2814
Utah/Arizona
The Best of Utah's Grand Circle of Parks and Monuments
Explore some of the most impressive geological formations in the world with experts as you discover Utah’s Grand Circle. Plus, sail Lake Powell and learn about Navajo culture.
Rating (5)
Program No. 2814RJ
Length
11 days
Starts at
1,999
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11 days
10 nights
27 meals
10 B 9 L 8 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check-in, Program Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
St. George, Utah
D
College Inn

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

Afternoon: Program Registration. Our Group Leader will be waiting in the College Inn lobby to register participants upon arrival. You will receive your room assignment, room key, and welcome packet containing your name-tag and up to date schedule that reflects any last minute changes. Orientation will take place after dinner. If your arrival is delayed, please ask for your packet when you arrive. The College Inn is about 6 blocks (1 mile) from the Dixie State University Campus. We’ll transfer via motorcoach to campus for dinner.

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

Evening: We’ll then return to the hotel for the rest of our evening programming. Orientation. The Group Leader will lead everyone in a welcome and introduction session. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. 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. This program has a Group Leader who will deal primarily with logistics, an Instructor who lead most field trips and lectures, and a bus driver who will accompany us throughout the program. Some days offer choices in the length of hikes and, in the event that participants wish to go on different hikes, each smaller group will be led by either the Group Leader or Instructor. 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 full day ahead.

DAY
2
Snow Canyon State Park & Area History
St. George, Utah
B,L,D
College Inn

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles on sandy, uneven, and rocky trails with a max elevation change of 100 feet. Getting on/off motorcoach for short drive to Snow Canyon State Park.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet includes hard boiled eggs, hot and cold cereals, fruit, yogurt, pastries, toast, coffee, tea, milk, juice 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 on a short hike to a viewpoint along the rim where 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 will transfer via motorcoach to Dixie State University for lunch.

Lunch: At Dixie State University, choose from an expansive selection at the food court including a fresh salad bar, home cooking, pizza, Asian and Mexican grill, and BBQ. Fountain drinks, coffee, iced tea and water are included. Pre-packaged meals and bottled drinks are available for purchase.

Afternoon: Returning to the inn we’ll be treated to an informative presentation by a local historian on the history of Saint George, followed by a field trip via motorcoach to see restored pioneer buildings and homes in Saint George. As we make stops to investigate various historical buildings, we’ll enjoy insightful commentary provided by our historian and learn about the relevance these buildings hold in relation to the development of the city of Saint George. Upon our return to the College Inn, we’ll gather 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.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, enjoy a buffet with choices including a variety of fresh salads, homemade dinner rolls, barbecue meats, assorted entrees, vegetables and dessert. Soft drinks, coffee, tea, juice, milk, and water are included.

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

DAY
3
Zion National Park, Riverside Walk & Emerald Pools
Bryce Canyon National Park
B,L,D
Ruby's Inn

Activity note: Walking 2-4 miles; mostly paved trails, some uneven and slippery terrain, maximum elevation change of 200 feet. Elevation of Zion is approximately 4,000 feet. Driving approximately 130 miles total throughout the day: Saint George to Zion is approx. 45 miles, about 1 hour; Zion to Bryce is approximately 85 miles, about 2 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Setting out from the College Inn, we will travel via motorcoach to Zion National Park. Upon arrival at Zion Lodge, we will board a park shuttle and continue up the canyon to the Temple of Sinawava where we’ll find the Riverside Walk Trailhead. From here, we will walk on a fairly level, paved trail that follows the course of the Virgin River deep into the heart of Zion Canyon, past lush hanging gardens and soaring weeping walls. Our instructor will provide information about the Virgin River and Zion Canyon’s geology and plant habitat along the way.

Lunch: We’ll return to Zion Lodge for a boxed lunch that includes a sandwich, chips, fruit and cookie.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our walking exploration through Zion Canyon and, upon completion, we’ll travel via motorcoach to the east side of Zion National Park and through the 1.1 mile long Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel that was eventually completed in 1930, thereby linking Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon to Zion. Along the way, we will view Checkerboard Mesa and continue to Bryce Canyon National Park. Upon arrival in Bryce, Utah, we’ll check into the hotel and have some time to relax before dinner.

Dinner: At Ruby's Cowboy Buffet & Steak Room, we’ll enjoy a buffet dinner with choices including a variety of classic western meat dishes, fish, vegetables, cornbread, soup and salads with coffee, tea, soft drinks, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
4
Hike Bryce Canyon, Grand Staircase, Anasazi State Park
Capitol Reef National Park
B,L,D
Red Sands Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to 2-3 miles in Bryce Canyon; uneven, unpaved trails with steep inclines and declines of about 350 feet; elevation is approximately 8,000 feet at the rim of Bryce Canyon. Driving about 160 miles total, approx. 3 hours with stops: Bryce to Escalante is about 48 miles, 1 hour; Escalante to Torrey, Utah, is approx. 112 miles, about 2 hours.

Breakfast: At Ruby's Cowboy Buffet, choose from dishes 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: After checking out of our hotel, we’ll travel via motorcoach a very short distance to Bryce Canyon National Park. Bryce is world-renowned for its unique geological features, carved by nature into hoodoos, pinnacles and fins of an amazing palette of colors. We'll hike with our instructor along the rim and into the canyon, via the Navajo Loop trail, to view the iconic structures and formations. We’ll then transfer from Bryce to Wild West Retreat in Escalante, Utah.

Lunch: At the Wild West Retreat, we’ll enjoy a tasty Dutch oven buffet meal consisting of favorite local dishes and dessert with soft drinks, ice tea, lemonade and water.

Afternoon: We’ll then depart for a scenic drive along the famed All-American Road, Highway 12, through a portion of the Grand Staircase to Anasazi State Park where we will view Ancestral Puebloan ruins and learn from interactive exhibits about the area’s history of human settlement. We’ll continue along Hwy 12 to Torrey, Utah, where we will check into the hotel.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy a plated meal with dessert and coffee, tea, soft drinks, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park
B,L,D
Red Sands Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to 3 miles total throughout the day; about 3 hours; dry streambed terrain in Grand Wash, short walks on boardwalks at the Petroglyph Panel. Driving about 20 miles one way; approx. 1/2 hour.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the buffet includes eggs, potatoes, oatmeal, yogurt, fruit, breakfast meats, waffles, toast, juice, tea and coffee.

Morning: We’ll transfer via motorcoach to Capitol Reef National Park, where we will begin our day with a hike of the Grand Wash and view towering cliffs of sandstone as we walk through the upper portion of the Waterpocket Fold. The wash connects the Scenic Road as it heads south past Cassidy Arch, to Highway 24 just east of Spring Canyon. The wash is level throughout the entire route, though it is full of streambed sediment. We'll return via motorcoach to a park near the Capitol Reef Visitors Center for lunch.

Lunch: At the park, we’ll have boxed lunches that include a sandwich, chips, fruit and cookie.

Afternoon: We'll then drive a short distance to Petroglyph Panel to view rock art attributed to the Fremont Culture, which existed in this area of Utah from approximately 600 – 1300 C.E. Our instructor and Group Leader will point out and describe the petroglyphs found along the boardwalk. After returning to our hotel we’ll be treated to an interactive lecture by a local expert on the Ancestral Puebloan culture and history of the area. We’ll then transfer via motorcoach to the restaurant for dinner.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a plated meal with dessert and coffee, iced tea, and water available; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
6
Powell Museum, Dead Horse Point, Canyonlands National Park
Moab, Utah
B,L
River Canyon Lodge

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile total at Dead Horse Point and Canyonlands. Drive from Torrey to Moab is approximately 155 miles, about 3 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll travel by motorcoach to the John Wesley Powell Museum in Green River, Utah, where we will have time for independent exploration of this world-class museum that captures the spirit of the famous, determined Western explorer. It’s also a fitting introduction as we approach the Colorado River that Powell first explored and mapped in the 1870s.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Green River, we’ll enjoy a buffet with soups, salads, various choices of entrees, fruit, dessert, soft drinks, lemonade, coffee, tea and water.

Afternoon: Continuing by motorcoach, we’ll go to Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park to view a variety of unusual rock formations along with deeply eroded canyons interspersed with sheer-sided mesas. Upon reaching Dead Horse Point and hiking with our instructor to the viewpoint we’ll be able to see nearly 100 miles with the mighty Colorado River below. We’ll then travel to our hotel in Moab and check in.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like in downtown Moab. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure. You may wish to explore Moab and see what activities the town’s nightlife has to offer or just relax at the hotel.

DAY
7
Arches National Park Geology Field Trip
Moab, Utah
B,L
River Canyon Lodge

Activity note: Walking 2-3 miles throughout the day; groomed trails with some elevation change. Minimal driving.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet includes hard boiled eggs, oatmeal, breakfast breads, fruit, yogurt, coffee, tea and juice.

Morning: We'll travel by motorcoach to Arches National Park, which contains more than 2,000 natural stone arches along with red rock canyons, spires, fins and balanced rocks. While here, you will be able to choose from a variety of hikes including an instructor-led hike to Landscape Arch as well as independent hikes to Double Arch and the many arches found in the Windows section of the park.

Lunch: On the trail, we’ll have boxed lunches including a sandwich, fruit, chips and cookie.

Afternoon: We’ll continue exploring the park as we drive to the Delicate Arch Overlook and the Visitor Center. Delicate Arch is the most iconic arch in Utah and possibly the most beautiful arch in the world. After having some time to admire the arch and continue to the Visitor Center, we will peruse the exhibits and park video on our own before boarding the motorcoach and returning to the hotel.

Dinner: On your own to explore the local fare in downtown Moab.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
8
Edge of the Cedars Museum, Monument Valley
Lake Powell - Page, AZ
B,L,D
Lake Powell Resort & Marinas

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile in museums and visitor centers. Drive from Moab, Utah, to Lake Powell, Arizona, is approximately 280 miles; about 4.5 hours with a stop for lunch in Monument Valley.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we’ll travel to Blanding for independent exploration at the Edge of the Cedars Museum. This museum has the largest collection of intact Ancestral Puebloan pottery found in the Four Corners of the U.S. as well as archaeological sites and repository.

Lunch: At historic Goulding’s Trading Post in Monument Valley, staffed by local Diné (Navajos) and the shoot location of many classic Western movies, we’ll enjoy traditional Navajo foods, soup and salad bar, or sandwich. Coffee, tea, soft drinks, water included.

Afternoon: Our next stop will be the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park Visitor Center where we will learn through independent exploration about Navajo culture, tradition, language and history from the perspective of the Navajo people. The exhibit displays are a combination of pictorial information, interactive media and actual artifacts. Subjects include a unique exhibit on the WWII Navajo Code Talkers, the Navajo Nation government structure, the history of uranium mining in the area, and the legacy of Hollywood films in Monument Valley. We’ll then continue to Lake Powell and check into hotel.

Dinner: At Lake Powell Resort, we’ll enjoy a choice of plated entrees from a select menu with dessert, plus soft drinks, lemonade, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Cruise Lake Powell to Rainbow Bridge National Monument
Lake Powell - Page, AZ
B,L,D
Lake Powell Resort & Marinas

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles; unpaved trails at Rainbow Bridge; 100 foot change in elevation. Getting on/off a boat; the lake cruise is about 2.5 hours each way with indoor/outdoor seating, and restrooms on board.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet includes choices such as fresh fruit, yogurt, breakfast breads and meats, eggs, potatoes, hot and cold cereals, assorted pastries, coffee, tea, juice, water.

Morning: After a short walk from hotel lobby to the boat ramp, it’s “Anchors away!” as we cruise to Rainbow Bridge National Monument, one of the Natural Wonders of the World. Enjoy the lovely scenery from Lake Powell as we enjoy our cruise aboard a large boat with a professional captain and recorded commentary playing on provided headsets. Complimentary drinks and snacks provided.

Lunch: On our return trip aboard the boat, we’ll have our boxed lunch that includes a sandwich, chips, cookie and fruit. The boat provides complimentary water, coffee, lemonade, fruit and granola bars.

Afternoon: Upon reaching the dock, we’ll disembark and enjoy a little bit of free time before transferring by motorcoach to a Navajo village for a fascinating glimpse into the Navajo history, culture and traditions via music, crafts and dance presented by Navajo tribal members.

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

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
10
Antelope Slot Canyon
St. George, Utah
B,L,D
College Inn

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile in Antelope Canyon; sandy trails. Drive from Page, Arizona, to St George, Utah, is approximately 150 miles; about 3 hours, with one rest stop in the afternoon at the Grand Staircase Visitors Center in Kanab, Utah.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After check-out we’ll depart for Antelope Slot Canyon, the most photographed slot canyon in the Southwest, and embark on an expert-led hike of Upper Antelope Canyon upon arrival. The Navajo name for Upper Antelope Canyon is Tse' bighanilini, which means "the place where water runs through rocks." Located within the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation, Upper Antelope is an awe-inspiring slot canyon with narrow sandstone walls that rise 120 feet above the sandy trail. 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 coffee, soft drinks, ice tea, lemonade and water.

Afternoon: Afterwards, we’ll make our way back to St. George, Utah, and check into the hotel.

Dinner: In Dixie State University's banquet room, we’ll enjoy a lovely farewell buffet dinner with coffee, tea, water.

Evening: At leisure. Share some of your favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends! Be sure to prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
11
Program Concludes
St. George, Utah
B

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

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet offers choices including hard boiled eggs, hot and cold cereals, fruit, yogurt, pastries, toast, coffee, tea, milk, juice, water. 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 rewarding programs 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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