4909
Utah
A Cycling Journey: Bryce and Zion National Parks
Experience an unforgettable bicycle journey through the rock spires, buttes and canyons of Southeast Utah and learn about two national parks on ranger-led and self-led explorations.
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Program No. 4909RJ
Length
9 days
Starts at
2,099
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9 days
8 nights
16 meals
8 B 0 L 8 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Bike Fitting, City Ride
Cedar City, UT
D
Best Western Town and Country

Activity note: Please register no later than 2:00 p.m. Hotel check-in available from 2:00 p.m. Biking 4-8 miles on rolling hills with minimal elevation gain/loss.

Afternoon: Program Registration. After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table in the hotel parking lot 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 learn when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you think you may arrive late, please contact the Group Leader as soon as possible. After registering, we will have a bicycle fitting and mandatory safety orientation. Please remember to bring your own helmet. Once you feel comfortable with your new bike, take it for an independent ride up the Cedar Canyon bike path (maximum 8 miles). A staff rider will be on the route to assist as needed. Cedar City is set in the striking Cedar Valley, which is surrounded by the Hurricane Cliffs to the east and south, the Harmony mountains to the southwest, the Three Peaks to the northwest, and the Black Mountains to the north. Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. 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. Each day, luggage be loaded into and transported by the support van. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. 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.

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

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the full day ahead. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
2
Bike to Cedar Breaks National Monument, Brian's Head Village
Brian Head, UT
B,D
Grand Lodge at Brian Head

Activity note: Bike about 18 miles total in 2 parts, vans will shuttle riders and bikes between; elevation gain/loss 2,000 feet mostly uphill at start; rolling in Cedar Breaks National Monument with 800 feet loss to Lodge; Beginning elevation 5,846 feet, highest elevation gained 10,467, ending elevation 9,800 feet. Sag wagon will monitor group for assistance along route.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet will feature a variety of hot and cold cereals, an egg dish, breakfast breads and pastries, fresh fruit, plus juice, milk, coffee, tea and water.

Morning: We’ll leave the hotel and after biking 4,500 feet part of the way up the canyon, we will get in the vans and shuttle everyone up to Cedar Breaks National Monument. The monument is a large amphitheater of sandstone, which gives us our first glimpse of the beauty that lies ahead. We’ll really be able to feel the effects of the altitude as our highest point today is nearly 10,500 feet! This makes for a harsh winter; snow often falls by the end of September! The monument is also famous for the ancient Bristlecone Pine trees, which can live up to 4,000 years.

Lunch: At the Visitor Center of Cedar Breaks National Monument. Unless specified otherwise, lunches will be excluded from the program cost and on the road for convenience and flexibility. Grocery stores and shops along the way will have lunch materials available for you to purchase on your own. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: At the Visitor Center, we will have a ranger-led talk focusing on local geology. Afterwards, we will join the Ranger Talk at the Visitor Center and then we will have an optional self-led 2-mile hike along the rim of Cedar Breaks National Monument before riding to tonight’s destination in Brian Head. Brian Head is a major ski resort town in southern Utah and has potentially cold weather at its high altitude.

Dinner: At the Lodge's Restaurant, we’ll have a plated meal with coffee, tea and water; other beverages available for purchase.

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

DAY
3
Cedar Breaks National Monument, Panguitch
Panguitch, UT
B,D
New Western Motel

Activity note: Bike about 35 miles; first 5 miles have a 1,100 foot gain, then mostly downhill and rolling along route with a net from starting point elevation loss of 3,376 feet. Beginning elevation 9,800 feet, highest elevation gained 10,435, ending elevation 6,624 feet. Sag wagon will monitor group for assistance.

Breakfast: At the Lodge Restaurant, we’ll have plated meals with standard beverages.

Morning: As we start out this morning, we will have a steep 1,100 ft. climb over the first 5 miles out of Brian Head, which some riders choose to shuttle. After that, however, we’ll lose much of the elevation we gained yesterday as we descend through the eastern part of Cedar Breaks National Monument passing colorful aspen groves and arriving at Panguitch Lake. Literally meaning “Big Fish” in the language of the Paiute Indians, Panguitch derived its name from the size of the trout inhabiting the lake.

Lunch: On your own along Panguitch Lake. Lunch will be on the road for convenience and flexibility. Participants should bring favorite lunch items or visit grocery stores along the route.

Afternoon: Continue riding through the scenic ranch country to the town of Panguitch, a small town with a population of only 1,500 people. It may sound small but it is still the largest town in Garfield County, which has a population density of less than 1 person per square mile. The local industries include livestock and sheep ranching, timber harvesting, and tourism. Will we check into the hotel upon arrival.

Dinner: At a popular local restaurant, we’ll order plated meals off the menu with coffee, tea and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. You may wish to explore the quaint farming town of Panguitch or just relax at the hotel. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
4
Red Rock Canyon Bike Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce, UT
B,D
Ruby's Inn

Activity note: Bike about 32 miles with rolling, steady but gentle gain in elevation of nearly 2,000 feet; gradual loss of 1,500 feet over the last 10 miles. Beginning elevation 6,624 feet, highest elevation gained 8,164, ending elevation 6,309 feet. Sag wagon will monitor group for assistance along route. Optional hike in morning is about 2 miles, approximately 1 hour, on rocky narrow trails with hills.

Breakfast: At a local café, we’ll order plated meals off the menu with juice, coffee, tea and water.

Morning: We will leave the hotel and ride through rolling hills and irrigated farms south and east from Panguitch along a scenic and marvelous bike trail that passes Red Canyon, Coyote Hollow and Emery Valley. Along the way, we will stop for an optional expert-led nature hike and a visit to the Red Canyon Visitor Center where we will explore the displays independently and regroup for more riding. Afterwards, we’ll continue on the bike path to our lunch break at a convenient picnic area and rest stop at today's high point.

Lunch: On your own at a State of Utah Picnic Area and Rest Stop. Lunch will be on the road for convenience and flexibility. Participants should bring favorite lunch items or visit grocery stores along the route.

Afternoon: Carrying on east and south, we’ll ride to our destination of Bryce Canyon National Park and check into our accommodation where we will spend 2 nights.

Dinner: At the Inn, we’ll have a tasty buffet meal with standard beverages.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Explore Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce, UT
B,D
Ruby's Inn

Activity note: Dependent on personal preference. Options include biking 0-36 miles; hiking 0-5 miles; 500 feet gain/loss in elevation on rolling terrain. No sag wagon. Free Park Shuttle Bus from Ruby's Inn.

Breakfast: At the Inn, we’ll have a tasty buffet meal with standard beverages.

Morning: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. If you’d like to go for a good bike ride, enjoy the 36-mile (round trip) ride along the canyon rim with its many scenic viewpoints. Or, you may wish to ride to a viewpoint, lock your bike, and hike from there. The free park shuttle bus departs from Ruby's to the Visitor Center and onward to access Park Overlooks and trailheads, and back to the motel. Established as a national park in 1928, Bryce features an outstanding assortment of red and white capped sandstone pillars, spires, and columns, called “hoodoos”, formed by water and wind more than 60 million years ago.

Lunch: On own to enjoy what you like in the National Park. You may wish to stock up for a picnic or enjoy one of the restaurants within the park.

Afternoon: Continue free time visit at Bryce Canyon National Park. “It’s one hell of a place to lose a cow!” Ebenezer Bryce once said of the national park that now bears his name. Apparently Ebenezer, who homesteaded in the area during the 1870’s, experienced more that his share of livestock lost among the sandstone pinnacles and hoodoos of this breathtaking area.

Dinner: Inn buffet.

Evening: Depending upon the Park schedule, we’ll join a Park Ranger talk in the National Park if available. Our program was planned far in advance when details were not available. We’ll then return to our accommodation. Be sure to prepare for check-out and tomorrow's transfer.

DAY
6
Bryce Canyon National Park, Long Valley, Carmel Junction
Carmel Junction, UT
B,D
Best Western Thunderbird Resort

Activity note: Bike about 60 miles with a gradual gain of 1,000 feet over 25 miles; steep stretch of 10 miles with gain and loss of 1,000 feet; gradual descent over 25 miles of 1,500 feet. Beginning elevation of 7,664 feet, highest elevation gained 8,164, ending elevation 5,500 feet. Sag wagon will monitor group for assistance along route.

Breakfast: Inn buffet.

Morning: This is our longest day in mileage on the program. We’ll pedal back through colorful Red Canyon before heading south through Long Valley and the town of Hatch. Most of the route today is rolling hills; however, for approximately 10 miles after Hatch, there is a long uphill grade summiting at 7,513 feet. Some may consider taking the shuttle.

Lunch: On your own at Long Valley Junction about half way to Mt. Carmel Junction. Lunch will be on the road for convenience and flexibility. Participants should bring favorite lunch items or visit grocery stores along the route.

Afternoon: We’ll continue through farming communities riding mostly downhill to our destination of Mt. Carmel Junction where we will check into our accommodations and take some time to relax after our long ride. The quaint Mormon town of Hatch was first settled and named Asay in 1872, after nearby Asay Creek. However, residents soon discovered that even the desert can become a precarious place in a rainstorm and, after severe flooding, they moved the town to higher ground and renamed it Hatch. Some may wish to optionally enjoy our motel's 9-hole par 3 pitch-and-putt golf course (for a nominal charge).

Dinner: At the motel restaurant, we’ll order plated meals off the menu.

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

DAY
7
Zion National Park to Springdale
Springdale, UT
B,D
Flanigans Inn

Activity note: Bike about 26 miles total in 2 parts; vans will shuttle riders and bikes between sections. Steady elevation gain of 1,000 feet to first stop at 11 miles; descent of 2,600 feet steep at first then rolling for 15 miles. Beginning elevation 5,500 feet, highest elevation gained 6,500, ending elevation 3,898 feet. Sag wagon will monitor group for assistance along route.

Breakfast: Motel plated meals off the menu. Please remember to bring your National Parks Pass with you.

Morning: There will be a gradual but steady climb for the first half of the day’s ride as we leave the valley floor of the Virgin River and head toward Zion National Park. Please remember to have your National Parks Pass with you. Reminders that this area (now more than 6,000 feet in elevation) was once a desert to rival the Sahara are visible in the petrified sand dunes we will pass as we approach the park. We’ll stop at the Tunnel Two parking area where we will load our vans for the Park Service required shuttle through the tunnel.

Lunch: On your own at the Tunnel Two shuttle stop. Lunch will be on the road for convenience and flexibility. Participants should bring favorite lunch items or visit grocery stores along the route.

Afternoon: Hang onto your hat as we make a fast 1,700-foot descent into Zion Canyon and its towering sandstone cliffs, spires, hanging gardens and waterfalls. This is most folks’ favorite ride of the trip, and perhaps one of the grandest bicycle rides in the world! From about 500 A.D., the “Basket Makers” originally inhabited this area, followed by the Anasazi, or Ancient Pueblo people, and then the Fremont people from 750 to 1200 A.D. Over half a millennium later, it was the Mormon missionaries who named this park “Zion” as a place of worship to God. The names of the mountains reflect their celestial nature: East Temple, West Temple, the Altar of Sacrifice, and the Great White Throne. We’ll dismount our bikes at some points throughout the park to join National Park Rangers for lectures. Details on times and locations are unavailable at this time. The official preparatory scheduling information will be available and described to the group the evening before.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we will order plated meals from a select menu.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Zion National Park
Springdale, UT
B,D
Flanigans Inn

Activity note: Dependent on personal preference. Options include biking 0-19 miles, hiking 0-3 miles. No sag wagon. Free and convenient shuttle bus from hotel to Visitor Center, then free and very frequent shuttle bus into Park and bus or bicycle-only destinations. When riding your bike in front of a shuttle bus, please pull completely off the side of the road to let them pass. They will not pass otherwise and we do not want to unintentionally hold up traffic.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Free time to explore Zion. You may want to pedal the 19-mile (round-trip) Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Since May 2001, the only vehicles permitted on this road are the Park Service shuttle buses! Be sure to stop along the way for photographs and hiking at places such as the Great White Throne, Weeping Rock, Angel’s Landing, and the Virgin River. If you like, visit the visitor centers and have a Ranger talk, then enjoy the day in this very bicycle friendly park.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: Continue morning rides, hikes or spend time exploring Springdale. Like Grand Canyon National Park, Zion officials are taking progressive steps in terms of the vehicle management within the park. From May to October, the only private vehicles allowed up Zion Canyon are those with reservations at the Zion Lodge (located in the canyon). There are a number of stops in the canyon as well as in Springdale. The shuttle runs every 15 minutes during non-peak hours, and every 6-8 minutes during peak hours. Bravo to the Zion rangers for creating this great system, especially for cyclists!

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll order plated meals from the menu for our farewell dinner together. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. Take some time to say farewells, reflect on new memories from the program, and prepare for departures in the morning.

DAY
9
Transfer to Cedar City, Program Concludes
Cedar City, UT
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 9:00 a.m. The drive to Cedar City is about 90 miles, approximately 2 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Vans will return participants back to the first motel in Cedar City arriving at approximately 11:00 a.m. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!