Hiking Arches and Canyonlands National Parks

Join natural history experts in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks to discover ancient petroglyphs, geological monuments and the colorful beauty of two national treasures.
Rating (4.85)
Program No. 6132RJ
6 days
Starts at

At a Glance

From the countless spires to the deep canyons, our hiking journey through Utah’s Arches and Canyonlands National Parks reveals how nature's forces have jointly sculpted and scoured this dramatic landscape. During daily hikes with natural history experts, explore the spectacular arch and canyon formations and the geological record, view ancient petroglyphs and investigate salt dome collapses and ancient fault lines.
Activity Level
Outdoor: Spirited
Varies by date. OUTDOOR SPIRITED Dates: Hiking 2-8 miles daily on rocky terrain at elevations of 4,000-6,000 feet. OUTDOOR CHALLENGING Dates: Hiking up to 10 miles daily on rocky terrain at elevations of 4,000-11,000 feet.
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 ...

  • Trek different sections of Arches and Canyonlands National Parks including the Needles Slickrock Trails and Island in the Sky White Rim Overlook.
  • Discover how the sedimentary layers have left a record dating back more than 250 million years.
  • Observe the geologic wonders of the Fisher Towers and Utah’s signature Delicate Arch.

General Notes

Select program dates are for women only. Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Peter McCarville
Peter McCarville is a consulting geologist, geological instructor and educator who has lived in Colorado on the western slope since 1995. He also works as an instructor and program designer for Mountains and Plains Institute (MPILLS), leading hiking and skiing excursions, while making cameo appearances as a geology expert on other programs. He has a wonderful ability to convey complex natural history in layman's terms.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Peter McCarville
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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.
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.
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
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."

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