Skye & Craig Copeland own and run Utah Slickrock Guides. They have decades of combined hiking experience in Utah canyon country. They're among the few who hold a permit issued by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to guide in Grand Staircase—Escalante National Monument (GSENM). And they’ve completed the intensive, seven day, Wilderness Emergency First Responder (WEFR) training. Scroll down to learn more about Skye and Craig.
Dr. Diantha Willamson occasionally guides with Skye & Craig. She's an exceptional co-guide: tireless, knowledgeable, attentive, kind, patient, fun. Scroll farther down to learn more about her.
Skye & Craig Copeland
Photo by Utah Slickrock Guides' guest Joel Berman
Skye and Craig are hikers whose writing and photography have empowered hundreds of thousands of people to explore wild lands worldwide.
Their second date was a 20-mile (32-km) dayhike in Arizona. The distance they’ve since hiked together exceeds twice the earth’s circumference.
In 1989, hiking in the Canadian Rockies inspired them to immigrate from the U.S. to Canada. They soon covered so much ground in the Rockies, their co-workers who’d lived there decades were asking Skye and Craig where to go hiking. That was the inspiration for their first, refreshingly unconventional book: Don’t Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies, The Opinionated Hiking Guide.
Skye, an ESL teacher, and Craig, an advertising-agency creative director, eventually erased the line between work and joy. They abandoned their careers, started their own publishing company—hikingcamping.com—and began writing uniquely compelling guidebooks. They’re now the authors of twelve titles, including the bestseller Hiking from Here to WOW: Utah Canyon Country.
Because hiking is their life, not just their livelihood, they often explore beyond the purview of their books. They’ve trekked through much of the world’s vertical topography, including the Nepalese Himalaya, Patagonian Andes, and New Zealand Alps. In Europe, they’ve hiked the Scottish Highlands, Spain’s Costa Blanca and Els Ports mountains, the Canary Islands, Madeira, Mallorca’s Serra de Tramuntana, the Alpes Maritimes, the French, Swiss, Austrian and Italian Alps, the Spanish and French Pyrenees, Italy's Dolomiti and Apennini, and the mountains of Norway. In North America, they’ve explored the B.C. Coast, Selkirk and Purcell ranges, Montana’s Beartooth Wilderness, Wyoming’s Grand Tetons, the Colorado Rockies, the California Sierra, and Arizona’s Superstition Wilderness and Grand Canyon.
No place in their experience, however, has resonated with them as profoundly as Utah canyon country. While their publishing company remains in the Canadian Rockies, they now live in Boulder, Utah — slickrock hiking capital of planet Earth. When not guiding, they frequently probe the high-desert wilderness, exploring new cross-country routes.
The transition from writing guidebooks to guiding in person was a natural one for Skye and Craig. "Whether writing or guiding," Skye said, "our motivation has always been to share the joy, wonder and exhilaration we find in the world’s supreme hiking destinations. We've done it with our readers for nearly 30 years. Now we're doing it with our guests."
In addition to guiding hikers in Utah canyon country, Skye and Craig now lead small groups of ambitious hikers in the Canary Islands in January, Spain's Costa Blanca mountains in February, the Swiss Alps in July, and the Italian Alps in late August / early September. To learn more, visit CanaryIslandsHiking.com, CostaBlancaHiking.com, SwissAlpsHiking.com, or ItalianAlpsHiking.com
Utah Slickrock Guides have had a couple hundred guests over the years. One is becoming a guide herself: Diantha Williamson. After hiking with Craig and Skye in 2018, she returned as a guest several times, then gradually evolved into a friend, a hiking buddy, and finally a co-guide. A native of Mississippi who completed her residency at St. Marks Hospital in Salt Lake City, Diantha immediately embraced Utah with all the exuberance its unique geography deserves. Previously a ballet dancer and horseback rider, she's now devoted to hiking, backpacking, canyoneering, snowshoeing, and whitewater rafting. When her demanding schedule as an urgent-care physician allows, Craig and Skye are always excited and proud to have Diantha join them as a co-guide. Her enthusiasm, ebullience and endurance—and certainly her medical training—make her an inspiring and invaluable leader in the backcountry.
Utah Slickrock Guides
Shred mundane existence.
Photo by Utah Slickrock Guides' guest Ake Almgren