Big Summer Adventure XL

Moab, UT to Denver, CO
HEADS UP: Our 2021 dates for this trip haven't been posted yet. Stay tuned!

This trip, along with the original Big Summer Adventure, is the best we’ve ever designed. Think about it: 12 days of fully guided adventures across southeast Utah and Colorado. We backpack, kayak, and hike through our guides’ favorite spots. Every day is jam-packed with incredible adventure!

The itinerary features four once-in-a-lifetime adventures. Early on, we embark on a pair of absolutely epic day hikes through Canyonlands National Park’s Needles District. We then spend four days in touring kayaks venturing through the flatwater Labyrinth Canyon section of the Green River. The adventure continues with backpacking in Colorado’s spectacular Rocky Mountain National Park. For three days, we explore waterfalls, meadows, and gorgeous alpine lakes. Finally, we drive over the Continental Divide for a couple days of mind-blowingly beautiful hikes on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Throw in time time to explore a couple mountain towns and soak in not one, but two Colorado natural hot springs, and you’ve got the Big Summer Adventure XL!

Previous backpacking and kayaking experience is not required. Our guides have decades of experience, love teaching, and will bring you up to speed with all the required skills. Swaggering, experienced outdoor pro’s are welcome, too!

We have you covered by including most of the specialized gear. Backpacks, tents, sleeping pads, kayaks, paddles, life jackets, and all group equipment is provided. For such an over-the-top itinerary, we’ve been able to keep your packing list quite manageable.

Need different dates? Check out our original Big Summer Adventure.

Join us and make some of the best memories of your life this summer! Register today!

Matt Stan
Matt Stan, Bad Adventures founder

Is this for me?


Let's call the intensity a 3 to 3.5 out of 5. The trip includes backpacking, a multi-day kayak trip, and epic day hikes. If you lead an active life or are willing to commit a couple of hours a week to get ready, it's likely you're up to the adventure!

Group Size

Maximum of 10 amazing travelers. Small groups rule!

Rookie Ready

New to backpacking? Never kayaked before? That's A-OK! We'll bring you up to speed. If you bring an appropriate base fitness level and a lot of enthusiasm, we have you covered on the necessary specialized skills instruction.

Traveling Solo?

By their very nature, the adventures we plan seem to attract like-minded people. It's safe to say that if you show up by yourself, you'll come away with a crew! This trip works well for solo travelers and small groups of friends.

Oh, yeah, there's no single traveler supplement fee!

Here's the plan...


And We’re Off!

Your guides pick you up from either your hotel near Grand Junction Regional Airport or from a morning flight arrival at Moab Canyonlands Field airport. We take stock of our gear and depart for the greatest adventure of our lives!

We get to know each other over a day hike on Canyonlands National Park Island in the Sky mesa. The La Sal Mountains dominate the horizon and each turn of the trial reveals a new, beautiful landscape below us. In the afternoon, we travel to Canyonlands Needles District, where we pitch camp for the next three nights. We group-cook a delicious dinner and soak up the stars!

Meals Included: Lunch and Dinner

Exploring Canyonlands

For two days, we day hike and explore remote sections of the stunning Needles District, while returning to our comfortable base camp each night. Our destinations include the breathtaking Colorado / Green River Confluence Overlook and Chesler Park, an area with rock landscapes that appear straight out of Dr. Seuss illustrations!

Our days begin and end with hearty breakfasts and dinners together at camp. It can’t possibly get better than this!

Meals Included: 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, and 2 Dinners

Labyrinth Canyon Kayak Expedition

Somehow the trip gets better!

We reorganize our gear into dry bags, then pack kayaks for an incredible 4-day, 3-night paddle through Labyrinth Canyon on Utah’s Green River. This flatwater (no rapids!) stretch takes us past towering sandstone formations, lush green tributary confluences, and historic early river runner inscriptions.

Our amazing guides teach you kayaking techniques and are there to help along the way. Previous kayak touring experience is not required. Kayaks, paddles, life jackets, and other river safety equipment are all included.

We tent camp at stunning backcountry river-side campsites, tell stories over delicious group-cooked meals, and catch a glimpse of the Milky Way while laying under the stars.

Without exaggeration, this may be one of the best flatwater river paddling trips in the world!

Meals Included: 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, and 3 Dinners

Hot Springs, Hallelujah!

Our takeout day arrives! We paddle to Mineral Bottom, load our gear, and complete an absolutely stunning drive out of the canyon. As the day continues, we drive east, leaving red sandstone rock formations behind us, in favor of Colorado’s gneisses mountains spotted with trees.

A shower and a dip in a natural hot springs is a high priority! We relax and soak tired muscles, then take time to explore a mountain town and treat ourselves to a dinner in a restaurant.

The day winds down as we settle into a frontcountry campground for the night.

Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Rocky Mountain Backpacking

Our amazing guides help you get gear organized for two nights on the trail. New to backpacking? No problem! Backpacks and most of the required specialized equipment is included.

We head deep into Rocky Mountain National Park for a 2-night stay. We tent camp at a gorgeous stream-side campsite. On our second day in the wilderness, we explore a series of alpine lakes near the Continental Divide. Along the way, we encounter jaw-dropping views of waterfalls, meadows, and rugged peaks. This is Colorado at its finest!

Meals Included: 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, and 2 Dinners

More Hot Springs & High Places

Our idyllic backpacking comes to an end, but there’s still more adventure to come!

We hike out of Rocky Mountain National Park, then set course for another shower and hot springs soak. We emerge relaxed and rejuvenated!

We take time to explore the Colorado mountain town of Grand Lake, enjoy a late lunch in a restaurant, and sample the local ice cream flavors. Late in the day, we drive Trail Ridge Road, an incredible scenic highway that passes above 12,000-feet of elevation.

The day concludes with pitching a comfortable base camp for the final three nights of the trip.

Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Goosebumps & Goodbyes

Our final two days are spent exploring the east side of the Continual Divide in different parts of Rocky Mountain National Park. We day hike among waterfalls, alpine lakes, and whistling marmots. The breathtaking landscapes that surround us are goosebump-inducing. It’s a fitting close to a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Tears are shed. Promises for a reunion are made. We always knew it couldn’t go on forever. The trip finishes at 5:00 PM at the Hyatt Place Denver Airport hotel. If you fly out of Denver this evening, your guides will drop you off at the airport at 5:30 PM.

Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

What's Included?

3-Day, 2-Night Rocky Mountain National Park Backpacking Trip

Fully guided. Backpacks, tents, and most gear provided.

4-Day, 3-Night Kayak Expedition in Utah

Fully guided paddling trip on a flatwater river.

5 Epic Guided Day Hikes

Explore Canyonlands and Colorado!

11 Nights of Spectacular Tent Camping

We stay at beautiful sites! Tents and camping mattresses are included.

Transportation within Utah & Colorado

Ride in style in a comfortable Ford Transit passenger van.

Services of a Guide or Two

Expert instruction from our friendly, professional team.

Most of the Specialized Equipment

We provide backpacks, tents, sleeping pads, bear canisters, kayaks, paddles, lifejackets, and a lot more!

11 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, and 10 Dinners

We plan delicious meals for us to cook together.

National Park Admission and All Permits

The itinerary includes time in both Canyonlands National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.

Group Gear & Safety Equipment

Medical kit, satellite phone, navigation supplies, and more.

Not Included:

Your flights or other transportation to and from the trip, your accomodations the night before and the night after the trip, optional shower on day 4, hot springs admission on day 7, dinner on day 7, hot springs admission on day 10, lunch on day 10, ice cream on day 10, your personal clothing and gear on the packing list, travel insurance, and guide gratuity.

Important Details & FAQ

  • You don’t need to be a professional athlete! However, you do need a moderate base level of fitness. If you lead an active life and are willing to spend a couple of hours per week preparing for the adventure, it’s likely you’re up to it!

    During the backpacking portion of the trip, we travel up to 8 miles per day over rocky terrain with 35 to 45-pound packs.

    During the kayaking portion of the trip, we paddle about 4 hours per day at a mild sustained pace.

    Still have questions about whether this trip is appropriate for you? Don’t hesitate to contact us!

  • Nah. That’s pretty unlikely. This trip is solo traveler friendly!

  • It’s absolutely OK! If you’re new to backpacking, be sure to follow the packing list exactly. We provide the backpacks, tents, sleeping pads, and most of the other specialized pieces of gear. Our guides love teaching and will help you get up to speed!

  • It’s no problem if this is your first kayaking trip! Our guides have decades of experience and will provide paddling instruction, beginning with the absolute basics.

  • Be sure to review the packing list carefully and follow it exactly! The higher-value items you need to bring include a sleeping bag, a pair of backpacking boots, a pair of sport sandals or water shoes, and a rain jacket.

    Try to avoid overpacking. Bringing too much stuff will just slow you down!

  • We tent camp all 11 nights of the trip. 5 of the nights are spent at backcountry campsites accessible only by trail or river!

    Tents and self-inflating camping mattresses are provided. You share a tent with 1 or 2 other travelers.

    The tents are dome-style backpacking tents. To make it more comfortable, we sleep either 2-travelers in a 3-person tent or 3-travelers in a 4-person tent.

  • Utterly delicious. We cook most meals together at camp. Your guides provide the ingredients and recipes for hot breakfasts and dinners. When we’re hiking, backpacking, or kayaking we eat lunch on the trail or river bank.

    When we’re backcountry camping during the backpacking and kayaking portions of the trip, we cook in smaller groups of 2 or 3. This helps make the most of the lightweight backpacking stoves that are provided.

    Almost all the meals during the trip are included.

  • We can accommodate common food allergies, sensitivities, and dietary requirements. If you have specific questions, please contact us. A food preferences survey will be emailed in advance of the trip and will inform how we arrange provisions.

  • Please contact us first if you’re interested in bringing any of your own gear that isn’t on the packing list.

Real People.
Real Reviews.

I have many adventuring experiences with Matt Stan over the years. Matt has created a team of knowledgeable and...

Posted by Megan Lundy on Saturday, June 29, 2019

Meticulously planned adventures. World class guides. Friendly people. Delicious food. Spectacular sights. Epic experiences. I could go on....

Posted by Chris Nadovich on Sunday, June 16, 2019

Stay in the loop!

Subscribe to emails and learn about new trips and courses first. No spam. Unsubscribe anytime.

© 2013–2020 The Bad Adventure Company LLC. All rights reserved.