Escalante Overland Route

Extreme hiking, scrambling and navigation.

The Escalante Overland Route (OLR) traverses the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, arguably the best, true wilderness in the lower 48. Compared to the millions who visit the Grand Canyon each year, the vast expanse of the Monument below Highway 12 has no trails and few people. Many of the canyons only see a few visitors a year, if any. You are unlikely to see another person on the route. …

Just to be clear, this is Steve Allen’s route. He describes an “Overland Route” in a few terse paragraphs at the end of a 1997 guide book. He presents it more of a challenge than a guide. In the ensuing 20 years it’s remained off the radar, with almost no known completions. In this sense, the OLR is closer to a “revived” route than a new one. Don Wilson, Andrew Skurka and I hope that this trip report will inspire more people to experience the wonders of the Escalante. …

A Very Different High Route – Escalante Overland Route

Greater Patagonian Trail warnings

Fidgit shares some advice on the NEW Greater Patagonian Trail — Routes would be more accurate — in the Andes:


The Greater Patagonian is not an official trail but rather 1500km or more of connected best routes. You’ll be lost for sure unless you have KMZ and GPX files downloaded from wikiexplora.

Greater Patagonian Trail

Epic Grand Canyon Hike

Have you been following Peter McBride & Kevin Fedarko?

Epic Grand Canyon Hike: A 650-Mile Challenge (Part 1)

Epic Grand Canyon Hike: Frozen Shoes and Low on Food (Part 2)

I liked the 3rd and final instalment best.

Click PLAY or watch Thirst and Threats in the Godscape on YouTube.

Last Chance Canyon, New Mexico

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

Story goes that ranchers in 1881 got lost in the deserts. Had no water. With their horses failing they spotted the limestone walls of one more canyon. This would be their last chance.

My guidebook author called this one of my favourite spots in all of New Mexico.

It has plenty of water year round. A rarity in this part of the world.

I started late in the afternoon as it was only 2.7 miles to the recommended campsites.

Last Chance Canyon, New Mexico

The light gorgeous.

Last Chance Canyon, New Mexico Last Chance Canyon, New Mexico Last Chance Canyon, New Mexico Last Chance Canyon, New Mexico

Here’s that water that saved the ranchers.

Last Chance Canyon, New Mexico

Obviously this canyon floods at times.

Last Chance Canyon, New Mexico I checked out the campsites. Too exposed. It was very, very windy.

Instead I hunkered down in this more sheltered spot.

Last Chance Canyon, New Mexico

Having forgotten my bear bag rope, I instead tossed my food bag up into a tree attached to a loose branch. Ingenious improvisation I thought … at the time.

The wind blew it down during the night. Happily my food stayed undisturbed lying on the ground.

Next morning I had the option to try to loop to famed Sitting Bull Falls.

But to save time I opted to backtrack from here, visiting  the falls via the front door.

Sitting Bull Falls, New Mexico

As you probably would guess, the Sioux medicine man Sitting Bull never visited New Mexico.

This is a great hike. Highly recommended. We’ve added it to our list of best hikes in North America.


Rattlesnake Canyon, New Mexico

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

After visiting Carlsbad Caverns I dayhiked nearby Rattlesnake Canyon.

Rattlesnake Canyon, New Mexico

It’s well loved for Spring wildflowers and a variety of cactus. But I was there in January. Not many flowers.

You immediately drop down into a small drainage following cairns. There’s no signage.

Rattlesnake Canyon, New Mexico

Up the other side the trail is well defined.

Rattlesnake Canyon, New Mexico

Rattlesnake Canyon, New Mexico

I love the desert. And it was a beautiful day … though very windy.

Rattlesnake Canyon, New Mexico Rattlesnake Canyon, New Mexico Rattlesnake Canyon, New Mexico Rattlesnake Canyon, New Mexico

You can go 3 miles out, 3 miles back. Or try to loop via other canyons. Instead I went out about a mile … enjoyed some solitude … then hustled back to my vehicle.

The “unfriendly vegetation” was too often snagging on my favourite hiking pants. It was difficult to avoid.

Rattlesnake Canyon, New Mexico

In the flat desert it’s easy to get lost. Even here close to Carlsbad Caverns and many roads. In 1999 hikers Raffi Kodikian and David Coughlin were lost in Rattlesnake Canyon. Coughlin died.

related – trip report by 160k- Rattlesnake Canyon

Guadalupe Mountains TX – Bowl Loop

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

  • 8.5 miles
  • 2380ft elevation gain
  • side trip to climb Hunter’s Peak

The Parks recommends a (strenuous) 6-8 hours. In a rush to finish before dark, I did it in 4.5 hours.

Trailhead is the Pine Springs Visitor Center. I checked in with a Ranger on trail conditions. She neglected to tell me there was a LOT of snow up in the Bowl.

My guidebook recommended to climb up via the Tejas trail.

Bowl Loop, Guadalupe Mountains TX Bowl Loop, Guadalupe Mountains TX Bowl Loop, Guadalupe Mountains TX

A very easy way gain all that altitude. Very well maintained.

Bowl Loop, Guadalupe Mountains TX

Up top in the bowl it looked like the Canadian winter I’d fled.

Bowl Loop, Guadalupe Mountains TX

I met only one other hiker. She too was surprised with the snow.

It’s a different ecosystem up here.

A beautiful coniferous forest of pine and Douglas fir … awaits those who are willing to hike up 2500 feet from the Chihuahuan desert below.

Bowl Loop, Guadalupe Mountains TX

Close to the turnoff for Hunter’s Peak I saw a herd of mule deer. I’m not sure why they are so high this time of year.

Bowl Loop, Guadalupe Mountains TX

Behind me is the highest point in Texas – Guadalupe Peak. I left a Summit Stone.

Great vistas.

Bowl Loop, Guadalupe Mountains TX

flat desert below

From there I needed to either backtrack. Or finish the loop.

Signage in Guadalupe Mountains National Park is not nearly as good as in Big Bend. The free Parks trail map is not detailed enough to do many of the hikes it recommends. Get a better map.

Happily I did find the sign to Bear Canyon Trail. The descent was much different — and much steeper — than how I got up.

water pipe

water pipe

I saw some strange wreckage. An airplane crash, I assume.

Bowl Loop, Guadalupe Mountains TX

It was much quicker down than up.

Bowl Loop, Guadalupe Mountains TX

In fact, for most people it’s better to climb on Bear Canyon, descend on Tejas. Easier on the knees. We’ve added The Bowl to our list of best hikes in North America.

related – Backpacker – Guadalupe Mountains National Park: The Bowl

Lagunas Altas Loop Trail, Chile

I’m keen to hike the NEW Patagonia Park in southern Chile about a half hour taxi ride from Cochrane.

The West Winds Campground is open October to April. There are a number of new day hikes open in the park including the Lagunas Altas Loop.


Lagunas Altas Loop Trail brochure (PDF)

It’s not easy to get to Cochrane, by the way. 🙂

If you want to know more about the new Park start at the official website –


Ian Lloyd Neubauer details his visit on a BBC post – The man who spent his fortune on a Park