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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.
Program No. 2814RJ
Length
11 days
Starts at
2,464
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.
Length
11 days
Starts at
2,464
Program No. 2814 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
Plan ahead.
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itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
Activity Level: Keep the Pace (19)
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Oct 11 - Oct 21, 2021
Starting at
2,964
Itinerary Note

Due to low water levels at Lake Powell this program will take a Colorado river float trip instead of a Rainbow Bridge Lake Powell cruise.

Oct 18 - Oct 28, 2021
Starting at
2,964
Itinerary Note

Due to low water levels at Lake Powell this program will take a Colorado river float trip instead of a Rainbow Bridge Lake Powell cruise.

Oct 21 - Oct 31, 2021
Starting at
2,464
Itinerary Note

Due to low water levels at Lake Powell this program will take a Colorado river float trip instead of a Rainbow Bridge Lake Powell cruise.

Mar 24 - Apr 3, 2022
Starting at
2,699
Apr 14 - Apr 24, 2022
Starting at
3,199
Apr 21 - May 1, 2022
Starting at
3,199
Apr 28 - May 8, 2022
Starting at
2,699
May 5 - May 15, 2022
Starting at
2,699
May 9 - May 19, 2022
Starting at
2,699
May 23 - Jun 2, 2022
Starting at
2,699
Itinerary Note

This date visits the Grand Canyon's North Rim instead of Antelope Canyon.

May 26 - Jun 5, 2022
Starting at
3,199
Aug 29 - Sep 8, 2022
Starting at
3,199
Itinerary Note

This date visits the Grand Canyon's North Rim instead of Antelope Canyon.

Sep 5 - Sep 15, 2022
Starting at
2,749
Sep 19 - Sep 29, 2022
Starting at
3,199
Sep 26 - Oct 6, 2022
Starting at
3,199
Oct 3 - Oct 13, 2022
Starting at
3,199
Oct 6 - Oct 16, 2022
Starting at
3,199
Oct 10 - Oct 20, 2022
Starting at
3,199
Oct 20 - Oct 30, 2022
Starting at
3,199
Activity Level: Keep the Pace (19)
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Oct 11 - Oct 21, 2021
Starting at
3,624
Itinerary Note

Due to low water levels at Lake Powell this program will take a Colorado river float trip instead of a Rainbow Bridge Lake Powell cruise.

Oct 18 - Oct 28, 2021
Starting at
3,624
Itinerary Note

Due to low water levels at Lake Powell this program will take a Colorado river float trip instead of a Rainbow Bridge Lake Powell cruise.

Oct 21 - Oct 31, 2021
Starting at
3,124
Itinerary Note

Due to low water levels at Lake Powell this program will take a Colorado river float trip instead of a Rainbow Bridge Lake Powell cruise.

Mar 24 - Apr 3, 2022
Starting at
3,439
Apr 14 - Apr 24, 2022
Starting at
3,939
Apr 21 - May 1, 2022
Starting at
3,939
Apr 28 - May 8, 2022
Starting at
3,439
May 5 - May 15, 2022
Starting at
3,439
May 9 - May 19, 2022
Starting at
3,439
May 23 - Jun 2, 2022
Starting at
3,439
Itinerary Note

This date visits the Grand Canyon's North Rim instead of Antelope Canyon.

May 26 - Jun 5, 2022
Starting at
3,939
Aug 29 - Sep 8, 2022
Starting at
3,939
Itinerary Note

This date visits the Grand Canyon's North Rim instead of Antelope Canyon.

Sep 5 - Sep 15, 2022
Starting at
3,599
Sep 19 - Sep 29, 2022
Starting at
3,939
Sep 26 - Oct 6, 2022
Starting at
3,939
Oct 3 - Oct 13, 2022
Starting at
3,939
Oct 6 - Oct 16, 2022
Starting at
3,939
Oct 10 - Oct 20, 2022
Starting at
3,939
Oct 20 - Oct 30, 2022
Starting at
3,939
Activity Level: On Your Feet (6)
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Oct 14 - Oct 24, 2021
Starting at
2,464
Itinerary Note

Due to low water levels at Lake Powell this program will take a Colorado river float trip instead of a Rainbow Bridge Lake Powell cruise.

Apr 4 - Apr 14, 2022
Starting at
2,699
Apr 18 - Apr 28, 2022
Starting at
2,699
May 2 - May 12, 2022
Starting at
3,199
May 16 - May 26, 2022
Starting at
2,699
Sep 8 - Sep 18, 2022
Starting at
2,749
Activity Level: On Your Feet (6)
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Oct 14 - Oct 24, 2021
Starting at
3,124
Itinerary Note

Due to low water levels at Lake Powell this program will take a Colorado river float trip instead of a Rainbow Bridge Lake Powell cruise.

Apr 4 - Apr 14, 2022
Starting at
3,439
Apr 18 - Apr 28, 2022
Starting at
3,439
May 2 - May 12, 2022
Starting at
3,939
May 16 - May 26, 2022
Starting at
3,439
Sep 8 - Sep 18, 2022
Starting at
3,599

At a Glance

With expert instruction, explore the world’s greatest concentration of national parks and monuments, known as the “Grand Circle” — Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, as well as Dead Horse Point State Park, Grand Staircase-Escalante and Rainbow Bridge National Monuments, Lake Powell Reservoir and Monument Valley. Learn about the amazing geology up close, and uncover the story of the indigenous human history through a visit with the Navajo. Experience a corner of the world with landscapes and cultures unlike any other!
Activity Level
Varies by date
Varies by date. ON YOUR FEET – Walking 1 mile daily over varied terrain. KEEP THE PACE – Walking at least 1-2 miles daily over varied terrain with options for various fitness levels. Elevations up to 8,200 feet.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Discover five national parks and three national monuments, each exquisite and full of natural wonders.
  • Explore the breathtaking slot canyons and sandstone walls of Antelope Canyon or enjoy world-renowned vistas from the Grand Canyons North Rim during a short hike (varies by season).
  • Sail on Lake Powell past towering canyons to Rainbow Bridge National Monument, one of the world's largest known natural bridges.

General Notes

Select dates are designated for small groups and are limited to 24 participants or less. Transportation on this program is usually by full sized motorcoach, with about 40 participants.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
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 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 Eldon Griffin
Eldon Griffin View biography
An avid hiker and photographer, Eldon Griffin is a naturalist who has taught continuing-education courses in geology, computers and photography. Growing up in the Southwest, he spent his days exploring the backcountry, finding fossils and dinosaur tracks. Eldon works as a freelance producer, videographer, photographer, writer, editor, instructor and consultant for various clients. Eldon’s photographs have been featured in numerous travel publications. He was a videographer for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Eldon loves to share his knowledge on the unique geology.
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 Marcia Cooper
Marcia Cooper View biography
As a child growing up in Utah’s West Desert, Marcia Cooper quickly became familiar with coyotes, scorpions and rattlesnakes. She has spent most of her life in the slickrock country around Moab and Kanab. Marcia attended Dixie State College and the University of Utah and has been affiliated with Road Scholar for more than 20 years. Her enthusiasm for the outdoors is clear when she says "I do the same thing when I am working and when I am not working - hike!"
Profile Image of Sally Haggerty
Sally Haggerty View biography
Sally Haggerty graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in biology and received her master’s degree from Marygrove University in Detroit, Mich. She spent 22 years teaching in Oceanside Unified School District both on Camp Pendleton Marine Corp Base and at Martin Luther King Middle School. She now spends her time pursuing her passions of hiking the national parks of Utah, sailing the tall ships in San Diego and being with her amazing family.
Profile Image of Diane Griffin
Diane Griffin View biography
Diane Griffin’s unique talent is caring for and assisting others. She has been working in the travel industry for the last 12 years, and currently assists premium for Delta Airlines. She has also worked for JetBlue Airways and Utah Transit Authority, as well as in a surgical center assisting patients. A native Californian, Diane has lived in Utah for most of her life and enjoys hiking in southern Utah's red rock country. She has been a Group Leader for Dixie State University's Road Scholar since 2009.
Profile Image of Maggie Francke
Maggie Francke View biography
Maggie Francke has worked 43 years as a nurse during which time she also raised a family. The first half of her career was spent working in various hospital departments. The last half she worked in home health and hospice, and mainly hospice the last 10 years. Now her days are so filled, she wonders how she ever had the time to work so much. She spends her time hiking, biking, gardening and going to yoga five times per week.
Profile Image of Phil Moore
Phil Moore View biography
Phil Moore is currently an adjunct professor of Geology at Dixie State University. He has been involved with the Southern Utah University Geology Field Camp for several years. Phil taught Earth science for public schools in Hurricane, Utah for 28 years, he is also a semi-professional musician along with his wife Lori, who is also a Road Scholar Group Leader.
Profile Image of Donna Shouse
Donna Shouse View biography
Donna Shouse is a skilled customer service representative and a ‘Jill of many trades.’ She has traveled the friendly skies as a flight attendant, helped teach in a one-room schoolhouse in Alaska, and assisted the local Utah school district as a coach with Health and PE activities for elementary school age children.She enjoys exploring, camping, hiking and backpacking in the National Parks of Southern Utah and sharing her experiences with others.
Profile Image of Diana Hawks
Diana Hawks View biography
Diana Hawks was fortunate to be able to work in a career she loved, as an archaeologist in both the southwestern United States and Mesoamerica. She completed a bachelor’s and a master’s in archaeology at Brigham Young and PhD courses in anthropology and law. She has worked most extensively as an archaeologist in southern Utah and northern Arizona specializing in ceramic analysis of Ancestral Puebloan cultures. She enjoys teaching and working with the public on archaeological projects, especially archaeological inventories and rock art recording.
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.
General Reference
by See list below
A Naturalists Guide to the Canyon Country, David B. Williams. 2000. A wonderful Falcon Guide that uses fine artwork and pictures to introduce the geology, flora, fauna and history of the Canyon Country. Four Corners: History, Land and People of the Desert Southwest, Kenneth A. Brown, 1996. Great information about the region. Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey. 1968. A season in the wilderness is a celebration of the beauty of living in a harsh and hostile land. Edward Abbey was a seasonal Park ranger in Arches National Monument. Cadillac Desert, Marc Reisner. 1986. The story of the American West is the story of a relentless quest for a precious resource: water. The definitive work on the West’s water crisis.
Wildflowers Of The Desert Southwest
by Meg Quinn
Field guide to 80 of the most common flowers of the Chihuahuan, Mojave and Sonoran deserts.
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.
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.
34 Reviews
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4.77 Average
This reviewer did not give a star rating.

This trip was so fabulous! We were so thankful to finally get to do the trip. The parks were so marvelous, the hiking, the unique scenery, everything was perfect! Eldon, Diane, and the bus driver, Mike, were the best! The places we stayed were mostly very nice and comfortable. We had almost enough time at the different locations and some down time in the evening to rest. We really did see so many places, national and state parks. Eldon was so knowledgeable about the area, a geologist himself, such a great asset on the bus to explain things to us. And the best photographer! He gave us such a gift of the presentation he put together of a lot of photos with music! It's just superb and will keep our memories alive for out lifetime. Diane was kind and helpful. Mike was so courteous and did anything we asked him to, very professional. Thank you, Road Scholar! This tour has really sold me on using Road Scholar again!

(5)

The Utah parks are unforgettable and awe-inspiring. The museums and Native Peoples cultural opportunities are both interesting and thought-provoking. The hikes are a "once in a lifetime" dream, and the group fun is palpable!

(1)

Great Program! Saw amazing things at each park! Learned a lot from Eldon and Diane. Will definitely sign-up for other Road Scholar trips.

(5)

This trip is life affirming and accessible for all levels of hiking ability and geologic knowledge!!!!! The leaders made sure of it!!!!!

(4)

It was an overall wonderful trip! Darrell and Paula were very knowledgeable, pleasant, and fun. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking! I do wish we'd spent less time at visitor centers and more time at the National Parks. While the visitor centers were interesting, the parks were SO much more, and because we'd spent significant time at the visitor centers, we ended up rushed at some of the parks. All in all, though, it was a magical learning experience I'd do again in a heartbeat!

(5)

This was our first Road Scholar trip and what a great experience!! Paula, Darrell and Glenn provided us with a once in a lifetime experience. Everything was handled expertly. All we had to do was experience it all. Road Scholar made it easy for us to enjoy our adventure and left us wishing our trip was longer.

(5)

This was an excellent trip, very well planned, very well done, one of my best Road Scholar trips. And the scenery was magnificent.

(4)

Prepare to be amazed by the beauty of the parks you visit on this trip!

This reviewer did not give a star rating.

This was a wonderful whirlwind tour of some of the most beautiful places in the country. We had plenty of time to explore Bryce and Arches but were rushed in Zion and Canyonlands. I recommend one less night in St George at the beginning of the trip and heading to Zion after lunch on the second day. Truthfully, I was not nearly as interested in the Mormon history of St George as I was in seeing the National Parks. Our leaders were exceptional in every way possible. Marcia, Diana and Kelly were knowledgeable, personable, totally prepared and professional. When I said whirlwind it referred to the many changes of overnight venues and the packing and rushing in the morning. But really it is a small price to pay to cover as much ground as we did and seeing 5 fabulous National Parks plus a day on the lake and the incomparable Antelope Canyon! I would recommend this trip.

(5)

The Road Scholar "Best of Utah's Grand Circle of Parks and Monuments" is definitely an educational adventure of a life time.

(5)

The Road Scholar "Best of Utah's Grand Circle of Parks and Monuments" is an awesome adventure and experiential learning experience.

(5)

This program is absolutely fabulous and I highly recommend it.

(5)

The Best of Utah's Grand Circle of Parks and Monuments was an awesome experience. Wonderful leaders, participants and unbelievable scenery. Mother Nature is amazing!

(5)

This was a bucket list trip for me and it met and exceeded all my expectations! Not enough adjectives to describe the beauty and grandeur!

(5)

What a fantastic way to see the National Parks of southern Utah and pay attention to its geology without driving!

(5)

This is a great trip. You will see many beautiful sites and learn a lot.

(5)

This was a spectacular trip of the National Parks and Monuments of Southern Utah. My heart soared with the beauty and miracles of nature. I have returned home with more confidence in my physical ability to "keep up" and sustain an active trip. It was a privilege to be with the staff and lovely group of people. A true learning and fun vacation!

(5)

This trip includes all the Utahan National Parks and many State parks and Recreation Areas. It is perfect if you want to decide which parks you would like to spend more time in, or to cross Utah off your bucket list. If you are looking for energetic exploration, it is not for you. The accommodation and meals are excellent, and I could not believe how much was packed into the tour for such a modest cost.

This reviewer did not give a star rating.

This trip was our first with Road Scholar, and it was fantastic! Our leadership team of Paula, Darrell, and Paul, our driver, was exceptional. As one of them said, "every ten steps there's another awesome view." The historic and geological insights were most helpful (even though we couldn't pass the test now!), and we especially appreciated the use of local resources unique to this experience. We are still sorting and choosing our pictures to tell others about this outstanding experience, which we highly recommend.

(5)

This program was magnificent! I was constantly awed by the beauty of the area. It made me appreciate this wonderful Earth even more than I already did. Would highly recommend.

(5)

It was my first trip with Road Scholar and I was very impressed with the organization and leadership. It was a learning experience but also a lot of fun.

(5)

I would highly recommend The Best of Utah's Grand Circle of Parks and Monuments. Wonderful experience in a beautiful area of the country.

(5)

Beautiful places, informative leaders. If you've never been to Utah's glorious parks, this is a great way to start.

(5)

Easy to moderate to challenging hikes in some of the most beautiful national parks. A postcard shot every few feet!

(5)

I have been blessed to have been able to travel to many incredible places on the earth (Antarctica, Africa, Israel, Jordan, Bhutan, Ireland, England, Norway etc.) always thinking that I would go to see the Grand Canyon when I was too old to take the other 10-18 hour trips elsewhere) and though I'm not that old yet, nothing prepared me for the astonishing experience of this trip. It was magnificent!

(5)

Absolutely amazing!!!!!!!!!!! Our Group leaders Marcia, Diana and Kelly were so great, Knowledgeable and fun. The other travelers soon became friends and everyone got to know each other very quickly. I would Highly recommend this trip to everyone. Oh and the food, well bring your stretchy's. Steve and Lynn Lavia

(5)

Spectacular and worth every moment. I truly believe I was stunned at the beauty of Utah. The experience was enhanced by our three musketeers - Marcia, Kelly and Diana, the best trip leaders one could every experience. I would recommend this trip to anyone who wishes to get a taste of the parks, monuments and people of this wonderful state. Bravo!!!!!

(4)

The places you visit are an art museum in nature.

(5)

I will never look back or doubt my decision to join this tour in Unah.

(5)

Road Scholar provides outstanding opportunities for solo travelers to explore, learn, and meet others with similar interests. It was an outstanding trip, and I look forward to my next one!

(5)

Great trip, except in Moab. Accomadations were terrible. Do not book unless Road Scholar removes Red Canyon Lodge from accomodations. Red Caynon Lodge was really, really bad.

(5)

My wife and I took this tour which was absolutely fantastic. The scenery was unsurpassed, the leaders the best we have ever had. Accommodations were good, motor coach good, bus driver superb, and we had a very compatible group. We would do another tour with Roads Scholar in a heartbeat.

(5)

I love your website! It helped us make a decision on doing this tour

(5)

I have been on 2 Road Scholar programs both were amazing and the leaders were well informed and very helpful. The other participants were friendly and I enjoyed meeting them and sharing the experience with them.






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