Road Scholar : Home
The Best of Color Country National Parks: Zion, Bryce and Grand Canyon

Program Number: 11573RJ
Start and End Dates:
8/22/2013 - 8/29/2013; 9/6/2015 - 9/13/2015; 9/13/2015 - 9/20/2015; 9/15/2015 - 9/22/2015; 9/22/2015 - 9/29/2015; 9/29/2015 - 10/6/2015; 10/1/2015 - 10/8/2015; 10/4/2015 - 10/11/2015; 10/11/2015 - 10/18/2015; 5/12/2016 - 5/19/2016; 5/15/2016 - 5/22/2016; 5/22/2016 - 5/29/2016; 5/24/2016 - 5/31/2016; 5/29/2016 - 6/5/2016; 6/5/2016 - 6/12/2016; 6/7/2016 - 6/14/2016; 6/21/2016 - 6/28/2016; 8/9/2016 - 8/16/2016; 8/21/2016 - 8/28/2016; 9/4/2016 - 9/11/2016; 9/11/2016 - 9/18/2016; 9/20/2016 - 9/27/2016; 9/27/2016 - 10/4/2016; 10/2/2016 - 10/9/2016; 10/6/2016 - 10/13/2016; 10/9/2016 - 10/16/2016;
Duration: 7 nights
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Price starting at: $1,625.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: National Parks; On the Road
Meals: 20; 7 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 6 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

The Colorado Plateau has created monuments shaped by winter snows, rain and geological upheaval over a span of time eluding human comprehension. Even with an understanding of geology, the multi-hued amphitheaters and hoodoos of Bryce, the cathedral canyons of Zion and the lush North Rim of the Grand Canyon seem improbable — inspiring wonder and defying imagination. Venture into these breathtaking national parks to discover their evolution through geologic time and the natural history and human stories that also color this country.


• Hike in Zion National Park's main canyon as a naturalist provides trailside insights.
• Spend a day among hoodoos and other rock formations of Bryce Canyon National Park.
• Witness sunrise and sunset at the Grand Canyon’s North Rim and enjoy a meditative hike below the rim on the North Kaibab Trail.

Activity Particulars

Walking three miles on flat, paved, packed dirt surfaces; some steep, uneven trails. Shorter walks available. Elevations up to 8,000 feet. A slower pace with less walking on "Moderate" weeks.

Date Specific Information


Please note: This start date offers exclusive accommodations inside all three national parks. Enjoy the ability to experience the parks on your schedule during program down time. All three lodges are part of the historic Grand Circle loop tour, pioneered by the Union Pacific Railway and showcased in the PBS documentary "Great Lodges Of The National Parks."

5-22-2016, 9-27-2016

Moderate Activity Level this week. A slower pace with less walking and more time to linger over the stunning landscapes.

6-7-2016, 6-21-2016, 8-9-2016, 8-21-2016, 10-9-2016

Start date offers exclusive accommodations inside all three national parks. Enjoy the ability to experience the parks on your schedule during program down time. All three lodges are part of the historic Grand Circle loop tour, pioneered by the Union Pacific Railway and showcased in the PBS documentary "Great Lodges Of The National Parks."

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Las Vegas, Nev., 1 night; coach to Zion National Park, Utah, 2 nights; coach to Bryce Canyon National Park, 2 nights; coach to North Rim Grand Canyon, Ariz., 2 nights; coach to Las Vegas, Nev.; departure.

Coordinated by ExploreWest.

Grand Canyon North Rim

Sitting atop the Kaibab Plateau 9,000 feet above sea level with lush green meadows surrounded by a mixed conifer forest sprinkled with aspen, the North Rim is an oasis in the desert. Although only ten miles as the crow flies from the South Rim, the North Rim offers solitude and awe-inspiring views.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon, famous for its unique geology, consists of a series of horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters carved from the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau in southern Utah. Erosion and rainwater have shaped the colorful limestone rock into bizarre shapes including slot canyons, windows, fins and spires called "hoodoos."

Las Vegas (Nevada)

Located in the Mojave Desert, Las Vegas is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Between the world-class entertainment and gambling on “The Strip” and the region’s amazing natural resources including beautiful Red Rock Canyon it is clear why people love this desert community.

Zion National Park

True to its name, which means "refuge" or "sanctuary" in ancient Hebrew, Zion is an oasis at the junction of the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin and Mojave Desert provinces, encompassing sandstone canyons and colorful, high plateaus.

Las Vegas: Hotel convenient for airport and Strip. Zion: Lodge in Zion gateway town. Bryce Canyon: Lodge on park boundary. Grand Canyon: Cabins near views of the North Rim.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Jennifer Beltz

Jennifer Beltz is a former interpretive park ranger at Phantom Ranch, located in Grand Canyon National Park. She has worked as a naturalist and national park ranger throughout the United States, was co-coordinator of a Road Scholar service program that built a health clinic in Brazil, and has worked on many intergenerational programs. Jennifer has lectured in the Department of Geography and Public Planning at Northern Arizona University and has led programs for Road Scholar since 1992.
Bruce Banker

Bruce Banker is a graduate of Northern Arizona University, where he studied natural sciences and geology. He lives in Flagstaff and has worked for the National Park Service as a naturalist on the north rim of the Grand Canyon, Chaco Canyon National Historic Park and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Bruce also serves as an outdoor educator for the Grand Canyon Field Institute. Bruce has taken students to many of the far-flung corners of the Southwest and has a few good stories to share.
David Best

David Best grew up in North Carolina and received his degrees in mathematics and geology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He retired after 32 years from the Geology Department at Northern Arizona University, where he was both a professor and administrator. His passion was teaching undergraduates, particularly non-majors who took introductory general education courses. He also mentored graduate students in the area of geophysics. He is the author of a textbook on natural hazards and is writing a similar book for the general populace. David enjoys gourmet cooking, traveling, woodworking, and reading.
Stanley Beus

From his early days growing up on a dairy farm in Idaho, Dr. Stanley Beus quickly became fascinated with nature. He earned a doctorate in geology from UCLA before beginning a career as an exploration geologist and later became the first head of the geology department at Northern Arizona University. Dr. Beus has been both a field and class instructor for Road Scholar programs for more than 20 years and has enjoyed bringing geology to life for literally thousands of participants.
Joanna Joseph

Daughter of a Montana saddle maker, Joanna Joseph is an artist, musician and interpreter of human history. At the University of Montana, she studied art, drama and classical Greek. Joanna was also program supervisor at Glen Canyon Dam, developing an appreciation for the importance of water in the Southwest. A resident of Big Water, Utah, she has worked with Road Scholar since 1994.
Rosie Horsen

Rosie Horsen is full-blooded Navajo and grew up on the reservation, the oldest of eight children, in Gray Mountain, Ariz. She attended Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding schools from the age of seven through high school in both Tuba City and in Phoenix. She resides in Cameron on the southwestern corner of the Navajo reservation, in view of the San Francisco Peaks. She has been coordinating tutoring service programs in reservation schools since 1997.
Darrell McMahon

Darrell McMahon has worked in natural resource management for more than three decades and has extensive experience as a wildlife biologist, entomologist and habitat biologist. In addition to teaching college courses in geology and natural history, Darrell has taught at Dixie State University and Southern Utah University the past seven years and has knowledge of natural history, forest ecology and wildlife.
Meals and Lodgings
   Alexis Park Resort
  Las Vegas, NV 1 night
   Zion Lodge
  Zion National Park 2 nights
   Grand Canyon Lodge
  North Rim, Grand Canyon 2 nights
   Bryce Canyon Lodge
  Bryce Canyon National Park 2 nights
 Alexis Park Resort
Type: Hotel
  Description: Welcome to the Alexis Park All Suite Resort, one of the most exciting resorts in Las Vegas. The Alexis Park All Suite Resort is the premiere all-suite, non-gaming resort in Las Vegas. Unrivaled in its Las Vegas Strip proximity (directly across the street from the Hard Rock Hotel) the Alexis Park All Suite Resort features all the hotel amenities along with casual boutique hotel services. From the moment you arrive at this oasis in the sun, you will experience all that makes Alexis Park All Suite Resort a special place to stay. Here, you’ll love strolling through the lush courtyard gardens surrounded by winding pathways that lead you to three sparkling pools.
  Contact info: 375 East Harmon Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89169 USA
phone: 702-796-3300
  Room amenities: The Alexis Park All Suite Resort was the first non-gaming resort property in Las Vegas. With a long history of boutique experiences and guests, the hotel has been providing quality hotel service and hosting events in Las Vegas for several decades. Guests may stroll beautifully landscaped gardens to access a variety of relaxing and stylish choices in accommodations. All Hotel Suites at the Alexis Park Las Vegas include: Two Telephone Lines; Wet Bar; Refrigerator; 32" Flat Screen with Pay Per View Movies WIFI available for $12.99 per 24 hour period, per device.
  Facility amenities: The Alexis Park All Suite Las Vegas Resort is your oasis in the sun. Here, you'll enjoy walking along the lush courtyard garden pathways that lead you to our three sparkling pools. The Alexis Park All Suite Resort offers one-on-one personalized service, tropical landscaped grounds and FUN....LOTS OF IT. Resort Amenities include: Free Computer, internet, printer in lobby; Wifi for a fee in rooms; Three Sparkling Swimming Pools; Exercise Room; Alexis Gardens Restaurant; Pegasus Bar & Lounge Meeting & Banquet Service. All Guests of Alexis Park have access to Room Service, Guest Services, Free Safe Deposit Boxes and Business Center Services. Free Airport Shuttle: Leaves Hotel on the hour from 7 AM to 9 PM (except 10AM, 2PM, and 6PM on Fri, Sat and Sun), arrives at airport approximately 30 minutes later. Call Hotel once you have your luggage: 702-796-3300 or 1-800-582-2228.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: $90.00 for dbl, $65 for single Based on availability, participants can book 3 days prior to program start date and/or 3 days after program end date at contracted suite price of $90 per night double occupancy or $65 per night single occupancy.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Zion Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: National Park Lodge nestled in peaceful Zion Canyon with hiking trails and spectacular views just outside your door.
  Contact info: Zion National Park
PO Box 925
Springdale, UT 84767 USA
phone: 435-772-7771
  Room amenities: All rooms feature air conditioning, phones, radio alarm clocks, hairdryers, safe, TV and coffeemakers. Complimentary wireless in lobby & guestrooms.
  Facility amenities: Most rooms have two queen-size beds, full bath and private porch or balcony. Some rooms do have a king-size bed. The motel rooms are equipped with a 37 inch flat-screen television with satellite reception. They are clean, comfortable and within walking distance to trails and main lodge. (Includes two accessible rooms, two ADA rooms with roll-in showers.) All rooms feature air conditioning, phones, radio alarm clocks, hairdryers and coffeemakers. Internet kiosk in the lobby, complimentary. Complimentary wireless in lobby & guestrooms.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Grand Canyon Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: The only lodging available on the North Rim, this old lodge of rough hewn logs and rocks is chiseled into the limestone of the rim itself, offering broad views of the Grand Canyon, Bright Angel Canyon, the South Rim, and the San Francisco Peaks nearly 100 miles south. Rooms are in nearby cabins on the same grounds, within walking distance of the lodge. These historic cabins are both rustic and romantic.
  Contact info: Grand Canyon NP
North Rim, AZ 86052 USA
phone: 928-638-2611
  Room amenities: Be prepared to step into the past in these quaint rustic historic cabins that have basic necessities including electricity, hot and cold running water, shower, ice bucket, hair dryer, heat, a telephone and screened windows that open up to let in fresh mountain air.
  Facility amenities: Grand Canyon Lodge Dining Room has magnificent views of the Grand Canyon through its huge picture windows. Lodge Dining Room serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, Deli in the Pines for fast service dining, espresso coffee bar with fresh baked goods, Rough Rider Saloon, gift shop, camper store, self serve guest laundry facilities. Immediate access to Rim views and hiking trails from the lodge.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Bryce Canyon Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: The Bryce Canyon Lodge building is a charming, timber and rock lodge Designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood in the 1920's. Bryce Canyon Lodge - the only "in-park" lodging at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah! It is here that delicacy of form unites with brilliancy of color. From sunrise to sunset, the changing scenes pass before you in vivid reds, yellows and purples. Watch as light plays upon rock, immersing you in a dazzling light show. It's one of Mother Nature's masterpieces and it's all yours to explore from just outside your door! Completely renovated to its original rustic 1920s elegance - down to replicas of the lodge's original hickory furniture - this beautiful "in-the-park" lodge is on the National Historic Register. They are within a short walk to both the rim and the lodge. This quiet and relaxed atmosphere, without televisions, allows the guest to get reacquainted with nature. Fine dining is available in the main lodge. The motel unit was built in 1986 in the same rustic style as the original lodge. Each room has 2 queen-size beds, full bath and private porch or balcony.
  Contact info: Bryce Canyon NP
Bryce Canyon, UT 84717 USA
phone: 435-834-5361
  Room amenities: All rooms feature private porch or balcony, phones, radio alarm clocks, coffee maker, hair dryer, and oscillating fan. No TVs will encourage you to experience your stunning surroundings. All guest rooms are non smoking.
  Facility amenities: This incredible facility offers easy access to the beauty of Bryce canyon with hiking trails on site as well as Nature Preserves/ Trails on site. Enjoy delicious meals served at the fine Dining Restaurant at Bryce Lodge, open daily, 6:30 am - 9:30 pm, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Casual attire. Meals served: Breakfast: 6:30 am - 10:30 am; Lunch: 11:00 am - 3:30 pm; Dinner: 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm. Shopping, 24 hour Front Desk, Post / Parcel Services, Self serve guest laundry.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Sponsored by Northern Arizona University. Arrivals and check-in at the hotel after 3:00 PM. On site registration in the hotel meeting room from 4:30-5:15 PM. You will be staying at Alexis Park Resort that night.
  End of Program:
Las Vegas McCarran Airport, 1:00 PM; Followed by a stop at the starting hotel. You will be staying at Bryce Canyon Lodge the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Parking available for the length of the program at the Las Vegas hotel.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Las Vegas, NV
  Nearest airport:  McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Departures
Travel Details

From last location


To Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
NAU Road Scholar


Per Person/One Way:


Included in program.
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


5 hours 


Road Scholar transportation takes participants to Las Vegas McCarran Intl airport, to arrive there by 1 PM. After dropping departing passengers there, the next stop is the starting hotel, where those who drove to the program will pick up their cars.


To Alexis Park Resort, Las Vegas, NV


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Multiple Commercial Van/ Shuttle services available


Per Person/One Way:


Approx $7 per person
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


10-15 minutes 




2.5 miles


Airline Shuttle Corp Strip Hotels: $7 ($13 rt) 24 hours, 7 days a week 888.554.1156 I 702.444.1234 Bell Trans Strip hotels: $7 ($13 rt) 24 hours, 7 days a week 800.274.RIDE (7433) 1.702.385.LIMO (5466) Executive las Vegas Strip hotels: $6 ($12 rt) 24 hours, 7 days a week 702.646.4661 Showtime Strip hotels: $7 ($13 rt) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 702.895.9976


To Alexis Park Resort, Las Vegas, NV


From Airport




Hotel Shuttle
phone: 702-796-3300


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.




2.5 miles


Complimentary shuttle leaves hotel every hour on the hour from 7 AM to 9 PM (except 10 AM, 2 PM, and 6 PM on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). Call Hotel when you retrieve you luggage. Other Commercial services run 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week.

Driving Directions
  Helpful information as you plan! Apprx. Air Travel Times to Las Vegas from: Atlanta 4 hours, Chicago 3.5 hours, Dallas 2.5 hours, Denver 1.5 hours, Honolulu 6 hours, Houston 3 hours, Los Angeles 1 hour, Minneapolis 3 hours, New Orleans 3.75 hours, New York City 5 hours, Phoenix 1 hour, San Diego 55 minutes, San Francisco 1.25 hours, Seattle 2.25 hours, St. Louis 3 hours, Washington, D.C. 5 hours, Apprx. Drive Times to Las Vegas from: Atlanta 36 hours, Chicago 29 hours, Dallas 24 hours, Denver 12 hours, Houston 27 hours, Los Angeles 5 hour, Minneapolis 27 hours, New Orleans 32 hours, New York City 42 hours, Phoenix 8 hour, San Diego 6 hours, San Francisco 10 hours, Seattle 16 hours, St. Louis 26 hours, Washington, D.C. 40 hours.
  The Alexis Park All Suite Resort is easy to find: From Southern California - Take Interstate 15 from the California State border into Las Vegas and exit onto E. Tropicana, turn left on Koval and right onto E. Harmon Avenue. The Alexis Park All Suite Resort will be on the right side. From Southern Utah (St. George) - Take Interstate 15 South into Las Vegas and exit onto E. Flamingo Road, turn right on Koval and proceed to E. Harmon Avenue. Turn left onto E. Harmon Avenue and the Alexis Park All Suite Resort will be on the right side. From Northern Nevada (Tonapah) - Take Highway 95 South into Las Vegas and proceed to Interstate 15 South to Exit 39 on E. Flamingo Road. Right onto Koval and proceed to E. Harmon Avenue, turn left onto E. Harmon Avenue and the Alexis Park All Suite Resort will be on the right side. From Northern Arizona (Kingman via Boulder City, NV) - Take Highway 93 North through Boulder City, NV and into Las Vegas. Take Highway 215 West to Highway 15 North. Exit E. Tropicana and turn left onto Koval and proceed to E. Harmon Avenue. Turn right on E. Harmon Avenue and Alexis Park All Suite Resort will be on right side. From Las Vegas Airport - Exit Airport traveling north on Paradise Road. Travel one mile on Paradise and turn left on E. Harmon Avenue Alexis Park All Suite Resort will be on left side.
Elevation Note: >8000 ft in places. Those with heart/lung conditions should consult physician before attending.

Equipment Requirements: Walking shoes or hiking boots with good traction, water bottle, rain gear, sunhat, sunscreen, sunglasses, flashlight, old tennis shoes or river sandals and hiking stick for those who hike up the stream. National Park Pass or Golden Age Pass (if you have one), for entrance into the National Parks.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Check-In/Orientation & Introductions
(Thursday, August 22)
 Afternoon: Arrivals and check-in at the hotel after 3 PM. On site registration in the hotel meeting room from 4:30 - 5:15 PM.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel. Tea or coffee, soup or salad, Entree, vegetable, bread rolls when appropriate, etc.
 Evening: After dinner, your Northern Arizona University coordinator will lead an introduction and orientation session. With your fellow participants, you will review the week's itinerary, travel arrangements, sightseeing tips, etc., and there will be a question and answer session afterward. Everyone will leave knowing what to expect!
Accommodations: Alexis Park Resort
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Basin & Range/Zion National Park
(Friday, August 23)
 Breakfast: Bacon or Sausage, eggs or quiche or omelette, hash browns or potatoes, bagels, toast, Fresh Sliced Fruit, Whole Fruit, Hard Boiled Eggs, yogurt, waffles, fresh baked muffins, pastries, orange and apple juice, coffee, decaf, and assorted teas.
 Morning: Bring your luggage out to the coach and board the coach for the AM departure. Travel with your Northern Arizona University Naturalist/Guide who is knowledgeable and experienced in the region. While the Geology of these three Parks are important and the most obvious topics, your Naturalist/Guide will enhance your travel time with insight into the Geology, Plants and Animals, Human History and Pre-History of the of the area. Travel through the Basin and Range Province and the upper Mohave Desert, and the Virgin River Gorge, to the volcanic edge of the Colorado Plateau. En route hear a lecture on basic geology and discuss how it relates to the Color Country we are traveling through and to.
 Lunch: We stop for lunch at the Majestic View Lodge in Springdale, just outside of Zion National Park.
 Afternoon: Board the coach and travel to the Zion National Park entrance and the Visitor Center. The center has a large scale relief map of the park, where you can overview what you will be seeing the next day and a half. You'll enjoy a pass through the bookstore at the center as well. Afterwards, Enjoy a short walk to the Lower Emerald Pool (1.2 miles RT/69 ft. elevation change on paved but sometimes uneven or muddy sidewalk).
 Dinner: Dinner in the Red Rock Grill of the Zion Lodge in Zion National Park.
 Evening: After dinner there will be Ranger Presentation by a Zion National Park Ranger in the lodge auditorium.
Accommodations: Zion Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Nature Walk/Zion Human History Museum/Weeping Rock/Temple of Sinawava
(Saturday, August 24)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the Red Rock Grill of the Zion Lodge.
 Morning: There is an optional pre-breakfast sunrise nature walk on the PaRus Trail, with an emphasis on the natural environment we see along the trail. The PaRus trail is lovely in the early morning - it is quiet and mostly paved (with one short uneven gravel section) along the banks of the N. Fork of the Virgin River, with good views of the Streaked Wall, the Beehives, the Watchman, Bridge Arch and Bridge Mountain. Along the Trail we can see and discuss native plants and their uses. It is slightly over 1 mile, with 50 ft. elevation loss. Following breakfast, travel to the Zion Human History Museum with its 22 minute multi-media presentation on Zion. From here, there are great views of the Towers of the Virgin and the Altar of Sacrifice. After the museum stop, shuttle on to lunch.
 Lunch: Sack lunch inside the Park at the Grotto Picnic area. Choice of Ham, Roast Beef or Turkey, Potato Chips. Fresh Fruit (Apple or Orange), Cookie or Brownie.
 Afternoon: After lunch, shuttle to Weeping Rock. There is a short, steep trail here - about half a mile round trip, and about 100 feet of elevation change. En route, along the steep canyon walls are natural hanging gardens. View the Weeping Rock seep, and return to the shuttle to travel higher into the canyon. You'll ride up to the Temple of Sinawava stop, where you begin the one mile long (each way) paved approach to the Narrows. For those who would like, you can put on your old sneakers or river sandals, grab your hiking stick and make your way into the river here to photograph the towering, vertical rock sides of the canyon. Then walk back down and shuttle back to the Lodge.
 Dinner: Tonight's dinner is on your own to enjoy the many local restaurants in Springdale. A list of options will be provided to participants beforehand.
 Evening: Free evening to explore Springdale.
Accommodations: Zion Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Switchbacks, Checkerboard Mesa and Grand Staircase/Grand Canyon North Rim and Bright Angel Point
(Sunday, August 25)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the Red Rock Grill of Zion Lodge.
 Morning: Board the motor coach for the southbound trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. You'll travel through the Zion Switchbacks and Tunnels, with their "Galleries" (windows) looking onto some of Zion's most vertical rock faces. Stop at Checkerboard Mesa, and hear why it has horizontal layers and vertical cracks.. Travel on down several steps of the Grand Staircase to Kanab, UT and on into Arizona (Change to Mountain Standard Time). Once in Arizona the road climbs up the Kaibab Plateau. You'll stop at the LeFevre overlook where there is a larger than panoramic view of the Grand Staircase. Here you can look north and see the southern end of Bryce Canyon National Park atop the Staircase, and the tops of the Towers of Zion National Park. After nearing 8,000 ft elevation, you'll arrive at Jacob Lake for lunch at the Jacob Lake Inn.
 Lunch: The Jacob Lake Inn, a pine-surrounded log structure with a fireplace and a wonderfully homey feel, will serve some of its home-cooked fare. Be sure to leave room for the baked-right-there cookies, on sale near the door as you leave.
 Afternoon: After lunch you'll continue southbound across the upper reaches of Kaibab Plateau, through forests of pines, spruce, fir and quaking aspen. Learn why fire is important to the health of Ponderosa Pine forests and what happens when you suppress fires for 100 years. These are incredible woods which, with their huge meadows, give more of a feel of Montana than Arizona. Along the way you may see the unique Kaibab squirrels, wild turkeys and deer. When you arrive at Grand Canyon National Park, you have the option to walk out to Bright Angel Point. The half mile roundtrip out the spine of the ridge to the point is paved and is a little steep in places, but worth it. From the point you'll be treated to impressive colorful views stretching well down into Roaring Springs and Bright Angel Canyons. After our walk, we then check in at the Grand Canyon Lodge for our stay in the rustic cabins near the main lodge building and the canyon views on the back porch of the Grand Canyon Lodge.
 Dinner: Dining in the historic Grand Canyon Lodge is truly a memorable experience. Regional as well as 1930's themed foods are featured throughout the menus. They take pride in utilizing only the freshest and healthiest ingredients. The "all natural" beef and poultry products are free of any antibodies or hormones. Additionally, they offer organic products such as salad greens and pastas.
 Evening: After dinner you have the option of taking in the presentation by the NPS ranger, or go for a walk out to one of several view points overlooking the canyon to watch the stars rotate over your head.
Accommodations: Grand Canyon Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: North Rim / Point Imperial
(Monday, August 26)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet including a full assortment of hot and cold items including eggs, assorted breakfast meats, seasoned potatoes, freshly baked biscuits and country gravy, french toast casserole, pastries, fruits, and yogurt.
 Morning: Start your morning with a nature walk along and near the rim. Then board the motor coach and ride out to Point Imperial, the highest point on the North Rim at 8,803 feet. From the vista point here you can see the winding, narrow slash of Marble Canyon just upstream of where it breaks out into the wider Grand Canyon. The rocks of the Canyon walls are especially colorful here, offering both black and red stripes of the ancient rock.
 Lunch: Sack lunch with the eastern Grand Canyon as a backdrop.
 Afternoon: Board the motor coach and travel back through the N. Kaibab forest to the Grand Canyon Lodge, arriving around 2:00 PM. Here your afternoon provides you with several options. You may want to hike down the N. Kaibab trail, which drops 600 feet in 3/4 of a mile. If you're feeling less athletic but still would enjoy a good hike, try the Transept Trail from the Lodge to the ancestral puebloan ruin. Or catch an afternoon Ranger Program, or take the afternoon to relax at the coffee bar, the bookstore or saloon, or sit out on the Lodge patio and drink in the views.
 Dinner: Dinner reservations in the dining room of the Grand Canyon Lodge with its spectacular view.
 Evening: Optional National Park Ranger presentation.
Accommodations: Grand Canyon Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Up the Grand Staircase and Long Valley/Inspiration Point
(Tuesday, August 27)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at North Rim Lodge dining room.
 Morning: Board motor coach for the trip northbound from the Grand Canyon. We descend from the Kaibab Plateau and then climb the Grand Staircase on US 89, heading up Long Valley, rich in early Mormon history to Bryce Canyon National Park.
 Lunch: Have lunch at Ruby's, near the entrance to Bryce Canyon. Ruby's puts on a great buffet.
 Afternoon: Board the motor coach, travel into Bryce Canyon National Park and head for Inspiration Point. The unpaved trail there takes you in .9 mile 100 ft. down through bristlecone pines and all along the way you'll have great views of the pinnacle rock hoodoos with their diagonal scour markings. You'll love the contrast between the exposed rock hoodoos and the spruce, fir and bristlecone pine surroundings. Inspiration Point is post-card photogenic. Late afternoon check-in at the historic Bryce Canyon Lodge just a minutes walk from the rim.
 Dinner: Surrounded by the majestic Ponderosa Pine Forest, the Bryce Canyon Lodge dining room is a wonderful place to relax and take in the inspiring beauty of Bryce Canyon. Enjoy dining in the style of rustic elegance from the 1930s. This certified Green Restaurant serves up an environmentally sustainable menu with regional specialties as well as organic and all natural food choices.
 Evening: Optional evening National Park Ranger presentation, or walk out to the rim and watch the Hoodoos change color as the sun sets behind you.
Accommodations: Bryce Canyon Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Queen's Garden Trail, Rainbow Pt, Yovimpa Pt, Bryce Canyon NP Visitor Center
(Wednesday, August 28)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the Bryce Canyon Lodge.
 Morning: Before breakfast is the optional trip to Bryce Point. Early risers will be rewarded for their discipline when they ride our motor coach out to Bryce Point well before sunrise. Here we can watch both the brightening eastern horizon and the hoodoos change below you in Bryce Amphitheater. In the horizontal light of dawn, the colors there are wonderfully rich. After breakfast enjoy the walk to Sunrise Point. There, you'll see the famous Twinkle Toes tree, and learn about the forces of erosion. For those who want to make the hike, there is the .9 mile trail one way down 320 feet amongst the hoodoos and see Queen Victoria surveying the Queen's Garden. Participants are also welcome to hike just part of the trail. For those who prefer a more relaxed experience, there are excellent views of the garden from the rim walk. Then we'll take our motor coach on the spectacularly scenic drive to Rainbow Point.
 Lunch: Sack Lunch enjoying the view at Rainbow Point at the Park's southern end at 9115 feet above sea level.
 Afternoon: After lunch, there are photo opportunities at Rainbow Point. Then you'll walk .25 mile one way through a high woods (9115 ft) of many types of conifers to Yovimpa Point, with its expansive views of the Grand Staircase and Navajo Mountain to the east and the Kaibab Plateau to the south. After returning from Yovimpa Point, you'll board the motor coach and ride to the Bryce Canyon NP Visitor Center, and the return to the lodge.
 Dinner: Dinner in the dining room of the Bryce Canyon Lodge. After dinner, enjoy the program remembrances and farewells.
 Evening: Optional evening National Park Ranger presentation, or walk out to the rim and watch the Hoodoos change color as the sun sets behind you.
Accommodations: Bryce Canyon Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Departures at Las Vegas McCarran Airport
(Thursday, August 29)
 Breakfast: Early breakfast in the Dining Room of the Bryce Canyon Lodge.
 Morning: Load into the motor coach to depart from Ruby's by 8:15 AM sharp. Return to Las Vegas McCarran International Airport via St. George, UT and Mesquite, NV, to arrive at the airport by 1:00 PM and the starting hotel shortly thereafter.
 Lunch: Light lunch enroute to the airport.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
  Las Vegas, NV A Chamber of Commerce, Las Vegas(**Following Free Time Info is helpful if you spend extra time here)
This is a great resource for accurate information about Las Vegas. You will find details about activities and a calendar of events. There are so many options and variety of things to do in Las Vegas that we could not list all of the items here under free time so please use the Chamber of Commerce as an additional resource. Thanks! :-) The items we have listed below indicate where they are located. We have also made a note telling you which monorail stops to get off on. Hopefully this will make it easier for you to get there on your own. For additional information, visit
  Bryce Canyon National Park Hikes/walks
The scenery, beauty and hiking options abound! You can get out and enjoy some on your own. When you arrive the Bryce Park guide has a complete list, description and map of the trails. You can utilize the Bryce Shuttle Red Line May 15-Sept 30 to get to and from the trails.
  Ranger Programs
Free Ranger Programs offered all year round will share fascinating information about Bryce Canyon National Park!
  Visitor Center
The Visitor Center offers information, exhibits, and a 22-minute award-winning film which plays on the hour and half-hour. Publications and maps are available for purchase through our Bryce Canyon Natural History Association. We generally go to the visitor center as part of your Road Scholar program. You may want to spend additional time here. Transportation on the Bryce Shuttle is available May 15-Sept 30. For additional information, visit
  North Rim, Grand Canyon General Overview of Grand Canyon North Rim Free Time Options
There are many ways to enjoy the canyon.. Sit and watch the changing play of light and shadows. Wander along a trail and feel the sunshine and wind on your face. Attend a ranger program. Follow the antics of ravens soaring above the rim. Listen for the roar of the rapids far below. Savor a sunrise or sunset.
  Zion National Park General Information
The below web site offers a good resource for information. This is the National Parks website and is a good resource also. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Book About History

Author: See List Below

Description: Heart of the Desert Wild, Greer Chesser. 2000. Award winning book about the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument (GSENM). It covers a variety of topics from geology to history. The photography and design of this book are outstanding and remains the definitive book on the GSENM. Softbound. $24.95 A Roadside History of Utah, Cynthia L. Bennett. 1999. Compelling stories of Utah’s exceptional people. $18.00 Utah’s History, Richard D. Poll. 1989. A more in-depth and statewide focus on history. Soft bound text heavy. Hole-in-the-Rock, David E. Miller. 1966. If you want to learn more about one of the epic pioneer journeys in American History this is the book. It is area related and is a good read for those interested in history. $16.00 Highway 12, Christian Probasco. 2005. Popular with travelers along Highway 12. It features a unique look at the history, people and their perspectives on this very special corridor. Softbound $16.95. Outlaw Tales of Utah, Michael Rutter. True stores of Utah’s most famous robbers, rustlers and bandits. $10.95

Books About Native Americans

Author: See List Below

Description: Sacred Images: A Vision of Native American Rock Art, by Leslie Kelen & David Sucec 1996. Publication that features rock art and ruins of the native cultures of the southwest. $18.00 Those Who Came Before, Robert and Florence Lister. 1993. Southwestern archeology in the National Parks. $17.00

Books About Southwest Flora

Author: See List Below

Description: Wildflowers of Southwestern Utah, Hayle Buchanan. 1992. Text covers flowers, shrubs and trees in their various life zones from Zion, Bryce and Cedar Breaks. $7.95 Canyon Country Wildflowers, Damian Fagan. 1998. A field guide to common wildflowers, shrubs and trees. $19.95 Sagebrush Country a Wildflower Sanctuary, Ronald Taylor. 1992. A field guide to common wildflowers, grasses and shrubs of the Great Basin. $14.00 Great Basin Wildflowers, Laird R. Blackwell. 2006. A guide to common wildflowers of the High Deserts of Nevada, Utah and Oregon. $22.95 Wild Plants and Native Peoples of the Four Corners, William Dunmire & Gail Tierney. 1997. A valuable book for anyone interested in plants, people, and cultures of the Colorado Plateau. $22.50 Wildflowers of the Mountain Southwest, . Meg Quinn 2000. A field guide to common upland wildflowers. $12.95 Wildflowers of the Desert Southwest, Meg Quinn. 2000. A field guide to common desert wildflowers. $9.95

General Reference

Author: See List Below

Description: A Naturalists Guide to the Canyon Country, David B. Williams. 2000. A wonderful Falcon Guide that uses fine artwork and pictures to introduce the geology, flora, fauna and history of the Canyon Country. $22.95. Four Corners: History, Land and People of the Desert Southwest, Kenneth A. Brown. Great information about the region. $26.00 Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey. 1968. A season in the wilderness is a celebration of the beauty of living in a harsh and hostile land. Edward Abbey was a seasonal Park ranger in Arches National Monument. $10.75 Cadillac Desert, Marc Reisner. 1986. The story of the American West is the story of a relentless quest for a precious resource: water. The definitive work on the West’s water crisis. $17.00


Author: See List Below

Description: Geology – a Golden Guide, by Frank H.T. Rhodes, 1991, St. Martin’s Press, N.Y., ISBN 1-58238-143-7. $6.95 Geology of Utah’s Parks and Monuments, Sprinkel et. al. Utah Geological Association , 2000. Contains geology papers on 25 parks and monuments of Utah (644 pages). Written for a geologist. Softbound $34.99 Utah‘s Spectacular Geology, Lehi Hintze, 2005 The geologic story of Utah’s landscapes and how they came to be. $29.95 The Colorado Plateau, Don Baars A comprehensive guide to the Colorado Plateau. $19.95 The Practical Geologist, Dougal Dixon, Raymond Bernor, 1992 This book is a great introductory guide to the basics of geology. Great diagrams, pictures and is well written. $16.00 Geology Underfoot in Southern Utah, R. Orndorff, R. Wieder, D. Futey, 2006 A hands on book about getting out among the rocks. Explores 33 sites in Southern Utah. Tells of ancient eruptions, deserts, seas, swamps and movements of massive rock units over eons. $18.00 Beyond the Visible Landscape, W. Kenneth Hamblin, 2004. A unique book that consists of a series of panoramic photographs taken from the air. Focuses on the fundamental features of the landscape. Contains excellent diagrams & descriptions of the geology in the photographs. Hardbound $65.00

Geology (Specific)

Author: See List Below

Description: Ron Kay’s Guide to Zion National Park, Ron Kay, 1995 A complete guide of Zion National Park by one of Road Scholar’s own instructors. $14.95 Shadows of Time: The Geology of Bryce Canyon National Park, Frank Decourten, 1994 A book with breathtaking photographs, well written on the geology of Bryce Canyon N. P. and surrounding high plateaus. $9.95 Water, Rock, & Time: The Geologic Story of Zion National Park, Robert Eves, 2005 This book is Zion’s newest masterpiece. It is well written. It is so nice you may want to leave it on the coffee table. $19.95 Zion National Park – Towers of Stone; by J.L. Crawford; Zion Natural History Association, Springdale, Utah, Fourth Edition 2002. ISBN 0-915630-00-1 $9.50 (Available online at Carving Grand Canyon, Wayne Ranney. 2005. A synopsis of ideas and theories that geologists have developed over time about the carving of the Grand Canyon. This story is told in an engaging style that non-scientists will find inviting. $14.95 Canyonlands Country, Donald Baars, 1993. Geology of Canyonlands and Arches National Parks. $15.95

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