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 (4.97)
Program No. 11573RJ
Length
8 days
Starts at
1,695
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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, Orientationn, Welcome Dinner
Las Vegas, NV
D
DoubleTree by Hilton

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 catered by DoubleTree Hilton, including entree, salad, vegetables, and a beverage.

Evening: After dinner, your Dixie State 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!

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

Activity note: 1.2 mile round trip/69 vertical foot walk in Zion Nation Park.

Breakfast: 6:30 to 7:45 am - DoubleTree Hilton Breakfast Buffet which includes fresh fruit, yogurt, assorted baked goods, cereal, pancakes, scrambled eggs, oatmeal, bacon, sausage, breakfast potatoes, coffee, assorted teas, juice and milk.

Morning: Bring your luggage out to the coach and board the coach for the AM departure. Travel with your Dixie State 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: Lunch at Majestic View Lodge.

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 at the Red Rock Grill.

Evening: After dinner there will be a presentation on local natural history or orientation to/overview of Zion National Park.

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

Activity note: 3 walks today: 1 mile/ early morning nature walk;0.5 mile/100 vertical foot walk; 2.2 mile/57 vertical foot walk.

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 from the Switchback restaurant. Choice of Ham, Roast Beef or Turkey on a Demi Loaf, 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 Zion Lodge.

Dinner: Dinner on your own and an opportunity to explore Springdale. We will supply you with a list of numerous restaurants to choose from.

Evening: Optional NPS Ranger program.

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

Activity note: 0.9 mile walk down 100 feet along the Bryce Canyon Rim, unpaved and somewhat rocky trail.

Breakfast: Breakfast in the Red Rock Grill of the Zion Lodge.

Morning: Board the motor coach for the northbound trip to Bryce 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. We then turn north 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.

Dinner: Enjoy an unforgettable evening of old fashioned western fun, music and great cowboy food at Bryce Canyon's Ebenezers Barn & Grill.

Evening: After dinner enjoy a western music show.

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: 1/4 mile RT sunrise walk to Bryce Point, 1.8 mile RT Queen's Garden Walk, 1/2 mile RT walk to Yovimpa Point

Breakfast: Bryce Lodge 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: 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 hotel.

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.

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

Activity note: 1/2 mile walk down 150 feet to Bright Angel Point

Breakfast: Bryce Lodge 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: Board the motor coach for the southbound trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Travel on down several steps of the Grand Staircase to Kanab, UT where we'll visit the Grandstaircase Escalante Visitors Center. Then on into Arizona (Change to Mountain Standard Time) where 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: Buffet Dinner in the historic Grand Canyon Lodge Auditorium.

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.

DAY
7
North Rim, Nature Walk, Point Imperial, N.Kaibab Trail Hike
North Rim, Grand Canyon
B,L,D
Grand Canyon Lodge

Activity note: 1 mile nature walk in morning. 1.4 mile RT/ 500 Vertical Foot hike down N. Kaibab Trail.

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: 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. We take pride in utilizing only the freshest and healthiest ingredients. The "all natural" beef and poultry products are free of any antibodies or hormones. Salmon is wild Alaska caught. Additionally, we offer organic products such as salad greens and pastas.

Evening: Evening at leisure.

DAY
8
Program Concludes
Departures
B,L

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: Load into the motor coach to depart from North Rim by 7:30 AM sharp. Return to Las Vegas McCarran International Airport via St. George, UT and Mesquite, NV, to arrive at the airport by 1:30 PM and the starting hotel shortly thereafter.

Lunch: Lunch on way to airport.