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Canyons of the American Southwest

8 days with Natural Habitat Adventures   Rating: Deluxe

Itinerary
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Day 1: St. George, Utah
Our canyonlands adventure begins in the red rock country of St. George, Utah. This evening we meet for an informal welcome dinner at a local restaurants. Our Expedition Leader offers a brief orientation to the history, wildlife and ecology of the Colorado Plateau, which we'll explore in depth in the days to come.
 
Days 2 & 3: Bryce Canyon National Park—Scenic Helicopter Flight
Bryce Canyon’s magical landscape offers a portal to another world. Its pink pinnacles, limestone formations and natural amphitheaters capture the imagination with endless geological surprises. Red rock walls create deep channels while whimsical hoodoos—rock spires carved eons ago by erosion—rise hundreds of feet into the sky. As we travel in specialty North American Safari Trucks with double-wide pop-top roof hatches, Bryce Canyon's arresting sights offer endless opportunities for photography. Capture a stunning array of colors as the light reflects off the canyon’s rock formations, natural bridges, cliffs and waterfalls. Rising early to watch the sunrise or lingering over a radiant sunset, experience the ever-changing grandeur of this astounding landscape.
 
A special highlight is a 30-minute helicopter flightseeing opportunity, offering an unusual aerial perspective on the forest of pink sandstone hoodoos. We stay at Bryce Canyon Lodge, a classic national park hotel set amid ponderosa pines on the canyon rim. The lodge is one of very few places to stay inside the park and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Restored to its original 1920s character, it is replete with Old West atmosphere right down to replicas of vintage hickory furniture.
 
Days 4 & 5: Zion National Park
Early Mormon pioneers gave Zion its name—so stunning was its beauty that it evoked images of the biblical Promised Land. The U.S. government agreed and made it a national park. Multi-hued sandstone cliffs rise above the valley floor where the Virgin River flows among the cottonwoods, carving a deep canyon over millennia. Trails along the river and rock walls lead to quiet recesses, where we may hear and see many birds unique to the American West. Listen for the haunting cry of canyon wrens, look to the skies overhead for golden eagles and prairie falcons, and find American dippers and phoebes in the willows along the riverbanks.
 
Days 6 & 7: Grand Canyon National Park—North Rim
The Grand Canyon is one of America’s most iconic national parks. Its fame exists for good reason, and no western adventurer should miss gazing into its mile-deep chasm in the ethereal light of sunset. Its popularity can mean many visitors, too, so we try to avoid the crowds by traveling to the less-visited but no less spectacular North Rim. There's plenty of time to explore, walk along the rim, and absorb the drama of one of the earth’s most spectacular natural landscapes, watching it change as the light shifts throughout the day. Our Expedition Leader knows the best trails and viewpoints for a more secluded encounter with this extraordinary geological phenomenon. Stay near the rim in the pine forest at the venerable Grand Canyon Lodge. A classic national park hotel, the rustic beauty of its limestone walls and heavy timbers complements our high-desert surroundings. For those who are interested, a favorite local adventure is available: an optional mule ride into the canyon.
 
Day 8: St. George / Depart
Though we bid farewell today to the red-rock wonders of America’s canyon country, we’ve left a piece of our hearts behind. Our Grand Canyon adventure tour concludes as we arrive back in St. George for afternoon flights home (1:30 pm or later).
Map
All This Included
Standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon's North Rim, searching the shadowy depths for a glimpse of the silver ribbon that is the Colorado River, we're overcome by a sense of wonder at our own tiny instant in geological history. The canyon's sedimentary layers, stacked more than a mile thick, are a calendar for the millennia, formed by the erosive power of water and wind over eons. While this is known as Red Rock Country, the canyon walls glow gold, rose, rust and violet, ever changing as the high desert light works its magic. No less moving are neighboring Bryce and Zion, whose pink pinnacles and soaring sandstone ramparts round out this trio of famed Southwest national parks. Explore all three in depth on this classic Western adventure, enjoying stays in historic park lodges en route.
  • Accommodations
  • Meals from dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on final day
  • Purified drinking water
  • Services of NHA Expedition Leader
  • Airport transfers on Day 1 and final day
  • Optional mule ride
  • Most gratuities
  • All permits
  • Entrance fees
  • Taxes
Highlights
  • The Grand Canyon Less Visited: Gaze into the Grand Canyon’s evocative depths from the more remote and less-visited North Rim, on this out-of-the-ordinary, small-group canyonlands adventure 
  • Helicopter Flight over Bryce Canyon: Our guides reveal the wonders of Zion and Bryce Canyon, and a helicopter flight over Bryce lends a thrilling aerial perspective on the rose-colored sandstone hoodoos 
  • Stay at Historic Park Lodges: Classic stone and timber national park lodges, optimally located with proximity to park highlights, offer the ambience of adventure from a century ago
Accommodations
St. George: Abbey Inn
Bryce Canyon National Park: Bryce Canyon Lodge
Zion National Park: Flanigan’s Inn
Grand Canyon National Park: Grand Canyon Lodge
Notes
  • Group Size: Approximately 13 Travelers.
  • Physical Requirements: Easy to Moderate. This adventure does not require a high degree of physical fitness. However, in order to participate, travelers should be able to walk at least two miles unassisted over uneven terrain and inclines, with some altitude gain, and at altitudes up to 9,115 feet above sea level. An optional mule ride is available for participants weighing less than 200 pounds. Most of the trip takes place in an arid desert environment, and the sun can be intense at times. Our days generally start quite early and are very full with activities, including a few long drives. While travelers are not required to participate in all activities, should you opt out of the day’s scheduled activities, we cannot always guarantee that alternatives will be available.
  • We recommend that you arrive to St. George, Utah by 5 pm on Day 1 in order to join your group orientation at 6 pm. You are free to depart in the afternoon after 1:30 pm on the final day.
  • This itinerary is subject to change, as departures may visit Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce in a different order than what is outlined above. Your precise itinerary will be communicated to you once your trip dates are confirmed.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
For Natural Habitat Adventures terms and conditions, please click here.

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.