Backpacking in Utah

Slot canyons
Joey Pauley

This project will explore a remote canyon in the desert of southwest Utah.  We will be backpacking down into the Escalante River Canyon by way of Harris Wash.  Day trips will also include climbing through some amazing slot canyons. Students will be carrying backpacks full of gear and food for the entire trip, camping in the backcountry, practicing “Leave No Trace” principles, and learning hard skills to support the group as they travel through the wilderness.  We will fly into Salt Lake City, rent vehicles, and then drive to the trailhead. 

Educational Objectives: 

Students will learn to be self sufficient while hiking and camping.  They will learn how to set up camp, cook, read maps, use compasses, filter water, and how to travel safely and efficiently thru fragile desert terrain and thru difficult canyons using all the Leave No Trace principles that they learned.  They will also be required to do some research before the trip on plant, animals, geology and history of the area, and then give a report to the rest of the students during our evening talks.  Students will also be asked to give and receive feedback about their contribution to the group, and they will be asked to set goals for the trip and then reflect on those goals after the trip.  Solo time and journaling time will be scheduled during the trip.  Students must participate in all activities.

Special Considerations

This Project Fulfills Outdoor ED Requirement

We will be procuring airfare in early January please do not make other travel arrangements for spring break until we do. 

Overlake requires all participants of this travel project to be fully vaccinated prior to departure. Additionally, on the Thursday before departure, Overlake will administer a PCR test to all participants. and leaders. To participate, the test must be negative, and students must be symptom-free from any illness.

Participants must be willing to follow King County and destination travel COVID guidelines.  If a participant, experiences any overlapping CDC symptoms of COVID during the project, the student will be isolated, and the student’s family will be required to pick up the student within 36 hours at their current location.  The family will bear all the costs associated with any travel to pick up their student and any costs for isolation or return travel. CDC possible symptoms of COVID can be found here.

By selecting the above project(s,) you and your family are accepting the financial responsibility for the cost of the projects.  This includes any unrecoverable expenses incurred if Overlake, or any federal, state or local government forces cancelation of the project, or if you or your family decide not to attend, or your student becomes symptomatic and has to be isolated.  

Project Week (2022-23)

Mar 27, 2023 - Mar 31, 2023


Chrissy Wakeling
Assistant Director of Experiential Education