This remote Overland trip road was planned to test an Escapade Backcountry Trailer and we were determined to push it hard, to see if it lived up to its name. The off road trip was a 7-day, 1356-mile adventure into remote areas of southern Utah. The full review of the trailer is linked at the end of this article.
Our first true remote overland destination was Alstrom Point, on the cliff edge, high above Lake Powell. The trail to the point is 25 miles along a dirt road from Big Water and the final mile is the only time you really need high clearance and perhaps 4High. This being said, weather conditions in this area can change rapidly and the dusty offroad trails, have a reputation for turning to vehicle sucking mud when it rains.
The gods were on our side, and we found the perfect overland campsite right on the edge of the cliff overlook. As always, the desert winds howled for 24 hours and despite the original plan to stay for two days in this amazing area, we decided to move on. Last year, we experienced the same conditions and were blown around in our Roof Top Tent. This year, we certainly appreciated the comfort and warmth of being inside an enclosed trailer.
Day 3 was to be our long-distance day, as our plan was to traverse 70+ miles across various backcountry trails up into the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument. Quickly leaving the Glen Canyon Rec Area, the dirt road climbs the Kelly Grade to the top of Kaiparowitz Plateau at 6500ft. This road is a 5-mile-long, 1,200-foot grade with numerous switchbacks and steep drop offs. Although not technically difficult when dry, it is steep and narrow and we’d have been in some trouble, if we’d met rigs coming the other way. Once reaching the summit, you can gaze upon Page and Lake Powell to the south and Navajo Mountain in the far distance to the east.
Continuing along the slow going, but beautiful Smoky Mountain Trail (we clocked 25 miles in 2.5 hrs.), we eventually diverted east to find the head of Left-Hand Colett Canyon Trail that connects Smoky Mountain and Hole in the Wall Trails. Left hand Collett is a 12-mile, one way canyon trail with an elevation change of 1312ft. Certainly towing the Escapade Backcountry Trailer through here could have been problematic due to the canyon’s narrowness and potential for washouts. However, the offroad trail was worth the risk, as it served up a mixture of remote beauty, incredible rock formations and just enough technicality to truly test the trailer.
At the end of this 7-hour day in the southern Utah backcountry, we had traversed 70+ miles through beautiful and remote terrain and amazingly realized we had not seen a soul. A Vehicle Supported Adventure like this, doesn’t get much better!
After 4 days overlanding in the desert, it was time to head up into the mountains of The Dixie National Forest. Despite finding the 38-mile Hells Backbone Trail impassable, we did discover the perfect campsite in amongst the pines, next to a small babbling brook. So perfect in fact, we stayed for two nights to soak in the mountain beauty and slow down. Off Road camping at 8200ft in early April, we had night temperatures down to 23 degrees, but again we were comfy and warm in the trailer.
As trips go, this was one of the best, a true overland experience through remote southern UT. A mixture of terrain, both in geography and difficulty, put the Escapade Backcountry Trailer through its paces. It performed admirably, cementing it’s right to be labeled as a Backcountry Edition.