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
7 days
Starts at
1,799 / ADULT
1,149 / CHILD
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7 days
6 nights
17 meals
6 B 5 L 6 D
Check-in, Program Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
St. George
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.

Snow Canyon State Park, Birds of Prey Presentation
St. George
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 enjoy soups, salads and sandwiches from an expansive menu of favorites. Soft drinks, coffee, iced tea and water are included.

Afternoon: Enjoy an afternoon of swimming at the Washington County Recreation Center.

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

Evening: Back in our meeting room at the Inn, we’ll be joined 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.

Zion National Park
Zion National Park, UT
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!

Ranch Activities & Exploration
Zion National Park, UT
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.

Antelope Slot Canyon & Glen Canyon Dam
Lake Powell, AZ
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/Diné 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/Diné tribe! Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

Colorado River Float Trip
St. George
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. Other beverages available for purchase. 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.

Program Concludes
St. George

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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