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.
Rating (4.96)
Program No. 7735RJ
Length
7 days
Starts at
1,149
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7 days
6 nights
16 meals
6 B 5 L 5 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
St. George, UT
D
College Inn

Activity note: 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.

Dinner: 5:15 p.m. Transfer by motorcoach to Dixie State University for a delicious banquet dinner featuring a buffet, plus coffee, tea, water.

Evening: Orientation. Returning to the College Inn, 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.

DAY
2
Snow Canyon State Park, Restored Pioneer Homes
St. George, UT
B,L,D
College Inn

Activity note: Hike White Rocks and/or Hidden Pinyon trail depending on time and weather. Hiking 2-4 miles on unpaved trails and paved city sidewalks. Elevations range from 2,500 feet in the city to 4,500 feet at Snow Canyon. Driving distance is approximately 15 miles.

Breakfast: Continental breakfast buffet at the College Inn includes hard boiled eggs, oatmeal, cereal, fruit, yogurt, pastries, toast, coffee, tea, milk and juice.

Morning: Transfer by motorcoach for a 15-minute ride to Snow Canyon State Park. As we walk with our Instructor on trails among sandstone formations, we will have an introduction to local geology: red and white rock cliffs, rolling mounds of petrified sand dunes, and lava (basalt) rock formations.

Lunch: At a café on the campus of Dixie State University, choose from an expansive selection from 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: We will return to the College Inn for a presentation by a local historian who will then narrate a motorcoach field trip of restored pioneer buildings and homes in Saint George.

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

Evening: Back in our meeting room at the College Inn, 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 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. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
3
Zion National Park Hiking and Geology, Birds of Prey Class
Zion National Park
B,L,D
Springhill Suites by Marriott Springdale Zion National Park

Activity note: We will travel approximately 42 miles by motor coach to Zion National Park. Hiking 4 to 5 miles for the day; mostly paved trails, some uneven and slippery terrain. 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. Elevation of the park is approximately 4000 feet.

Breakfast: Continental breakfast at the College Inn includes hard boiled eggs, hot oatmeal, cereal, fruit, yogurt, pastries, toast, milk, juice, coffee and tea.

Morning: Setting out from the College Inn, we will travel by motorcoach about one hour to Zion National Park. From Zion Lodge we'll hike to Middle and Lower Emerald Pools 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 continue our day of hiking in Zion by taking the park shuttle to the Temple of Sinawava, a natural amphitheater, which is 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. Your instructor will provide information about the Virgin River and Zion Canyon’s geology and plant habitat along the way. We return to Zion Lodge and 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 (iced/hot) 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, "Birds of Prey," and see a live falcon, hawk and golden eagle.

DAY
4
Hike Zion's Scout Lookout
Zion National Park
B,L
Springhill Suites by Marriott Springdale Zion National Park

Activity note: Hiking 4-5 miles. Scout Lookout is a 4 mile round trip hike with a 1,100 ft 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: Travel by motorcoach a short distance into Zion National Park where we'll catch the park shuttle to West Rim trail-head at the Grotto. A footbridge over the Virgin River and a right turn heading upstream lead you along the northwestern shore on a relatively level path. About a half-mile, the trail begins a series of paved switchbacks. The views keep getting better with every turn as Zion's main canyon opens up below you. This section of trail has steep drop-offs, but is wide, which is helpful for those with a fear of heights. Shaded relief is found when the trail turns up into the aptly named, Refrigerator Canyon. Impressive rock walls tower with overhangs that are picture worthy. After a gradual grade, the trail turns and you face the famous Walters Wiggles feature of tight switchbacks up towards Scout Lookout.

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

Afternoon: We’ll continue hiking side trails of the main canyon of Zion that offer views of the towering Navajo sandstone cliffs. We will return via motorcoach to the hotel where you can enjoy some free time in the afternoon.

Dinner: Dinner is on your own in the quaint town of Springdale, where you can enjoy a variety of restaurants, bars, gift shops, art galleries, and more. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: Free evening to relax or do something within the community.

DAY
5
Hike Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
B,L,D
Ruby's Inn

Activity note: We will travel by motorcoach 75 miles to Bryce Canyon National Park. This will take about one hour and twenty minutes. Hiking 2 to 5 miles for the day on uneven unpaved trails with steep inclines and declines. Peekaboo Loop trail is a 5.3 mile round trip on a 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. Elevation is approximately 8,000 feet at Bryce Canyon.

Breakfast: Breakfast Buffet at hotel which includes fresh fruit, yogurt, assorted baked goods, cereal, pancakes, scrambled eggs, oatmeal, bacon, sausage, breakfast potatoes, coffee, assorted teas, juice and milk.

Morning: We will travel to Bryce Canyon National Park for a full-day field trip. One of America's smaller national parks, covering only 56 square miles, Bryce is renowned for its unique geological features, carved by nature into hoodoos and pinnacles of an amazing palette of colors. Our first hike will be 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. There are great views of the Wall of Windows fins and Three Wise Men hoodoos. 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 a box lunch 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 via motorcoach 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, tea (iced/hot) and water.

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

DAY
6
Hike Bryce Canyon National Park, Farewell Dinner
St. George, UT
B,L,D
College Inn

Activity note: Hiking 4 to 5 miles. Navajo Loop and Queens Garden Trail is a 3.5 mile hike with an elevation change of 520 feet.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at Ruby's Inn includes fresh fruit, yogurt, assorted baked goods, cereal, scrambled eggs, french toast, oatmeal, smoked bacon, sausage, breakfast potatoes, coffee, and assorted teas, juice and milk.

Morning: Check out and depart 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. The views from sunrise point and sunset point on the rim area stunning, but you will experience an entirely different view from the canyon floor while looking up at the hoodoos. We start by hiking down Wall street, a narrow canyon with high rock walls on either side. From the canyon floor we continue on the trail to Queens Garden where we'll see some of the most spectacular formations in the park, including Queen Victoria herself.

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

Afternoon: We wrap up your adventures at Bryce and depart for St. George.

Dinner: At Dixie State University, we’ll enjoy a buffet of various options that includes coffee, tea (iced/hot) and water. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

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

DAY
7
Program Concludes
St. George, UT
B

Breakfast: Continental breakfast buffet at the College Inn includes hard boiled eggs, oatmeal, cereal, fruit, yogurt, pastries, toast, coffee, tea, milk and juice.

Morning: Independent departures following breakfast.






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