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Utah offers miles on end of natural beauty and wilderness, and the Paria Canyon is no exception. Nestled in the heart of the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, it’s one of the most spectacular canyon-backpacking destinations in the world. Red rock walls that soar for hundreds of feet above the canyon floor, rainbow-colored rock layers, and hanging gardens re-appear throughout the 38 miles of remote trails. This is your chance to make forays into the world of mountaineering in an all-women environment! Combine the best of both worlds by learning how to navigate ever-changing conditions as you explore the never-ending beauty of Utah. With each mile, you’ll feel more confident and get a more refined sense of self than you had before—slowly but steadily, step into the big mountain realm.

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  • One of the best canyon-backpacking destinations in the world

  • Walk away stronger and with a more refined sense of self than you had before

  • Towering walls of red rock, spectacular sandstone arches, and beautiful hanging gardens

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Itinerary

Experience the thrill of off-trail adventures on this 7-day all-female hike through the Paria Canyon, UT! The White House to Lee’s Ferry route that you’ll explore during the week covers 38 miles of canyon-floor ground with plentiful river crossings, diverse rock formations, and miles of mandatory wading. Let your seasoned, naturalist, female guide show you the basics of a backcountry adventure. Learn all about camping and navigating through the wilderness while you meet like-minded women, gain more self-confidence, and make lifelong memories! 

  • After you arrive at Kanab, meet your guides and the group you’ll share this experience with over a welcome dinner. Kanab is a true Western Classic. It will transport you back to a time when small-town charm and cattle ranching was a mainstream way of life. Relax and energize for tomorrow, and spend the night in the Canyons Collection.

    Paria Canyon
  • After a hearty breakfast at the hotel, head to the trail with your guides. You’ll be transferred to Dreamland Safari Tours around 9am and shuttled to the White House Trailhead about an hour and a half away. Have lunch and enjoy the fresh air before embarking on your adventure! Follow the Paria River south and prepare for some wading. You’ll backpack for 5-7 miles before enjoying a delicious dinner and setting camp where you’ll spend the night.

    Distance: 7 miles / 11 km

    Paria Canyon Backpacking
  • Make your way along a long and deep slot canyon named Buckskin Gulch before you reach the Paria Canyon — one of the best canyoneering locations in the world. Follow the steps of early Mormon pioneers and the seasonal migration patterns of the area’s native Paiute and Anasazi people and enjoy the historical sites and stunning geologic formations along the way.

    Distance: 8-10 miles / 13-16 km

    Paria Canyon
  • Spend your day adventuring and discovering the natural wonders and wildlife of Utah. Your seasoned and professional guide will show you the fundamentals of adventuring in the backcountry as you hike through the Judd Hollow valley packed with exciting historical sites and marvellous panoramas. 

    Distance: 8-10 miles / 13-16 km

    Paria Canyon Backpacking
  • Learn how to navigate ever-changing conditions and explore the neverending beauty of the Canyon! Wrather Arch is a natural cave-like arch made of dramatic, picturesque Navajo sandstone. It is the least accessible among the major natural bridges in the Southwestern US, making the approach even more exciting! Once you reach the arch, take some pictures and enjoy the rocky environment that only few will experience!

    Distance: 8-10 miles / 13-16 km

    Woman hiking under the Wrather Arch
  • Today is your last day of exploring the Canyon before returning to civilization. Hike the last section of the trail to a place where old meets new! Lee’s Ferry, a natural corridor between Utah and Arizona, took an important role in the exploration and settlement of northern Arizona. Rich history, beautiful nature, and clear, cold waters make this area great for a break and relaxation before reaching the endpoint. Once you return to Kanab, enjoy a celebratory dinner with your all-female group and spend the night at the Canyons Collection.

    Distance: 8-12 miles / 13-19 km

    Paria Canyon Backpacking
  • After 6 days of getting to know your group and exploring the Canyon, share stories over breakfast and say your goodbyes! This adventure might be over, but the friendships and memories will last forever!

    A group of women hiking through the Paria Canyon
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Meet your guides

Sunny Stroeer
5.00
Sunny Stroeer
Lead guide and the owner of AWExpeditions
Lead guide and the owner of AWExpeditions
Sunny led a career-oriented life as an international strategy consultant with a Harvard MBA until a formative adventure on Aconcagua made her drop everything and take on the outdoors full-time. Before long, her exploits on high-altitude hiking and climbing routes saw her breaking speed records worldwide. When she’s not traveling and setting FKTs left and right, Sunny organizes guided adventures, celebrates the sporting life and promotes female empowerment through her writing and photography.
AWExpeditions
5.00
AWExpeditions
AWExpeditions organizes mountaineering, high altitude and backcountry adventures for women, by women. AWE decreases barriers of entry to the world of big mountain adventures for women from all walks of life by providing a platform for women and organization adventures in all-female or predominantly-female environments. Today, AWE runs all-women's (and a few co-ed) trips across five continents, with more destinations in the works. The Paria Canyon Backpack is a collaboration between AWExpeditions and Kanab, UT-based Dreamland Safari Tours and the Shasta glacier course is produced in partnership with Shasta Mountain Guides.

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5.00 (8 reviews)
Ellen Blys

Maddi and Natalie we\’re amazing guides. They took great care of us and were very kind and attentive.

Beth Christo (source: 57hours )

The Paria Canyon was absolutely stunning! We all enjoyed every minute of the trip! Sunny was an amazing guide. She went above and beyond to make sure each of us had a great time. She was very knowledgeable and we all learned a lot about backpacking and the beautiful Paria Canyon. It\’s important, especially when you are relatively new to backpacking that you trust your guide and Sunny is the best! I have already told several of my friends to sign up for one of her trips!

Mary Meyer

Through AWExpedition, Sunny created an amazing experience from the moment we arrived in Kanab. Exceptional guide, caring individual and amazing landscape.

Tina Quigley

Sunny is EXTREMELY knowledgable of the Paria Canyon (knows all potential risks and fun secret sites). She focuses on making sure each of her clients get what they are looking for out of the experience (building skills, learning the geology, making personal connections). I HIGHLY recommend her. October was a stunning time of year to hike this amazing canyon. Warm days, cool nights, and fall foliage.

 

Farah S. (source: Facebook)

Everything. Sunny Stroeer is truly remarkable, and is the reason I applied for the summit scholarship and eventually summited Komo Kulshan (Baker) in the Cascades. She beautifully brings together women from different backgrounds, age, mountaineering, and professional experiences and creates an inclusive, exciting, and supportive environment for all. I always felt included, and never felt like I had to prove myself or my physical strength, like I do so often in male-dominating outdoors environments. I learned so much from Sunny, as well as the other female guides about glacial mountaineering, safety, and other skills useful for trekking across snow covered peaks. The women I barely knew day 1 quickly became friends and strong team members I look up to in so many ways. I cannot recommend AWE enough, and any individual wanting to venture into the mountains with the incredible group of women Sunny brings together, will truly be in AWE of the world, your team members, and all that you are capable of too. I can’t wait for many more adventures with AWE! Thank you Sunny!!!

Kristin F. (source: Facebook)

Sunny is such a wonderful leader! I have gone on two expeditions with AWE and both were fantastic. The small group was a lot of fun. Sunny encouraged and challenged us throughout the trek, and has a high level of awareness and flexibility that made our trip safe and successful even when obstacles came up. I would highly recommend Sunny and AWE.

Teresa W. (source: Facebook)

I would follow Sunny anywhere! She is a strong, intelligent leader with a realistic understanding of the circumstances and limitations of the group in the moment and over the course of the expedition. Before the expedition she set forth some expectations of ability with training milestones to meet to be set up for success. During the expedition she will encourage and push for your own inner strength to shine through but will also suggest a decent if needed. That is why I’d follow her anywhere – I trust her level of awareness and knack for safety!!

Elizabeth S. (source: Facebook)

Trips with AWE are extremely well planned, organized, and executed (Founder Sunny Stroeer does have an MBA from Harvard after all!). Plus, she is patient, kind and fun as hell! A top notch mountain woman whose judgement and skills I trust 110%!

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • An experienced, local rock-climbing guide with extensive knowledge of the area
      • 5 days of hiking 
      • 2 nights of hotel accommodation pre- and post-hike in Kanab
      • Meals in town and on the trail
      • Transport between Kanab and the trailhead
      • Paria Canyon permits
      • All group backpacking gear (cooking, water filtration & emergency communications)

    What’s not included:

      • Your own transport to/from Kanab
      • Personal backpacking gear — can be rented by the guide
      • Alcoholic beverages

    During your time on the trail, you can expect standard nutritious backpacking breakfasts, light lunch, and fortified “just add water” freeze-dried dinner. If you have any special dietary requirements (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and celiac, dairy-free), please contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • Hiking in Paria Canyon does not require a lot of skill but all participants must be in good physical condition and have some previous hiking experience. You have to be able to comfortably hike 8-10 miles on uneven terrain (and not feel utterly exhausted at the end of it) in order to enjoy this hike. Previous backpacking experience is helpful. 

    The Paria Canyon Backpack is not a mountaineering adventure, but it is an excellent introduction into remote backcountry travel, endurance, safety, and camping. There is no elevation change along the Paria River, but there is a lot of uneven footing as well as long stretches of mandatory wading. October typically sees the Paria flowing all the way from White House to Lee’s Ferry, and we’ll have wet feet for at least 70% of our trip (if not more). Keep in mind, the weather in summer can be very hot and you’ll also be packing a backpack filled with water and other things you’ll need throughout your trip.

     

  • You will receive a detailed packing list in your expedition handbook after reserving your spot. The guide will provide the team cooking and emergency gear for this adventure, while you are responsible for your personal backpacking gear including the following items:

    • Backpack large enough to carry all the items listed (50-65L bag)
    • Tent
    • 20 degree sleeping bag
    • Sleeping pad
    • Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
    • Personal trail snacks — bring a minimum of 2,500 calories
    • Trekking poles — optional but recommended
    • Trekking boots or shoes that can get wet
    • Weather-appropriate clothes for layering
    • Fast-drying base layer (avoid cotton)
    • Long sleeve shirt
    • Warm layers: fleece or down jacket
    • Lightweight wind/waterproof jacket
    • 4 pairs of hiking socks
    • Neoprene socks — optional
    • Dry bag for electronics — optional 
    • Waterproof rain jacket
    • Buff or bandana
    • Sunhat
    • Plastic mug, bowl, and spork
    • Knife
    • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
    • Small quick-dry towel
    • First aid kit
    • Fire matches, lighter, or tinder 
    • Headlamp or flashlight
    • Sunglasses
    • Camera — optional (but recommended)

    Bring a regular, comfortable pair of hiking boots or trail shoes; make sure they are synthetic – NOT leather, and NOT GoreTex – which will allow you to wear them dry easily when you are out of the water for longer stretches. Water shoes don’t offer enough structural support for a 45 miles backpacking trip, and you’ll be in and out of water so much that it is impossible to switch back and forth between water shoes and regular shoes for each crossing. If your boots and socks fit right, and you employ standard blister prevention strategies, whether your shoes are wet or not should have minimal impact on the development of blisters.

    Neoprene socks won’t keep your feet dry, but they will keep your feet warmer if you are hiking the Paria during cold weather – November through February, or through a surprise cold spell in March/October. The downside of neoprene socks is that you’ll most likely have to buy a new pair of shoes a size larger than what you typically wear and neoprene socks can be somewhat uncomfortable to wear for longer periods of time.

    Selected gear items such as sleeping bags, pads, tents and trekking poles are available to rent directly from the guide. A broad selection of rental gear is also available through national brands such Kit Lender. If you would like assistance with gear rentals or purchase recommendations, please contact us.

  • It all depends on how carefully you skinny down your gear! A 35lbs backpack is a realistic expectation. In addition to personal gear, you will be responsible for a ~5lbs allocation of team gear.

    Due to strict group size limitations, hiring a porter would be forbiddingly expensive in the realm of 1.5x your expedition fee. Therefore, no porter services are offered on this route.

  • Yes. There is mandatory wading along much of the Paria. Spring and fall typically see the Paria flowing all the way from White House to Lee’s Ferry, and you’ll have wet feet for likely at least 70% of the trip.

  • Paria is quite susceptible to flash flooding. If there is a major storm in the forecast it may be unsafe to enter the Paria River drainage. Spring and fall typically bring good, steady weather – but if the weather doesn’t cooperate, you will pivot to an equally spectacular ‘backup’ route of similar length and difficulty.

  • Group sizes and prices:

      • For this group adventure, the max client to guide ratio is 5:1, and all participants will be women.
      • Cost is per person. The cost does not decrease as the group grows. 

    Min. age requirements:

      • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
      • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

    If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • To get to Paria Canyon, most people fly into Salt Lake City (SLC), about a five-hour drive, Las Vegas (LAS) just over a two hours away. From there, you can rent a car or take a bus ride to Kanab, UT, where you will meet your guides. 

    The closest airport is St. George (SGU), a regional airport about 1.5 hours driving from Kanab. From there, it is possible to arrange a taxi transfer from St. George to Kanab for approx. $250 one way.

    Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet. The guide will take you from Kanab to Paria Canyon and choose the appropriate terrain depending on conditions and the ability of the group.

  • 57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity. 

    We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Paria Canyon, UT, please refer to the official Government of Utah website.

    Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

  • A $500 non-refundable deposit to secure your place is due booking. The balance of the program fee is due 90 days prior to the starting date of the program. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the following cancellation policy applies:

      • If the Client cancels the trip more than ninety (90) calendar days prior to departure, Client is entitled to a full refund of the trip price less the non-refundable $500 deposit. The deposit remains transferable to another AWE departure within 24 months of your original trip departure date.
      • If the Client cancels the trip sixty-one to eighty-nine (61-89) calendar days prior to departure, Client is entitled to a 25% refund on payments made above deposit. The deposit remains transferable to another AWE departure.
      • If the Client cancels the trip zero to sixty (0-60) calendar days prior to departure, Client is not entitled to a refund. The deposit is not transferable to another AWE departure.

    In some cases payments may be transferable; if you are required to forfeit your spot, you may find an acceptable replacement in which case your deposit and fees would transfer to your replacement without penalty.

    Though unlikely, an expedition may be canceled for any reason prior to departure. In that event, the deposit and expedition fees paid by the participants will be refunded.

    In the event of cancellation of a program and upon refund to participants of all program fee payments, the expedition organizer shall be released from any further liability to participants, including but not limited to liability for additional costs participants may have incurred, pre- departure expenses, non-refundable advance purchase air tickets, visa fees, equipment purchases and medical expenses.

    Participants agree that beginning on the first date of the program itinerary, there will be no refunds of program fees for any reason whatsoever. Expedition participants agree the cost of any search and rescue undertaken on their behalf will be their financial responsibility. Including costs incurred by the expedition leader, other expeditions, government, and/or other entities.

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