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Utah

Hiking Bryce and Zion National Parks

Program No. 7735RJ
Nothing says Utah like rock spires and hoodoos. Come learn about these geological wonders from experts as you hike the stunning landscapes of Bryce and Zion National Parks.
Length
7 days
Rating (4.96)
Activity Level
Starts at
2,649

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Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
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Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Mar 27 - Apr 2, 2023
Starting at
2,649
Apr 3 - Apr 9, 2023
Starting at
2,649
Apr 10 - Apr 16, 2023
Starting at
2,649
Apr 17 - Apr 23, 2023
Starting at
2,649
Apr 24 - Apr 30, 2023
Starting at
2,649
May 1 - May 7, 2023
Starting at
2,649
May 15 - May 21, 2023
Starting at
2,649
May 22 - May 28, 2023
Starting at
2,649
Sep 11 - Sep 17, 2023
Starting at
2,649
Sep 18 - Sep 24, 2023
Starting at
2,649
Sep 25 - Oct 1, 2023
Starting at
2,649
Oct 2 - Oct 8, 2023
Starting at
2,649
Oct 16 - Oct 22, 2023
Starting at
2,649
Apr 1 - Apr 7, 2024
Starting at
2,799
Apr 8 - Apr 14, 2024
Starting at
2,799
Apr 15 - Apr 21, 2024
Starting at
2,799
Apr 22 - Apr 28, 2024
Starting at
2,799
Apr 29 - May 5, 2024
Starting at
2,799
May 6 - May 12, 2024
Starting at
2,799
May 13 - May 19, 2024
Starting at
2,799
May 20 - May 26, 2024
Starting at
2,799
Sep 9 - Sep 15, 2024
Starting at
2,799
Sep 16 - Sep 22, 2024
Starting at
2,799
Sep 23 - Sep 29, 2024
Starting at
2,799
Sep 30 - Oct 6, 2024
Starting at
2,799
Oct 7 - Oct 13, 2024
Starting at
2,799
Oct 14 - Oct 20, 2024
Starting at
2,799
Oct 21 - Oct 27, 2024
Starting at
2,799
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Mar 27 - Apr 2, 2023
Starting at
3,129
Apr 3 - Apr 9, 2023
Starting at
3,129
Apr 10 - Apr 16, 2023
Starting at
3,129
Apr 17 - Apr 23, 2023
Starting at
3,129
Apr 24 - Apr 30, 2023
Starting at
3,129
May 1 - May 7, 2023
Starting at
3,129
May 15 - May 21, 2023
Starting at
3,129
May 22 - May 28, 2023
Starting at
3,129
Sep 11 - Sep 17, 2023
Starting at
3,129
Sep 18 - Sep 24, 2023
Starting at
3,129
Sep 25 - Oct 1, 2023
Starting at
3,129
Oct 2 - Oct 8, 2023
Starting at
3,129
Oct 16 - Oct 22, 2023
Starting at
3,129
Apr 1 - Apr 7, 2024
Starting at
3,359
Apr 8 - Apr 14, 2024
Starting at
3,359
Apr 15 - Apr 21, 2024
Starting at
3,359
Apr 22 - Apr 28, 2024
Starting at
3,359
Apr 29 - May 5, 2024
Starting at
3,359
May 6 - May 12, 2024
Starting at
3,359
May 13 - May 19, 2024
Starting at
3,359
May 20 - May 26, 2024
Starting at
3,359
Sep 9 - Sep 15, 2024
Starting at
3,359
Sep 16 - Sep 22, 2024
Starting at
3,359
Sep 23 - Sep 29, 2024
Starting at
3,359
Sep 30 - Oct 6, 2024
Starting at
3,359
Oct 7 - Oct 13, 2024
Starting at
3,359
Oct 14 - Oct 20, 2024
Starting at
3,359
Oct 21 - Oct 27, 2024
Starting at
3,359

At a Glance

With red rock spires, chimneys and hoodoos, the landscape of Zion and Bryce National Parks create a showcase of geology that beckons to be discovered! Lace up your hiking shoes and venture into an environment a million years in the making and ideal for exploring on foot.
Activity Level
Outdoor: Spirited
Hiking up to seven miles daily on mostly groomed trails, some uneven terrain. Elevations of 2,880-8,300 feet.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Enjoy field excursions in Zion National Park to hike a variety of trails from Emerald Pools to the Virgin River trail.
  • Learn how the power of wind and water erosion works to create spectacular scenery in both Zion and Bryce.
  • Experience hiking among Bryce Canyon's spires, fins, arches & blazing colors.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Martin Tyner
At the age of 19, Martin Tyner was hired as curator of birds of prey at Busch Gardens, Calif., and was soon working in the movie industry as a trainer of big cats, elephants, primates, sea mammals and raptors. He is the founder of the Southwest Wildlife Foundation, a non-profit wildlife rescue and environmental education organization. With the help of his Golden Eagle, Bud, they received a donation of 22.6 acres of property for the development of a permanent wildlife rescue facility in Utah.

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

Profile Image of Martin Tyner
Martin Tyner View biography
At the age of 19, Martin Tyner was hired as curator of birds of prey at Busch Gardens, Calif., and was soon working in the movie industry as a trainer of big cats, elephants, primates, sea mammals and raptors. He is the founder of the Southwest Wildlife Foundation, a non-profit wildlife rescue and environmental education organization. With the help of his Golden Eagle, Bud, they received a donation of 22.6 acres of property for the development of a permanent wildlife rescue facility in Utah.
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.
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
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.
Books about Flora
by See list below
Wildflowers of Southwestern Utah, Hayle Buchanan. 1992. Text covers flowers, shrubs and trees in their various life zones from Zion, Bryce and Cedar Breaks. $7.95 Canyon Country Wildflowers, Damian Fagan. 1998. A field guide to common wildflowers, shrubs and trees. $19.95 Sagebrush Country a Wildflower Sanctuary, Ronald Taylor. 1992. A field guide to common wildflowers, grasses and shrubs of the Great Basin. $14.00 Wildflowers of the Desert Southwest, Meg Quinn. 2000. A field guide to common desert wildflowers. $9.95
Books about Native American / Prehistory
by See list below
Rock Art of Utah, Polly Schaafsma, 2002. Traces of Freemont: Society and Rock Art in Ancient Utah, Steven Simms, 2010. Archeology of the Southwest, Linda Cordell, 2012.
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.
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7 days
6 nights
16 meals
6 B 5 L 5 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
St. George
D
Holiday Inn Convention Center

Activity note: Hotel check-in 3:00-5:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table 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 confirm when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: We will transfer to Dixie State University for a delicious banquet dinner featuring a buffet, plus coffee, tea, water.

Evening: Orientation. Returning to the hotel, the Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Please remember to bring your National Park Pass, hiking poles if you have them, sturdy walking shoes, a small backpack, sun protection and a refillable water bottle. Transportation will be provided primarily by motorcoach, unless otherwise specified. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. 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 day ahead.

DAY
2
Snow Canyon State Parks
St. George
B,L,D
Holiday Inn Convention Center

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach for short 15 minute drive to Snow Canyon State Park. Hiking 2 – 4 miles on unpaved trails, depending on walks chosen, time and weather. Elevations range from 2,500 feet in the city to 4,500 feet at Snow Canyon.

Breakfast: At the hotel, breakfast buffet includes eggs, bacon, sausage, cereal, fresh fruit, yogurt, pastries, juice, coffee, and tea.

Morning: In our meeting room at the hotel, our instructor will present a lecture on the geology, ecology, flora, and fauna of Southern Utah. We’ll gain a greater understanding of the incredible formations we will hike through and explore during the week. While we’ll continue to have trailside talks during field trips, this class will set the stage for our remaining outings. We will transfer by motorcoach for a 15-minute ride to Snow Canyon State Park. Enjoy hiking through sandstone formations of red and white rock cliffs, rolling mounds of petrified sand dunes, and basalt rock formations.

Lunch: Along the trail we will enjoy a boxed lunch that includes a sandwich, chips, cookie and fruit. Water will be provided.

Afternoon: We will continue our walking field trip through the unique geologic features of Snow Canyon State Park.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we will enjoy a variety of menu and beverage choices from the extensive buffet. Coffee, tea, water, and soft drinks included.

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

DAY
3
Zion National Park Hiking & Geology, Birds of Prey
Zion National Park, UT
B,L,D
Hampton Inn & Suites - Zion National Park

Activity note: Drive from St George to Zion is 45 miles taking about 1 hour. Lower Emerald Pools is a 1.2 mile round trip on groomed trail with 70 foot elevation change. Middle Emerald Pools is a 2 mile round trip on groomed trail with 150 foot elevation change. Riverside trail is a 2 mile round trip on a paved trail, mostly flat.

Breakfast: At the hotel, breakfast buffet includes eggs, bacon, sausage, cereal, fresh fruit, yogurt, pastries, juice, coffee, and tea.

Morning: We’ll check out of the hotel and travel to Zion National Park by motorcoach. From Zion Lodge we'll hike to Middle and Lower Emerald Pools with our Group Leader to view waterfalls cascading over sandstone cliffs to shallow green pools.

Lunch: Returning to Zion Lodge, we’ll have a box lunch on the lawn that includes a sandwich, chips, cookie and fruit.

Afternoon: We’ll transfer to the park shuttle system to the Temple of Sinawava, a natural amphitheater and the trailhead for the Riverside Walk. From here, we walk on a fairly level, paved trail that follows the course of the Virgin River deep into the heart of Zion Canyon, viewing spring lines that provide water for lush hanging gardens and the home of the endangered Zion snail. We’ll then return to the lodge to take the motorcoach to our hotel in Springdale, located just outside the gates to Zion National Park.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a plated meal that includes coffee, tea, and water. Other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: We’ll be joined in the hotel meeting room by a federally licensed eagle falconer for a presentation on birds of prey and see a live falcon, hawk and golden eagle.

DAY
4
Hike Zion’s Scout Lookout
Zion National Park, UT
B,L
Hampton Inn & Suites - Zion National Park

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach for short 15 minute drive to trailhead. Scout Lookout is a 4 mile round trip hike on paved or groomed trails with a 1,100 foot elevation change.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet includes choices such as scrambled eggs, pancakes, oatmeal, cereal, bacon, sausage, breakfast potatoes, fresh fruit, yogurt, assorted baked goods, milk, juice, coffee, assorted teas and water.

Morning: We’ll transfer by motorcoach to Zion National Park, transfer to the park shuttle system, and set out to explore Zion's Scouts Lookout. Starting at the Grotto trailhead, today's hike takes us up and out of the west side of the main canyon to Scout's Lookout. From here enjoy incredible views of the Canyon.

Lunch: On the trail, we’ll have box lunches that includes a sandwich, chips, cookie and fruit.

Afternoon: We’ll continue hiking and exploring Zion, returning to the hotel late afternoon.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. There’s a variety of small and distinctive restaurants to choose from.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Hike Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
B,L,D
Best Western Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel

Activity note: Driving 75 miles, about 1.5 hours. Peekaboo Loop trail is a 5.3 mile round trip on groomed trail with 1,000 foot elevation change. Rim trail from Bryce Point to Sunset Point is a 2 mile one way trip on groomed trail with a 300 foot elevation drop.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we will enjoy a buffet which includes fresh fruit, yogurt, assorted baked goods, cereal, pancakes, scrambled eggs, oatmeal, bacon, sausage, breakfast potatoes, coffee, assorted teas, water, juice and milk.

Morning: We will travel to Bryce Canyon National Park for a full-day field trip, starting with the Peekaboo Loop Trail. We’ll begin at Bryce Point, one of the best vistas in the park, zigzagging down the rim 1,000 feet into the canyon. Here we’ll weave through a brilliant collection of hoodoos, fins and spires in the main Bryce Canyon amphitheater. For those who prefer a less strenuous route, the 2 mile Rim Trail also offers great views of the Bryce Canyon amphitheater.

Lunch: On the trail, we’ll have box lunches that includes a sandwich, cookies, chips and fruit.

Afternoon: We’ll continue exploring Bryce Canyon then stop at the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center to view the award-winning park video, visit the natural history museum, and learn about the amazing night sky at Bryce. Later, we’ll proceed to our hotel for check-in.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a Western-themed buffet with main dishes, side dishes, dessert, and beverage choices of lemonade, coffee, teas, and water.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer tomorrow.

DAY
6
Hike Bryce Canyon National Park
St. George
B,L,D
Holiday Inn Convention Center

Activity note: Drive from hotel to Bryce Canyon trailhead is 4 miles, 15 minutes. Navajo Loop and Queens Garden Trail is a 3.5 mile hike with an elevation change of 520 feet. Driving from Bryce Canyon to St. George hotel is 145 miles, about 2.5 hours.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: After checking out, we’ll set out for our final hike in Bryce Canyon: Navajo Loop and Queens Garden Trail. This hike is absolutely the best way to see the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon. It's listed as one of the top 10 hikes in the U.S. by National Geographic.

Lunch: On the trail, we’ll have box lunches that include a sandwich, chips, cookie and fruit.

Afternoon: We’ll wrap up our adventures at Bryce and travel by motorcoach to St. George.

Dinner: At a local restaurant we will enjoy a plated meal that includes entree, salad, and dessert. Iced tea, coffee and water are provided. Other beverages are available for purchase.

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

DAY
7
Program concludes
St. George
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: At the hotel, breakfast buffet includes eggs, bacon, sausage, cereal, fresh fruit, yogurt, pastries, juice, coffee, and tea. 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 another rewarding program in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.