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Colorful Canyons: Zion, Bryce & Grand Canyon With Your Grandchild

Program No. 8731RJ
From stunning landscapes and ancient geology to horse-back riding and Native American art, set off on an adventure with your grandchild in the national parks of Utah and Arizona.

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At a Glance

In Utah’s Color Country, view ancient Native American petroglyphs carved into red standstone walls in the Valley of Fire. Hike through a forested canyon that leads to two sparkling waterfalls in a tall alcove, hanging gardens and majestic emerald pools. Admire the towering hoodoo rock spires and pink limestone grottos in Bryce Canyon. Take in views of the rainbow rock stair steps of the Grand Staircase as you look across over 100 million years in geologic time. These colorful adventures and more await you and your grandchild in Utah and Arizona’s amazing national parks: Zion, Bryce and the Grand Canyon’s rugged North Rim. Discover the secrets and mysteries of sculptured canyons and soaring cliffs as instructors lead you through 2 billion years of Mother Nature’s brush strokes.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Watch wranglers ride the bulls at the Bryce Canyon Country Rodeo, and saddle up yourself as you ride on mule or horse back through Bryce Canyon.
  • Meet an eagle falconer and his feathered friends (a falcon, a hawk and a golden eagle) during a live birds of prey presentation.
  • Spend nights in each of these canyons observing wildlife, exploring the landscape and learning about geology, ecology and human history.

General Notes

Program is for grandchildren ages 10-14.
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 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.
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.
by See list below
The Redrock Canyon Explorer, Irene Brady and Geology Rocks, by Cindy Blobaum & Michael Kline. Two books that are a great starting place for grandparents and educators that would like to get a fun and creative educational tool for their grandchildren or students. $19.95 and $12.95 Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv. 2005. An absolute must-read for parents if we are going to save our children from the Nature- Deficit Disorder. $13.95. Sharing Nature with Children, Joseph Cornell. 1989. A parents and teachers nature awareness guidebook. $9.95.
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 History (more)
by See list below
Basin and Range, John McPhee. 1980. A book of journeys through ancient terrains, always in juxtaposition with travels in the modern world---a history of vanished landscapes, enhanced by the histories of people who bring them to light. Includes a history of the geologic time scale. $14.95. The Dominguez- Escalante Journal, Ted J. Warner. 1995. Their expedition through Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona in 1776. $12.95 Over the Rim, The Parley P. Pratt Exploring Expedition to Southern Utah, 1849-50. William and Donna T. Smart. 1999. In the winter of 1849 fifty men set out from Salt Lake City on an arduous expedition to explore Southern Utah. $19.95 Echoes from the Cliffs of Capital Reef National Park, Max Robinson, Clay Robinson. 2004. Enlightening reminiscences of Capital Reef National Park. $6.95. Standing Up Country, Gregory Crampton. 1964. A lavishly illustrated history of the scenic beauty of Southern Utah. $16.95. The Exploration of the Colorado River and its Canyons, by J.W. Powell; Dover Publications, Inc., New York. This book combines two of J.W. Powell’s voyages into one epic adventure. $10.25 Beyond The Hundredth Meridian by Wallace Stegner; Penguin Books 1992. A penetrating and insightful study of the adventures of Maj. John Wesley Powell. $10.75
General Reference
by See list below
A Naturalists Guide to the Canyon Country, David B. Williams. 2000. A wonderful Falcon Guide that uses fine artwork and pictures to introduce the geology, flora, fauna and history of the Canyon Country. Four Corners: History, Land and People of the Desert Southwest, Kenneth A. Brown, 1996. Great information about the region. Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey. 1968. A season in the wilderness is a celebration of the beauty of living in a harsh and hostile land. Edward Abbey was a seasonal Park ranger in Arches National Monument. Cadillac Desert, Marc Reisner. 1986. The story of the American West is the story of a relentless quest for a precious resource: water. The definitive work on the West’s water crisis.
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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