Road Scholar : Home
On The Road: Absolute Southwest- A Canyonlands Adventure

Program Number: 8718RJ
Start and End Dates:
11/6/2013 - 11/17/2013; 3/12/2016 - 3/23/2016; 3/26/2016 - 4/6/2016; 4/9/2016 - 4/20/2016; 10/8/2016 - 10/19/2016; 10/15/2016 - 10/26/2016; 10/22/2016 - 11/2/2016;
Duration: 11 nights
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Price starting at: $1,745.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: On the Road; National Parks; Natural History; Native American Studies
Meals: 32; 11 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Journey to the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Sedona, and Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks. Learn about the geologic upheavals, native cultures and settlers that give this region its character. Traverse storied landscapes on the Colorado Plateau, experience the Navajo Reservation and gaze up at canyon rims from the Colorado River.


Enjoy a Navajo-led 4x4 adventure in Monument Valley and a smooth-water raft float on the Colorado River.
Experience Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and Bryce Canyon and Zion national parks.
Study the region’s geology, natural history, Native Americans, current issues and historical characters.

Activity Particulars

Daily walking up to one mile required, some sandy and rocky terrain. Elevations up to 7,000 feet.

Itinerary Summary

Phoenix, Ariz., 1 night; Sedona, 1 night; Grand Canyon, 2 nights; Monument Valley, Utah, 2 nights; Lake Powell, Ariz., 2 nights; Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, 1 night; Zion National Park, 2 nights; depart Las Vegas.

Coordinated by Northern Arizona University.

Glen Canyon

Carved by the Colorado River, Glen Canyon stretches for hundreds of miles from Lees Ferry in Arizona to the Orange Cliffs of southern Utah. This protected area encompasses scenic vistas, geologic wonders and a vast panorama of human history. The 1960s damming of Glen Canyon created Lake Powell, the second-largest man-made reservoir in the country.

Grand Canyon National Park

Within the borders of its 1.2 million acres, this World Heritage Site offers bikers, hikers, rafters and campers everything from breathtaking vistas to high adventure. Its 277 miles of raw rock and water continue to amaze generations of visitors.


Sedona was historically a rural ranching community in Oak Creek Canyon. Today, the sunny city attracts visitors to its red-rock cliffs and lush evergreens, international film festival, and lively art scene.

Monument Valley

Embodying the open spaces of the Great American Southwest, Monument Valley’s vast landscape seems to stretch endlessly in all directions, occasionally interrupted by towering buttes of red and burgundy rock. The few native peoples who live here honor the place by living simply and respecting the natural forces that have shaped the land.

Lake Powell

Resulting from the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam in 1963, Lake Powell is a surrealist’s dream, as houseboat flotillas drift past curvaceous rock formations, hidden coves and red-rock cliffs. Crystal-clear water reflects the lake’s towering buttes.

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.


An affluent city adjacent to Phoenix, Scottsdale enjoys an annual average of more than 330 days of sunshine, a factor that, along with the area’s wide-open desert landscape, makes the city a haven for golfers. Scottsdale’s vibrant nightlife and busy hotel scene are balanced out by its proximity to mountain areas popular with outdoor enthusiasts.

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.


Phoenix is a thriving metropolis surrounded by majestic mountains. Along with the visual beauty of the land, the city has a rich heritage of Native American and Hispanic cultures. Native American and western expansion influences are seen in the art and architecture of Phoenix, and an abundance of museums and art galleries showcase the culture.

Phoenix: Modern hotel. Sedona: Hotel with red-rock views. Grand Canyon: Park lodge. Monument Valley: Modern hotel. Lake Powell: Four-star hotel. Bryce Canyon: Hotel at park boundary. Zion: Lodging adjacent to park.

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.
Richard Stephens

Rich has been director of Northern Arizona University’s highly popular Road Scholar programs since 2001. He previously spent many years in the field as a program coordinator and group leader, where he honed his skills and learned the importance of detailed, pre-trip planning. Before making his home in Arizona’s spectacular red-rock country, Rich spent 10 years in Yosemite National Park and the Santa Cruz mountains as an environmental educator.
Jeff Strang

Jeff Strang's knowledge of the environment stems from over 35 years of hiking, paddling, and photography in the outdoors, his extensive experience as a naturalist, as well as from his education at the University of Oregon and Lewis and Clark Law School. In 1987, Jeff filed a precedent-setting lawsuit against Oregon polluters under the Clean Water Act. Jeff has been leading Road Scholar programs since 2002. In his free time, Jeff enjoys biking to work, hiking, kayaking, outdoor photography and studying geology.
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.
Meals and Lodgings
   Scottsdale Cottonwoods Resort
  Scottsdale, AZ 1 night
   La Quinta Inn
  Sedona, AZ 1 night
   Maswik or Yavapai Lodge
  Grand Canyon, AZ 2 nights
   Goulding's Lodge
  Monument Valley, UT 2 nights
   Courtyard by Marriott
  Lake Powell, AZ 2 nights
   Best Western Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel
  Bryce Canyon National Park 1 night
   Majestic View Lodge
  Zion National Park 1 night
   Zion - Best Western Zion Park Inn
  Zion National Park 1 night
 Scottsdale Cottonwoods Resort
Type: Resort
  Description: Scottsdale Cottonwoods Resort is a peaceful, green 25 acre retreat tucked into the Sonoran Desert. Secluded yet convenient, just 12 miles from the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (PHX) and 4 miles from Old Town Scottsdale with its world renowned dining and galleries. Nestled at the foot of Camelback Mountain and drenched in sunshine an astonishing 300 days a year, our resort features beautifully manicured grounds, two swimming pools/spas, and lodging is spread out in single story "casitas" where each unit has an individual front deck and rear porch. .
  Contact info: 6160 N Scottsdale Rd
Scottsdale, AZ 85253 USA
phone: 480-991-1414
  Room amenities: 355 sq ft casita, plush top mattresses, separate vanity area, mini refrigerator, coffee and tea station, work desk with wireless high speed internet, and whitewashed wood beamed ceilings.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: Seasonal Rates vary, winter is peak season. To make reservations, please call the hotel during normal working hours, M- F, and ask for Tammy. The room style we use is called the "Flagstaff Casita" so please ask for that accommodation level or otherwise you will need to move rooms between stays. Please let Tammy know you are coming for a Road scholar program and desire to stay in the same room. Have the program number and start date ready. A discount will be offered for pre/post stays.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM

 La Quinta Inn
Type: Hotel
  Description: Location! Less than a mile from the Oak Creek Country Club. The surrounding area is located on the escarpment where the Colorado Plateau meets the Sonoran Desert. Over thousands of years, Oak Creek has carved a red rock paradise which surrounds the property.
  Contact info: 6176 Hwy 179
Sedona, AZ 86351 USA
phone: 928-284-0711
  Room amenities: Cable TV, alarm clock radio, coffee maker, hair dryer, dataport phones, iron w/ board.
  Facility amenities: This facility offers 103 guest rooms on two floors. Heated outdoor pool, hot tub, free local calls, free USA Today, complimentary continental breakfast.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Maswik or Yavapai Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: Located within a quarter of a mile from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The museums, shops, restaurants and overlooks available at Grand Canyon Village are all within walking distance or a short shuttle of the lodge.
  Contact info: Grand Canyon Village
Grand Canyon South Rim, AZ 86023 USA
phone: 928-638-2631
  Room amenities: TV, clock radio, private bath.
  Facility amenities: On-site cafeteria and gift shop. Shuttle pick up points on property. Canyon trailheads are within a quarter mile.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Goulding's Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: The lodge is just north of the Arizona border and is adjacent to the Navajo Tribal Park, which encompasses the rock formations of Monument Valley.
  Contact info: Hwy 163
Monument Valley, UT 84536 USA
phone: 435-727-3231
  Room amenities: Individually controlled heat and AC, refrigerator, cable TV and VCR, hair dryer, iron and ironing board.
  Facility amenities: Goulding's offers a range of services for its guests. It has a dining room which overlooks Monument Valley, an indooor swimming pool, an exercise room with treadmill, exercise bike and a weight room. You'll also find a gift shop, theater, museum, laundromat, carwash and a convenience store, plus 62 guest rooms, each with a patio or balcony.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Courtyard by Marriott
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Courtyard by Marriott overlooks the high desert sandstone walls and the blue water of Lake Powell and the Lake Powell National Golf Course. The property is on a mesa one mile from the lake, with its boating and fishing.
  Contact info: 600 Clubhouse Dr
Page, AZ 86040 USA
phone: 928-645-5000
  Room amenities: Individually controlled A/C, cable TV, clock radio, hair dryer, coffee maker, voice mail / data port phones.
  Facility amenities: The Marriott features 152 rooms, an on-site restaurant, cocktail lounge, whirlpool, exercise room, on-site laundromat and coffee shop. On site fax, copy and printer service available.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Best Western Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: New, 100% non-smoking Bryce Canyon City, Utah hotel located at the entrance of Bryce Canyon National Park.Hotel in compliance with eco-friendly "green labeling" certification program.
  Contact info: 30 N 100 E
Bryce Canyon City, UT 84764 USA
phone: 435-834-5700
  Room amenities: Desk/work area; Cable or satellite television, CNN or other 24 hour news station; In-room movies, Lodgenet; AM/FM alarm clock; Coffee/tea maker; Microwave; Refrigerator; Hairdryer; Iron, ironing board; High-speed Internet access, wireless; Direct dial telephone; Voice mail; Free local calls under 30 minutes; Air-conditioning; Trouser press; Wake-up calls; Mountain view; Easy chair.
  Facility amenities: The Best Western Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel proudly offers 164 spaciously appointed guest rooms each complete with cable satellite television, free wireless high-speed Internet, microwave and refrigerator. Guests will wake each morning to a complimentary full hot breakfast. This Bryce Canyon City hotel's additional amenities include an indoor heated swimming pool, 24 hour exercise facility and outdoor swimming pool; 100% smoke-free hotel; 24-hour front desk; Concierge; Laundromat; Business center( with Printer, Fax machine, computer, modem hookups, Photocopy machine); Air-conditioning; Elevator, wheelchair accessible; Ice/vending machines; Safe deposit box, at front desk; and Interior corridor.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Majestic View Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: This new 70 room lodge is constructed of large pine logs. Beuatifully decorated making it a warm inviting atmosphere. Swimming pool, Jacuzzi, room service, data ports, great views, restaurant and wild life museum.
  Contact info: 2400 Zion Park Blvd
Springdale, UT 84767 USA
phone: 866-772-0665
  Room amenities: Refrigerator, coffee pot, private balcony or patio, hairdryers, Cable TV.
  Facility amenities: Swimming pool, Jacuzzi, room service, data ports, great views, restaurant and wild life museum.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Zion - Best Western Zion Park Inn
Type: Hotel
  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
  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 allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Program registration is in the Hotel meeting room, anytime between 4:30 - 5:15 PM. Program starts in Phoenix/Scottsdale. You will be staying at Scottsdale Cottonwoods Resort that night.
  End of Program:
Las Vegas/McCarran Airport 11:00 AM. Program ends in Las Vegas. You will be staying at Zion - Best Western Zion Park Inn the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Colorado River Discovery requires Acknowledgement of Risk form to be signed prior to raft trip.
  Parking availability:
Free parking for length of program at starting hotel.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Scottsdale, AZ
  Nearest city or town:  Phoenix, AZ
  Nearest highway: I-10, US 60.
  Nearest airport:  Phoenix Sky Harbor International
  From End of Program
  Location:  Departures
Travel Details

From last program destination


To Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Road Scholar transportation


Per Person/One Way:


included in program fee
Prices are subject to change.


Road Scholar transportation to drop off all participants at McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas, at close of program.


Scottsdale Cottonwoods Resort to/from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Super Shuttle
phone: 800-258-3826
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


20 minutes 




12 miles


Must have prepaid reservations - by internet at, scroll to Phoenix Sky Harbor Intl Airport, or by phone at 800-258-3826. After you claim your luggage at Sky Harbor Airport, proceed to the outer island marked “Van Service.” A uniformed SuperShuttle Guest Service Representative will arrange transportation to your destination.

Driving Directions
  Phoenix - Scottsdale Cottonwoods Resort from I-10 Eastbound Stay on I-10 through downtown Phoenix. Merge onto Loop 202 toward Tempe / Mesa. Take Loop 101 North toward Scottsdale. Stay on 101 North until the Indian BEND (NOT Indian School) exit and turn left. At the traffic light on Scottsdale Road, turn left and get into the right lane on Scottsdale Road. Just south of Lincoln Dr, the resort will be on your right. You will turn right onto "Rose Lane", follow it left around an immediate bend in the road, and the resort lobby and parking is on your left. Do note that you should leave your luggage in the car as once you check into the hotel and register for the program, you will then drive a short distance to park for walking access to your room.
  Phoenix - Scottsdale Cottonwoods Resort from I-10 Westbound Stay on I-10 west to the US 60 and exit east toward Mesa / Globe. Stay on US 60 east about 3 miles to Loop 101 north toward Scottsdale. Continue on Loop 101 North to Indian BEND (NOT Indian School) exit and turn left. At the traffic light on Scottsdale Road, turn left and get into the right lane on Scottsdale Road. Just south of Lincoln Dr, the resort will be on your right. You will turn right onto "Rose Lane", follow it left around an immediate bend in the road, and the resort lobby and parking is on your left. Do note that you should leave your luggage in the car as once you check into the hotel and register for the program, you will then drive a short distance to park for walking access to your room.
  Phoenix - Scottsdale Cottonwoods Resort from I-17 Southbound Take the I-17 south to the Loop 101 East exit. Continue on Loop 101 East until the Indian Bend (NOT Indian School) exit and turn right. At the traffic light on Scottsdale Road, turn left and get into the right lane on Scottsdale Road. Just south of Lincoln Road, the resort will be on your right. You will turn right onto "Rose Street", follow it left around an immediate bend in the road, and the resort lobby and parking is on your left. Do note that you should leave your luggage in the car as once you check into the hotel and register for the program, you will then drive a short distance to park for walking access to your room.
Elevation Note: Elevations 4,000 to 9,000 feet. Check with physician if you have heart/lung conditions.

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: Registration/Orientation and Introductions
(Wednesday, November 6)
 Afternoon: On-site registration in the hotel meeting room from 4:30 - 5:15 PM.
 Dinner: Dinner will be catered in the Conference Center on site at the Cottonwoods Resort. Entrées will vary nightly and include a vegetarian option. Entrée examples include chicken w/provincial herbs, stuffed jumbo pasta shells, Creole cornbread catfish fillets; shaved Italian beef w/au jus on sourdough, etc. Entrées come with soup or salad, steamed seasonal veggies, assorted rolls, drink and a light desert.
 Evening: Your coordinator will lead the program orientation session with questions and answers, followed by participant introductions. Please remember that this program starts in Phoenix, AZ and ends in Las Vegas, NV. Most airlines will book flights that arrive in Phoenix and depart from Las Vegas. If you drive your own car you may leave it at the starting hotel parking lot during the duration of the trip. Several airlines sell one way tickets between Las Vegas and Phoenix at affordable prices if booked far enough in advance.
Accommodations: Scottsdale Cottonwoods Resort
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Montezuma Castle/Sedona and Red Rock Crossing/Geology of the Verde Valley and Grand Canyon
(Thursday, November 7)

Note: A couple of half mile walks.

 Breakfast: Enjoy a breakfast buffet at the resort to include on various days: scrambled eggs, bacon burrito's, croissant sandwich, whole fruit, whole grain breads, oatmeal, coffee/tea, juices, etc
 Morning: Bring your luggage to the vehicle(s) at 8:15 AM and board for the 8:30 AM departure. Journey north and watch the plant communities change as we move from the Basin and Range region to the central highlands and transition zone of the Verde Valley. Visit the picturesque, wonderfully preserved five-story, 700-year-old Anasazi pueblo ruins at Montezuma's Castle.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local Sedona restaurant.
 Afternoon: Tour some of our favorite spots in Sedona. Afternoon check-in at the La Quinta Inn, Sedona.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local Sedona restaurant.
 Evening: Enjoy a lecture on the Geology of the Grand Canyon and surrounding area.
Accommodations: La Quinta Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Oak Creek Canyon/Museum of Northern Arizona/San Francisco Peaks Volcanic Field/Grand Canyon
(Friday, November 8)

Note: Optional short walk to the canyon rim for sunset.

 Breakfast: Continental Breakfast.
 Morning: Load up for the trip up one of Arizona's most scenic highways through the steep, rock-walled cliffs of Oak Creek Canyon to the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. Founded in 1928 as a community effort by a group of Flagstaff citizens, the Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA) is a private, nonprofit institution that was originally established as a repository for Native American artifacts and natural history specimens from the Colorado Plateau. The original founders, zoologist Dr. Harold S. Colton and artist Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton, who were from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, were dedicated to preserving the history and cultures of northern Arizona. From its humble beginnings in Flagstaff, MNA has evolved into a regional center of learning with collections, exhibits, educational programs, publications, and research projects that serve thousands of people each year. As the only accredited museum within 150 miles of Flagstaff, the Museum of Northern Arizona plays a vital role as interpreter of the Colorado Plateau.
 Lunch: Lunch in Flagstaff at the Mandarin Buffet Restaurant.
 Afternoon: Continue our scenic journey to the Grand Canyon along Scenic Highway 180 through the San Francisco Peaks Volcanic Field. Stop at Scenic Mather Point, named after the first Director of the Park Service, for your first view of the Grand Canyon. Late afternoon Check-in at our Grand Canyon Lodge.
 Dinner: We will have dinner at a Grand Canyon lodge's Cafe.
 Evening: Optional walk to the Canyon Rim for sunset(before or after dinner, depending on the season), take in an optional National Park Service evening program (seasonal) or enjoy a free evening at the Grand Canyon.
Accommodations: Maswik or Yavapai Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Natural or Human History at the Grand Canyon/ Free Time to explore the Grand Canyon
(Saturday, November 9)

Note: Free afternoon to explore the canyon rim, historic village, or hike on the Bright Angel Trail.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the Grand Canyon Lodge Cafe.
 Morning: For early risers, there is the optional pre-dawn bus/van trip and walk to view sunrise over the Grand Canyon. After breakfast, We will have a morning presentation on some aspect of the Grand Canyon or history walk in Grand Canyon Village. Past favorites have included Geology, Cougars, Condors, Human History, and Native American Arts and Crafts. Grand Canyon Village includes Verkamps Visitor Center, the El Tovar Hotel, Mary Jane Colter's Hopi House, rock walls and trails built by the Civilian Conservation Corp, the Bright Angel Lodge with its famous Geological Fireplace, and Kolb Studio.
 Lunch: Lunch at a Grand Canyon Lodge Cafe.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon, we will have free time to explore the Grand Canyon. Ride the Red Line Shuttle, walk on the rim, hike the Bright Angel Trail into the canyon, explore the bookstore, or visit the Kolb Studio. The Red Line Shuttle is a 14 mile scenic round trip with stops at iconic view points such as Trail View, the Powell Memorial, Hopi Point, the Abyss and Hermits Rest. The Rim Trail now includes the Geologic Walk of Time. The Trail of Time is an interpretive walking timeline trail that focuses on Grand Canyon vistas and rocks to guide visitors to ponder, explore, and understand the magnitude of geologic time and the stories encoded by Grand Canyon rock layers and landscapes. The Bright Angel Trail was originally a game trail down a geologic fault line, it has been used, modified, and expanded by successive generations of prehistoric and historic Indians, explorers, miners, and now park visitors. Originally home and office to Elsworth and Emery Kolb, the Kolb Studio now holds an exhibit documenting their extraordinary photographic career at the Grand Canyon as well as a small bookstore of the non-profit Grand Canyon Association.
 Dinner: Dinner at a Grand Canyon Lodge Cafe.
 Evening: Take in an optional National Park Service evening program (seasonal) or enjoy a free evening at the Grand Canyon.
Accommodations: Maswik or Yavapai Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Desert View Watch Tower/ Cameron Trading Post/Travel through Navajo Reservation
(Sunday, November 10)

Note: Walk a few hundred yards on paved trails to the Watch Tower.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the Grand Canyon lodge's Cafe.
 Morning: Load up for the scenic drive out the east rim of the Grand Canyon, with a stop at Mary Jane Coulter's Desert View Watch Tower and Cameron Trading Post. The Desert View Watchtower, constructed in 1932 as a replica of a prehistoric Indian tower, commands a magnificent view of the Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert to the east and the San Fransico Peaks to the south. This 70 foot (21 meter) tower is the highest point on the South Rim. The interior walls of the tower feature murals by Hopi artist Fred Kabotie. At Cameron Trading Post see displays showing how Native American rugs and jewelry are crafted, and lose yourself looking through its extensive selection of Native American crafts currently for sale.
 Lunch: Enjoy a lunch at Historic Cameron Trading Post.
 Afternoon: Continue our tour through the Navajo Reservation and the Painted Desert to Kayenta on the Navajo Reservation. Stop at the Code Talker Museum, hidden inside a Burger King. Continue on to historic Goulding's Lodge overlooking Monument Valley.
 Dinner: Dinner at historic Goulding's Lodge and Trading Post with an extensive menu created just for our participants. Goulding's Lodge is the premier accommodations in the heart of Monument Valley and its large picture windows in the restaurant offer magnificent views of the Valley's red rock splendor. Harry Goulding brought Movie Director John Ford to Monument Valley by showing him photographs of Monument Valley, starting a lifelong friendship and cementing Monument Valley as Iconic backdrops for Ford's western movies.
 Evening: Free evening.
Accommodations: Goulding's Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Jeep Tour of Monument and Mystery Valleys
(Monday, November 11)

Note: Dusty, bumpy 4 wheel drive tour through majestic scenery with multiple short walks.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the Hotel.
 Morning: Explore the museum at historic Goulding's Lodge. Board the four-wheel drive tour truck and head out for the Mystery Valley and Monument Valley tour. Mystery Valley is home to a large collection of Ancestral Puebloans ruins and rock art. Spend the morning touring the centuries old home of the Ancient Ones. This jeep tour is considered the highlight of any visit to Monument Valley.
 Lunch: Enjoy a sack lunch amid the spectacular scenery of Monument Valley.
 Afternoon: Continue your tour through Monument Valley. We explore all of the famous monuments including views of the Mittens, plus we visit the Monument’s restricted area. This area contains many rock windows and arches of unique shapes and sizes. Unparalleled photo opportunities in one of the West’s most photographed destinations. This great valley boasts sandstone masterpieces that tower at heights of 400 to 1,000 feet. framed by scenic clouds casting shadows that graciously roam the desert floor. The angle of the sun accents these graceful formations, providing scenery that is simply spellbinding. The landscape overwhelms, not just by its beauty but also by its size. The fragile pinnacles of rock are surrounded by miles of mesas and buttes, shrubs, trees and windblown sand, all comprising the magnificent colors of the valley. All of this harmoniously combines to make Monument Valley a truly wondrous experience. Monument Valley was once a vast lowland basin. For hundreds of millions of years, materials that eroded from the early Rock Mountains deposited layer upon layer of sediments. Over tens of millions of years geologic forces elevated these horizontal strata one to three miles above sea level. What was once a basin became a plateau. Natural forces of wind and water that eroded the land spent the last 50 million years cutting in to and peeling away at the surface of the plateau. The simple wearing down of altering layers of soft and hard rock slowly revealed the natural wonders of Monument Valley today.
 Dinner: Dinner at the restaurantat Goulding's Lodge.
 Evening: Enjoy a evening presentation on a topic of local interest or watch a documentary on the Navajo Code talkers who helped win World War II.
Accommodations: Goulding's Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Navajo National Monument/Glen Canyon Dam Visitor Center/Horseshoe Bend Overlook
(Tuesday, November 12)

Note: Two 1.5 mile round trip walks with about 200 feet elevation gain to Betatakin Overlook and to Horseshoe Bend Overlook

 Breakfast: Breakfast at Goulding's Trading Post with an extensive selection of breakfast items including eggs, French toast and pancakes.
 Morning: After Breakfast, we depart for Navajo National Monument. This National Park Service Monument contains some of the southwest's best preserved ruins of the "Ancestral Puebloans" or Anasazi culture. An orientation of Navajo National Monument begins at the Visitor Center. A small museum and exhibits of prehistoric pottery and other artifacts attempt to piece together what life was like for the early peoples. An excellent 25-minute video on the Ancient Ones and a 20-minute Betatakin tour video are shown on request. Walk to the overlook for the Betatakin Ruins, one of the best preserved ruins has original walls and an intact roof - The easy, paved Sandal Trail begins behind the visitors center and winds through a piñon-juniper woodland to Betatakin Point Overlook, which has a good view of the ruins across the canyon. The trail is one mile round-trip and drops 160 feet to the viewpoint. Signs along the way identify native plants and describe how Native Americans used them. Then we head on to Lake Powell and Page.
 Lunch: Lunch at Fiesta Mexicana in Page, AZ.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon, tour the displays and witness the views from the Visitors' Center at Glen Canyon Dam at the head of the 275 mile long Lake Powell. Completed in 1963 this engineering marvel was one of the Bureau of Reclamation's crowning achievements. Controversy has never been far behind its completion as the effects of its operation have been determined to have had adverse effects on the downstream Grand Canyon environment and the flooding of the spectacular Glen Canyon upstream.
 Dinner: Dinner catered by Pepper's Restaurant (in the Courtyard by Marriott).
 Evening: Attend a evening presentation on a topic of local interest. Past Favorites have included Wildlife of Glen Canyon, Geology of Glen Canyon, and Floating Hogans.
Accommodations: Courtyard by Marriott
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Glen Canyon Float Trip
(Wednesday, November 13)

Note: Flat water float trip through the last free flowing section of Glen Canyon.

 Breakfast: Breakfast in Pepper's Restaurant in the Courtyard by Marriott.
 Morning: We start our morning with a trip to the Horseshoe Bend Overlook Trailhead. This 1.5 mile round trip hike goes up and over a small hill (~300 feet) to the edge of a thousand foot cliff looking down on a meander of the Colorado River in a section of Glen Canyon that we will float later.Then it is on to our Glen Canyon Float trip. At the Put-in,with the dam soaring 700 feet above you, you will board a comfortable pontoon raft for your journey downstream. For the next fifteen miles, you will experience one of the most dramatic stretches of river in the western United States. Your experienced guide will tell the story of the area’s soaring sandstone cliffs, crystal blue-green waters, abundant wildlife, exploration by Major John Wesley Powell and others, and the river's modern role in the Southwest’s water and power delivery system. A stop to view an impressive set of ancient petroglyphs will offer a you chance to stretch your legs while bearing witness to the area’s former inhabitance by ancient native cultures.
 Lunch: Sack Lunch on the river.
 Dinner: Dinner at Pepper's Restaurant.
 Evening: Attend a evening presentation on a topic of local interest. Past Favorites have included Wildlife of Glen Canyon, Geology of Glen Canyon, and Floating Hogans.
Accommodations: Courtyard by Marriott
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Scenic drive through the Grand Staircase/Bryce Canyon National Park.
(Thursday, November 14)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in Pepper's Restaurant
 Morning: We will drive through the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument with a stop at its Big Water Visitor Center to see the exhibits on recent dinosaur discoveries in the area. The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, at 1.7 million acres, dominates any map of southern Utah. It is the first monument to be administered by the Bureau of Land Management, rather than the National Park Service. The monument is a geologic sampler, with a huge variety of formations, features, and world-class paleontological sites. The Grand Staircase is a geological formation spanning eons of time and is a territory of multicolored cliffs, plateaus, mesas, buttes, pinnacles, and canyons. Travel up Scenic highway 89 towards and Bryce Canyon National Park.
 Lunch: Lunch: enjoy the wide variety at the lunch buffet at Ruby’s Cowboy Buffet & Steak Room.
 Afternoon: Drive into Bryce Canyon National Park. The major feature of the park is Bryce Canyon, which despite its name, is not a canyon but a collection of giant natural amphitheaters along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Bryce is distinctive due to geological structures called hoodoos, formed by frost weathering and stream erosion of the river and lake bed sedimentary rocks. The red, orange, and white colors of the rocks provide spectacular views for park visitors. Bryce sits at a much higher elevation than nearby Zion National Park.Walk out to viewpoints which may include Inspiration, Bryce and Sunset Points to be amazed at the spectacular Hoodoos. Depending on conditions, walk along the rim. Visit the Bryce Canyon National Park Visitor Center.
 Dinner: Enjoy the wide variety at the buffet at Ruby’s Cowboy Buffet and Steak Room.
 Evening: Free Evening after a late dinner.
Accommodations: Best Western Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Depart Bryce/Zion National Park’s Slickrock country and Zion Canyon.
(Friday, November 15)

Note: 1.2 mile round trip, mostly paved and slight uphill walk to Lower Emerald Pool.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel
 Morning: After loading up the bus, we depart Bryce for the scenic drive to Zion National Park. Along the way we drive through stunning Red Canyon, once a haunt for Butch Cassidy and his gang!. Then it is on to the slick rock country on the eastern edge of Zion National Park, with a stop at Checkerboard Mesa, a drive through the Zion Tunnels, and down the Switchbacks into Zion Canyon carved by the North Fork of the Virgin River. Spectacular Checkerboard Mesa is a massive petrified sand dune with horizontal layers laid down in the Jurassic Period and vertical cracks formed during weather over millions of years. The Zion Tunnels were built during the 1920s through solid sandstone walls with views through the "galleries" out to the Pine Creek Valley.
 Lunch: Lunch at the Majestic View, just outside of Zion National Park. The Majestic View, has excellent food and spectacular views and of the magnificent surroundings.
 Afternoon: Travel to the visitor center at Zion National Park. The center has a large scale map of the park, where you can overview what you'll be seeing. You'll enjoy a pass through the bookstore at the center as well. If time allows, walk to the Lower Emerald Pools (0.6 miles OW, 69 vertical feet) in Zion National Park.
 Dinner: Enjoy dinner at the Majestic View Lodge and the majestic view from its huge picture windows.
 Evening: Free evening after a very full day.
Accommodations: Majestic View Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Explore Zion National Park: Pa'Rus Trail nature walk/Weeping Rock/Riverside Trail.
(Saturday, November 16)

Note: 1 mile sunrise nature walk on Pa Rus Trail, 0.5 mile/ 98 vertical feet walk to Weeping Rock, 2 mile/ 57 vertical feet Riverside Walk to beginning of Narrows.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the Majestic View dining room. Includes Scrambled Fresh Eggs, Hash Brown Potatoes, Bacon or Sausage
 Morning: Optional pre-breakfast nature walk on the mostly paved PaRus Trail(1 mile One Way 50 feet). Spectacular views of the West Temple, Temples of the Virgin, Crawford Arch, and Bridge Mountain. We will walk this at a slow pace with plenty of opportunity to discuss the Geology and Natural History we observe along the way. After Breakfast we head to the Zion Human History Museum to watch its 22 minute video introducing Zion National Park.
 Lunch: Sack Lunch at the Grotto Picnic Area.
 Afternoon: After lunch we head to Weeping Rock (0.5 mile RT and 98 feet). We walk up a short but steep trail and learn about what makes this dripping garden special. Paved trail ends at a rock alcove with dripping springs with trailside exhibits.Then it is on to the temple of Sinewava, the Riverside Trail(2.2 miles RT and 57 feet), and beginning of the Zion Narrows, a spectacular gorge in the upper reaches of Zion Canyon: 16 miles long, up to 2,000-feet deep, and at times only 20 to 30-feet wide.
 Dinner: Enjoy dinner at the Majestic View Lodge and the majestic view from it huge picture windows.Choice of N.Y. Steak, Grilled Trout, Boneless BBQ Pork ribs or a vegetarian option.
 Evening: Farewells and Program wrap-up.
Accommodations: Zion - Best Western Zion Park Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Departures at Las Vegas McCarren Airport.
(Sunday, November 17)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: Travel through the Virgin River Gorge carved by the mighty Virgin River through the Virgin River Anticline. Pass by Joshua Trees, the signature species of the Mojave Desert. Arrive in Las Vegas. Program ends at the airport at approximately 11 AM.
Meals Included: Breakfast
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

Beyond the Hundredth Meridian: John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West

Author: Stegner, Wallace

Description: Here Wallace Stegner, a Pulitzer Prize-winner, gives us a thrilling account of Powell's struggle against western geography and Washington politics. We witness the successes and frustrations of Powell's distinguished career, and appreciate his unparalleled understanding of the West. "Stegner's most exciting work." (San Francisco Chronicle) 496pp

Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water

Author: Reisner, Marc

Description: The story of the American West is the story of a relentless quest for a precious resource: water. It is a tale of rivers diverted and dammed, of political corruption and intrigue, of billion-dollar battles over water rights, of ecologic and economic disaster. In Cadillac Desert Marc Reisner writes of the earliest settlers, lured by the promise of paradise, and of the ruthless tactics employed by Los Angeles politicians and business interests to ensure the city's growth. He documents the bitter rivalry between two government giants, the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in the competition to transform the West. Based on more than a decade of research, Cadillac Desert is a stunning expose and a dramatic, intriguing history of the creation of an Eden--and Eden that may be only a mirage. 608pp

Life in Stone: Fossils of the Colorado Plateau

Author: Sadler, Christa

Description: Like pages in a book, the layers of sedimentary rock that are exposed on the Colorado Plateau tell us much about the diversity of environments that have come and gone over a period of hundreds of millions of years. This region is recognized as one of the finest earth-science laboratories in the world. Analysis of the fossil record and new discoveries across the plateau are answering questions, solving mysteries, and making connections that help us understand the history of life worldwide. "Life In Stone" tells the story of past environments and current discoveries with numerous illustrations and lively text written for a general audience. 72pp

Living at the Edge: Explorers, Exploiters, and Settlers of the Grand Canyon Region

Author: Anderson, Michael F

Description: A comprehensive look at the pioneer history of the Grand Canyon Region, from its earliest residents to the creation of the national park at the end of the pioneer era (circa 1920). Included are close to two hundred historic photographs, many never published before, and 12 custom maps of the region. 184pp

Native Roads : The Complete Motoring Guide to the Navajo and Hopi Nations

Author: Kosik, Frank

Description: Using the mile markers of the US, Arizona, and Navajo highways and routes running through the Navajo and Hopi nations as her organizing principle, the author offers a travel guide to the sites found in the area. Natural, historical, and cultural points of interest are covered, along with some information on lodging and services. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR 304pp

The Southwest

Author: Lavender, David

Description: A historical and cultural overview, including discussions of present-day racial, conservation, and economic problems. Easy reading, fascinating history. 364pp

Warriors: Navajo Code Talkers

Author: Kawano, Kenji

Description: The American offensive in the Pacific during World War II [was] hampered by the Japanese ability to crack the most secret U.S. Codes. Navajo was virtually unknown outside the reservations, ... and [their] code proved uncrackable. Kenji Kawano's striking photographs capture the quiet dignity of the surviving veterans as they recall their actions --Los Angeles Times 128 pp

You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.

As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.

Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:

© Road Scholar 2015 | Call toll-free: 1-800-454-5768