Rob now enjoys developing one of a kind adventures that create opportunities for people to explore the world through conscious travel. Through bridging the gap between ancient wisdom and modern knowledge he offers transformative experiences that explore the land, culture and mythology of each destination, supporting people in stepping beyond their comfort zones, expanding their perspectives and learning universal wisdom that can be applied in overcoming perceived challenges in any area of life.
As a Professional Coach and Energy Leadership Master Practitioner, Rob has completed studies in Meditation, Eastern Philosophy, Western Psychology, Energy & Sound Healing and Shamanic Practices. He has also coached individuals in the areas of Health, Fitness, Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. Rob holds a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Health from Illinois State University and has 20 years experience in Environmental Sustainability.
We have designed this trip to be completed by anybody with a good level of physical fitness and good mental preparation. As this program is all about helping people break through barriers and achieving goals, we offer a coaching program to anyone wishing to improve their conditioning and skills prior to the trip. As such we will be offering a short pre-trip to Colorado where we will get out into the mountains and do training at altitude. An added independent coaching program is also available for those wishing to do one-on-one personal transformation work in connection with trip.
Fixed Departure Dates:
Single Occupancy Add On, Upgrades & Group Pricing Available.
Group Size: 8-24