2276
Utah
Canyons, Cliffs & Rivers: The Geological Wonders of Zion
Discover why Zion National Park can only be described as “awe-inspiring” as you hike and learn about its unique geology, stunning landscapes and diverse flora and fauna.
Rating (4.88)
Program No. 2276RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,499
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
St. George
D
University Inn

Activity note: Inn check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 3:00-5:00 p.m. 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’ll transfer via motorcoach to campus for dinner.

Dinner: In our private meeting room at Dixie State University, we will enjoy a delicious welcome banquet buffet, plus coffee, tea, 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. 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 day ahead. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
2
Hike Zion, Geology Class
Zion National Park, UT
B,L,D
Springhill Suites by Marriott Springdale Zion National Park

Activity note: Travel approximately 42 miles by motorcoach to Zion National Park. Hiking 4 to 5 miles. Riverside Walk is an easy 2-mile round trip on a fairly level paved trail ending at the entrance to the Zion Canyon Narrows. Watchman Trail is a moderate, 2-mile round trip with a 456 foot elevation change.

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

Morning: We’ll gather in a classroom with our instructor who will present a lecture on the geology, ecology, flora and fauna of Southern Utah. Through this presentation, we’ll gain a greater understanding of the incredible formations we will explore during the week. We’ll then 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 trail, we’ll have box lunches including a sandwich, chips, cookie and fruit.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll proceed by park shuttle to the Zion Visitor Center, the starting point for the Watchman Trail hike. The Watchman Trail was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps and completed in 1934. The trail winds along the foothills of Bridge Mountain, concluding near the Watchman, a mountain that rises to a height of 6,545 feet. Once known as Flanigan’s Peak, it was renamed because it “watches over” the park. Along the way, we’ll be able to see a number of Zion landmarks including the evocatively named Altar of Sacrifice, Beehives, Towers of the Virgin, and West Temple. We’ll then return via motorcoach to our hotel for time to freshen up and relax before our dinner in town.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we will enjoy a plated meal with a choice of main dishes such as pasta, chicken, trout, meatloaf, salad, side dishes and dessert. Coffee, tea (iced/hot), sodas and water are provided; other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Hike Zion National Park, Birds of Prey Presentation
Zion National Park, UT
B,L,D
Springhill Suites by Marriott Springdale Zion National Park

Activity note: Hiking 4 – 8 miles, 1000 foot elevation gain.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet includes choices such as fresh fruit, yogurt, assorted baked goods, cereal, pancakes, scrambled eggs, oatmeal, sausage, breakfast potatoes, coffee, assorted teas, juice and milk.

Morning: We’ll set out to explore Zion's West Rim Trail and Scouts Lookout. Starting at the Grotto trailhead, today's hike takes us up and out of the west side of the main canyon to Scout's Lookout. From here we will continue along West Rim trail another 1 to 2 miles with incredible views of the Canyon.

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

Afternoon: We’ll continue hiking and exploring Zion, returning to the hotel late afternoon.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we will enjoy a plated meal of local favorites. Coffee, tea (iced/hot), sodas and water are provided; other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: We’ll be joined in the hotel meeting room by a federally licensed eagle falconer for a presentation on birds of prey and see a live falcon, hawk, and golden eagle.

DAY
4
Awesome Outings & More Hikes in Zion
Zion National Park, UT
B,L
Springhill Suites by Marriott Springdale Zion National Park

Activity note: Hiking 2 – 4 miles. Lower Emerald Pools is a 1.2 mile round trip on a groomed trail with 70 foot elevation change. Middle Emerald Pools is a 2 mile round trip on groomed trail with 150 foot elevation change.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll head via motorcoach through the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel to the upper east side of Zion, with a stop at Checkerboard Mesa to observe the unique weathering patterns in the cross-beds of the White Navajo sandstone, as well as the slot canyons. We’ll keep a keen eye open for the elusive big horn sheep that call this area of the park home.

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

Afternoon: Next, we'll hike the Emerald Pools Loops to lower Emerald Pools, underneath a small waterfall, and continue on to Middle Emerald Pools. This hike offers views of two tiers of natural ponds that are formed from springs, seeps, and natural runoff from the massive Navajo sandstone.

Dinner: Dinner is on your own in the quaint town of Springdale.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Observation Point-Echo Canyon Hike
St. George
B,L,D
University Inn

Activity note: Hiking 4 to 8 miles. Observation Point is an 8-mile roundtrip hike with 2,000+ foot elevation change. Echo Canyon is the halfway point on the Observation Point Trail, a 4 mile roundtrip on groomed trail with 1,000 foot elevation change. Hidden Canyon is a 2.2 mile roundtrip spur trail with a 1,000 foot elevation change.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll set out on a field trip to hike the Observation Point Trail. This trail departs from the Grotto and ascends 2,100 feet through Echo Canyon, a slot canyon, and zig-zags up the face of the white Navajo sandstone to emerge at the Point on Mount Baldy, at an elevation of 6,521 feet. The spectacular views from the top of many of Zion’s iconic major features, including main canyon, Angel’s Landing, the Three Patriarchs, Cable Mountain and the Great White Throne.

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

Afternoon: We’ll continue hiking the Observation Point Trail to Echo Canyon. Those who wish can turn around at Echo Canyon and return to the trailhead or explore Hidden Canyon on the way down. We’ll then return to St. George and check into the University Inn.

Dinner: In the Dixie State University Conference Room, we’ll have our farewell dinner buffet and share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends. Iced tea and water are provided.

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

DAY
6
Program Concludes
St. George
B

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

Breakfast: 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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