Bucket List: The Colorado Plateau

National Parks and Monuments of the Colorado Plateau


Region: American Southwest

Logistical Difficulty: Moderate

Hiking Difficulty: Moderately High

Degree of Risk: Moderately High

Estimated time required (including travel and logistics): A week

No region on Earth truly compares to the American Red Rock Southwest, also known as the Colorado Plateau — perhaps America’s most iconic landscape. Known for its sandstone rock formations, curious arches,  soaring mesas and mysterious slot canyons, the Southwest is an adventurers dream — but also a place of severe challenges. There are deeper canyons, hotter deserts, and weirder landscapes…but nothing else quite matches the sublime beauty of the red rock country.



Why Hike here? 

  • If you have to ask its obvious you’ve never seen a picture of this place
  • Painted landscapes
  • Unforgettable sunsets and rises
  • Starry, starry nights
  • Most of the world’s intact rock arches
  • Native American ruins and petroglyphs
  • Many hidden places to explore
  • Impossible to take a bad picture here
  • More wildlife than you’d expect in a desert
  • Iconic landscapes protected by excellent US National Park System and strong regulations, present administration non-withstanding
  • There’s this big hole in the ground everybody talks about
  • Brian has in fact seen a road runner and coyote on same trip


But First Consider…

  • The Southwest has been humbling the unprepared since the days of the Conquistadors
  • It’s rugged high desert…don’t take it lightly
  • Easy to get lost here
  • Easy to get ‘ledged in’ (into a place you can’t get back out of)
  • Easiest of all to get hit by the heat or dehydration
  • Don’t be this guy, either
  • Ironically, drowning from flash floods a major killer here
  • Rattlesnakes are common (though bites fairly rare)
  • Dams, mining has significantly changed many landscapes
  • These are very remote areas
  • Poor infrastructure, little public transportation outside developed National Park areas
  • Hard to convey just how vast the American West is if you’ve never travelled through it


Brian with Utah’s iconic Delicate Arch

Hikes that we have done here…

Hikes that we want to do here:

  • The Narrows, Zion Canyon NP*
  • Angel’s Landing, Zion Canyon NP*
  • Havasu Falls, Havasupai Indian Reservation, Grand Canyon**
  • Buckskin Gulch/Pariah Canyon
  • The Wave
  • Antelope Canyon (guided)

*On the Bucket List!

**Sylvia NEVER stops bugging Brian about this one.