The Paria Outpost provides an exceptional and varied selection of tours in The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument (GSENM). An almost two million acre geologic wonderland of twisted, fantastic formations, the GSENM is a treasure trove containing arches, slot canyons, surreally shaped and colored vistas and valleys of hoodoos and balanced rocks. Ancient Anasazi Indian ruins, dinosaour bones, and petrified wood lie hidden within.
If you want to get away from it all or photograph off the beaten path, the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument offers vast rugged and remote landscape for solitude and adventure. Let our experienced and knowledgeable guides take you where others will not venture, and learn from theme based hiking and 4×4 tours specializing in photography as well as geology, archaeology and paleontology. No one person could know the entire Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument well because of its extraordinary vastness, but we do know of a few places that could be of interest to photographers and hikers.
Paria Outpost concentrates on the southern Grand Staircase part of the monument . Northern canyons of the Escalante are over a two hour drive away from us, so outfitters out of Escalante may serve you better for those areas.The main north south road through the GSENM is the Cottonwood Canyon road. This road is spectacular, but often requires high clearance vehicle or 4-wheel-drive , and even so becomes impassable when wet. Cottonwood Canyon accesses many great hiking areas including, Hackberry Canyon and the Yellow Rock, Paria River Box, The Cockscomb, and Brigham Plains. The Smokey Mountain road is even more rugged and remote opening the vast Kaiparowits Plateau region for exploration. Looking like a scene from another planet, many movies have utilized the area’s stark barrenness of the ancient seabed which was once the home for giant crocodiles, sharks, and swimming dinosaurs called Plesiosaurs, which have left us clues in fossils, teeth , and skeletons unearthed by paleontologists.
One of the most popular areas on our end of the monument are the Wahweap Hoodoos or White Ghosts. The Wahweap Hoodoos are now a four mile hike each way due to road closures, but we can take you there and also show you another extremely strange green and pink valley of balanced hoodoos known as Side Step Canyon. It is about a three mile hike each way to Side Step Canyon now when you used to be able to drive to within a twenty minute hike of it. However, we rate it right up there with the Coyote Buttes and White Pocket as far as photogenic scenery is concerned. Another place which compares to these two spots is an area known as The Rimrocks, which contains dozens of balanced rocks with brown tops and tall white necks set in a bleached white valley that hangs off the side of a cliff. It’s only a thirty minute hike but does require some moderate climbing. This area is very similar to the Wahweap Hoodoos.
An entirely different popular hiking and photo spot is the Cockscomb area which is bisected by scenic Hackberry Canyon and has the Yellow Rock on one side and Castle Rock on the other. Both areas contain colorful, twisted formations. It is a steep thirty minute hike to the top of the Cockscomb but worth the effort and once you get on top, it’s just a matter of how far you want to go. We can guide you through the upper area as well as visiting Hackberry Canyon itself.
The Buckskin Gulch is a fourteen mile slot canyon. Listed as one of the top ten hikes in the world by National Geographic Explorer a few years back, doing the entire twenty-one mile loop can be a challenge and an endurance experience for most people. However, there is a two mile canyon called Wire Pass which contains a mile of narrows and then joins the Buckskin Gulch. We can take you there, see the slot canyon and then climb out to visit the North and South Teepees, great formations that lie just outside the permit area of the Coyote buttes.
Deer Range Point
Deer Range Point overlooks Paria Canyon, has great colorful rock and lots of hoodoos, plus a slot canyon. It’s a great all-day photo and hiking tour in an a not-so-visited but beautiful spot. This tour requires five or six miles of hiking, and you can see some of the best examples of Anasazi Indian ruins on the way in Kitchen Canyon.
Paria Outpost can take you on an extended 4×4 experience that traverses some of the Grand Staircase’s many roads. Enchanting overlooks and a plentiful variety of strikingly different examples of geologic formations, such as a place where coal is on fire deep underground and smoke issues from fissures in the stone. Combined with as much hiking as you want to do this is a great family tour.
We can show you dinosaour bones and canyons full of petrified wood – but you can’t take any of it home with you. Paria Outpost is committed to the preservation of the area for future generations and we work with the BLM to oversee it’s protection.
We can combine many of the aforementioned tours different ways to fit your needs as well as providing everything for an overnight stay. We specialize in photography tours. If you want sunrise/sunset photography, overnight camp-outs are a must. Overnight camp-outs are generally 24-hours noon-noon include both sunset and sunrise photo opportunity. Let us customize your experience to suit you wishes, from a few hours to multi-day trips, we are the most experienced guides in the area.
- Paria River
- Cottonwood Canyon Road
- Hackberry Canyon
- Cockscomb / Yellow Rock / Castle Rock
- Toadstools / Hoodoos
- Paria Movie Set area and historic Old Pahreah Townsite
- Archaeology, petrolgyphs, Anasazi ruins
- Smokey Mountain R0ad
- Mollies Nipple / Kitchen Wash / Deer Range Point / No Mans Mesa
- Buckskin Gulch / Teepees