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BEGINS IN: SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

On the Road: National Parks of the West

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Road Scholar
Program #19584RJ
13 Days | 12 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Active
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Elevation Note
Elevation ranges from 1,000 feet to 9,115 feet

Itinerary for May 28 — Jun 9, 2014

Expand all
Type: Full Service Hotel

Description: Hilton SFO Bayfront is ideally located just four miles from San Francisco Airport in the contemporary neighborhood of Burlingame, CA, a short drive from downtown San Francisco. The hotel offers inspiring views overlooking San Francisco Bay and nearby there's a scenic walking path where guests can enjoy a stroll along the Bay. The charming downtown section of Burlingame is filled with plenty of shopping and dining options.

Contact info:
600 Airport Blvd
Burlingame, CA 94010 USA
phone: 650-340-8500
web: www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/california/hilton-san-francisco-airport-bayfront-SFOAPHF/index.html

Room amenities: The spacious, stylish guest rooms are decorated in all-white linen with honey sycamore wood accents and furnished with luxurious sheets to create a refreshing, relaxing atmosphere. The bathroom features a generous counter and vanity space decorated in crisp clean accents. Each guest room contains a 42 inch flat screen HDTV with complimentary HBO(R), in-room movie channels, on-demand movies, cable, CNN and ESPN. Complimentary WiFi internet access is available in all guest rooms. Each room is equipped with a coffee maker and tea service, hairdryer, iron/ironing board, arm chair with ottoman, clock radio with MP3 connection, curved shower rod, non-allergenic feather pillows, safe, visual strobe for the hearing-impaired, bathroom amenities and telephone featuring auto wakeup, voicemail, and a dataport. 24-hour housekeeping is standard and evening room service is available. Guests receive USA Today daily, Monday through Friday.

Facility amenities: Hilton SFO Bayfront is a 100% smoke-free hotel. It offers guests many fine amenities including the California culinary-inspired restaurant, Windows on the Bay, which provides sweeping views of San Francisco Bay. Guests can also enjoy their favorite cocktail in the relaxed atmosphere of the hotel's Lobby Lounge. The hotel features an indoor heated pool and a state-of-the-art fitness center as well as a 24-hour business center. Guests may plug in their iPod, camera or laptop to an in-room system. The hotel provides complimentary shuttle service to and from SFO and to downtown Burlingame. WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS: Complimentary WiFi internet access is available in the lobby and guest rooms.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Call hotel for current rate
Call hotel for current rate

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day One: Wednesday, May 28 - Arrival & Hotel Check-in, Program Registration, P...
Arrival & Hotel Check-in, Program Registration, Pre-Dinner Wine Social, Orientation, Program Overview

Afternoon: HOTEL CHECK-IN begins at 3:00 PM. After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar desk in the lobby after 4:00 PM to register with the program staff and pick up your arrival packet that we'll review during orientation this evening.

Please be aware that local circumstances could require adjusting the schedule and/or program elements. In the event of changes, we will notify you as quickly as possible. We appreciate your understanding.

WINE SOCIAL: We'll gather in our private meeting room before dinner for a wine social to begin getting to know one another in a convivial atmosphere.

Dinner: Enjoy a plated dinner in an elegant, inviting atmosphere. Meals feature traditional American and California cuisine.

Evening: ORIENTATION: Back in our meeting room, we'll have introductions and then review the up-to-date schedule, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, any other administrative issues, and answer your questions.

PROGRAM OVERVIEW: Your group leader will provide an overview of the parks you’ll be exploring during this exciting new program. From mountain to desert, you’ll gain insights into the spectacular national parks of the West as we visit seven world-famous gems of American wilderness: Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Joshua Tree, Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion national parks.

Lodging: Hilton San Francisco Airport Bayfront

Meals Included: Dinner

Type: Lodge

Description: As the closest property to Yosemite Falls, Yosemite Lodge at the Falls is an idyllic spot for families, group retreats and visitors seeking the comforts of a hotel after an exciting day exploring the wilderness. In 1998, the main complex was redesigned with an emphasis on glass and wood detailing to blend harmoniously with its surroundings. Landscaping of indigenous trees, shrubs and wildflowers further reflect the natural beauty of Yosemite Valley.

Contact info:
9006 Yosemite Lodge Dr
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389 USA
phone: 801-559-4884
web: www.yosemitepark.com/Accommodations_YosemiteLodge.aspx

Room amenities: Rooms are furnished with a desk, private bathroom, telephone and television with select programming. Yosemite Lodge does not have air conditioning in any guest accommodations.

Facility amenities: On site post office. Wireless access is complimentary to all Yosemite Lodge guests. Free shuttle service to various locations in Yosemite Valley. Heated outdoor swimming pool is open daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day, conditions permitting.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Two: Thursday, May 29 - Transfer to Yosemite National Park, Field Trip in...
Transfer to Yosemite National Park, Field Trip in the Park, Hotel Check-in, Free Evening

Breakfast: Enjoy a full breakfast buffet in the hotel dining room.

Morning: TRANSFER TO YOSEMITE: As we board our motorcoach, you’ll be anticipating an extraordinary experience ahead. People have been drawn to the place we now call Yosemite for tens of thousands of years. Wrote famed naturalist John Muir, “It is by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter.” The transfer should take approximately 4.5 hours.

Lunch: We'll stop en route for lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: We begin with an introduction to America’s beloved Yosemite National Park, established in 1890 and designated a World Heritage Site in 1984.

Yosemite is known for its majestic granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant Sequoia groves, and biological diversity. Two designated “Wild & Scenic Rivers” — the Tuolumne and Merced — begin in the park and flow west to the Central Valley. Yosemite Falls, one of the world's tallest, is actually made up of three separate falls: Upper Yosemite Falls (1,430 feet), the middle cascades (675 feet), and Lower Yosemite Falls (320 feet).

We’ll meet our local guide at Tunnel View, and travel on to Bridalveil Falls and Sentinel Bridge, learning about various aspects of natural and human history as we go.

At the conclusion of our first field trip, we'll take the motorcoach to check in at Yosemite Lodge, the property closest to Yosemite Falls. The main complex was redesigned with an emphasis on glass and wood detailing to blend harmoniously with its surroundings. Landscaping of indigenous trees, shrubs and wildflowers further reflect the natural beauty of Yosemite Valley.

Dinner: The Yosemite Food Court offers an extensive buffet with various stations serving pastas and pizza, grilled items, salads, fruits, vegetarian and non-vegetarian entrées, desserts, and beverages.

Evening: Free evening

Lodging: Yosemite Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Type: Lodge

Description: As the closest property to Yosemite Falls, Yosemite Lodge at the Falls is an idyllic spot for families, group retreats and visitors seeking the comforts of a hotel after an exciting day exploring the wilderness. In 1998, the main complex was redesigned with an emphasis on glass and wood detailing to blend harmoniously with its surroundings. Landscaping of indigenous trees, shrubs and wildflowers further reflect the natural beauty of Yosemite Valley.

Contact info:
9006 Yosemite Lodge Dr
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389 USA
phone: 801-559-4884
web: www.yosemitepark.com/Accommodations_YosemiteLodge.aspx

Room amenities: Rooms are furnished with a desk, private bathroom, telephone and television with select programming. Yosemite Lodge does not have air conditioning in any guest accommodations.

Facility amenities: On site post office. Wireless access is complimentary to all Yosemite Lodge guests. Free shuttle service to various locations in Yosemite Valley. Heated outdoor swimming pool is open daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day, conditions permitting.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Three: Friday, May 30 - Free time in Yosemite National Park, Ahwahnee Hot...
Free time in Yosemite National Park, Ahwahnee Hotel Historic Landmark, Evening Presentation: A Talk with “John Muir”

Breakfast: Breakfast is a buffet at the Mountain Room Restaurant, which features a view of Yosemite Falls.

Morning: Free time for your own exploration and hikes in Yosemite. Don't forget to check out the Ansel Adams Gallery!

Lunch: We’ll have lunch at the Ahwahnee Hotel, a National Historic Landmark and one of the most impressive National Park lodges, in the very heart of the Park. The crown jewel of Yosemite dining, the award-winning Ahwahnee dining room is both magnificent and intimate. The 34-foot-high beamed ceiling with large sugar pine trestles complement granite pillars, floor-to-ceiling windows. The lunch menu typically offers options for soup, salad, sandwiches, pasta, entrées, sides, fresh cut fruit, and beverages.

Afternoon: EXCURSION: This afternoon we'll have a walking excursion through the renowned Ahwahnee Hotel to understand why it is a designated National Historic Landmark. Completed in 1927, the hotel was built in a rustic style with American Indian motif. Historic paintings of Yosemite, stunning stained-glass windows, and woven tapestries grace the walls of The Great Lounge and Dining Room. Walk back or the park shuttle may be available to take you to the Yosemite Lodge after the excursion.

PRESENTATION: We’ll be joined this evening by none other than “John Muir” who will share perspectives on his life and his love for this special Park.

Dinner: Dinner in the Food Court, with its many options. Share your favorite highlights of the day with new friends.

Evening: Free evening to pack up and get ready for a busy day ahead.

Lodging: Yosemite Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Type: Full Service Hotel

Description: Indoor atrium heated pool or our outdoor swimming pool, modern fitness center. 24-hour business center, 32" flat screen TVs, complimentary high speed wireless internet and coffee and tea makers.

Contact info:
5090 East Clinton Way Fresno
Fresno, CA 93727 USA
phone: 559-252-3611
web: www.fresnoairporthi.com/

Room amenities: Hair Dryer Clock Radio Ergonomic Desk Area with Lamp 32" Flat Screen TV

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Four: Saturday, May 31 - Morning in Yosemite, Glacier Point, En route to F...
Morning in Yosemite, Glacier Point, En route to Fresno, CA, Check in to Hotel, Expert Presentation about Sequioa and Kings Canyon National Parks

Breakfast: Breakfast is a buffet at the Mountain Room Restaurant, which features a view of Yosemite Falls.

Morning: We'll depart on the Glacier Point Tour. It is a spectacular four-hour round-trip journey that takes you from the valley to Glacier Point, which towers 3,200 feet above the valley floor. Offering panoramic views of Yosemite Falls, Nevada and Vernal Falls, as well as the magnificent High Sierra in the distance, Glacier Point tours provide a breathtaking look at some of the Park's most beloved sites.

Lunch: We’ll enjoy lunch in Yosemite before our departure.

Afternoon: En Route to Fresno: We’ll board our motorcoach and say goodbye to Yosemite, in anticipation of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks that we will see tomorrow. These two parks lie side by side in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of the San Joaquin Valley. The landscape testifies to natural beauty and diversity with huge mountains, rugged foothills, deep canyons, vast caverns, and the world’s largest trees.

The transfer should take approximately 4 hours. We will arrive and check into our hotel in Fresno.

Dinner: We will enjoy dinner at the hotel

Evening: PRESENTATION: A local expert will give you a great overview of Sequioa's history and a sneak peek preview of what is awaiting for you at the parks tomorrow!

Lodging: Holiday Inn Express Fresno Airport

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Type: Full Service Hotel

Description: The Hilton Garden Inn Victorville hotel in California, located about 80 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, offers comfortable accommodations, friendly service, and a relaxed atmosphere in the beautiful high desert.

Contact info:
12603 Mariposa Rd
Victorville, CA 92395 USA
phone: 760-952-1200
web: www.victorville.hgi.com

Room amenities: Guest rooms are equipped with the Garden Sleep System, microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker, hair dryer, iron and ironing board, and plasma TV, along with a king-size bed or two queen beds, a comfortable sitting room and complimentary wireless high speed Internet service.

Facility amenities: Hotel amenities include non-smoking rooms, handicapped-accessible rooms, full-service hotel restaurant, in-room dining service (available nightly), outdoor pool and indoor whirlpool spa, workout facility, 24-hour Pavilion Pantry® convenience mart, and complimentary 24-hour Business Center. Valet and self laundry are available.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Five: Sunday, June 01 - Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park: Grant Gro...
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park: Grant Grove Area, Visitor's Center and General Grant Tree; Overnight Rest Stop En Route to Joshua Tree National Park

Note: After departing Kings Canyon for Joshua Tree National Park, we stop to break up the drive with an overnight in Victorville, California.

Breakfast: Breakfast is at the hotel.

Morning: FIELD TRIP: Kings Canyon National Park. A portion of what is now Kings Canyon was originally set aside in 1890 as General Grant National Park, later absorbed into the new and larger Kings Canyon National Park. The story of how this park came into existence is fascinating. Photos by Ansel Adams, hired by then Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, helped lead to Congress creating the park in 1940. Managed together by the National Park Service, Sequoia and Kings Canyon total over 863,700 acres.

We’ll begin at the Kings Canyon Visitor Center in Grant Grove Village before walking to the General Grant Grove that preserves giant sequoias including the famous General Grant Tree, second largest in the world and estimated to be more than 1,600 years old. The trail is gently-graded and paved, looping one-third of a mile through the sequoia grove.

Our natural history specialist will guide us during our Kings Canyon exploration, delving into the history of the establishment of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, the re-establishment of fire in the parks and the logging history of the Giant Sequoias.

At the conclusion of the field trip, we’ll board the motorcoach and continue our journey of discovery en route to Joshua Tree National Park.

Lunch: We’ll stop for lunch at the Hometown Buffet. While there's always something new to try at Hometown Buffet, you'll also find a delicious line-up of freshly prepared comfort foods. Or create your own salad…but don't forget to leave room for dessert!

Afternoon: TRANSFER: It’s a long drive from Kings Canyon National Park to Joshua Tree National Park, so for your comfort we have planned an overnight in Victorville, California, in the heart of the high desert. After checking into the hotel and having dinner and a good night's rest, we'll resume our journey to Joshua Tree tomorrow.

Dinner: Dinner is in the Great American Grill at the hotel.

Evening: FREE EVENING: Take a dip in the hotel pool, use the fitness room, try your hand at bowling or miniature golf in the entertainment center adjacent to hotel, or relax.

Lodging: Hilton Garden Inn

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Type: Hotel

Description: Hotel 29 Palms is 3 miles from the Joshua Tree National Park. Amenities include a fitness center, a 24 hr business center with high-speed Cable and WiFi wireless Internet access, outdoor heated pool & spa, and a 24 hr front desk with friendly, helpful, and professional staff to assist with your needs. For your travel comfort all guestrooms are non-smoking and have high-speed DSL Internet access, iron and ironing board, coffee maker, hair dryer, 27" TV w/ HBO & ESPN, activity desk and chair.

Contact info:
71809 Twentynine Palms Hwy
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277 USA
phone: 760-361-4009
web: www.hotel29palms.com

Room amenities: Color TV, desk, free internet, a refrigerator, a microwave, and free morning newspaper.

Facility amenities: Fitness Center, Business Center and Outdoor Heated Spa onsite.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Six: Monday, June 02 - Transfer to Joshua Tree National Park, Park Field...
Transfer to Joshua Tree National Park, Park Field Trip with Trail Walks, Evening Program: Astronomy of the Desert Night Sky

Breakfast: Enjoy a freshly prepared breakfast in the hotel dining room.

Morning: TRANSFER: We depart for Joshua Tree National Park. We will make a short stop at California Welcome Center in Yucca Valley. FIELD TRIP: Joshua Tree National Park. Originally designated as a national monument, it became a national park in 1994 when Congress passed the California Desert Protection Act. The park is named for the native Joshua Tree, a member of the Yucca family.

Entering the Park at Joshua Tree Visitor Center, gain an overview of the Park as you travel along park roads. We’ll then walk along trails (paved or hard-packed sand) to see and learn about this special place shaped by forces such as strong winds, torrents of rain, and climatic extremes.

Our expert guide from the Desert Institute will lead us to specific stops based on the temperatures, but we hope to visit Keys View, the highest trail in the Park accessible by a paved road. Count on a brisk breeze (and bring your windbreaker). We'll walk along a paved quarter-mile loop with (weather permitting) scenic overlooks of valley, mountain and desert from its elevation of 5,185 feet.

Lunch: We’ll stop for a picnic lunch in Hidden Valley.

Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: We'll continue the afternoon in Joshua Tree National Park, where we'll learn about the transition between the Mojave and Colorado deserts from our Desert Institute guide. Because the Park straddles the two deserts, an unusual variety of plants are found within its boundaries.

We will stop for walks along trails (locations to be determined by temperatures at the time). Our route may include the Cholla Cactus Garden, an easy quarter-mile sandy loop trail. Learn about the cholla cactus (commonly called teddy bear cholla...but don't be deceived...it certainly can sting) and other desert flora.

At the conclusion of the field trip, we’ll drive to Twentynine Palms, California. Local lore says it was so called by gold miners because of 29 palm trees surrounding an oasis. We’ll check in to our hotel.

Dinner: We'll head out to dinner at the 29 Palms Inn, an outstanding restaurant noted for its fruits and vegetables picked fresh from the Inn’s own garden.

Evening: EVENING PROGRAM: We'll step out into the high desert to explore the universe surrounding us and have an expert-led look at the astronomy of the desert night sky using sight, binoculars, and telescopes (provided).

Lodging: Hotel 29 Palms Inn & Suites

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Type: Lodge

Description: The South Rim lodge (Maswik or Yavapai) was built within a quarter mile of the S. Rim.

Contact info:
S. Rim Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023 USA
phone: 928-638-2631
web: www.grandcanyonlodges.com

Room amenities: There are multiple lodging options at this site. Lodging is confirmed approximately 2 months in advance of the program. Television, phone. Refrigerators available upon request for medications. On occasion, the group may stay at Maswik Cabins, which provides showers only; no bath available. Bathrooms do not have grab bars or raised toilet seats. All rooms at the cabins are first floor. The location is very convenient to shuttle bus and to cafeteria.

Facility amenities: The lodge is convenient to all the shops, museums and restaurants within Grand Canyon Village. Free shuttle buses stop at the lodge.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Seven: Tuesday, June 03 - Colorado Plateau, Transfer to Grand Canyon Nation...
Colorado Plateau, Transfer to Grand Canyon National Park, Sunset Excursion

Breakfast: Enjoy breakfast in the hotel's breakfast bar.

Morning: TRANSFER: We’ll depart via motorcoach for Grand Canyon National Park, stopping en route in Parker, Arizona and following along the Colorado River.

Lunch: We'll have lunch at the Calico Restaurant in Kingman, AZ where we'll enjoy sandwiches and an opportunity to stretch our legs.

Afternoon: TRANSFER: The coach continues up to the Colorado Plateau. Our local study guide joins us in Steligman, Arizona where we take a rest break at the Visitor Center in this old Route 66 town. We have climbed up onto the Colorado Plateau, home to Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion National Parks and left Basin and Range country behind us. From Steligman,we head to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon where we plan to arrive in time for sunset and time to take in the majesty laid out before us prior to check in at a Grand Canyon Lodge. Our check in time late afternoon / early evening will be determined by the sun!

Dinner: Dinner will be at a National Park Lodge cafeteria where choices abound.

Evening: Following dinner and depending upon the time of sunset at the South Rim your evening will either be free or a taken up by the return trip from the sunset.

Lodging: South Rim Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: The South Rim lodge (Maswik or Yavapai) was built within a quarter mile of the S. Rim.

Contact info:
S. Rim Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023 USA
phone: 928-638-2631
web: www.grandcanyonlodges.com

Room amenities: There are multiple lodging options at this site. Lodging is confirmed approximately 2 months in advance of the program. Television, phone. Refrigerators available upon request for medications. On occasion, the group may stay at Maswik Cabins, which provides showers only; no bath available. Bathrooms do not have grab bars or raised toilet seats. All rooms at the cabins are first floor. The location is very convenient to shuttle bus and to cafeteria.

Facility amenities: The lodge is convenient to all the shops, museums and restaurants within Grand Canyon Village. Free shuttle buses stop at the lodge.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Eight: Wednesday, June 04 - The Grand Canyon: An Open Book of Earth's History
Breakfast: Breakfast at the Lodge cafeteria with coupons provided to select your preferred choices.

Morning: The morning begins with an option to take in a Grand Canyon Sunrise. Then travel to the rim of the canyon for a presentation by your naturalist on Grand Canyon geology to gain an understanding and appreciation of the geologic forces that created this wonder of the world. Often referred to as "the greatest open book of earth's history," the Grand Canyon provides opportunities for scientific inquiry equal to its inherently spiritual qualities. Then travel to historic Grand Canyon Village for a walking tour and optional short hike down the fabled Bright Angel Trail (maximum distance guided hike 2/3 mile with up to 200’ elevation change).

Lunch: Lunch on your own and at your leisure. Pick up a trail lunch from the cafeteria before heading out, enjoy the famed El Tovar hotel’s dining room (no reservations required) or Bright Angel Restaurant, Fountain or Bar. Check with your Group Leader for more options.

Afternoon: This afternoon is left open for you to explore the Grand Canyon at your own pace. Travel further afield using the park’s free shuttle bus system to visit Hermit’s Rest and view the scenic viewpoints along the park’s Hermit Rest Route. Amble along other parts of the rim trail to photograph, journal, contemplate or meditate while you gaze upon this world wonder. Other hiking options include: South Kaibab Trail, further down the Bright Angel Trail and Hermit Trail. Take more time at the park’s visitor center, Kolb Studio or Verkamp’s Curio Shop (now a visitor center focusing on human history of the park). There are also ranger-led programs which you may be able to take advantage of during this afternoon. And perhaps a California condor will fly over your head while you are enjoying an ice cream cone outside the Bright Angel Lodge Fountain. Your Group Leader and Road Scholar Grand Canyon guide can offer suggestions to make the most of your free afternoon in one of our country’s most treasured national parks.

Dinner: This evening we will reunite on the rim of the Canyon for either a catered dinner or at one of the Canyon’s finer restaurants. Enjoy trading stories of your day’s exploration of the Canyon while the sun sets, painting the walls of the canyon in hues of reds and gold as the stars begin to appear.

Evening: Enjoy a relaxing evening strolling on the rim after dinner (take your flashlight!), gazing at the sky and stars in some of the darkest skies in the country or turning in early in anticipation of what tomorrow may bring.

Lodging: South Rim Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: The Best Western Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel offers the newest luxurious accommodations for visitors to Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah.

Contact info:
30 North 100 East
Bryce Canyon City, UT 84764 USA
phone: 866-866-6634
web: www.brycecanyongrand.com/index.html

Room amenities: Rooms have a flat panel color television with over 50 channels and pay-per view movies available. The room also offers an iron, ironing board, hairdryer, coffee/tea maker with complimentary coffee, data ports, wireless Internet and voice mail.

Facility amenities: Interior corridors, heated outdoor pool and spa,business center, exercise facilities and guest laundry.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Nine: Thursday, June 05 - Desert View Watchtower, Marble Canyon, Navajo Ste...
Desert View Watchtower, Marble Canyon, Navajo Steel Arch Bridge over Colorado River, Vermilion Cliffs, Learning About Bryce Canyon National Park

Breakfast: Breakfast at the Lodge cafeteria with coupons provided to select your preferred choices.

Morning: After departing the lodge shortly after breakfast, we’ll travel for 30 minutes along the scenic South Rim to the Desert View Watchtower, built in 1932 as a replica of a prehistoric Indian watch tower. This iconic structure commands a magnificent view of the Grand Canyon and the Painted Desert. Recognized as a National Historic Landmark, the tower was designed by architect Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter in collaboration with Hopi artisans and notable Hopi artist Fred Kabotie, whose murals adorn the interior. Leaving Desert View and Grand Canyon National Park we will make a brief stop at the historic Cameron Trading Post where we’ll say good-bye to our Grand Canyon guide. Then we’ll travel the western edge of the Navajo Nation, through part of the Painted Desert with the beautiful Vermilion Cliffs alongside as we approach Marble Canyon.

Lunch: We’ll enjoy box lunches during our stop at the historic Navajo Bridge where we hope to see California condors soaring or perching.

Afternoon: TRANSFER: One of the most beautiful stretches we will travel lies before you. We ride down from the 7,000-foot elevation of the South Rim to the Colorado River at a 3,600-foot elevation in Marble Canyon.

EXCURSION: We’ll stop briefly to walk across Navajo Steel Arch Bridge that spans the 500-foot walls of Marble Canyon. The views will take your breath away as you gaze down at the river below and the towering 800-foot walls of the surrounding Vermilion Cliffs.

We head into Utah for the beauty of "Color Country" en route to Bryce Canyon National Park where we pick up our next instructional lecturer. We'll be staying at a hotel just outside the Park and will check in upon arrival.

Dinner: Dinner is in the dining room of our Inn just outside the Park.

Evening: EVENING PROGRAM: Our study leader will discuss the unique geology of Bryce Canyon National Park. As the National Park Service notes, “What is Bryce Canyon? Words confound when nothing comparable exists. A cave without a ceiling? A forest of stone? Even 'canyon' is misleading since Bryce is carved by freeze-thaw cycles, not a river.”

Lodging: Best Western Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Type: Hotel

Description: The Best Western Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel offers the newest luxurious accommodations for visitors to Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah.

Contact info:
30 North 100 East
Bryce Canyon City, UT 84764 USA
phone: 866-866-6634
web: www.brycecanyongrand.com/index.html

Room amenities: Rooms have a flat panel color television with over 50 channels and pay-per view movies available. The room also offers an iron, ironing board, hairdryer, coffee/tea maker with complimentary coffee, data ports, wireless Internet and voice mail.

Facility amenities: Interior corridors, heated outdoor pool and spa,business center, exercise facilities and guest laundry.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Ten: Friday, June 06 - Bryce Canyon Field Trip, Sunrise Point Early Morn...
Bryce Canyon Field Trip, Sunrise Point Early Morning Walk, Canyon Hikes, Rainbow Point & Yovimpa Point

Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.

Morning: FIELD TRIP: We begin with an expert-led, early morning hike to Sunrise Point for views of incredible formations with evocative names such as Boat Mesa, the Sinking Ship, Pink Cliffs of the Aquarius Plateau, and the hoodoos of Fairyland Canyon. “Hoodoos” are tall, thin spires of multi-colored rock, formed into peculiar shapes by erosion and found more at Bryce than anywhere else in the world. They can range in size from the height of an average person to higher than a 10-storey building.

We continue hiking down into the canyon along the so-called Queen’s Trail. If you use your imagination, the many hoodoos may look like a garden, presided over by the “Queen Victoria” hoodoo that gives the trail its name. Those who prefer a less strenuous outing can view Bryce from above, walking the rim.

Lunch: We'll have box lunches in the canyon.

Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Continue after lunch to view and learn more about the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon. We’ll explore Rainbow Point, where the Park stretches out before you back to the north, and the expansive view of Yovimpa Point to really appreciate the sequence of rock layers called the Grand Staircase. Different sections or steps in the Grand Staircase are named for the dominant color of rock. You’ll come away with a better understanding of the geologic forces in Bryce’s landscapes and an enhanced appreciation of its almost surreal beauty.

Dinner: We’ll eat out at a popular “barn” and grill for a delicious Western dinner accompanied by cowboy music.

Evening: EVENING PROGRAM: Our western entertainment will continue into the evening.

Lodging: Best Western Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Type: Inn

Description: Zion Park Inn has the towering red rock cliffs of Zion National Park as a backdrop and offers spectacular views from rooms and the restaurant windows. This premier lodging choice offers stunning scenery along with excellent amenities and comfortable rooms. The Zion Park Inn is the largest facility within Zion National Park area. The comfortable guest rooms have been designed to echo the natural elegance of Zion National Park. Natural furnishings complement the creature comforts and amenities you would expect in the heart of Zion National Park lodging. Guests can relax in the "Great Room" with its soaring ceiling and roaring fireplace, take a dip in the outdoor pool, or soak in the hot tub. Whatever you choose, you'll enjoy the charm and beauty of the meticulously landscaped grounds.

Contact info:
1215 Zion Park Blvd
Springdale, UT 84767 USA
phone: 435-772-3200
web: www.zionparkinn.com

Room amenities: Desk work area, individual climate control, alarm clocks, feature data ports, televisions, pay-per-view movies, interactive games and music, coffee maker, hair dryer, refrigerator, voice messaging, and free high speed wireless access.

Facility amenities: Convenient onsite amenities include full service Switchback Grille Restaurant with patio, deli, liquor store, and guest laundry facilities, heated outdoor pool and hot tub, basketball/volleyball court, badminton, putting green, gift shop, and elevator.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Eleven: Saturday, June 07 - Transfer to Zion National Park, Zion Human Histor...
Transfer to Zion National Park, Zion Human History Museum, Hike to Emerald Pools, Evening Program: Zion's Geology, Natural & Human History

Breakfast: Breakfast at Bryce Grand Hotel.

Morning: TRANSFER: We'll travel along Highway 89 into the East Entrance of Zion National Park, stopping to view the horizonal layers and vertical cracks of Checkerboard Mesa. This landmark is so called because the massive hill towering 900 feet above the highway is colorful, criss-crossed, and resembles (somewhat) a gigantic checkerboard. We will make a short stop at the Human History Museum. We continue through the Zion Tunnel and down the switchbacks.

Lunch: We'll stop for lunch at a restaurant in Springdale, a small community surrounded by the towering cliffs of Zion National Park.

Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Zion National Park in southwestern Utah comprises some of America’s most scenic canyon country, characterized by high plateaus, deep sandstone canyons and cliffs ranging in color from ivory to red, and dramatic rock towers and mesas. This showcase of natural history vividly presents the effects of geologic processes, while traces of early human activity have almost disappeared.

After lunch, we take go to the Zion Human History Museum for a short multi-media presentation providing an overview of the Park. Aftewards, we’ll make a short hike along the Emerald Pools trails to see the pools themselves — named for their green tint from algae — that characterize this delightful, secluded oasis.

Travel then to the Zion Park Inn to check in before dinner.

Dinner: At the entrance to the Park in Springdale, we'll have dinner at Switchback. They feature artfully prepared dishes with enticing flavors of the American West, France and Italy!

Evening: EVENING PROGRAM: An expert will capture the essence of Zion National Park in a presentation that will include it's extraordinary geology, and may include elements of its Anasazi history, the building of the Zion Tunnel and the plants and animals resident there, as determined by your questions and interests.

Lodging: Best Western Zion Park Inn

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Type: Inn

Description: Zion Park Inn has the towering red rock cliffs of Zion National Park as a backdrop and offers spectacular views from rooms and the restaurant windows. This premier lodging choice offers stunning scenery along with excellent amenities and comfortable rooms. The Zion Park Inn is the largest facility within Zion National Park area. The comfortable guest rooms have been designed to echo the natural elegance of Zion National Park. Natural furnishings complement the creature comforts and amenities you would expect in the heart of Zion National Park lodging. Guests can relax in the "Great Room" with its soaring ceiling and roaring fireplace, take a dip in the outdoor pool, or soak in the hot tub. Whatever you choose, you'll enjoy the charm and beauty of the meticulously landscaped grounds.

Contact info:
1215 Zion Park Blvd
Springdale, UT 84767 USA
phone: 435-772-3200
web: www.zionparkinn.com

Room amenities: Desk work area, individual climate control, alarm clocks, feature data ports, televisions, pay-per-view movies, interactive games and music, coffee maker, hair dryer, refrigerator, voice messaging, and free high speed wireless access.

Facility amenities: Convenient onsite amenities include full service Switchback Grille Restaurant with patio, deli, liquor store, and guest laundry facilities, heated outdoor pool and hot tub, basketball/volleyball court, badminton, putting green, gift shop, and elevator.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Twelve: Sunday, June 08 - Zion National Park, Weeping Rock, Temple of Sinaw...
Zion National Park, Weeping Rock, Temple of Sinawava, Hike Zion Narrows, IMAX "Treasure of the Gods," Birds of Prey Presentation

Breakfast: Breakfast at Zion Park Inn.

Morning: FIELD TRIP: We’ll take a shuttle to explore some of the most significant sites in the Park. Weeping Rock really appears to weep due to water migrating through sandstone and shale until seeping out onto the surface. The Temple of Sinawava was named for the coyote-spirit of the Paiute Indians and hosts small wildlife such as birds, frogs, gophers, and lizards.

We’ll hike along the Virgin River, an easy 2 mile round trip hike on paved trails, to the spectacular Zion Narrows gorge for views of the towering, vertical rock sides of the canyon. The Narrows were carved by the river in ancient times and are today characterized by soaring walls, sandstone grottos, natural springs, and hanging gardens.

Adventure awaits you as the hike ends at the entrance of the Narrows, and you have the option to hike up the river a few hundred yards to get a feel for being inside a slot canyon. The only way up is "IN" the river! You can choose to either embark on this quite difficult hike (as you can't see the river bottom and are walking on slippery rocks and boulders), or to explore the rest of the river. A little rest time is of course an option as well.

Lunch: Enjoy a box lunch in the beauty of the Park.

Afternoon: FREE TIME: The afternoon is free for you to explore the Park on your own. You may want to revisit the Park visitor centers and bookstores that offer a wealth of interpretive resources. The Zion shuttle makes your exploration simple to and from the hotel.

View "Treasure of the Gods" in Zion's IMAX Theater— an original giant-screen motion picture by Academy Award Winning Director Keith Merrill. Experience the myth, magic, and drama of Zion Canyon’s history and legends, with scenes from southwest National Parks and Native American lands.

Dinner: Dinner will be in a local favorite restaurant in Springdale.

Evening: EVENING PROGRAM: Our expert from the Southwest Wildlife Foundation will amaze you with his "Birds of Prey" presentation with live birds.

Lodging: Best Western Zion Park Inn

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day Thirteen: Monday, June 09 - Program Concludes, Transfer to Las Vegas for Inde...
Breakfast: Breakfast at Zion Park Inn.

Morning: TRANSFER: After hotel check-out, we say farewell to these iconic National Parks of the West and board our motorcoach for the transfer to for Las Vegas.

ARRIVAL IN LAS VEGAS: We'll arrive by 10:30 AM local time. Our drop off point will be the McCarran Airport in Las Vegas. If you are planning to fly out of Las Vegas, be sure to book your flight departing AFTER 12:30 PM.

We trust you have enjoyed this exciting new "Exploring North America" learning adventure and will join us for other rewarding Road Scholar programs in the future. Best wishes for all your journeys!

Meals Included: Breakfast



Free Time Opportunities


San Francisco, CA
Aquarium of the BayMeet 20,000 amazing marine animals as you walk through 300 feet of crystal clear tunnels. Touch sharks and rays. It's like skin diving without getting wet. Open daily except Dec. 25.
For additional information, visit: www.aquariumofthebay.com
Pier 39There is something for everyone at PIER 39, one of San Francisco's premier Bay attractions: a festival marketplace with more than 110 stores, 14 Bay view restaurants and a variety of fun-filled attractions for all ages, including the world-renowned sea lions, street performers and live daily entertainment.
For additional information, visit: www.pier39.com
San Francisco ZooNorthern California's largest zoological park features approximately 1,000 exotic and endangered wildlife. Visit the new Grizzly Gulch (June 2007), home to two grizzly bears and stroll through the African Savannah habitat. Experience the wonders of the Children's Zoo and visit other favorites such as Gorilla Preserve, Penguin Island, Koala Crossing, Lemur Forest and the Australian WalkAbout. Ride the historical Dentzel Carousel and Little Puffer miniature steam train.
For additional information, visit: www.sfzoo.org
El Portal, CA
Yosemite National Park ActivitiesA wide variety of activities around the park provide additional photographic opportunities, ways to explore independently or simply relax.
For additional information, visit: www.nps.gov/archive/yose/trip/activities.htm

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.
Currently selected:Prices Starting At:
May 28 — Jun 9, 2014 waitlist only  

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
12 nights of accommodations
34 meals: 12 breakfasts, 10 lunches, 12 dinners
6 Expert-led lectures
14 Field trips
1 Hands-on experiences
3 Performances

Ratings

4.6
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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