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8718
Arizona/Utah

On the Road: Absolute Southwest — A Canyonlands Adventure

This one has it all – three iconic National Parks, two National Monuments, a raft trip on the Colorado, a Jeep trip in Monument Valley and quintessential S.W. landscapes throughout!
Rating (5)
Program No. 8718RJ
Length
12 days
Starts at
2,419
Arizona/Utah

On the Road: Absolute Southwest — A Canyonlands Adventure

This one has it all – three iconic National Parks, two National Monuments, a raft trip on the Colorado, a Jeep trip in Monument Valley and quintessential S.W. landscapes throughout!
Length
12 days
Starts at
2,419
Program No. 8718 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
Plan ahead.
What kind of weather can you expect? Take a look!
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.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Oct 4 - Oct 15, 2021
Starting at
2,619
Itinerary Note

Due to COVID-19 restrictions and protocols, Antelope Canyon has imposed size restrictions on groups and as a result, we will not be able to visit.

Oct 11 - Oct 22, 2021
Starting at
2,619
Itinerary Note

Due to COVID-19 restrictions and protocols, Antelope Canyon has imposed size restrictions on groups and as a result, we will not be able to visit.

Oct 18 - Oct 29, 2021
Starting at
2,619
Itinerary Note

Due to COVID-19 restrictions and protocols, Antelope Canyon has imposed size restrictions on groups and as a result, we will not be able to visit.

Nov 1 - Nov 12, 2021
Starting at
2,419
Itinerary Note

Due to COVID-19 restrictions and protocols, Antelope Canyon has imposed size restrictions on groups and as a result, we will not be able to visit.

Feb 28 - Mar 11, 2022
Starting at
2,549
Mar 14 - Mar 25, 2022
Starting at
2,849
Mar 28 - Apr 8, 2022
Starting at
2,849
Apr 4 - Apr 15, 2022
Starting at
2,849
Apr 11 - Apr 22, 2022
Starting at
2,849
Apr 25 - May 6, 2022
Starting at
2,849
Sep 19 - Sep 30, 2022
Starting at
2,879
Sep 26 - Oct 7, 2022
Starting at
2,879
Oct 10 - Oct 21, 2022
Starting at
2,879
Oct 24 - Nov 4, 2022
Starting at
2,879
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Oct 4 - Oct 15, 2021
Starting at
3,469
Itinerary Note

Due to COVID-19 restrictions and protocols, Antelope Canyon has imposed size restrictions on groups and as a result, we will not be able to visit.

Oct 11 - Oct 22, 2021
Starting at
3,469
Itinerary Note

Due to COVID-19 restrictions and protocols, Antelope Canyon has imposed size restrictions on groups and as a result, we will not be able to visit.

Oct 18 - Oct 29, 2021
Starting at
3,469
Itinerary Note

Due to COVID-19 restrictions and protocols, Antelope Canyon has imposed size restrictions on groups and as a result, we will not be able to visit.

Nov 1 - Nov 12, 2021
Starting at
3,199
Itinerary Note

Due to COVID-19 restrictions and protocols, Antelope Canyon has imposed size restrictions on groups and as a result, we will not be able to visit.

Feb 28 - Mar 11, 2022
Starting at
3,349
Mar 14 - Mar 25, 2022
Starting at
3,779
Mar 28 - Apr 8, 2022
Starting at
3,779
Apr 4 - Apr 15, 2022
Starting at
3,779
Apr 11 - Apr 22, 2022
Starting at
3,779
Apr 25 - May 6, 2022
Starting at
3,779
Sep 19 - Sep 30, 2022
Starting at
3,799
Sep 26 - Oct 7, 2022
Starting at
3,799
Oct 10 - Oct 21, 2022
Starting at
3,799
Oct 24 - Nov 4, 2022
Starting at
3,799

At a Glance

Journey to the Sedona, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks. Learn about the geologic upheavals, native cultures and settlers that give this region its character. Traverse storied landscapes on the Colorado Plateau, experience the Navajo Reservation and gaze up at canyon rims from the Colorado River.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to two miles daily over varied terrain. Elevations just over 8,000 feet. Participants may elect to opt out of longer walks.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Enjoy a Navajo-led 4x4 adventure in Monument Valley and a smooth-water raft float on the Colorado River.
  • Experience the famous Antelope Canyon, Sedona and Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks.
  • Study the region’s geology, natural history, Native Americans, current issues and historical characters.

General Notes

This program starts in Phoenix, Ariz. and ends in Las Vegas, Nev. Transportation on this program is usually by full sized motorcoach, with about 40 participants.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Matt Turner
Since he decided to attend high school in Southwest Colorado, Matt Turner has been in love with the natural wonders of the Four Corners region prompting him to obtain a degree in Natural History from Prescott College. In addition to working as a field biologist and ecological consultant, he is an avid photographer, leads trips throughout the Southwest, across rivers and in the backcountry. As a naturalist, he hopes to impart a unique perspective of the region's natural environment in all of its visitors.

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

Profile Image of Matt Turner
Matt Turner View biography
Since he decided to attend high school in Southwest Colorado, Matt Turner has been in love with the natural wonders of the Four Corners region prompting him to obtain a degree in Natural History from Prescott College. In addition to working as a field biologist and ecological consultant, he is an avid photographer, leads trips throughout the Southwest, across rivers and in the backcountry. As a naturalist, he hopes to impart a unique perspective of the region's natural environment in all of its visitors.
Profile Image of Don Lago
Don Lago has been exploring the Grand Canyon for 30 years, kayaking it six times and backpacking it about 75 times. He has done years of backcountry research for Grand Canyon National Park. He is the author of two Grand Canyon history books from university presses.
Profile Image of Dave Hall
Dave Hall worked in the environmental geology field for 25 years as a geologist for the New Jersey Geological Survey. He taught geology and general science for 13 years as an adjunct and assistant professor at the College of New Jersey, and has worked as an associate naturalist at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Dave has been retired for the last several years and currently resides in Flagstaff, Arizona.
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.
Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water
by Reisner, Marc
The story of the American West is the story of a relentless quest for a precious resource: water. It is a tale of rivers diverted and dammed, of political corruption and intrigue, of billion-dollar battles over water rights, of ecologic and economic disaster. In Cadillac Desert Marc Reisner writes of the earliest settlers, lured by the promise of paradise, and of the ruthless tactics employed by Los Angeles politicians and business interests to ensure the city's growth. He documents the bitter rivalry between two government giants, the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in the competition to transform the West. Based on more than a decade of research, Cadillac Desert is a stunning expose and a dramatic, intriguing history of the creation of an Eden--and Eden that may be only a mirage. 608pp
Warriors: Navajo Code Talkers
by Kawano, Kenji
The American offensive in the Pacific during World War II [was] hampered by the Japanese ability to crack the most secret U.S. Codes. Navajo was virtually unknown outside the reservations, ... and [their] code proved uncrackable. Kenji Kawano's striking photographs capture the quiet dignity of the surviving veterans as they recall their actions --Los Angeles Times 128 pp
Beyond the Hundredth Meridian: John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West
by Stegner, Wallace
Here Wallace Stegner, a Pulitzer Prize-winner, gives us a thrilling account of Powell's struggle against western geography and Washington politics. We witness the successes and frustrations of Powell's distinguished career, and appreciate his unparalleled understanding of the West. "Stegner's most exciting work." (San Francisco Chronicle) 496pp
Living at the Edge: Explorers, Exploiters, and Settlers of the Grand Canyon Region
by Anderson, Michael F
A comprehensive look at the pioneer history of the Grand Canyon Region, from its earliest residents to the creation of the national park at the end of the pioneer era (circa 1920). Included are close to two hundred historic photographs, many never published before, and 12 custom maps of the region. 184pp
The Southwest
by Lavender, David
A historical and cultural overview, including discussions of present-day racial, conservation, and economic problems. Easy reading, fascinating history. 364pp
Native Roads : The Complete Motoring Guide to the Navajo and Hopi Nations
by Kosik, Frank
Using the mile markers of the US, Arizona, and Navajo highways and routes running through the Navajo and Hopi nations as her organizing principle, the author offers a travel guide to the sites found in the area. Natural, historical, and cultural points of interest are covered, along with some information on lodging and services. 280 pp
Life in Stone: Fossils of the Colorado Plateau
by Sadler, Christa
Like pages in a book, the layers of sedimentary rock that are exposed on the Colorado Plateau tell us much about the diversity of environments that have come and gone over a period of hundreds of millions of years. This region is recognized as one of the finest earth-science laboratories in the world. Analysis of the fossil record and new discoveries across the plateau are answering questions, solving mysteries, and making connections that help us understand the history of life worldwide. "Life In Stone" tells the story of past environments and current discoveries with numerous illustrations and lively text written for a general audience. 72pp
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12 days
11 nights
31 meals
11 B 10 L 10 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Phoenix, AZ
D
Hilton Garden Inn Phoenix/Tempe ASU Area

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

Afternoon: Program Registration: 5:00 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table in the hotel meeting room to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation: 5:30 p.m. 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. This is a Road Scholar On The Road (OTR) program. OTR programs are journeys that take participants to multiple study sites in a region with a number of overnight stays. Lectures, talks, discussions, field trips, and on-board commentary amplify the program theme. Some journeys involve great distances and may take hours, others are much shorter. Long or short, On The Road journeys are learning experiences that make the most of our time together. All field trips will be led by our Group Leader, a seasoned and experienced naturalist, unless specified otherwise. Transportation will be provided via motorcoach or touing vans, requiring ascending/descending a few steps when getting on/off. Periods in the 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.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant, we’ll have a tasty meal with salad and dessert; vegetarian and gluten-free selections available with advance notice; coffee, tea, water included; 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 day ahead. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
2
Montezuma Castle National Monument, Sedona-AZ
Sedona, AZ
B,L,D
Holiday Inn Express Sedona - Oak Creek

Activity note: Driving about 120 miles total, approximately 2.5 hours with stops for field trips. Walking approximately 2 miles total throughout the day; about 1/2 mile at a time; approximately 1.5 hours total; paved walkways at Montezuma Castle. Elevation in the Sedona area ranges between 4,000 and 4,500 feet.

Breakfast: In the hotel restaurant or conference room, we’ll have breakfast with a wide selection of hot and cold fare including milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Once checked out of the hotel, we’ll load luggage and board our vehicle for our journey north to the Sedona area. As we move from the Basin and Range region to the central highlands and transition zone of the Verde Valley, we’ll watch the plant communities change. En route, we’ll stop for a field trip at Montezuma Castle National Monument. Our Group Leader will provide commentary at this 5-story, 20-room cliff dwelling nestled in a limestone recess high above the flood plain of Beaver Creek in the Verde Valley. It is one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America, constructed approximately 600 years ago by the Sinagua Indians. While here, we’ll observe the ruins from below and take note of Wet Beaver Creek’s unique ecosystem as we walk the paved loop trail. Returning to the vehicle after our field trip, we’ll continue our transfer to the Village of Oak Creek for lunch.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have plated meals and a cookie with coffee, tea, water.

Afternoon: Setting out again aboard our vehicle, we will explore some favorite spots in the Sedona area including a stop at the beautiful Bell Rock viewpoint with commentary provided by our knowledgeable Group Leader. We’ll then continue to the hotel for a late afternoon check-in.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have plated meals with a choice of entrée plus a dessert and a nonalcoholic beverage; other beverages available for purchase.

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

DAY
3
Oak Creek Canyon, Museum of Northern Arizona, Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon, AZ
B,L,D
Yavapai Lodge West

Activity note: Driving about 120 miles, approximately 2.5 hours with stops for field trips. Walking about 1/2 mile to the canyon rim, approximately 1 hour; paved, level trail. Flagstaff and Grand Canyon South Rim elevation is roughly 7,000 feet.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we’ll have a breakfast buffet (or grab and go selections) featuring choices such as an egg dish, breakfast meats, cereals, and fresh fruit, plus milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we’ll load up for the trip up one of Arizona's most scenic highways through the steep, rock-walled cliffs of Oak Creek Canyon to the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. Upon arrival, a museum docent will lead us through some of the exhibits before allowing time for independent exploration. The Museum of Northern Arizona was founded by Harold Colton and Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton in 1928, and is the preeminent museum of the Colorado Plateau with an extensive collection of Native American artifacts.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a buffet or plated meal (depending on current protocols) with soft drinks, coffee, tea, and water included.

Afternoon: Continuing our scenic journey to the Grand Canyon, we’ll make our way through the San Francisco Peaks Volcanic Field. With a stop at Mather Point, named after the first director of the National Park Service, we’ll get our first view of the Grand Canyon on a short narrated walk with our Group Leader. We’ll then complete the transfer to our Grand Canyon lodging where we’ll have a late afternoon check-in.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy a buffet dinner with salad, sides, and a dessert, plus coffee, ice tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At your leisure.

DAY
4
Natural & Human History at the Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon, AZ
B,L
Yavapai Lodge West

Activity note: Walking about 1 mile in Grand Canyon Village, approximately 1.5 hours; paved, slightly sloping pathway. Opportunities for activities, walking and exploration based on personal interest during free time. Free time access to additional viewpoints, attractions and return to lodging facility will require the use of the free Park Service shuttle bus system.

Breakfast: While at the Grand Canyon, breakfasts will be prepared in a "Take Away" format. Each morning your Group Leader will pick up the group's packaged breakfasts and deliver them to the front of the lodge rooms at a specified time for distribution. Participants will pick up their breakfast at this time and dine in their lodge rooms. Breakfasts meals will consist of a breakfast sandwich, oatmeal, pastry, fruit cup, yogurt, coffee and juice. Please note that due to the fluid nature of Covid mitigation within the National Park's facilities that dining procedures and options may change by the actual start date of our program. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your continued understanding, patience and flexibility.

Morning: NOTE: please remember to bring a day pack with you to carry your sack lunch, water bottle and sun protection during your park explorations. After breakfast, we will depart for a walking field trip in Grand Canyon Village where our Group Leader will discuss the many characters that help develop the rim facilities and point out famous village landmarks. The historic district is home to the Kolb Brothers Photo Studio and many buildings designed by Fred Harvey designer Mary Jane Colter including the Bright Angel Lodge, Lookout Studio, and the Hopi House. To the east, visit El Tovar Hotel, one of the great lodges in the National Park system. Constructed for the elite of the early 20th century, is a National Historic Landmark and was once considered the most elegant hotel west of the Mississippi. For those with the stamina, we’ll have a round trip walk along the famous Bright Angel Trail led by our naturalist. The trail offers access all the way from the South Rim to the Colorado River with spectacular views every step you take. Before going our separate ways, we will have a discussion and handout on free time options and activities. The South Rim offers a number of opportunities and sites to visit including more of Grand Canyon Village, Hermit’s Rest West shuttle, Yavapai Point, and rim walks are popular activity. The group will employ the free park shuttle to access various points on the South Rim.

Lunch: In the field on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon we will have a sack lunch enjoyed picnic style.

Afternoon: 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.

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 are a number of dining venues to choose from in the park. If you are interested in eating at the El Tovar Lodge for dinner note that this is the one restaurant that requires reservations for dinner. Call 928-638-2631 and ask for El Tovar dining room. No reservations needed for breakfast or lunch.

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

DAY
5
Desert View Watchtower, Cameron Trading Post, Goulding's
Monument Valley, UT
B,L,D
Goulding's Lodge

Activity note: Driving about 180 miles total, approximately 3.5 hours with stops for field trips. Walking up to 1/2 mile total throughout the day; paved trails to the Watchtower.

Breakfast: Breakfast: At a predetermined time, your Group Leader will deliver and distribute "Take Away" meals in front of the group's lodge rooms for in-room dining.

Morning: After checking out and loading luggage, we’ll travel the East Rim of the Grand Canyon for a stop at the Desert View overlook, the location of the famous Mary Colter’s Watchtower and some of the best views of the Colorado River. We will have time to explore the watchtower with our naturalist available to answer any questions. Known for her many works for the Fred Harvey Company and the Santa Fe Railroad, Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter was a female architect in the early 20th century and helped blend Spanish Colonial and Mission Revival architecture with Native American motifs. The Watchtower is an interpretation of a prehistoric “tower kiva” with lavishly painted interior walls by Hopi artist Fred Kabotie. Next, we will have some time to explore the historic 1916 Cameron Trading Post independently. Set on the banks of the Little Colorado River, the Trading Post is a welcomed rest stop that features a beautiful hidden garden, an in-house Navajo rug weaver, and interesting stone architecture.

Lunch: At the historic Cameron Trading Post, we’ll have a plated lunch with soft drinks, coffee, tea, water.

Afternoon: Continuing on our journey, we’ll travel through the Navajo Reservation and the Painted Desert to Kayenta on the way to Goulding's Lodge. En route, we’ll make a stop at the Kayenta Burger King — the unlikely site of a famous Navajo Code Talker exhibit. Adjacent is a Navajo demonstration area and a museum you may wish to explore independently. We’ll then make our way to Goulding's Lodge.

Dinner: At the historic Goulding's Lodge and Trading Post Restaurant, we’ll order plated meals from a select menu while we enjoy sweeping views of red rock mesas and vistas out the restaurant window; soft drinks, lemonade, coffee, iced tea, water included (alcoholic beverages are not sold on the Navajo Reservation).

Evening: For those with interest, in the Earth Spirit Theater, we’ll settle in to view a classic John Ford western movie which was shot in the Monument Valley region.

DAY
6
Monument & Mystery Valleys by 4WD Truck
Monument Valley, UT
B,L,D
Goulding's Lodge

Activity note: Getting in/out of a four-wheel drive vehicle; driving about 20 miles, approximately 6 hours; dusty, bumpy terrain. Walking up to 1 mile total throughout the day on multiple short walks. Elevation in Monument Valley is about 5,500 feet.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will have some time for independent exploration of Goulding’s Trading Post and museum, which includes memorabilia from many John Ford and John Wayne westerns, as well as prehistoric artifacts and items from the early trading post days. Then we’ll board a four-wheel drive truck and head out on a full-day field trip to explore Mystery Valley and Monument Valley. Mystery Valley is home to a large collection of Ancestral Puebloan ruins and rock art, and we’ll spend the morning seeing the centuries-old home of the Ancient Ones. Our expert Navajo drivers will provide narration and insight to the natural and cultural features of the region as we get to experience this quintessential scenery of the American Southwest. Along the way, we’ll make stops to take in the views and stretch our legs.

Lunch: Amid the spectacular scenery of Mystery Valley, we’ll have sack lunches.

Afternoon: Continuing our field trip through Monument Valley, we will explore many of the famous monuments including views of the Mittens and John Ford Point, plus a visit to the Monument’s restricted area with our expert drivers to see ancient petroglyphs and unparalleled scenery.

Dinner: Goulding’s Lodge plated meal.

Evening: Gathering in the Earth Spirit Theater at Goulding’s, we’ll settle in to view a video on a topic of local interest. The remainder of the evening will be at leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
7
Navajo National Monument and Glen Canyon Dam Visit.
Page/Lake Powell, AZ
B,L,D
Courtyard Page at Lake Powell

Activity note: Driving about 150 miles total, approximately 2.5 hours with stops for field trips. Walking approximately 2 miles total, about 1.5 miles roundtrip to Betatakin Overlook; paved paths; elevation change of roughly 200 feet. Elevation at Navajo National Monument is roughly 7,000 feet; Page is about 4,300 feet.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will set out for a field trip to Navajo National Monument. This National Park Service Monument contains some of the Southwest's best preserved ruins of the "Ancestral Puebloans," or Anasazi culture. An orientation to the Navajo National Monument given by our Group Leader will begin at the Visitor Center that features a small museum with exhibits of prehistoric pottery and other artifacts that attempt to piece together what life was like for the early peoples. An excellent series of topical videos on the Ancient Ones will run on a continuous loop for drop-in viewing. Next, we’ll walk to the nearby overlook for a view across the canyon of the Betatakin Ruins, one of the best-preserved ruins, which has original walls and an intact roof. The easy, paved Sandal Trail we’ll be walking on begins behind the Visitor Center and winds through a piñon-juniper woodland to Betatakin Point Overlook. Signs along the way identify native plants and describe how Native Americans used them as our Group Leader discusses the area’s ecology and human history. Back at the motorcoach, we’ll continue on our way to Page and Lake Powell.

Lunch: At a local Mexican restaurant in Page, we’ll have plated meals with soft drinks, milk, coffee, tea, water.

Afternoon: After lunch, we will get our first view of the Glen Canyon Dam at the terminus of the 275 mile long Lake Powell. Completed in 1963, this engineering marvel was one of the Bureau of Reclamation's crowning achievements. Controversy has never been far behind its completion because the effects of its operation have been determined to have had adverse effects on the downstream Grand Canyon environment. Your Group Leader will lead a discussion relating some of the many stories surrounding the super structure and its role in western water management. We’ll then move on and check into our hotel with an opportunity to relax and freshen up before dinner.

Dinner: In the hotel banquet room, we’ll have a tasty meal with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Gathering in the hotel meeting room, we’ll be joined by a local expert for a presentation on a topic of local interest. Past favorites have included talks on the wildlife of Glen Canyon, geology of Glen Canyon, and floating hogans.

DAY
8
Horseshoe Bend Overlook, Glen Canyon Float Trip
Page/Lake Powell, AZ
B,L,D
Courtyard Page at Lake Powell

Activity note: Driving about 50 miles one way Lees Ferry to Page, approximately 1 hour. Walking about 1.5 miles, approximately 1.5 hours; loose sand, about 200 feet in elevation gain/loss to Horseshoe Bend Overlook. Getting on/off a boat; rise is approximately 15 miles; flatwater, motor-assisted float trip through the last free flowing section of Glen Canyon.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: After a short drive to the trailhead, our first field trip of the day will be a hike from the trailhead to the Horseshoe Bend Overlook. This 1.5 mile round-trip hike goes up and over a small hill to the edge of a 1,000-foot cliff looking down on a meander of the Colorado River in a section of Glen Canyon that we will float through later in the day. After our hike, we will return to the hotel and gather our personal effect before boarding our vehicle(s) and transferring to the beginning of our Glen Canyon float trip. Upon arrival to the rafting company headquarters we will off load and proceed to the security screening check-in. Once cleared we will board the rafting company’s bus and travel through a two mile long tunnel, down to the base of the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River. We’ll off load as a group and board our rafts where our boatman will conduct a safety orientation before launching on the river. As we float downstream watching the walls of the Canyon rise above us, we’ll look for fly fishermen casting for rainbow trout. The water is so clear, we may see trout swimming below our rafts!

Lunch: On the river, aboard our rafts we’ll enjoy our sack lunches.

Afternoon: As we continue floating downstream gazing up at the high cliffs, keep watch for golden eagles, California condors – North America's largest bird – herons, hawks, and turkey vultures. At the half way point in our adventure we will stop at Petroglyph Beach for a restroom break and a short walk led by our boatmen to see the amazing petroglyphs, estimated to be approximately 1,000 years old. Before re-boarding the rafts for our spectacular trip around Horseshoe Bend, you may wish to dip your toes into the 48 degree water of the Colorado River! After rounding Horseshoe Bend, we’ll wind up at Lee's Ferry where the Grand Canyon officially begins...geologically. As we finish up our journey, we may see other boatmen readying their rafts for their exciting trips through the Grand Canyon and its many rapids. At the Lees Ferry boat dock, we will disembark our rafts and board the rafting company's bus for transfer back to Page. We will arrive back at our hotel in the mid-afternoon with some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a catered dinner with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: We’ll be joined in the hotel meeting room by a local expert for a presentation on a topic of local interest. The remainder of the evening is at leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
9
The Grand Staircase, Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
B,L,D
Best Western Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel

Activity note: Driving about 150 miles, approximately 2.5 hours. Walking about 1.5 miles along the rim at Bryce Canyon, approximately 2 hours; paved and unpaved surfaces. Time permitting, walk below the rim on unpaved trails. Rim elevation is roughly 8,000 feet.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will check out of the hotel and drive through the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument with a stop at either the Big Water Visitor Center or the Kanab Visitor Center to see exhibits on pale-ontological and geological discoveries in the area. The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, at 1.7 million acres, dominates any map of southern Utah. It is the first monument to be administered by the Bureau of Land Management rather than the National Park Service. As presented by our Group Leader, we’ll learn why this National Monument is threatened and why it is a national treasure. Afterwards, we’ll travel up scenic Highway 89 towards Bryce Canyon National Park.

Lunch: At Ruby’s Cowboy Cafe, we will enjoy a variety lunch entree choice. A trip through the salad bar and a nonalcoholic beverage will be included.

Afternoon: Arriving in Bryce Canyon National Park, we’ll learn that despite its name, Bryce is not a canyon but a series of amphitheaters along the edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Its otherworldly hoodoos are carved from Claron lakebed sediments by frost weathering and stream erosion. Walking out to viewpoints such as Fairyland Point, Inspiration Point Bryce Point, and Sunset Point, we’ll take in the views of the spectacular Hoodoos. Depending on conditions, we’ll walk along the rim and visit the Bryce Canyon National Park Visitor Center.

Dinner: At Ruby’s Cowboy Cafe, we’ll have a delicious dinner with a variety of entree choices plus soft drinks, lemonade, milk, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

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

DAY
10
Zion National Park’s Slickrock Country & Zion Canyon
Zion National Park
B,L,D
Holiday Inn Express Zion National Park

Activity note: Driving about 85 miles, approximately 2 hours. Walking about 1.5 mile roundtrip, approximately 1.5 hours; mostly paved, slight uphill walk to Lower Emerald Pool.

Breakfast: In the hotel restaurant, the breakfast buffet (or grab and go) will offers a variety of hot and cold items plus milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: After loading up luggage, we’ll leave Bryce for the scenic drive to Zion National Park. Along the way we’ll drive through stunning Red Canyon — once a haunt for Butch Cassidy and his gang — as we journey to the slickrock country on the eastern edge of Zion National Park. Continuing with a stop at Checkerboard Mesa, we’ll then drive through the Zion Tunnels and down the switchbacks into Zion Canyon carved by the North Fork of the Virgin River. Spectacular Checkerboard Mesa is a massive petrified sand dune with horizontal layers laid down in the Jurassic Period and vertical cracks formed during weather over millions of years. While here with our Group Leader, we’ll discuss the reason it is called Checkerboard Mesa, talk about the plants growing at this elevation, and learn how things differ from the lower elevations in the park. The Zion Tunnels were built during the 1920s through solid sandstone walls with views through the "galleries" out to the Pine Creek Valley.

Lunch: At the Red Rock Grill located at the Zion National Park Lodge, we’ll enjoy a pre-order soup and sandwich lunch. Includes chips and one non-alcoholic beverage. Enjoy spectacular views of the magnificent surroundings.

Afternoon: After lunch we will begin our explorations from the Zion Lodge area. Nestled at the base of stunning canyon walls, the grounds of the Zion Lodge invite people to linger among its shady cottonwood trees and grassy field. At the Lodge, your Group Leaders will give an overview of the area and offer activities at one or more locations. Activities may include walking the Lower Emerald Pools Trail, the Grotto Trail, or a historic walk around the Zion Lodge. Mid-afternoon we will depart Zion Canyon for the town of Springdale and check-in to our hotel. We will have an opportunity to settle in and relax before gathering for dinner.

Dinner: At a local restaurant we’ll have plated meals with soft drinks, coffee, tea, milk, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: After dinner, we will meet to discuss free time options in the park. Your Group Leader will provide park information and shuttle maps to the group. We will discuss how the shuttle system operates and orient the group to the many highlights, viewpoints, trails and feature in the park. NOTE: There have been recent changes and reductions within our Zion National Park Commercial Use Authorization (CUA). The CUA regulates and mandates which trails and parking areas groups are allowed to use and the number of people that constitute a group. These changes in regulations have necessitated an independent exploration day by participants within the park tomorrow.

DAY
11
Zion Park Shuttle to Viewpoints and Nature Walks.
Zion National Park
B,L,D
Holiday Inn Express Zion National Park

Activity note: Getting on/off free Zion Shuttle; 16 miles round trip; 90 minutes without getting off at stops. With stops and walks approximately 4 – 6 hours. Self-guided elective walking distances; Riverside Walk is approximately 2 miles roundtrip, about 2 hours; paved trail with little change in elevation.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: In keeping with current park protocols, today will be dedicated to independent exploration. We will gather in the hotel lobby with our Group Leader to be sure everyone is properly outfitted with the essentials of being out in the field for the day including water, sunscreen, hat, and other weather-related gear. The Group Leaders will review how the park shuttle operates; discuss the many viewpoint and features in the park available to explore; how to return to the hotel using the shuttle system; and answer any questions. We will also have sack lunches distributed. Using our vehicle(s), we will ride from the hotel to the Zion Visitor Center where the Group Leader will confirm our group entry into the park. From the Visitor Center, we’ll then stroll across the plaza to the free Zion Canyon shuttle bus terminal where our park exploration and access into Zion Canyon will begin.

Lunch: In the locations of our choice, we will have provided sack lunches.

Afternoon: We will continue our independent explorations in Zion National Park. Returning to the hotel according to personal choice, we will utilize the National Park Shuttle and Springdale town shuttle bus system.

Dinner: At a local restaurant we’ll have plated meals with soft drinks, coffee, tea, milk, water included; other beverages available for purchase. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: We’ll gather for a program wrap-up session to reflect on our adventures together. The remainder of the evening will be at leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
12
Program Concludes
Las Vegas, NV
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out 8:00 a.m. Driving about 170 miles, approximately 3 hours. Expected arrival and drop-offs at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport (LAS) by approximately 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: Hotel breakfast.

Morning: Once checked out of the hotel, we’ll load our luggage and begin our transfer to Las Vegas, traveling through the Virgin River Gorge carved by the mighty Virgin River through the Virgin River Anticline. As we drive, we’ll pass by Joshua Trees, the signature species of the Mojave Desert. We expect to arrive at McCarran International Airport by approximately 11:00 a.m. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. 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 rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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