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20966
Utah/Arizona

Rafting, Hiking & Horses: Zion National Park With Your Family

Get a new perspective on Utah and Arizona’s national parks with your family as you hike, climb, horseback ride and zip line, learning the unique story of these beautiful places.
Rating (5)
Program No. 20966RJ
Length
7 days
Starts at
1,949 / ADULT
1,199 / CHILD
Utah/Arizona

Rafting, Hiking & Horses: Zion National Park With Your Family

Get a new perspective on Utah and Arizona’s national parks with your family as you hike, climb, horseback ride and zip line, learning the unique story of these beautiful places.
Length
7 days
Starts at
1,949 / ADULT
1,199 / CHILD
Program No. 20966 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
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Age 8 - 18
ROOMING OPTION PRICING
The figures below indicate the rooming options available.
DATES
Jun 14 – Jun 20, 2021
Per Adult
1,949
Per Child
1,199
Select
Jun 14 - Jun 20, 2021
1,949
/ Adult
1,199
/ Child
1,949
/ Adult
1,199
/ Child
2,399
/ Adult
1,199
/ Child
Select Date
Jul 5 – Jul 11, 2021
Per Adult
1,949
Per Child
1,199
Select
Jul 5 - Jul 11, 2021
1,949
/ Adult
1,199
/ Child
1,949
/ Adult
1,199
/ Child
2,399
/ Adult
1,199
/ Child
Select Date
Jul 19 – Jul 25, 2021
Per Adult
1,949
Per Child
1,199
Select
Jul 19 - Jul 25, 2021
1,949
/ Adult
1,199
/ Child
1,949
/ Adult
1,199
/ Child
2,399
/ Adult
1,199
/ Child
Select Date
Aug 2 – Aug 8, 2021
Per Adult
1,949
Per Child
1,199
Select
Aug 2 - Aug 8, 2021
1,949
/ Adult
1,199
/ Child
1,949
/ Adult
1,199
/ Child
2,399
/ Adult
1,199
/ Child
Select Date

At a Glance

Rafting down the Colorado River. Hiking through Antelope Canyon and Zion National Park. Horseback riding and much more at Zion Ponderosa Ranch. Join in the ultimate family adventure as you discover the history and science behind the natural wonders of Arizona and Utah! Hike to the sandstone formations of Snow Canyon and Antelope Canyon, and join a falconer for a meeting with some of his closest feathered friends. Enjoy special opportunities to meet members of the local Navajo/Diné community and taste a "Navajo taco." At the Zion Ponderosa Ranch, try your hand at rock climbing, rappelling and other great activities — then enjoy s’mores around the campfire!
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Hiking up to 2-3 miles; optional activities include rock climbing, repelling, zip lining, horse back riding. Elevations of 5,500 feet.
Family Programs
Family Programs
Share your love of learning with your family. These programs are designed for any combination of generations: grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents and children.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Enjoy all kinds of adventures at Zion Ponderosa Ranch, like horseback riding, climbing the rock wall, rappelling, zip lining and much more!
  • Hike to the Zion Canyon Narrows along the picturesque Virgin River and the waterfalls at the lower emerald pools. (You will probably get wet!)
  • Take a flat water float trip down the mighty Colorado River; then explore the swirly and striped beauty of Antelope Canyon—the most photographed slot canon of the desert Southwest.

General Notes

This is a Family program for participants, their adult children and grandchildren ages 8 and up.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Darrell McMahon
Darrell McMahon has worked in natural resource management for more than four decades and has extensive experience as a wildlife and habitat biologist, entomologist and botanist. Darrell has spent many years hiking thousands of miles through this wild landscape and has pinned his soul in the high plateaus and deep canyons of the desert southwest. Darrell has discovered many secret places in the desert southwest and loves to share these places and his knowledge with his best friends and Road Scholar participants.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Paula McMahon
Paula McMahon View biography
Paula McMahon has spent a lifetime camping, hiking, backpacking and canoeing in the mountains and deserts of the American West. She feels honored to share her love and passion for these special places with participants on Road Scholar programs, which she has been doing for almost a decade. Paula has also worked for 18 years as an educational paraprofessional with autistic and deaf children and is a sign language (ASL) interpreter.
Profile Image of Darrell McMahon
Darrell McMahon View biography
Darrell McMahon has worked in natural resource management for more than four decades and has extensive experience as a wildlife and habitat biologist, entomologist and botanist. Darrell has spent many years hiking thousands of miles through this wild landscape and has pinned his soul in the high plateaus and deep canyons of the desert southwest. Darrell has discovered many secret places in the desert southwest and loves to share these places and his knowledge with his best friends and Road Scholar participants.
Profile Image of Martin Tyner
Martin Tyner View biography
At the age of 19, Martin Tyner was hired as curator of birds of prey at Busch Gardens, Calif., and was soon working in the movie industry as a trainer of big cats, elephants, primates, sea mammals and raptors. He is the founder of the Southwest Wildlife Foundation, a non-profit wildlife rescue and environmental education organization. With the help of his Golden Eagle, Bud, they received a donation of 22.6 acres of property for the development of a permanent wildlife rescue facility in Utah.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Geology
by See list below
Geology – a Golden Guide, by Frank H.T. Rhodes, 1991, St. Martin’s Press, N.Y. Geology of Utah’s Parks and Monuments, Sprinkel et. al. Utah Geological Association, 2000. Contains geology papers on 25 parks and monuments of Utah (644 pages). Written for a geologist. Utah‘s Spectacular Geology, Lehi Hintze, 2005 The geologic story of Utah’s landscapes and how they came to be. A Traveler's Guide to the Geology of the Colorado Plateau, Don Baars, 2002. A comprehensive guide to the Colorado Plateau. The Practical Geologist, Dougal Dixon, Raymond Bernor, 1992 This book is a great introductory guide to the basics of geology. Great diagrams, pictures and is well written. Geology Underfoot in Southern Utah, R. Orndorff, R. Wieder, D. Futey, 2006 A hands on book about getting out among the rocks. Explores 33 sites in Southern Utah. Tells of ancient eruptions, deserts, seas, swamps and movements of massive rock units over eons. Beyond the Visible Landscape, W. Kenneth Hamblin, 2004. A unique book that consists of a series of panoramic photographs taken from the air. Focuses on the fundamental features of the landscape. Contains excellent diagrams & descriptions of the geology in the photographs.
Books about Flora
by See list below
Wildflowers of Southwestern Utah, Hayle Buchanan. 1992. Text covers flowers, shrubs and trees in their various life zones from Zion, Bryce and Cedar Breaks. $7.95 Canyon Country Wildflowers, Damian Fagan. 1998. A field guide to common wildflowers, shrubs and trees. $19.95 Sagebrush Country a Wildflower Sanctuary, Ronald Taylor. 1992. A field guide to common wildflowers, grasses and shrubs of the Great Basin. $14.00 Wildflowers of the Desert Southwest, Meg Quinn. 2000. A field guide to common desert wildflowers. $9.95
Geology (specific)
by See list below
Ron Kay’s Guide to Zion National Park, Ron Kay, 1995 A complete guide of Zion National Park by one of Road Scholar’s own instructors. Shadows of Time: The Geology of Bryce Canyon National Park, Frank Decourten, 1994 A book with breathtaking photographs, well written on the geology of Bryce Canyon N. P. and surrounding high plateaus. Water, Rock, & Time: The Geologic Story of Zion National Park, Robert Eves, 2005. This book is so nice you may want to leave it on the coffee table. Zion National Park: Towers of Stone; by J.L. Crawford; Zion Natural History Association, Springdale, Utah, Fourth Edition 2002. Carving Grand Canyon, Wayne Ranney. 2005. A synopsis of ideas and theories that geologists have developed over time about the carving of the Grand Canyon. This story is told in an engaging style that non-scientists will find inviting. Canyonlands Country, Donald Baars, 1993. Geology of Canyonlands and Arches National Parks.
Education
by See list below
The Redrock Canyon Explorer, Irene Brady and Geology Rocks, by Cindy Blobaum & Michael Kline. Two books that are a great starting place for grandparents and educators that would like to get a fun and creative educational tool for their grandchildren or students. $19.95 and $12.95 Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv. 2005. An absolute must-read for parents if we are going to save our children from the Nature- Deficit Disorder. $13.95. Sharing Nature with Children, Joseph Cornell. 1989. A parents and teachers nature awareness guidebook. $9.95.
Books about Native American / Prehistory
by See list below
Rock Art of Utah, Polly Schaafsma, 2002. Traces of Freemont: Society and Rock Art in Ancient Utah, Steven Simms, 2010. Archeology of the Southwest, Linda Cordell, 2012.
Books about History
by See list below
Heart of the Desert Wild, Greer Chesher, 2000. Award winning book about the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument (GSENM). It covers a variety of topics from geology to history. The photography and design of this book are outstanding and remains the definitive book on the GSENM. A Roadside History of Utah, Cynthia L. Bennett. 1999. Compelling stories of Utah’s exceptional people. Utah’s History, Richard D. Poll. 1989. A more in-depth and statewide focus on history. Hole-in-the-Rock, David E. Miller, 1995. If you want to learn more about one of the epic pioneer journeys in American History this is the book. It is area related and is a good read for those interested in history. Highway 12, Christian Probasco. 2005. Popular with travelers along Highway 12. It features a unique look at the history, people and their perspectives on this very special corridor. Outlaw Tales of Utah, Michael Rutter, 2002. True stores of Utah’s most famous robbers, rustlers and bandits.
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7 days
6 nights
17 meals
6 B 5 L 6 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Program Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
St. George
D
University Inn

Activity note: University Inn check-in available from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table 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, other important information, and to confirm when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. We will transfer to Dixie State University for a delicious banquet dinner.

Dinner: In our private meeting room at Dixie State University, we’ll enjoy a delicious welcome banquet featuring buffet options, plus coffee, tea and water.

Evening: Orientation. Returning to the University Inn, the Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Transportation will be provided primarily by motorcoach unless otherwise specified. Be sure to bring a daypack, 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. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. 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 day ahead.

DAY
2
Snow Canyon State Park, Birds of Prey Presentation
St. George
B,L,D
University Inn

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles on sandy, uneven, and rocky trails with a max elevation change of 100 feet. Driving distance is approximately 15 miles.

Breakfast: At the University Inn, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as eggs, oatmeal, hot and cold cereals, fruit, yogurt, pastries, toast, milk, juice, coffee, tea and water.

Morning: We’ll begin our adventure with a field trip via motorcoach to Snow Canyon State Park, where our instructor will introduce the area’s geology via a short hike to a viewpoint along the rim with motorcoach stops within the canyon. We’ll soak in the beauty of the scenery and notice the exquisite red and white sandstone cliffs, rolling mounds of petrified sand dunes and lava (basalt) rock formations. We’ll return to the college campus after our field trip.

Lunch: At a local restaurant we will choose from a variety of fresh sandwiches, subs, pizza and salads. Soft drinks, coffee, iced tea and water are included.

Afternoon: We'll travel to the Washington County Recreation Center for an afternoon swim in the indoor aquatic center.

Dinner: At the Inn, we'll enjoy a pizza party with soft drinks, coffee, tea, water included.

Evening: We’ll be joined at the University Inn by a federally licensed eagle falconer for a presentation on birds of prey native to the Southwestern United States. With the opportunity to see a live falcon, hawk, and golden eagle up close, we’ll learn about these beautiful and fascinating animals. We’ll prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
3
Zion National Park
Zion National Park, UT
B,L,D
Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort

Activity note: Walking 2 – 3 miles, mostly paved trails, some uneven and slippery terrain depending on which hike is chosen with a maximum elevation change of 200 ft. Driving to Zion will take about 1 hour.

Breakfast: University Inn buffet.

Morning: We’ll check out of the inn and transfer by motorcoach to Zion National Park for field trips led by our instructor. For our first hiking field trip, we’ll stop at the Temple of Sinawava, a natural amphitheater and 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. Our instructor will provide information about the Virgin River and Zion Canyon’s geology and plant habitat along the way.

Lunch: On the lawn at Zion Lodge, we’ll have box lunches that include a sandwich, chips, fruit and cookie.

Afternoon: We’ll continue hiking in Zion National Park to see more of its natural wonders. Later, we’ll travel via motorcoach on the historic Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, ascend nearly 1,000 vertical feet, and go through a mile-long tunnel to Zion’s breathtaking east side. We’ll make a quick stop to photograph astounding Checkerboard Mesa before leaving the park and checking into our next lodging.

Dinner: We’ll enjoy a wagon ride to a Dutch oven dinner. The wagon ride will take us along a trail through sagebrush and Ponderosa Pine to enjoy an outdoor buffet of Western-style tasty foods cooked in Dutch ovens that include barbecue, potatoes, beans, vegetables, and dessert. Coffee, soft drinks, iced tea and water included.

Evening: At the ranch, we’ll observe the sky and be amazed at how many stars we can see at night!

DAY
4
Ranch Activities & Exploration
Zion National Park, UT
B,L,D
Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort

Activity note: All activities for the day are located at the ranch. Depending on the activity, a low to moderate level of physical coordination is required. Each family should assess their own abilities and comfort level prior to initiating any activity. Some activities require prior no-fee registration in order to accommodate a limited number of participants. Our Group Leader will explain the sign-up process the night before.

Breakfast: At the ranch, we will choose from a breakfast buffet including fresh fruit, yogurt, assorted baked goods, hot and cold cereals, an egg dish, breakfast meats, potatoes, coffee, assorted teas, juice, milk, and water.

Morning: Let’s get ready for incredible adventures and a fabulous time participating in activities at the ranch! We’ll be able to choose from activities such as horseback riding, rock climbing, rappelling, zip line, paintball, a jeep excursion, skeet shooting, mini-golf, hiking and swimming.

Lunch: At the ranch’s cafeteria, we’ll enjoy a hearty lunch, with soft drinks, coffee, iced tea and water included.

Afternoon: Activities at the ranch will continue for an afternoon of fun-filled adventure.

Dinner: At the ranch, an extensive Western-style dinner buffet awaits us. Coffee, iced tea, soft drinks and water included.

Evening: We’ll gather around the campfire for stories and s’mores, then prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
5
Antelope Slot Canyon & Glen Canyon Dam
Lake Powell, AZ
B,L,D
Lake Powell Resort & Marinas

Activity note: Driving approximately 100 miles, about 2 hours. Hiking is up to 1/2 mile in deep sand in a narrow slot canyon. Closed toed shoes recommended for the hike through Antelope Canyon.

Breakfast: Ranch buffet.

Morning: After checking out, we’ll depart via motorcoach to Page, AZ. We’ll stop en route for a field trip to Antelope Slot Canyon, the most photographed slot canyon in the Southwest U.S. There, we’ll embark on an expert-led exploration of Upper Antelope Canyon. The Navajo name is Tse' bighanilini, which means “the place where water runs through rocks.” Upper Antelope is at about 4,000 feet elevation and the canyon walls rise 120 feet above the streambed, all located within the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation. We’ll discover why this beautiful canyon has rightly earned its world-renowned reputation.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a choice of plated entrees from a select menu with soft drinks, ice tea, lemonade and water included.

Afternoon: We’ll transfer via motorcoach to Glen Canyon Dam, which forms Lake Powell, one of the largest man-made reservoirs in the U.S. At the visitor center, we will learn via independent discovery about the building of the dam, how electric power is generated, and water use and conservation measures in the west. We’ll then proceed to the Lake Powell Resort for check-in.

Dinner: At local restaurant, we’ll enjoy a choice from a select menu of plated meals with, coffee, tea, soft drinks, lemonade and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: After dinner, we'll drive a short distance to spend an evening with the Navajo Native American Indians. We will enjoy a weaving demonstration, Native American dances, visits to traditional Hogan meeting houses, and story-telling from tribal elders. This is a wonderful opportunity to glimpse into the life, ways and traditions of the Navajo tribe! Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
6
Colorado River Float Trip
St. George
B,L,D
University Inn

Activity note: Driving about 3 hours to St. George after river float, with at least one stop along the way. Minimal walking, no hiking today. We will place our luggage on the curb beside the motorcoach 15 minutes prior to departure for transit to Saint George.

Breakfast: At the resort, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, French toast, hash browns, fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal, assorted pastries, milk, juice, coffee, tea, and water.

Morning: After check-out, we’ll travel by motorcoach a few miles to the banks of the Colorado River, where we begin our flat water float trip, led and operated by local experts. Our field trip begins with an exciting ride down the two-mile long Glen Canyon Dam access tunnel. With the dam soaring 700 feet above, we’ll board a motorized pontoon raft for our journey downstream, where we will experience one of the most dramatic stretches of river found in the western United States. While underway, we’ll hear about the area’s story of soaring sandstone cliffs, crystal blue-green waters, abundant wildlife, former inhabitation by native cultures, exploration by Major John Wesley Powell, and the Colorado River’s modern role in the Southwest’s water and power delivery system.

Lunch: On the river, we’ll have box lunches.

Afternoon: Returning to St. George via motorcoach, we’ll check into our rooms with time to freshen up and relax until dinner.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we will enjoy extensive buffet offerings, with coffee, tea, water included. We’ll share our favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
7
Program Concludes
St. George
B

Activity note: University Inn check-out by 10:00 a.m.

Breakfast: University Inn buffet. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on another rewarding program in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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