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Utah Capitol Reef & Canyonlands National Park Hiking Tour

Remote Hoodoos & Arches of Red Rock Country


Experience an extraordinary journey through the sculpted wonders and storied past of Utah! Set against the backdrop of Green River's small-town charm this perfectly paced 4-day expedition promises an immersive experience into slot canyons, majestic mesas, huge canyons, soaring arches, and age-old mysteries of ancient petroglyphs and pictographs. Squeeze deep into the depths of Little Wild Horse and Bell Slot Canyons and marvel at the phantasmagoric Goblin Valley. Picnic in Mormon pioneer apple orchards next to a babbling brook and prepare to be awed by Casidy Arch and the Grand Wash. Cap off your adventure with breathtaking views at Island in the Sky and Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park near Moab, UT.

4 Days

From: $1,795

Experience an extraordinary journey through the sculpted wonders and storied past of Utah! Set against the backdrop of Green River's small-town charm this perfectly paced 4-day expedition promises an immersive experience into slot canyons, majestic mesas, huge canyons, soaring arches, and age-old mysteries of ancient petroglyphs and pictographs. Squeeze deep into the depths of Little Wild Horse and Bell Slot Canyons and marvel at the phantasmagoric Goblin Valley. Picnic in Mormon pioneer apple orchards next to a babbling brook and prepare to be awed by Casidy Arch and the Grand Wash. Cap off your adventure with breathtaking views at Island in the Sky and Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park near Moab, UT.

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Highlights


  • Hike Little Horse and Bell Canyons-awe-inspiring slot canyons off the tourist map
  • Discover the least visited, but perhaps most astonishing of Utah's Mighty Five National Parks
  • Follow expert guides on spectacular trails and stay at charming hotels with American West flair

Utah Capitol Reef & Canyonlands National Park Hiking

Start: Grand Junction, CO   End: Grand Junction, CO

Start/End locations may vary. Do not book flights until your trip details are confirmed.

Itinerary


  • Hike Serpents Trail in Colorado National Monument

    Day 1

    Starting with a seamless pickup in Grand Junction, CO, proceed to Colorado National Monument where you will discover Utah and Arizona are not the only states with sandstone canyons! Accompanied by expert interpretive guides, begin your adventure on the legendary Serpents Trail. Carved into the rugged cliffsides of the monument, this historic trail offers the opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich natural and cultural heritage of the region. As you ascend along the sinuous path, your knowledgeable guide will illuminate geologic wonders and the desert's ecological diversity. Marvel at the towering rock formations and sweeping vistas that unfold before you. After the hike, a short transfer takes you to Green River, Utah where you'll indulge in a delectable outdoor dinner reception beneath the expansive Utah sky. Connect with your fellow explorers, swapping stories and aspirations, as your expert guides offer insights and preparations for the days to come.

    Accommodation: River Terrace

    Activity: 2 hours/3.7 miles hiking with 768' elevation gain

    Transportation: 20-minute transfer then a 90-minute transfer post hike via private van

    Meals: Dinner

  • Explore the Slot Canyons & Hoodoos of San Rafael Swell

    Day 2

    Today immerse yourself in the ethereal beauty of the slot canyons and hoodoos of remote San Rafael Swell Recreation Area. Little Wild Horse Canyon beckons with its narrow passages, sculpted archways, and intricate rock formations, each twist and turn revealing a new marvel of geology. After a short traverse, enter Bell Canyon to make your hike a loop. As you step into its confines, a cathedral of stone towers overhead. Wander through the canyon's winding passages, where shafts of sunlight filter through narrow cracks, illuminating the sandstone walls in an array of colors. Discover hidden alcoves and ancient petroglyphs. In the afternoon, venture into the enchanting realm of photogenic Goblin Valley State Park, where thousands of whimsical hoodoo rock formations, sculpted by the passage of time and wind, await your discovery. Finish the day catching the sunset from the pool or hot tub at an award-winning resort.

    Accommodation: Capitol Reef Resort

    Activity: 5-6 hours/8.2 miles hiking with 746' elevation gain/loss; plus optional 1 hour/2 miles hiking with 200' elevation gain/loss

    Transportation: 1.5-hour transfer via private van

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Hike in Capitol Reef National Park

    Day 3

    This morning, drive to Capitol Reef National Park, where rugged red rock beauty meets rich human history. Mormon settlers established thriving communities during the late 19th century in verdant Frutia Valley, nestled among the cliffs of Waterpocket Fold, a striking nearly 100-mile-long wrinkle in the Earth's crust that gives rise to a mesmerizing array of canyons, domes, and bridges. Gain insight into the settlers' lives through visits to the Frutia Schoolhouse (1896), Gifford Homestead (1908), and historic fruit orchards (1880s), where you'll enjoy a picnic lunch by the creek. Hike up to magnificent Cassidy Arch and take in breathtaking panoramas of the surrounding canyons. The arch is named for legendary Butch Cassidy who hid out in nearby Wash Canyon, which is your next destination. Descend, following the meandering path carved by millennia of water and wind, marveling at towering cliffs and sculpted alcoves. Return to your hotel with dinner en route.

    Accommodation: River Terrace

    Activity: 4 hours/6 miles hiking with 775' elevation gain and 950' loss

    Transportation: 1.5-hour private van transfer

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Wonder at Canyonlands Island in the Sky & Depart

    Day 4

    If you're feeling ambitious, start the day early with an optional sunrise hike into Petroglyph Canyon, located in the Black Dragon area of the San Rafael Swell. Alternatively sleep in, then join the group on an exploration into Canyonlands National Park. Visit the spectacular Island in the Sky district for awe-inspiring vistas over canyons and mesas. Hike Lathrop Canyon trail to lofty overlooks and drink in panoramic views of rugged canyons and distant horizons. Complete your time in the park with a walk along Mesa Arch trail, witnessing one of Utah's most photographed spots: a glorious 27-foot arch framing views of the canyon and mountains. You have two options for departure: for those extending their stay, transfer to the Moab, UT car rental. Or for departing flights, return to Grand Junction, CO via the scenic road along the Colorado River through Castle Valley, including an opportunity to see Fisher Towers.

    Activity: 4-5 hours/6.8 miles hiking with 360' elevation gain/loss

    Transportation: 2- or 3-hour private van transfer

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Why Travel With Us?


  • MT Sobek has been exploring US National Parks for more than 50 years, and our Southwest base of operations is right in Green River, giving us intimate knowledge of the hidden gems of the region.
  • In four incredible days you'll hike the special places our guides go on their days off, traversing slot canyons, marveling at wind-carved hoodoos and arches, and exploring a rich cultural history.
  • With small groups, we offer a light ecological footprint and more personalized experience with our expert guides who reveal their favorite spots and share their wealth of local knowledge.

Dates & Prices


  • 2025
  • Go Private
  • Go Custom
  • Inclusions

2025

Scheduled Dates


The earlier you book, the more choice of available dates you’ll have and once you book, your price is guaranteed.

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Go Private

Go Private


Gather your favorite travel companions to share an MT Sobek adventure on an easy-to-book Private departure.

Call or email us to get the ball rolling.

*Private trips require a 25% non-refundable deposit.


Looking for a private family adventure?


This trip can accommodate guests with a
minimum age of 18.

Call for Private Trip Pricing

800-974-0300

Make Your Own Dates in These Months


Go Custom

Create Your Very Own Adventure


Dreaming of an adventure designed exclusively for you? With insider access and decades of experience, our travel experts create custom tailored adventures that are perfect for families, couples, and large groups. MT Sobek's custom adventures are designed to our exacting standards and led by our award-winning adventure guides.

When to start planning? Earlier is always better when designing a custom trip. More time allows for better availability of preferred accommodations, guides and your desired activities. Ideally, start the conversation with us at least 6 months before you want to travel. If you are looking for a custom trip that departs within three months, chances are greatly diminished in securing requested accommodations and the best guides.

*Custom trips require a 25% non-refundable deposit once an itinerary is agreed upon.

Start Planning

Inclusions

Price Includes


  • Expertise and services of our experienced adventure guides
  • All accommodations as noted in the itinerary
  • All breakfasts, almost all lunches and dinners as noted in the itinerary
  • Snacks and water between meals
  • Additional regional guides and experts on many trips
  • Comprehensive Trip Planner with detailed pre-trip information
  • Private guided tours at historic sites, museums, wineries and other select attractions as noted in the itinerary
  • Special events and other select attractions as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All gratuities at hotels and restaurants
  • Equipment and experienced guides for activities as described in the itinerary
  • Park and other entry fees (unless otherwise noted)
  • Fares for trains, ferries and other modes of travel as listed in the itinerary
  • Select transfers as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Baggage transfers and porterage

Price Does Not Include


  • International airfare, airport taxes, and excess baggage fees
  • Alcoholic beverages (MT Sobek provides wine at select events)
  • Gratuities for MT Sobek guides and guide-drivers
  • Travel Protection Program
  • Personal expenses

Contact An Expert


800-974-0300

Need help picking your next adventure? Call us to answer your questions.

Your Guides


The best people to immerse you in a destination are the ones who live there, which is why we feature local Adventure Guides on our trips. Here are a few that you might meet on this adventure.

Levi W.

Levi W.

Levi grew up in rural Kansas. From flowing fields of wheat to the flowing rivers of the Southwest, Levi has always had a passion for the natural world. He’s been guiding since 2016, running rivers in Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Mexico, and hiking adventures in Texas and Utah. He enjoys opening the door to new experiences for guests. As the son of a writer, he has inherited a passion for bringing a unique perspective to sharing his insights and stories in nature.

James M.

James M.

Born in Glens Falls, James grew up spending time in nearby Adirondack State Park. He came to outdoor adventure as a second career after 10 years in retail, starting off guiding white water rafting trips and branching out to lead hiking, kayaking, SUP and mountain biking adventures. Eventually he moved into management, spending 15 years running a white water rafting company in upstate New York. He is passionate about travel and outdoor adventure and exploring different cultures, having adventured throughout the US and lived, hiked, mountain biked, and rafted abroad.

Paul B.

Paul B.

Born and raised in the foothills of western North Carolina, Paul’s farm town roots combined with outdoor leadership in his young adult years fostered a deep love for the Earth and a strong instinct to see what lies beyond the familiar horizon. After completing his undergraduate degree at UNC-Chapel Hill, he moved to the Rocky Mountains, living in Colorado, Montana, and Idaho, and worked as a horseman, ranch foreman and hunting outfitter, and search and rescue professional. Since 2025 he has spent winters as a ski instructor in Colorado and summers as a river guide and trip leader for MT Sobek in Utah, Idaho, and Montana.

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            [0] => Array
                (
                    [DayFrom] => 1
                    [DayTo] => 1
                    [Headline] => Hike Serpents Trail in Colorado National Monument 
                    [ActivityOverview] => 2 hours/3.7 miles hiking with 768\' elevation gain
                    [EstimatedLength] => 
                    [ActivityLevel] => 
                    [ItinBlock] => Starting with a seamless pickup in Grand Junction, CO, proceed to Colorado National Monument where you will discover Utah and Arizona are not the only states with sandstone canyons! Accompanied by expert interpretive guides, begin your adventure on the legendary Serpents Trail. Carved into the rugged cliffsides of the monument, this historic trail offers the opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich natural and cultural heritage of the region. As you ascend along the sinuous path, your knowledgeable guide will illuminate geologic wonders and the desert\'s ecological diversity. Marvel at the towering rock formations and sweeping vistas that unfold before you. After the hike, a short transfer takes you to Green River, Utah where you\'ll indulge in a delectable outdoor dinner reception beneath the expansive Utah sky. Connect with your fellow explorers, swapping stories and aspirations, as your expert guides offer insights and preparations for the days to come.
                    [Breakfast] => 0
                    [Lunch] => 0
                    [Dinner] => 1
                    [Travel_Type] => 20-minute transfer then a 90-minute transfer post hike via private van
                    [Quotation] => 
                    [Quotation_Attribution] => 
                    [Quotation_Location] => 
                    [Itinerary_Location] => 
                    [Latitude] => 38.993
                    [Longitude] => -110.139
                )

            [1] => Array
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                    [DayFrom] => 2
                    [DayTo] => 2
                    [Headline] => Explore the Slot Canyons & Hoodoos of San Rafael Swell
                    [ActivityOverview] => 5-6 hours/8.2 miles hiking with 746\' elevation gain/loss; plus optional 1 hour/2 miles hiking with 200\' elevation gain/loss
                    [EstimatedLength] => 
                    [ActivityLevel] => 
                    [ItinBlock] => Today immerse yourself in the ethereal beauty of the slot canyons and hoodoos of remote San Rafael Swell Recreation Area. Little Wild Horse Canyon beckons with its narrow passages, sculpted archways, and intricate rock formations, each twist and turn revealing a new marvel of geology. After a short traverse, enter Bell Canyon to make your hike a loop. As you step into its confines, a cathedral of stone towers overhead. Wander through the canyon\'s winding passages, where shafts of sunlight filter through narrow cracks, illuminating the sandstone walls in an array of colors. Discover hidden alcoves and ancient petroglyphs. In the afternoon, venture into the enchanting realm of photogenic Goblin Valley State Park, where thousands of whimsical hoodoo rock formations, sculpted by the passage of time and wind, await your discovery. Finish the day catching the sunset from the pool or hot tub at an award-winning resort.
                    [Breakfast] => 1
                    [Lunch] => 1
                    [Dinner] => 1
                    [Travel_Type] => 1.5-hour transfer via private van
                    [Quotation] => 
                    [Quotation_Attribution] => 
                    [Quotation_Location] => 
                    [Itinerary_Location] => 
                    [Latitude] => 38.321
                    [Longitude] => -111.38
                )

            [2] => Array
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                    [DayFrom] => 3
                    [DayTo] => 3
                    [Headline] => Hike in Capitol Reef National Park 
                    [ActivityOverview] => 4 hours/6 miles hiking with 775\' elevation gain and 950\' loss 
                    [EstimatedLength] => 
                    [ActivityLevel] => 
                    [ItinBlock] => This morning, drive to Capitol Reef National Park, where rugged red rock beauty meets rich human history. Mormon settlers established thriving communities during the late 19th century in verdant Frutia Valley, nestled among the cliffs of Waterpocket Fold, a striking nearly 100-mile-long wrinkle in the Earth\'s crust that gives rise to a mesmerizing array of canyons, domes, and bridges. Gain insight into the settlers\' lives through visits to the Frutia Schoolhouse (1896), Gifford Homestead (1908), and historic fruit orchards (1880s), where you\'ll enjoy a picnic lunch by the creek. Hike up to magnificent Cassidy Arch and take in breathtaking panoramas of the surrounding canyons. The arch is named for legendary Butch Cassidy who hid out in nearby Wash Canyon, which is your next destination. Descend, following the meandering path carved by millennia of water and wind, marveling at towering cliffs and sculpted alcoves. Return to your hotel with dinner en route.
                    [Breakfast] => 1
                    [Lunch] => 1
                    [Dinner] => 1
                    [Travel_Type] => 1.5-hour private van transfer
                    [Quotation] => 
                    [Quotation_Attribution] => 
                    [Quotation_Location] => 
                    [Itinerary_Location] => 
                    [Latitude] => 38.992
                    [Longitude] => -110.139
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            [3] => Array
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                    [DayFrom] => 4
                    [DayTo] => 4
                    [Headline] => Wonder at Canyonlands Island in the Sky & Depart
                    [ActivityOverview] => 4-5 hours/6.8 miles hiking with 360\' elevation gain/loss
                    [EstimatedLength] => 
                    [ActivityLevel] => 
                    [ItinBlock] => If you\'re feeling ambitious, start the day early with an optional sunrise hike into Petroglyph Canyon, located in the Black Dragon area of the San Rafael Swell. Alternatively sleep in, then join the group on an exploration into Canyonlands National Park. Visit the spectacular Island in the Sky district for awe-inspiring vistas over canyons and mesas. Hike Lathrop Canyon trail to lofty overlooks and drink in panoramic views of rugged canyons and distant horizons. Complete your time in the park with a walk along Mesa Arch trail, witnessing one of Utah\'s most photographed spots: a glorious 27-foot arch framing views of the canyon and mountains. You have two options for departure: for those extending their stay, transfer to the Moab, UT car rental. Or for departing flights, return to Grand Junction, CO via the scenic road along the Colorado River through Castle Valley, including an opportunity to see Fisher Towers.
                    [Breakfast] => 1
                    [Lunch] => 1
                    [Dinner] => 0
                    [Travel_Type] => 2- or 3-hour private van transfer
                    [Quotation] => 
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                    [Quotation_Location] => 
                    [Itinerary_Location] => 
                    [Latitude] => 39.118
                    [Longitude] => -108.521
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    [ActivityHighlight] => Expect daily hikes ranging from 2 hours on Day 1 to 4-6 hours on Days 2-4, with the longest stretch at 8.2 miles on day two. Traverse winding trails amidst breathtaking red rock canyons and mesas. Be ready for steep and uneven terrain, with moderate exposure to heights. 
    [Trip_Level] => 3
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Activity Level


This trip is rated activity level 3. Expect daily hikes ranging from 2 hours on Day 1 to 4-6 hours on Days 2-4, with the longest stretch at 8.2 miles on day two. Traverse winding trails amidst breathtaking red rock canyons and mesas. Be ready for steep and uneven terrain, with moderate exposure to heights.
Learn more about activity levels here.

Activity Snapshot

Day 1

2 hours/3.7 miles hiking with 768' elevation gain

Day 2

5-6 hours/8.2 miles hiking with 746' elevation gain/loss; plus optional 1 hour/2 miles hiking with 200' elevation gain/loss

Day 3

4 hours/6 miles hiking with 775' elevation gain and 950' loss

Day 4

4-5 hours/6.8 miles hiking with 360' elevation gain/loss

Accommodations


Relax in comfortable accommodations, including one named by Travel + Leisure as one of the 10-best in Utah.
Capitol Reef Resort
Capitol Reef Resort

Located just one mile from the National Park, Capitol Reef Resort is surrounded by natural wonders including natural bridges, sandstone cliffs, magnificent canyons, and domes. The comfortable accommodations feature stunning views of the red-rock cliffs. After a day of adventures, relax in the heated outdoor pool or hot tub. The Pioneer Kitchen offers delicious comfort food and a casual atmosphere.

River Terrace
River Terrace
Beautifully situated on the banks of the Green River, River Terrace is a serene spot where guests can cool off in the pool or sit back and enjoy the view of the river. Many of the spacious rooms are right on the river and all feature pillow top beds, feather pillows, and high-speed Wi-Fi. In the mornings a hearty full breakfast fuels you up for a day of exploration in southeastern Utah's spectacular landscapes.

Weather


Generally sunny and pleasant, this arid mid-elevation trip is fantastic in spring and fall. Come prepared for a wide variety of conditions, from cool nights (typically around 40-50°F) to warm days (usually ranging from 60-80°F).

 
Apr
May
Sep
Oct
Canyonlands National Park 
High
Low
High
Low
High
Low
High
Low
Canyonlands National Park
67
37
78
46
84
51
70
38
Capitol Reef National Park 
High
Low
High
Low
High
Low
High
Low
Capitol Reef National Park
64
37
73
46
79
52
65
41

FAQs


How do I get to Grand Junction, UT?
Grand Junction, UT is accessible by air, with Grand Junction Regional Airport (GJT) serving as the primary airport. Alternatively, you can also drive to Grand Junction via major highways such as Interstate 70. Due to airport security restrictions, we will pick up at a hotel near the airport. Details will be provided in your Trip Planner after booking.
Why do your trips stay in Green River instead of Moab?
Green River is more geographically central to our remote hikes which were specifically selected to introduce you to where your guides like to play. We intentionally avoid the touristy parts of the National Park's classic destinations, instead selecting equally stunning, but lesser-known adventures. Due to its incredible popularity as a recreation destination in recent years, Moab has become busy and expensive. While Moab is a worthwhile place to visit, we feel Green River fits better with our theme of Western exploration, sharing local secrets, community support, and wilderness character. In addition to these reasons, MT Sobek's Southwestern Warehouse and Guide Hub is located in Green River, which also allows us to quickly address any travel issues you may encounter and maximize your value.
How should I train for my Southwest trip?
The best training is hiking. Work up to hiking similar distances described in the itinerary with your daypack loaded with the same weight you will be carrying on your day hikes.
What kind of wildlife am I likely to see?
Wildlife commonly seen includes mule deer, Utah prairie dogs, chipmunks, golden-mantled ground squirrels, pronghorn (antelope), gray fox, Ravens, Steller's Jays, Clark's Nutcrackers, Red-tailed Hawks, Turkeys, and mountain short-horned lizards. Black bears, elk, and mountain lions are rarely seen.
What do I need to take to hike the slot canyons?
The slot canyons you'll hike are considered “non-technical,” this means we do not use any ropes or other safety systems like you may have seen in 127 Hours. MTS provides trekking poles, a dry bag for valuables (caried by the guide), and garbage bags for wet or muddy shoes/clothing. After the guides teach techniques and safety, we work as a team to navigate up the canyons. During most times of the year the canyons are 100% dry with a sand or stone floor. However, in early spring or after rain events, water or mud can collect in some of the narrow sections. Instead of turning around, when safe, we will continue through these sections. As a result, you should bring old tennis shoes or sturdy walking sandals like Chacos or Tevas that you do not mind getting wet or muddy. Neoprene socks are a bonus during the cooler temperatures of spring or late fall but are not required. Guides will advise if a change of shorts will be a good idea based on the recent weather.
When is the best time to go on this trip?
The canyons of the Southwest are wonderful destinations from early April through late October.
What is the minimum age for this trip?
The standard minimum age for this trip is 18 but check out our private trip options for families and groups with younger guests.
Are there any group savings?
Yes, we offer two ways to enjoy group savings on many adventures in North America, including this one. Either bring a group of 10 and receive 10% off per person or opt for an eleventh person to go for free! Call our expert Trip Consultants on 800-974-0300 to discuss group savings options.

Guest Reviews


"We have traveled throughout the world, but never experienced a level of service and attention to detail as we did with MT Sobek."

Dennis G.
MT Sobek Guest

"I have taken 12 trips with MT Sobek. Each has left a positive imprint on me-widening my view of the world and its peoples."

Jane B.
MT Sobek Guest