Arches & Canyonlands National Parks for Experienced Hikers

Study the unique geology of two of the most fascinating national parks during challenging hikes that explore sandstone arches, deep canyons and towering rock pinnacles with experts.
Program No. 23915RJ
6 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Deep in the primitive desert landscapes of Utah, red sandstone arches soar hundreds of feet into the sky and deep canyons plunge into the earth’s abyss. It’s here that you can stand in awe nature’s greatest geological wonders, dwarfed by the sandstone fins, soaring pinnacles, colossal spires and vast mesas carved by millions of years of erosion. Alongside local experts and fellow experienced hikers, explore the gems of Arches and Canyonlands National Parks as our ancient ancestors once had – on foot. Enjoy challenging hikes for an in-depth discovery of Utah’s largest national park and the world’s highest density of natural arches, each with thousands of spectacular rock formations you have to see to believe.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Learn how arches are formed during invigorating hikes to one of the largest arches in the area, Corona Arch, and to one of the park’s most famous, Delicate Arch.
  • Challenge yourself as you hike through the otherworldly landscapes of Canyonlands’ Needle District, where miles of flatland is surrounded by massive sandstone “needles.”
  • Study the local ecology in the Colorado Plateau region as you hike this diverse desert landscape with experts.
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.
Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness
by Edward Abbey
"A passionately felt, deeply poetic book. It has philosophy. It has humor. It has its share of nerve-tingling adventures...set down in a lean, racing prose, in a close-knit style of power and beauty." Edward Abbey lived for three seasons in the desert at Moab, Utah, and what he discovered about the land before him, the world around him, and the heart that beat within, is a fascinating, sometimes raucous, always personal account of a place that has already disappeared, but is worth remembering and living through again and again. The classic drama of a year alone as a ranger in a national park. "This book may well seem like a ride on a bucking bronco."--New York Times Book Review
Roadside Geology of Utah
by Halka Chronic
Informative travel companions about roadside terrain and geology with photos, diagrams, and glossary. Great for drives and rides throughout Utah.
Canyonlands Country: Geology of Canyonlands and Arches National Parks
by Donald L. Baars
"An easy-to-read geological history of the amazing red rock landscapes in southeastern Utah. Towering red buttes, plunging canyon walls, domes, pinnacles, spires, ten thousand strangely carved forms—what visitor hasn’t marveled at the land of rock in southeastern Utah that is Canyonlands Country? Canyonlands Country offers a unique geological history of this awesome landscape, in language understandable by the non-geologist. The story is as strange and fascinating as the land itself. Each exposed rock layer has a different geologic history: one is a stream deposit, another is an ancient field of dunes, another was deposited by shallow tropic seas. The Green and Colorado Rivers began carving canyons thirty million years ago, but to understand such relatively recent events Canyonlands Country takes us on a journey of two billion years. Tours include Arches National Park, Island in the Sky, Needles District, The Maze and Elaterite Basin, Labyrinth and Stillwater Canyons, Meander Canyon, and Cataract Canyon."
The Ute Indians of Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico
by Virginia Simmons
Using government documents, archives, and local histories, Simmons has painstakingly separated the often repeated and often incorrect hearsay from more accurate accounts of the Ute Indians.

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