kayaks on the San Juan river near Mexican Hat, UtahSplit Level ruin in Grand Gulch, Cedar Mesa, Utahgoosenecks of the San Juan riverSan Juan river near Clay Hills takeout, Utahgraneries, unnamed canyon, Cedar Mesa, Utah  


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Going Ultralight
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Backpacking, Hiking, Floating and Biking-
Adventures in the Utah Desert

Welcome to Desert Explorer. This site is an online desert adventure resource featuring introductions to ultralight backpacking, hiking, floating the rivers and mountain biking the deserts and canyons of Utah, the Four Corners Region, and the Southwest. We started the website and blog years ago when there was a lot more time, and just for fun. At this point most of our updates are done via the blog- see links below. We do post items here occasionally, and are doing our best to update links and data on this site when we have time.

Latest Blog Posts:

24 February, 2018- Tracking Exercise- Bears in a Utah Canyon
22 December 2017- Practice Makes Perfect- Making Fire
15 September, 2017- On Adventure, Diet, Health, and Fitness
10 May, 2017- Alone in the Desert and Trip Planning
23 September, 2016- Urban Tracking Exercise
25 July, 2016- May and June in Southeast Utah- Nancy Patterson, Amtrak, Grand Gulch
30 April, 2016- The DeLorme inReach SE Replaces Our SPOT Messenger
21 April, 2016- Another Spring Break in Canyon Country
20 March, 2016- This Way Down, and An Update From Moab
12 March, 2016- Summer Is Coming, and There Is So Little Time
25 OCtober 2015- Nancy Patterson Report, 2014- Long Overdue
09 June 2015- Learning About Uranium, Radiation, and Atomic Weapons
22 September 2014- Trip Report- August Family Trip and San Juan Float
07 August 2014- Trip Report- July 2014- San Rafael River Backpack
22 June 2014- Tracking Update- A Weekend of Training
10 May 2014- Gear Review- Fjallraven Barents Pro Trousers
17 April 2014- Stone Tools From the Northern San Juan Region
06 April 2014- Spring Break Trip Report- March 2014
08 February, 2014- Gear Review- Primus Profile Propane Stove

Looking for specific information, something you read a year ago?
Try searching Desert Explorer (opens in new window).

Recently added and Pages of Note:


"...wilderness is not a luxury, but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread."
                                                                - Ed Abbey, Desert Solitaire

Our Mission:

At Desert Explorer we offer summarized trip guides from locations in southern Utah and the Four Corners region. We provide information to help you plan your visit, offering the details to get you to the trailhead, including driving directions, mapsheet names and guidebooks recommendations when necessary. We also offer general information on the desert- on enjoying and even surviving your visit.

We discuss what gear you should carry, water and hydration, survival kits and survival situations, primitive skills, and hazards of the desert while backpacking and hiking. We also provide background information on the natural history- history, prehistory, geology and biology of the desert southwest.

As we travel and discover new locations of interest, new backpack trips, hikes, rides, floats and even places to stop and eat we will post this information by region and include the details you need to take advantage of it. Be sure to check back for new postings and trip guides regularly.

Pease help support our site by supporting our advertisers- if you see a link of interest please follow it and take a look. On our Guidebooks page we have links to most of the titles we recommend. You can purchase them from Amazon.com through us, also helping support our site. Our Recommended Gear pages have some of the gear we use. Clicking on links takes you to Amazon.com or REI.com.

Finally, the disclaimer- all information contained in this website is for informational purposes only. We make no guarantees regarding what we present. We are not responsible for you and how you use our guides. We are not responsible for any injury, loss of property, expense incurred by you the reader, or loss of limb or life. The desert Southwest can be dangerous- people are seriously injured and die each year attempting hikes or rides or floats or drives that they should not. You are on your own once you leave our site. Good luck and enjoy! For further information on the dangers of the desert visit our Words of Caution page.

All content at Desert Explorer is copyrighted- do not reuse or reprint any site content without permission.

All Content 2018- www.DesertExplorer.us