11573
Nevada/Utah/Arizona
The Best of Color Country National Parks: Zion, Bryce and Grand Canyon
Discover the colorful and ancient landscapes of three iconic national parks as you explore geological monuments, visit historic lodges and marvel at scenic wonders with a naturalist.
Rating (4.99)
Program No. 11573RJ
Length
8 days
Starts at
1,799
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8 days
7 nights
20 meals
7 B 7 L 6 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Las Vegas, NV
D
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Las Vegas Airport

Afternoon: Program Registration. After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table in the hotel lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and to learn when and where dinner and the Orientation session will take place. If your arrival is delayed, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: Enjoy a dinner buffet catered by the hotel restaurant, plus coffee, iced tea and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Orientation. Your Group Leader will welcome everyone and lead introductions of participants. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Transportation will be provided by motorcoach unless otherwise specified. Be sure to bring a daypack, refillable water bottle, sun protection, sturdy walking shoes and anything else you think you will need during our hikes in the desert. Durations of hikes vary depending on the group. This program has a Group Leader who will deal primarily with logistics, an Instructor who lead most field trips and lectures, and a bus driver who will accompany us throughout the program. Some days offer choices in the length of hikes. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, engaging in available activities on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local conditions/circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the full day ahead.

DAY
2
Basin and Range, Zion National Park
Zion National Park
B,L,D
Zion Lodge

Activity note: Drive about 165 miles. Hike today is one 1 mile roundtrip with a 69 foot elevation change on paved but sometimes uneven or muddy trails.

Breakfast: Buffet in hotel which includes fresh fruit, yogurt, assorted baked goods, cereal, pancakes, scrambled eggs, oatmeal, bacon, sausage, breakfast potatoes, coffee, assorted teas, juice and milk.

Morning: Board the motorcoach for your trip north toward Zion National Park. Along the way your Instructor will enhance your travel time with insights into the geology, plants, animals and human history of the region. Travel through the Basin and Range Province, the upper Mohave Desert, and the Virgin River Gorge, en route to the Colorado Plateau and Zion National Park.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Springdale, Utah, just outside of Zion National Park, we will have a buffet lunch, plus coffee, tea, lemonade and water.

Afternoon: After lunch we will travel by motorcoach into the park with a short stop at the visitors center to help orient you to the park and the hikes we will be taking. We'll then proceed to Zion Lodge where we'll hike to Lower Emerald Pools to view waterfalls cascading over sandstone cliffs to shallow green pools.

Dinner: Plated dinner at local restaurant with a select menu of entrees, side dishes, vegetables, rolls, plus coffee, tea, soft drinks, and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Consider attending Ranger lectures in the Lodge on various topics related to the park's ecology, geology and human history.

DAY
3
Human History Museum, Weeping Rock, Temple of Sinawava
Zion National Park
B,L
Zion Lodge

Activity note: Optional pre-breakfast walk of 1 mile one-way; Weeping Rock is one-half mile roundtrip on a paved trail with 100 foot change in elevation; Temple of Sinawava walk is 2 miles round trip on a paved trail with little change in elevation.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in the Lodge includes fresh fruit, yogurt, assorted baked goods, cereal, pancakes, scrambled eggs, oatmeal, bacon, sausage, breakfast potatoes, coffee, assorted teas, juice and milk.

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 motorcoach will drop us at one end of this paved pedestrian/bike thoroughfare that travels along the banks of the N. Fork of the Virgin River, with excellent views of the Streaked Wall, Alter of Sacrifice, the Beehives, the Watchman and Bridge Mountain. It is slightly over 1 mile, with a 50 foot change in elevation. We will return by motorcoach for breakfast at the Lodge. After breakfast we will ride the park shuttle to Weeping Rock where we will hike a short but steep one-half mile round trip trail to view natural hanging gardens and the verdant spring lines of Weeping Rock. We'll then take the park shuttle to Temple of Sinawava. The Temple of Sinawava is a natural amphitheater, which is the trailhead for the Riverside Walk. From here, we walk on a fairly level, paved trail that follows the course of the Virgin River deep into the heart of Zion Canyon, viewing spring lines that provide water for lush hanging gardens and the home of the endangered Zion snail. Your Instructor will provide information about the Virgin River and Zion Canyon’s geology and plant habitat along the way.

Lunch: We'll return via park shuttle to Zion Lodge and enjoy our box lunch on the lawn that includes a sandwich, chips, fruit and cookie.

Afternoon: After lunch we'll travel by motorcoach 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 Bridge on Bridge Mountain. We'll return to the Lodge to relax and get cleaned up before dinner.

Dinner: We'll take the motorcoach to dinner on your own in the quaint town of Springdale, where you can enjoy a variety of restaurants, bars, gift shops, art galleries, and more. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure. Take an evening stroll from the Lodge and enjoy the quiet of the park when tourists leave and the wildlife comes out at night. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
4
Checkerboard Mesa, Inspiration Point at Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon National Park
B,L,D
The Lodge at Bryce Canyon

Activity note: We will travel by motorcoach 75 miles to Bryce Canyon National Park. This will take about one hour and twenty minutes. Walk about 1 mile, with a 100 foot change in elevation, along an unpaved trail along Bryce Canyon rim to Sunset Point. Elevation is approximately 8,000 feet at Bryce Canyon.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in the Lodge includes fresh fruit, yogurt, assorted baked goods, cereal, pancakes, scrambled eggs, oatmeal, bacon, sausage, breakfast potatoes, coffee, assorted teas, juice and milk.

Morning: Board the motorcoach and travel to Bryce Canyon National Park, one of America's smaller national parks covering only 56 square miles. Bryce is renowned for its unique geological features carved by nature into hoodoos and pinnacles of an amazing palette of colors. Along the way we will travel through the 1 mile long Zion-Mt. Carmel tunnel and stop at Checkerboard Mesa.

Lunch: Enjoy a lunch buffet of Western favorites at a local restaurant with coffee, iced tea, soda and water.

Afternoon: After lunch we will take the motorcoach to Inspiration Point for a walk to Sunset Point. This one-mile unpaved trail winds along the rim through bristlecone, spruce and fir trees with great views of the Bryce amphitheatre and the hoodoos, fins and spires of red, pink and yellow rock.

Dinner: Board our motorcoach to Ebenezer's Barn and Grill for dinner and a western music show. We will pick up our preselected choice of entrée from a buffet line, plus coffee, tea, soda or water; other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Bryce Point, Queen's Garden Trail, Rainbow Pt, Yovimpa Pt.
Bryce Canyon National Park
B,L,D
The Lodge at Bryce Canyon

Activity note: One-quarter mile round trip sunrise paved walk to Bryce Point; 1.8 mile round trip Queen's Garden walk; One-half mile round trip paved walk to Yovimpa Point.

Breakfast: Bryce Lodge breakfast buffet includes eggs, assorted breakfast meats, potatoes, biscuits and gravy, french toast, pastries, fruits, and yogurt, plus coffee, tea, juice and water.

Morning: Before breakfast is an optional motorcoach trip to Bryce Point where early risers will be rewarded with a spectacular sunrise over the richly colored hoodoos of Bryce amphitheater. After breakfast enjoy a short walk to Sunrise Point where we will begin our 1.8 mile round trip hike below the canyon rim to Queen's Garden where you will experience an entirely different view from the canyon floor while looking up at the hoodoos. Participants are welcome to hike just part of the trail or if you prefer a more relaxed experience, there are excellent views of Queen's Garden from the walk along the rim trail from Sunrise to Sunset Point.

Lunch: Box lunch of a sandwich, chips, fruit and cookie at Rainbow Point at the park's southern end at 9115 feet above sea level.

Afternoon: After lunch we'll walk one-quarter mile on a paved trail to Yovimpa Point to enjoy expansive views of the Grand Staircase and Navajo Mountain to the east and the Kaibab Plateau to the south. After returning from Yovimpa Point, we'll board the motorcoach for the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center to view the award-winning park video, visit the natural history museum and learn about the amazing night sky at Bryce.

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: Enjoy a Ranger presentation or walk to the canyon rim and watch the hoodoos change color as the sun sets. Prepare for check-out and transfer tomorrow.

DAY
6
Grand Canyon North Rim and Bright Angel Point
North Rim, Grand Canyon
B,L,D
Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim

Activity note: Walk one-half mile paved trail to Bright Angel Point with 100 foot change in elevation. The drive from Bryce Canyon to the north rim of the Grand Canyon is 155 miles or about 3 hours.

Breakfast: Bryce Lodge breakfast buffet includes eggs, assorted breakfast meats, potatoes, biscuits and gravy, french toast, pastries, fruits, and yogurt, plus coffee, tea, juice and water.

Morning: Board the motorcoach for the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Our first stop will be Kanab, UT where we'll visit the Grand Staircase-Escalante Visitors Center to learn about the geology of the National Monument. We'll then cross into Arizona, climb the Kaibab Plateau and stop at the LeFevre overlook for a panoramic view of the multi-colored rock layers of the Grand Staircase.

Lunch: The Jacob Lake Inn, a pine-surrounded log structure with a fireplace and a wonderfully homey feel, will serve a plated meal of home-cooked fare.

Afternoon: After lunch we'll continue southbound across the Kaibab Plateau, through forests of Ponderosa 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. Upon arrival we'll take a one-half mile round trip hike on a steep paved trail to Bright Angel Point, a promontory at an elevation of 8,148 feet that offers panoramic views of Roaring Springs, Bright Angel and Transept Canyons, as well as the inner gorge of the Grand Canyon. After our walk, we'll check in at the Grand Canyon Lodge for our stay in the rustic cabins near the main lodge building.

Dinner: Buffet dinner in the historic Grand Canyon Lodge auditorium includes coffee, iced tea lemonade and water. Other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: Enjoy a presentation by a park Ranger, or go for a walk to one of several view points overlooking the canyon to watch the stars.

DAY
7
North Rim Nature Walk, Point Imperial
North Rim, Grand Canyon
B,L,D
Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim

Activity note: Motorcoach drive to Point Imperial is 20 minutes from the Lodge. Other walks to consider include 1.5 mile round trip on unpaved Transept Trail, one-half mile round trip on very steep unpaved north Kaibab Trail, two-mile round trip unpaved trail to north Kaibab trailhead.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet includes eggs, assorted breakfast meats, seasoned potatoes, freshly baked biscuits and country gravy, french toast casserole, pastries, fruits and yogurt. Coffee, tea and juice included.

Morning: Start your morning with a nature walk on your own along or near the rim. Then board the motorcoach to Point Imperial, the highest point on the north rim at 8,803 feet. Point Imperial overlooks the Painted Desert and the eastern end of Grand Canyon. Here the canyon transforms as the narrow walls of Marble Canyon open dramatically to become "grand." Layers of red and black Precambrian rocks, not visible at Bright Angel Point, add contrast and color.

Lunch: Enjoy a box lunch at Point Imperial of a sandwich, chips, fruit and cookie.

Afternoon: Board the motorcoach and return to the Lodge through the Kaibab forest. Enjoy a free afternoon of independent exploration including the Kaibab trail that leads toward the bottom of the Grand Canyon, the 1.5 mile Transept Trail along the rim to enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding canyon, catch an afternoon Ranger program, 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: Dining in the historic Grand Canyon Lodge is truly a memorable experience with spectacular views of the sunset over the canyon. Regional as well as 1930's themed foods are featured throughout the extensive menu. Coffee, iced tea, soda and water are included. Other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
8
Program concludes
Departures
B,L

Activity note: Driving distance from north rim of Grand Canyon to Las Vegas is 265 miles or 4.5 hours.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet includes eggs, assorted breakfast meats, seasoned potatoes, freshly baked biscuits and country gravy, french toast casserole, pastries, fruits and yogurt. Coffee, tea and juice included.

Morning: The motorcoach departs the north rim by 7:30 a.m. sharp. Return to Las Vegas McCarran International Airport via St. George, UT and Mesquite, NV, to arrive at the airport by 1:30 p.m. and the starting hotel shortly thereafter.

Lunch: Enjoy a buffet lunch in St. George, Utah on the way to the Las Vegas airport.

Afternoon: Complete the final portion of our drive to Las Vegas, dropping participants at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport by 1:30 p.m., followed by the starting hotel. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future.






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