Depart the UK on your chosen scheduled flight to Grand Junction, Colorado. Upon arrival, independently transfer to DoubleTree by Hilton at Grand Junction.DoubleTree by Hilton, Grand Junction (No meals)
Spirit Of The Desert: The National Parks Of The Southwest
- 11 Days / 10 Nights
- May to September
- Round trip scheduled flights
- Accommodation for 10 nights as specified
- 9 breakfasts, 5 lunches & 9 dinners
- Air-conditioned motorcoach transportation
- Services of a Tauck Tour Director
- Classic tour
From £5395 per person based on twin occupancy of Standard rooms in low season. Other prices available on request.
Transfer from Grand Junction to Red Cliffs Lodge in Moab, Utah, your base for the next three nights. This evening, learn about the days ahead through filmed vignettes by Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan join Tauck and join your traveling companions for a welcome reception and cowboy cookout dinner.Red Cliffs Lodge (Dinner included)
An early start this morning to witness the sunrise in the Windows section of Arches National Park; the first light of day on Turret Arch and Double Arch creates picture-postcard photography. Arches National Park holds the world’s largest concentration of natural sandstone arches with over 2,000 throughout the park. View Delicate Arch, the amazing Balanced Rock, and a variety of sensational geological formations during guided sightseeing before returning to the lodge for lunch. Get set for adventure this afternoon when you depart on a scenic float trip along on the Colorado River. There is an optional Sunset Scouts walk, before spending your evening in the lodge, where you dine at your leisure and are steeped in the authenticity of an architectural style that defines the West.Red Cliffs Lodge (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
Enjoy a morning trip to Castle Rock with spectacular views of Book Cliffs and Arches National Park – from the top of a mesa, enjoy views that extend out to Arches National Park, Colorado, and the La Salle Mountains. A lecture by a local Navajo connects you to the sacredness of the desert, to the ancient spiritual life that transcends today’s world. Depart for the little town of Moab, then on to Canyonlands National Park, whose countless canyons, mesas and buttes shadow the Colorado River and the Green River. These rivers divide the park into four districts – today you’ll explore the northern section, Island in the Sky, where among other formations you’ll see a famed pothole arch, Mesa Arch, overlooking Buck Canyon. There is no better way to experience Canyonlands than at sunset – and the setting sun, during a picnic dinner at Dead Horse Point overlooking the U-turn in the Colorado River, is nothing short of inspirational.Red Cliffs Lodge (Breakfast and dinner included)
Enjoy some free time this morning – go on an optional Dawn Patrol or visit the Film Museum at the lodge. For the past 70 years, many of the most famous western movies were filmed in and around Moab – learn about the filming locations and the stars who brought them to life. Gain insight from Dayton Duncan as to the best way to access the major sights in the national parks; some are available at a turnout, while others are inaccessible and require back-country hiking or an aerial overview – and that is exactly how you’ll tour Capitol Reef National Park today. Cross the Waterpocket Fold, which is sort of a “warp” in the Earth’s crust that runs nearly 100 miles, and see Strike Valley, the spectacular sandstone Capitol Domes that give the park its name, colourful cliffs and soaring spires. Arrive at Bryce Canyon National Park, home to some of Earth’s more whimsical geologic formations; spend some time at the Visitor Centre and enjoy some free time before dinner – there is an optional Sunset Scouts this evening.The Lodge at Bryce Canyon (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
Another independent Dawn Patrol is available this morning – a hike along the rim of Bryce Canyon to catch the shocking array of colours illuminated by the first rays of light on the hoodoos below. More of a series of horseshoe amphitheatres than a canyon, morning walks reveal millions of pinnacles positively glowing. This afternoon, depart for Zion National Park; en route you’ll learn about the park’s complicated creation via a film by Ken Burns, who shares his favourite memories of the park. Upon arrival, Ryan Paul, Curator of Frontier Homestead State Park Museum (formerly Iron Mission State Park), entertains with a lecture on ‘singaways’ and the contribution of the Union Pacific Railroad to the story of the national parks. There is an independent Sunset Scouts opportunity tonight to the historic Virgin River bridge located at the mouth of the canyon.Zion Lodge (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
Zion’s most striking images are unique sandstone cliffs that range from towering monoliths to narrow canyons, changing in colour from light cream to pink to red. Tour the park, with walks to Weeping Rock and the Court of the Patriarchs, then have some free time to explore as you please. Late afternoon, internationally acclaimed environmental historian and author Alfred Runte gives a talk on the history of the railroad in the national parks. This evening, you may choose to do an independent Sunset Scouts’ visit to the Virgin River, a tributary of the Colorado River that earned the designation “wild and scenic”.Zion Lodge (Breakfast and dinner included)
Leave Zion, and en route to Grand Canyon National Park get a guided tour of fascinating Pipe Spring National Monument to learn about Paiute Indian and Mormon pioneer history. Drive to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, a place more intimate and less crowded than the South Rim, with fewer than 10% of the park’s total annual visitors. Following lunch, explore the North Rim, including the vistas from Point Imperial. Dinner tonight is at the Grand Canyon Lodge – North Rim.
Spend today exploring the Grand Canyon at your leisure. Optional activities include mule rides and additional ranger talks about history and geology.
Today you fly from Kanab over the western regions of the Grand Canyon to Las Vegas for your return home. Enjoy pre-dinner drinks and a farewell dinner with your travel companions.
There may be time for some last minute shopping or sightseeing before returning to the airport for your flight back to the UK.
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