Walking about 2 miles total for the day; mostly paved, some uneven terrain, sand, rocks, about 100 stairs. Elevations range from approximately 2,000 feet to about 4,000 feet above sea level. Driving approximately 50 miles to Valley of Fire State Park and an additional 130 miles to Zion National Park; about 3.5 hours total throughout the day.
At the hotel, the breakfast buffet will feature a variety of choices including fresh fruit, yogurt, assorted baked goods, hot and cold cereals, pancakes, eggs, breakfast meats and potatoes, coffee, assorted teas, juice, milk, and water.
After checking out of the hotel, we’ll board the motorcoach and travel to the Valley of Fire, Nevada’s oldest state park. We will explore fascinating geological formations and view ancient drawings carved in the red sandstone walls. At Atlatl Rock, our Instructor will show us petroglyphs carved by Native Americans dating back as long as 4,000 years ago. The ancient drawings give us a glimpse of the culture of people that lived and traveled in this area thousands of years ago. Along the way, our Instructor will teach us about the area’s history and geology, and from displays and exhibitions at the Valley of Fire visitor center, we will learn about the area’s native plant and animal communities and other natural resources. Departing from the visitor center, we will travel to St. George, Utah for lunch. Along the way, we’ll travel through the magnificent Virgin River Gorge, a narrow canyon carved by the Virgin River between two mountain ranges.
At a local restaurant, we’ll have a buffet lunch featuring a variety of fresh salads, homemade dinner rolls, barbecue favorites, tasty sides, vegetables, and dessert, plus coffee, tea, milk, juice, soft drinks, lemonade and water.
We’ll then set out on a scenic drive following the course of the Virgin River upstream toward the towering cliffs and desert vistas of Zion National Park. Upon arrival, we’ll explore the Zion Visitor Center and go on a short walk along the paved Pa’rus Trail. Afterwards we will transfer to Springdale and check into our hotel, which is nestled beneath and surrounded by the soaring sandstone cliffs of Zion National Park.
At a local lodge with rustic furnishings and a panoramic views from its big windows, we’ll have a plated dinner with tea, soft drinks, juice, and water; other beverages available for purchase.
Back at the hotel, we’ll gather in the meeting room where our Instructor will give us a brief introduction to the geology, flora, and fauna of the national parks that we will be visiting. The Instructor and Group Leader will answer any questions and preview the schedule for tomorrow.