A guided canyoneering trip consists of the group hiking, climbing, scrambling, down climbing and stemming and rappelling through narrow slot canyons.
When we meet up at our designated meeting locations, we will have a safety briefing and instructions for the trip. We’ll gear up and then depart for the canyon(s). During the trip we will be hiking over slick rock, in sand, through water, and between the walls of the canyons. We will be in and out of the sun and shade. There will be several steep inclines to hike up, and several steep descents into the canyon(s),. We will spend the day in the canyon and have frequent snack and water breaks in the canyon, or a couple of the trips have breaks in between two separate canyons where we will be back at the vehicle. Once finished we will hike out, inventory gear and depart to your various other destinations.
During the trips all technical gear (ropes, harnesses, helmets) will be provided. If you have your own equipment you are welcome to bring it. Your guide will need to inspect the equipment to make sure it is safe. Also 2 liters of bottled water. You are welcome to bring a water bladder with you if you like, but in the narrow canyons they have a tendency to get ruined and you end up with a wet soggy pack. In preparing for the trips, consider clothing selection carefully.
Due to the harsh and abrasive nature of the canyon environment clothes and equipment can be easily damaged. Imagine running these items down a wall of sand paper. You should consider wearing inexpensive clothing that can be damaged. Each trip has a high probability to encounter some wading through water. To make the trips more enjoyable and memorable here are a few suggestions of items to consider bringing along with you, although a heavy pack is also not desired.
- Insect repellent
- Camera: Make sure that you have a way to protect the camera from hitting and scraping against the canyon walls as well as sand and water protection. We do have some dry bags available upon request.
- Comfortable hiking/wading shoes: Shoes with ankle support as well as good soles, no open toed shoes or sandals. Shoes should be able to get wet.
- Comfortable socks: Without proper socks hiking can be miserable. Synthetic material keeps the feet warmer when wet. Wool, pile (fleece), acrylic blends are good choices. Sometimes in cold weather neoprene socks are worn.
- Pants which could get wet: Materials which are synthetic may repel water better and keep you warmer when wet. Levis, denim, and cotton blend pants are hard to move in when wet. Shorts are not recommended due to the abrasive conditions.
- Hat for sun protection: During the technical parts of the trip we will be wearing helmets, however a hat is nice for the hike in and out.
- Jacket and or rain gear: Weather forecast for possible rain we will still hike but need to be prepared.
Yes, you will need to drive to and from the trail head from our office meeting point, or meet us at the trailhead. Often it is easiest to meet at our office so as not to get lost and disoriented trying to find the location. There is no cell service at the trail head locations so getting lost can be kinda problematic and hard to sort out once we leave our office and you end up out of cell service.
- Albuquerque, NM International Airport – 320 miles (approx. 5 hrs 25 min drive time).
- Salt Lake City, UT International Airport – 338 miles (approx. 5 hrs 55 min drive time).
- Phoenix, AZ International Airport – 372 miles (approx. 6 hrs 10 min drive time).
- Las Vegas, NV International Airport – 473 miles (approx. 7 hrs 50 min drive time).
Smaller Airports closer that have car rentals:
- Cortez Municipal Airport – Cortez, CO 65 miles (approx. 1 hr 10 min drive time).
- Four Corners Regional Airport – Farmington, NM 100 miles (approx. 1 hr 45 min drive time).
- Grand County Airport – Moab, UT 117 miles (approx. 1 hr 50 min drive time).
- Telluride Regional Airport – Telluride, CO 124 miles (approx. 2 hrs drive time).
- Durango-LaPlata County Airport – Durango, CO 135 miles (approx. 2 hrs 35 min drive time).
Even though we are in a small town (population approx. 3000), we have all the modern conveniences available. I.e. hotels, motels, gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, a library with internet access, etc. Although most hotels now have internet and WiFi service. Blanding also has a couple of cell phone towers installed and they work with most carriers.
Families are fun to watch together in the canyons. However due to the nature of some of the canyons and the drops trips are not recommended for children. Minimum age limit is 10 years old for canyoneering routes. Kids will need to be able to keep up, as we are often pressed for daylight and time constraints to complete the trip.
Gratuities are not a requirement, though they are an excellent way to show appreciation to your instructor if you had a positive experience, especially if your expectations were exceeded. Some of our instructors teach the courses often without any compensation at all, only for a pure love of sharing the sport with others. They just enjoy teaching. Tip amounts are at your discretion, but between $20 and $50 per day for full-day courses is typical.
They vary depending on how many canyons we hike and how large the group is. Naturally we want to make sure everyone is comfortable and not rushed with frequent breaks after strenuous sections. Our trips range from 2-3 hours to full day hikes.
No, you don’t need to be in peak physical condition. You do need to be able to hike for several hours on different types of terrain and different angles of terrain while carrying a pack with your personal gear and some group gear including ropes, harness, helmet, water, wetsuits, and any clothing you wish to bring.
Aside from knowing what to expect, previous experience is not generally necessary. We offer trips for various skill levels. During our canyoneering trips we offer enough instruction to get you through the canyon at key critical points.
Rappelling know-how is not required and guides are more than willing to help instruct on the basics to get you down the canyon. Due to the heights of some of the drops, those with an extreme fear of heights should take into consideration whether or not they believe they would be able to finish once started on a hike that requires rappelling.
Understand, Once started into some of the canyons the only way to get back out is to rappel out. We can not turn around halfway through and climb out. Rappelling will have to be accomplished. Some people find the rappel either the most exciting part, or the scariest part.
You can register through our website. Each landing page for each trip or course will have a “Book Now” link where you can see availability on the calendar for that specific trip.
If you have questions, email is the best way to reach us, but you can also try contacting us through the phone. Being a small business, during our busy season we are often out in the canyons instead of in the office waiting for phone calls. You can see our contact information on our Contact Us page.
Yes. You will receive a copy when you arrive to sign, or you may download one here and have time to read and sign it and bring it with you when you arrive. There will also be an Emergency Contact Form to fill out. Each of these forms will need to be signed by each person participating. If the party participating is under 18 years old, the forms will need to be signed by a legal guardian. If a legal guardian will not be joining them on the trip, this form should be filled out and signed before leaving home and bringing it with you.
Very rarely do we need to cancel a trip. Most often if we do it will be because of weather related issues most notable the possibility for flash flooding. At this point some trips may be canceled or not scheduled due to excessive rain.
If you need to cancel your reservation please let us know as soon as possible. Our Cancellation policy is based on our investment in time, program planning, staff training and equipment prior to your scheduled dates and is as follows:
Written notice Cancellations received at least 45 days prior to your scheduled start date, will be eligible for full payment refund minus a $35 administrative fee.
- Written notice cancellations received between 30 and 45 days prior to scheduled start date will be eligible for a 75% of payment refund.
- Written notice cancellations received between 15 and 30 days prior to scheduled start date will be eligible for a 50% of payment refund.
- Cancellations received within 15 days prior to scheduled start date result in No refund being issued.
- Cancellations are effective only upon our receipt of your written notice.
- Refunds may take up to 30 days from receipt of your written notice to be processed.
In an effort to help make the best scenario for both of us if a cancellation is imminent please contact us as soon as possible. We would like to make it work for both parties and therefore cancellations within the 15 day window may be transferred and or held in perpetuity of attendance in a future course or guided trip. If you find yourself unable to attend a registered date. We will retain payment per our refund policy above, but would be open to apply it to a future date that would work better for your schedule. If you fail to attend or cancel again on a future date, the payment which was applied to this refund policy transfer reverts back to the rules applied to the original course date and payment is forfeited (ie. you can not cancel within the 15 day period, ask to have it applied to a future date and then cancel that date to try to get the full refund).
If we cancel
We reserve the right to change or cancel any itinerary at any time if, in our opinion, conditions so require. If we must cancel a program prior to its start, you will receive a full refund within 30 days of the scheduled start date. We are not responsible for any additional expenses incurred.