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Hiking Arches and Canyonlands National Parks

Program Number: 6132RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/4/2014 - 5/9/2014; 10/5/2014 - 10/10/2014; 10/19/2014 - 10/24/2014; 10/26/2014 - 10/31/2014; 4/19/2015 - 4/24/2015; 4/26/2015 - 5/1/2015; 10/4/2015 - 10/9/2015; 10/18/2015 - 10/23/2015; 10/25/2015 - 10/30/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Moab, Utah
Price starting at: $999.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Walking/Hiking; National Parks Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 13; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners    

From the countless spires to the deep canyons, our hiking journey through Utah’s Arches and Canyonlands National Parks reveals how nature's forces have jointly sculpted and scoured this dramatic landscape. During daily hikes with natural history experts, explore the spectacular arch and canyon formations and the geological record, view ancient petroglyphs and investigate salt dome collapses and ancient fault lines.




Highlights

• Trek different sections of Arches and Canyonlands National Parks including the Needles Slickrock Trails and Island in the Sky White Rim Overlook.
• Discover how the sedimentary layers have left a record dating back more than 250 million years.
• Observe the geologic wonders of the Fisher Towers and Utah’s signature Delicate Arch.



Activity Particulars

Hikes of 2-8 miles daily. Elevation gains of 500-1,000 feet. Elevations of 4,000-6,000 feet. Acclimation recommended.




Date Specific Information

10-26-2014

Please note that this date features a different and more physically challenging hiking itinerary from all other dates of 6132. For experienced hikers only, this rewarding and advanced program explores the rugged backcountry of Moab’s red rock and canyon country. Hike up to 10 miles per day on rocky and uneven terrain in elevations ranging from 4,000-12,000 ft.



10-4-2015

Please note that this date features a different and more physically challenging hiking itinerary from all other dates of 6132. For experienced hikers only, this rewarding and advanced program explores the rugged backcountry of Moab’s red rock and canyon country. Hike up to 10 miles per day on rocky and uneven terrain in elevations ranging from 4,000-12,000 ft.



Coordinated by Mountains and Plains Institute.




Moab

Site of a busy Colorado River crossing before the construction of the railroads, the town of Moab grew into an important mining community with the discovery of potash, manganese, oil and gas deposits in the early 1900s. Today Moab is a gateway to Arches and Canyonlands national parks and a popular base for mountain bikers and off-roaders.



Accommodations
Comfortable lodge with swimming pool centrally located in Moab.

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

Ryan Kirkpatrick is the director of operations for Mountains & Plains Institute for Lifelong Learning and Service, and has led hundreds of Road Scholar programs since 2003. A native of Colorado, Ryan has a master’s in sports science, is a Wilderness First Responder, and a “Master Naturalist” for the city of Fort Collins. In addition, he is an ASEP certified instructor and received his Level 1 USATF Coaching Certification from the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. He is also a volunteer nordic ski ranger for the Colorado State Forest, and as a photographer is a member of Canon Professional Services.
 
Peter McCarville

Peter McCarville is a consulting geologist, geological instructor and educator who has lived in Colorado on the western slope since 1995. He also works as an instructor and program designer for Mountains and Plains Institute (MPILLS), leading hiking and skiing excursions, while making cameo appearances as a geology expert on other programs. He has a wonderful ability to convey complex natural history in layman's terms.
 
Dan Peha

Dan Peha is a professional photographer living in Durango, Colo. Dan studied under Ansel Adams and participated in an Adams Yosemite photo workshop. For many years, Dan has collaborated with his wife Maureen to publish popular guidebooks on hiking with children in Colorado and Utah. Dan’s "star trails" photographs have been published in print media, calendars and puzzles. An avid musician, Dan plays banjo in his spare time with a bluegrass group in Durango.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   River Canyon Lodge
  Moab, UT 5 nights
 River Canyon Lodge
Type: Hotel
  Contact info: 70 West 200 North
Moab, UT 84532 USA
phone: 435-259-8838
web: www.rivercanyonlodge.com
  Room amenities: mini fridge, microwave in rooms, mini coffee maker
  Facility amenities: Swimming pool, hot tub, wireless internet access in lobby, large parking lot for RV's
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Call for information Reserve directly with hotel.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Call for information Reserve directly with hotel.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
ESSENTIAL: Hotel check-in after 3 pm; required orientation at 5 PM. You will be staying at River Canyon Lodge that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after breakfast. Check-out by 10 AM. You will be staying at River Canyon Lodge the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Acknowledgement of Risk Form to be mailed back to the Mountains and Plains Office Please bring National Parks Senior Lifetime or Annual Pass
  Parking availability:
No charge
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Moab, UT
  Nearest highway: US191
  Nearest airport:  Moab or Salt Lake City, UT; Grand Junction, CO
  From End of Program
  Location: Moab, UT
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Moab from Salt Lake City (SLC)

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Moab Luxury Coach
phone: 435-940-4212
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Call for rates
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

6 hours minimum by shuttle 

 

Distance:

 

234 miles

   

Moab is in Southeast Utah, 33 miles south of Interstate 70 on Highway US191. Salt Lake City Airport (SLC) is 234 miles from Moab. www.moabluxurycoach.com/index.html In addition to the shuttle service above, many persons choose to rent a car and all major rental car companies are available at SLC. If flying, we strongly recommend that you arrive a day early due to erratic schedules and possible flight delays at all points.

 

Moab from Grand Junction, CO airport (GJT)

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Moab Luxury Coach
phone: 435-940-4212
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Call for rates
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

2 hours by shuttle service 

 

Distance:

 

113 miles

   

Moab is in Southeast Utah, 33 miles south of Interstate 70 on Highway US191. Grand Junction Airport (GJT) is 113 miles from Moab. www.moabluxurycoach.com/index.html In addition to the shuttle service above, many persons choose to rent a car and most major rental car companies are available at GJT. If flying, we strongly recommend that you arrive a day early due to erratic schedules and possible flight delays at all points.

 

Moab, UT (CNY)

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
See below
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Distance:

 

18 miles

   

Connection flights to and from Moab, Utah (CNY) are via Salt Lake City (SLC) and operated by Delta Airlines. Reservations: (800) 221-1212. We strongly recommend that you arrive a day early due to erratic schedules and possible flight delays at all points. Taxi Services that serve the Moab Airport:Moab Taxi: 435-210-4297, Moab Luxury Coach: 435-940-4212 and Moab Coach: 435-259-8294. Call in advance to reserve. Enterprise Car Rental is also located at the Moab Airport.

 
Driving Directions
  Moab From All Directions Moab from Denver: Moab is a 6-7 hour drive from Denver. The best route is I-70 West to Utah State Highway 128 South (Exit 202 off of I-70 in Utah), then left onto Utah State Highway 128 into Moab. You can go twenty-two miles further on I-70 to Exit 180 and go south on US 19, 33 miles into Moab. They’re about the same time; however, State Highway 128 is one of the most spectacular drives on the planet. Moab from Salt Lake City: Moab is a 234, 4.5 hour drive from Salt Lake City. Take Interstate 15 56 miles South to Provo, UT and US Highway 6. Take US 6 south 123 miles to the Junction with Interstate 70. Travel East on Interstate 70, 24 miles to Junction with US Highway 191, traveling South on US 191 33 miles to Moab. Moab from Las Vegas: Moab is 7 hours, 461 miles from Las Vegas, NV. Take Interstate 15 North 247 miles to Junction with Interstate 70 East. Travel East I-70 for 182 miles to Junction with US Highway 191 traveling South on US 191 33 miles to Moab. . Meet at the hotel address: 71 West 200 North.
Elevation Note: 4,000-6,400 feet

Equipment Requirements: Hiking shoes or boots, daypack, water bottles
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: Orientation and Introductions
(Sunday, May 4)
   
 Arrive To: Mandatory orientation in hotel meeting room at 5:00 PM. Welcome to Moab! We'll have an informative overview of the program to come plus an opportunity to meet the program staff and your fellow participants during an introductory get-acquainted session. We’ll review the updated schedule, cover responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have.
 Dinner: We will travel to a local restaurant to enjoy a delicious meal and continue getting to know one-another.
 Evening: After dinner, we will wrap up our orientation back at the hotel. Get some rest afterwards, we have lots of exciting hikes this week!
   
Accommodations: River Canyon Lodge
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Arches National Park
(Monday, May 5)
   
 Breakfast: Each morning we have the luxury of walking (or taking the van) down the street to the Moab Diner for breakfast, a Moab favorite. There's no doubt you'll walk away satisfied with extensive menu choices and prompt, friendly service.
 Morning: Vans depart hotel for Arches National Park. After a beautiful and dramatic drive through the entrance of Arches National Park, we have a one-way hike to start the week off - “Park Avenue”. Vans pick us up at the lower trailhead. (1 mi) This is a great opportunity to see how you are feeling, adjust clothing layers for the days temperature, and enjoy the beautiful rock formations. Next we van to “Devil’s Garden” for a beautiful hike to Landscape Arch, the longest arch in the park. Then you have the option of hiking to another nearby arch with a breathtaking view. (3.5 mi RT)
 Lunch: A local market prepares our fresh box lunches each day so that we can enjoy them in the scenic outdoors. Lunch will include your choice of sandwich, fruit, chips, dessert, and water.
 Afternoon: After lunch we get to enjoy another one-way hike to Tapestry, Broken and Sand Dune Arches. We'll take time to talk about how life has adapted to live in this dry, often hot (May-Sept), high-desert climate. We will see first-hand these impressive plants and animals that call this area home. (1.7 mi) After this hike, we'll drive along the Colorado River to see Petroglyph Panels that take us back thousands of years. We will talk about the importance of this art, along with why we find it where we do.
 Dinner: Prepare your tastebuds for the full experience this week, we plan dinners at different area restaurants to give you a nice variety and plenty of choices.
 Evening: After a very full day of hiking and exciting educational adventures out in Arches National Park, you have free time after dinner to explore the shops of Moab, rest, or enjoy the nice swimming pool and hot-tub at our hotel.
   
Accommodations: River Canyon Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Canyonlands National Park-Island in the Sky District
(Tuesday, May 6)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the Moab Diner.
 Morning: This morning we take a scenic drive to Canyonlands National Park - Island in the Sky. After a stop at the visitor center, we drive to the Upheaval Dome Overlook trailhead. There are two well-known theories as to the origin of the upheaval. We will tell you about each, and then you tell us what you think caused the unique formation! (1 mi RT) Next, we drive to the Wilhite trailhead canyon rim hike. We'll have the special opportunity to see first hand the living soil of the desert and learn of it's importance. The panoramic view at the end of this hike will leave you saying "Oh WOW!".
 Lunch: A local market prepares our fresh box lunches each day so that we can enjoy them in the scenic outdoors. Lunch will include your choice of sandwich, fruit, chips, dessert, and water.
 Afternoon: After lunch, we hike on the White Rim Overlook Trail (2 mi RT). You will be treated to an expansive view of the Colorado River Canyon and you will be able to see all the way across to the Needle's District (where we will hike tomorrow). We'll take a few minutes to soak in the view, and also talk about how erosion is still shaping this landscape. A trip to Island in the Sky would not be complete without a short hike to the amazingly photogenic Mesa Arch, so we'll stop there before we head back to Moab. (.6 mi RT)
 Dinner: Dinner on own to sample cuisine of Moab with time for shopping or browsing the downtown.
 Evening: Each week we feature a local guest lecturer to talk about a different educational and exciting topic. We will announce the details at the beginning of your program.
   
Accommodations: River Canyon Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Canyonlands National Park-Needles District
(Wednesday, May 7)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the Moab Diner.
 Morning: We travel this morning in vans to Canyonlands National Park - Needles District. The Needles District forms the southeast corner of Canyonlands and was named for the colorful spires of Cedar Mesa Sandstone that dominate the area. We will stop at the visitor center for a break and a nice video on the area. Our hike is on the "Slickrock Foot Trail" and the entirety of the trail stays high on slickrock benches and mesa tops, providing sweeping, panoramic views of the Needles District. (2.5 mi RT)
 Lunch: A local market prepares our fresh box lunches each day so that we can enjoy them in the scenic outdoors. Lunch will include your choice of sandwich, fruit, chips, dessert, and water.
 Afternoon: After lunch we will drive to Cave Springs Trailhead and walk to the cowboy line camp, and also view some pictographs. Do you know the difference between a pictograph and a petroglyph? We will stop at Newspaper Rock on the drive back to Moab to view one of the best samples of petroglyphs in the area.
 Dinner: Prepare your tastebuds for the full experience this week, we plan dinners at different area restaurants to give you a nice variety and plenty of choices.
 Evening: After another full day of exciting educational hiking adventures, this evening is free after dinner to explore the shops of Moab, rest, or enjoy the nice swimming pool and hot-tub at our hotel.
   
Accommodations: River Canyon Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Colorado River Canyon/Arches National Park-Delicate Arch
(Thursday, May 8)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the Moab Diner.
 Morning: The Fisher Towers are one of the most outstanding scenic features of Utah's Colorado Riverway. These rock pinnacles soar above a maze of red and purple hued canyons. While hiking the challenging rocky trail, stop for a break and listen to the scrub jays and the ravens. Notice a juniper tree growing out of a crack in the rock. Try to get a close view of a lizard. These living components of the environment are as much a part of the "scenery" as the Fisher Towers.
 Lunch: A local market prepares our fresh box lunches each day so that we can enjoy them in the scenic outdoors. Lunch will include your choice of sandwich, fruit, chips, dessert, and water.
 Afternoon: Our last hike of the program is to Delicate Arch. Delicate Arch has become the unofficial symbol of Utah, have you noticed it on some Utah vehicle license plates? Towering eighty feet over hikers, Delicate Arch is a highlight of Arches National Park and is one of the most beautiful arches in the world. This arch needs to be experienced in person to be really appreciated. (3 mi RT)
 Dinner: Tonight we have a special closing dinner with a "million dollar view" at the Sunset Grill. The Sunset Grill is in the former home of Uranium King Charlie Steen. In the early 1950’s Moab was a small farming community. Arches and Canyonlands were places only a lucky few experienced. In 1952, Charles A. Steen, geologist and prospector, put Moab on the world map.
 Evening: Closing program
   
Accommodations: River Canyon Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Departures
(Friday, May 9)
   
 Depart From: Program ends after breakfast. Check-out by 10 AM.
 Breakfast: Restaurant Meal
   
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


Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness


Author: Edward Abbey


Description: "A passionately felt, deeply poetic book. It has philosophy. It has humor. It has its share of nerve-tingling adventures...set down in a lean, racing prose, in a close-knit style of power and beauty." Edward Abbey lived for three seasons in the desert at Moab, Utah, and what he discovered about the land before him, the world around him, and the heart that beat within, is a fascinating, sometimes raucous, always personal account of a place that has already disappeared, but is worth remembering and living through again and again. The classic drama of a year alone as a ranger in a national park. "This book may well seem like a ride on a bucking bronco."--New York Times Book Review



Ancient Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau


Author: Ron Blakey, Wayne Blakey


Description: "Imagine seeing the varied landscapes of the earth as they used to look throughout hundreds of millions of years of earth history. Tropical seas lap on the shores of an Arizona beach. Immense sand dunes shift and swirl in Sahara-like deserts in Utah and New Mexico. Ancient rivers spill from a mountain range in Colorado that was a precursor to the modern Rockies. Such flights of geologic fancy are now tangible through the thought-provoking and beautiful paleogeographic maps, reminiscent of the maps in world atlases we all paged through as children, of Ancient Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau. Ron Blakey of Northern Arizona University is one of the world’s foremost authorities on the geologic history of the Colorado Plateau. For more than fifteen years, he has meticulously created maps that show how numerous past landscapes gave rise to the region’s stunning geologic formations. Ancient Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau is the first book to showcase Blakey’s remarkable work. His maps are accompanied by text by Wayne Ranney, geologist and award-winning author of Carving Grand Canyon. Ranney takes readers on a fascinating tour of the many landscapes depicted in the maps, and Blakey and Ranney’s fruitful collaboration brings the past alive like never before."



Canyonlands Country: Geology of Canyonlands and Arches National Parks


Author: Donald L. Baars


Description: "An easy-to-read geological history of the amazing red rock landscapes in southeastern Utah. Towering red buttes, plunging canyon walls, domes, pinnacles, spires, ten thousand strangely carved forms—what visitor hasn’t marveled at the land of rock in southeastern Utah that is Canyonlands Country? Canyonlands Country offers a unique geological history of this awesome landscape, in language understandable by the non-geologist. The story is as strange and fascinating as the land itself. Each exposed rock layer has a different geologic history: one is a stream deposit, another is an ancient field of dunes, another was deposited by shallow tropic seas. The Green and Colorado Rivers began carving canyons thirty million years ago, but to understand such relatively recent events Canyonlands Country takes us on a journey of two billion years. Tours include Arches National Park, Island in the Sky, Needles District, The Maze and Elaterite Basin, Labyrinth and Stillwater Canyons, Meander Canyon, and Cataract Canyon."



Geology of the American Southwest: A Journey Through Two Billion Years of Plate-Tectonic History


Author: Scott Baldridge


Description: Scott Baldridge presents a concise guide to the geology of the Southwestern U.S. Two billion years of Earth history are represented in the rocks and landscape of the Southwest U.S., creating natural wonders such as the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and Death Valley. This region is considered a geologist's "dream", attracting a large number of undergraduate field classes and amateur geologists. The volume will prove invaluable to students and will also appeal to anyone interested in the geology and landscape of the region's National Parks.



Roadside Geology of Utah


Author: Halka Chronic


Description: Informative travel companions about roadside terrain and geology with photos, diagrams, and glossary. Great for drives and rides throughout Utah.



The Colorado Plateau: A Geologic History


Author: Donald L. Baars


Description: This new edition of Donald L. Baars's classic The Colorado Plateau incorporates new text, maps, photographs, figures, tables, and bibliography to provide the most up-to-date geology of the red rock and canyon country of the Four Corners of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. Baars's comprehensive geological summary of the canyonlands is detailed enough to satisfy a geologist looking for an overview of the region yet clearly enough written to appeal to anyone interested in learning the scientific story behind this magnificent scenic area.



The Geology of the Parks, Monuments, and Wildlands of Southern Utah


Author: Robert Fillmore


Description: This detailed interpretive guide explains the forces that created Utah's unforgettable scenery, while providing road logs of highways and major backroads through the Grand Staircase of the Colorado Plateau. Where in Utah can you find a fossilized ant hill that is at least fifty million years old? Do you know the location of an ancient beach that disappeared along with the dinosaurs that strolled it? Find out in The Geology of the Parks, Monuments, and Wildlands of Southern Utah. This fascinating and authoritative guide belongs on the dashboard or in the backpack of every visitor to southern Utah or student of its natural history. More than sixty illustrations and nearly three dozen photographs accompany clear explanations of the spectacular geologic features of this landscape, including Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Parks, as well as the Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument. Section I of the volume surveys chronologically the origins of the formations and structural features and the geologic processes that have shaped the Colorado Plateau. Section II provides road logs with mile-by-mile geologic descriptions of key sections of highway traversing this area. This detailed interpretive guide turns any windshield into a window of opportunity for understanding the forces that created Utah’s unforgettable scenery—whether it be a breathtaking panorama or a dazzling array of fins and fractures, pillars and pedestals, or cliffs and chasms.





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