Hondoo Rivers & Trails, Utah



The Country

The Colorado Plateau was the last explored region in the continental United States. Bounded by the Grand Canyon on the south and the Uintah Basin on the north, this New England sized landform is often referred to as the Canyonlands, Canyon Country or 4-Corners Area. It is the largest tract of unspoiled territory in the lower forty-eight and is the home of more formally designated parks, monuments, conservation and wilderness areas than you can shake a stick at.

Hondoo's trips focus on scenic and distinctive landforms in the middle section of the Colorado Plateau west of the Colorado River.

Here are how others have described this spectacular land:

"This is the Land of the Sleeping Rainbow "

- Ute Indian legend

"All the scenic features of this canyon land are on a giant scale, strange weird. Every river entering the drainage has cut a canyon; every lateral creek has cut a canyon; every brook runs in a canyon; every rill, born of a shower and living only during these showers, has cut a canyon; so that the whole upper basin of the Colorado River is traversed by a labyrinth of these deep gorges. "

- John Wesley Powell, explorer

"The plateaus commonly rise above one another in precipitous steps, in some places hundreds and even thousands of feet. The facade of cliffs separating the terrace levels appear as majestic walls, murals, pilasters, and columns forming the most dramatic features in a dramatic landscape... The whole is a grand masterpiece of erosion and color. "

- C. Gregory Crampton, historian

"Probably no area in the nation displays more of the raw, unobscured rock formation than here... The Colorado Plateau is the most distinctive province in the United States, being world-famous not only for many scenic attractions but also for the diversity of geologic features displayed with textook simplicity. "

- William L. Stokes, geologist


The Outfitter

In 1975 Patricia Kearney and Gary George reorganized Castle Country Expeditions and founded Hondoo Rivers and Trails. Hondoo is headquartered in the midst of the canyonlands at Torrey, Utah near Capitol Reef National Park. Pat and Gary share a passion for the social and natural history of this extraordinary region and have imbued their trips with this knowledge and appreciation.

Sensitive to the fragile environment they visit, Pat and Gary have labored to be on the cutting edge of their trade. In implementing low-impact camping techniques, small group size, well-maintained equipment and top notch horses, Hondoo leads where land managers and other outfitters have followed.

Hondoo's backcountry adventures have been featured in many prestigious publications including the New York Times, National Geographic Explorer, Sunset Magazine and Western Horseman. Observers have lauded their guide service for its educational value, and the experience and professionalism of their crews.

The Trailrides

All Packages Include: (except Inn-to-Inn Trailrides--see below)

First night lodging in Torrey, Utah at the Capitol Reef Inn followed by four nights at a deluxe basecamp deep in the backcountry; complete outfitting, including all meals from lunch on day two through lunch on day six; ground transportation from Torrey to trailhead and return; canvas tents for cooking, dining, showering and sleeping (single, double or family occupancy); sleeping bag and cot or six inch foam pads; camp chairs; waterproof gear bags; water bottles; saddle bags and tack; seasoned mountain horses; guides, cook, camp-jack, wranglers, guitarist and interpretative specialist well versed in both social and natural history.


Capitol Reef National Park Trailrides

Capitol Reef is a landscape where thousands of feet of layered sediments, deposited over three-hundred million years of geologic history, have been thrust skyward by faulting of the earth's crust. Eons of water and wind have then carved the jagged, multi colored spectacle you see today. It is little wonder the Ute Indians called Capitol Reef and environs: "Land of the Sleeping Rainbow". To stand on the breaks of Thousand Lakes Mountain or Boulder Mountain and take in the panorama of Capitol Reef and beyond, is indisputably an opportunity of a lifetime.

A deluxe basecamp will serve as your home for daily forays deeper into the wilderness. Exploring a new trail each day, you'll visit ancient petroglyphs, slickrock mountains, slot-canyons, rock arches, buttes and spires. Experience Cathedral Valley, Paradise, Hell's Hole, The Golden Throne, Pleasant Creek Gorge, Deep Creek Gorge, Tantalus Canyon, and more.

Escalante Canyons National Monument Trailrides

The Grand Staircase/Escalante Canyons National Monument is Utah's largest tract of unspoiled wilderness. Over the eons, the Escalante Canyons have been sculpted by wind and water into a maze of gigantic proportions. This is a landscape of slickrock punctured by deep, narrow canyons. A landscape so rugged and remote that the tiny village of Boulder, Utah, which lies within its midst, could not be reached by automobile until 1938. The Escalante River was the last named and explored drainage in the continental United States.

A deluxe basecamp will serve as your home for daily forays deeper into the wilderness. Exploring a new trail each day, you'll visit ancient petroglyphs, slot-canyons, rock arches, buttes and spires. Experience Circle Cliffs, Indian Gulch, The Stairs, Lamanite Natural Bridge, The Lampstand, The Moodys, Deer Point Overlook, The Purple Hills, Silver Falls Canyon, Little Death Hollow, Wolverine Petrified Forest, and more.

Wildlife Trailrides

These trips are segmented from our regularly scheduled trailrides to the San Rafael Swell Wilderness and the High Plateaus because wildlife sightings are common and always a distinctive highlight of these rides. The wild horses and desert bighorn sheep on the San Rafael Swell, and the elk, deer and large birds-of-prey on the High Plateaus, will be actively sought and you'll take time to observe these majestic critters with spotting scope and binoculars. See San Rafael Swell and High Plateaus Trailrides for more information.

Package Includes: In addition to the package inclusions listed above (see Trailrides), spotting scopes and binoculars will be available to share with other guests.

San Rafael Swell Wilderness Trailrides

The San Rafael Swell is 28,000 square miles of uninhabited wilderness--nearly three times the size of Rhode Island without a single human resident. The Swell is a gigantic bubble in the earth's crust which has eroded into a maze of deep, multi-hued canyons punctured by the mesas, buttes and pinnacles typical of the world famous canyonlands geography. Riders will explore intricate trails established by native Americans, herdsmen and outlaws during the day, then hear stories about these trailblazers while relaxing around the camp fire at night..

Always a high point of the trips are views of mustangs or bighorn sheep which occur, with rare exception, daily. From a deluxe basecamp riders will visit Red Canyon, The Penitentiary, The Chute, Muddy River Gorge, Chimney Canyon Gorge, Head of Sinbad, Courthouse Butte, Family Butte, Golden Gate, Twin Priests, Devil's Monument, Devil's Racetrack, Joe and his Dog, Sid's Mountain, Swasey Arch, Dutchman Arch, Saddle Horse Canyon, Cold Canyon, The Snake Dance pictographs, South Fork pictographs, The Blue Man pictographs, and more.

Trailrides to Utah's High Plateaus

The Colorado Plateau is shaped by the Colorado River system as it runs from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of California and was the last explored region of the continental United States. This broad expanse of rugged, colorful tablelands encompassing much of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona (the 4-Corners area) is bounded by the Grand Canyon on the south and Uintah Basin on the north. To overlook the canyonlands from Utah's High Plateaus is a remarkable experience where the phrase "I can see for two-hundred miles" is not a figure of speech.

When summer's heat in the slickrock country becomes oppressive, the lure of glacial lakes and lush meadows beckons both horse and rider. These trailrides explore the plateau tops and canyons where the San Rafael Swell, Capitol Reef National Park and Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument make their dramatic break towards the Colorado River. From a deluxe basecamp you'll make daily rides deeper into this alpine wilderness. Always a favorite feature of this ride are the lakes, wildflowers, elk, deer, and other wildlife, as well as the spectacular vistas of the 4-Corners region where ten or more National Parks and Monuments may be seen in a single panorama.

Inn to Inn Trailrides
Capitol Reef National Park/Escalante Canyons National Monument


Capitol Reef and Escalante Canyons is a landscape where thousands of feet of layered, multi-colored sediments have been thrust skyward by faulting of the earth's crust (the Circle Cliff anticline). Once you see this kaleidoscopic, jagged geologic spectacle, you'll understand why the Ute Indians called it the "Land of the Sleeping Rainbow ". It was the last explored and named region of the continental United States. It is a countryside of slickrock mountains punctured by deep, narrow canyons so rugged and remote that the tiny village of Boulder, Utah, which lies within it's midst, could not be reached by automobile until 1938.

To trailride this terrain and to take in panoramas of the Land of the Sleeping Rainbow breaking from the lush, alpine plateaus looming high above, is indisputably an opportunity of a lifetime. The topography of the rides is dynamic and elevation may change from below 4,000ft. to above 11,000ft., with higher elevations visited in the heat of the summer and lower environs visited earlier or later in the season.

You'll cover new trails each day which were established by Native Americans, pioneer herdsmen and outlaws. An elegant lodge will serve as your home for the daily forays deep into the wilderness. You'll experience ancient petroglyphs, slickrock mountains, slot-canyons, rock arches, buttes and spires such as Cathedral Valley, The Mummy Cliffs and Circle Cliffs, Paradise, Hell's Hole, The Velvet Ridge, The Golden Throne, Pleasant Creek Falls and Gorge, Deep Creek Gorge, Tantalus Canyon, and more.

Package Includes: All lodging in Torrey, Utah and Boulder, Utah from day 1 thru day 6, with single, double or family occupancy; all transfers to and from Torrey and Boulder; complete outfitting including all meals from breakfast day two through dinner on day six; all ground transportation days 2 thru 6; water bottles; saddle bags and tack; seasoned mountain horses; guides, wranglers and interpretative specialist well versed in both social and natural history.

Rockart Trailrides

Rockart has long been a passion for the owners of Hondoo Rivers and Trails. These trips are segmented from our regularly scheduled trailrides to the San Rafael Swell Wilderness and Capitol Reef National Park because rockart is a focal point of these rides. The trips feature petroglyphs and pictographs that are seldom visited. The rockart varies from archaic to historic on the Capitol Reef ride, and Barrier Canyon and Fremont style01s are seen on the San Rafael ride. Along with the cave paintings of Baja, the rock art of this region is the finest in North America.



Kundenmeinung Sommer 2003:
 Die Ritte, Pferde und Übernachtungen waren ok, an reitfreien Tagen zwischen zwei gebuchten Ritten konnte ein Mietwagen genommen werden bzw. man konnte mit einem Auto der Ranch ein paar Ausflüge unternehmen. Nicht so toll fand man, dass ausschliesslich Schritt und Trab geritten wurde, obwohl die Pferde und Reiter fit genug für kleine Galopps waren, man durfte aber nicht galoppieren. Bemängelt wurden die hohen Kosten für den Shuttle Service nach Torrey, im Preis enthaltene Besichtigungen wurden garnicht bzw. erst nach Nachfrage durchgeführt. Ich habe diese Punkte nachgefragt und warte auf eine Antwort von Hondoo.
Die kam dann auch nach einiger Zeit und es wurde mir bestätigt, dass meist nur Schritt und Trab geritten wurde, aber von den betreffenden Gästen ohne Mitreitende und Geländebeschaffenheit zu beachten, immer wieder Galopp verlangt wurde und auch galoppiert wurde. Die hohen Shuttle Kosten kann ich nicht ändern, damit muss man leben oder woanders buchen. Aber Gratisangebote (Auto von Hondoo) nutzen und sich dann immer noch beschwerden, das fanden weder der Ausrichter der Ritte noch ich selbst lustig.


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