Marvel at the surreal tableau of unforgettable landscapes exploring Utah’s mighty five National Parks… cruise Rte. 66, go boating on scenic Lake Powell, experience Native American culture and unwind at a riverside BBQ under the stars…experience the west like never before.
Day 1 - Home - Las Vegas
Today, transfer to the airport for your flight to Las Vegas. Upon our arrival, we transfer to our hotel on the Las Vegas strip. This evening, there is a Tours of Distinction exclusive welcome reception with the remainder of the evening free to explore the vibrant nightlife that is Vegas.
Day 2 - Grand Canyon Village, AZ
After breakfast, we depart Las Vegas and travel past Lake Mead and Hoover Dam as we enter Arizona. We stop in Kingman to tour the Route 66 Museum, which highlights the glory days of cross country automobile travel. We travel Route 66 heading east through northern Arizona. This afternoon, we will see “One of the Wonders of the World,” Grand Canyon National Park. This 1.2 million acre national park hosts a vast variety of wildlife and scenic wonders. We will learn about the geology and history of the canyon while taking in its breathtaking beauty at all the best view points along the South Rim, including Grand Canyon Village. After, we check into our hotel just outside of the park. Dinner is included this evening.
Day 3 - Lake Powell, NV
Breakfast, is included this morning before we make one more pass along the south rim of the Grand Canyon National Park. We include a stop at Desert View before exiting the park. We enter Navajo Nation and stop at Cameron Trading Post. Here, we will find authentic Indian jewelry, blankets, pottery, rugs and sand paintings, all produced by the local Indians. After we have had time to browse, we continue our journey through Navajo Land and the Arizona ‘badlands.’ View the multi-colored mounds that were created by the forces of nature; and the expansive Marble Canyon as you ascend the Echo Cliffs. Next, we travel to Lake Powell National Recreation Area, also part of the National Parks system, and arrive at Lake Powell Resort for lunch. After, we take a spectacular tour through Antelope Canyon. The mysterious and haunting beauty of Antelope Canyon awaits us. We return to Lake Powell Resort, located on the shores of Lake Powell, and check in for the night. This evening is free to enjoy the view, wander along the beach and have dinner on own.
Day 4 - Monument Valley
The morning starts with breakfast and a scenic cruise on Lake Powell. The contrast of the red rock walls and emerald blue waters are a stunning sight as we glide through the canyons. After, there is time for lunch, on own. This afternoon, we depart Lake Powell and travel to famed Monument Valley, a sacred place to the Navajo. We will be immersed in the rich cultural heritage of the ‘Dineh’ people. Their arts, music and livelihood are all closely tied to the dramatic desert landscape that is their home. After checking in to historic Goulding’s Lodge, we meet our Navajo guide and board a 4-wheel drive vehicle for a scenic tour of Monument Valley; location for scores of famous western films, television programs and commercials. As we travel through the valley and visit famous locations, such as John Ford Point, Artist Point and The Totem Pole, we will also learn more of the Navajo traditions and way of life. This evening, we experience Navajo culture, food and entertainment at a Navajo Cookout. After a wonderful day, we settle into our hotel.
Day 5 - Arches National Park
After breakfast, we depart Monument Valley and head north, arriving at Dead Horse Point State Park for a picnic lunch and one of the most spectacular scenes in the southwest. We have the chance to see the expanse of Canyonlands National Park stretching to the south and the mighty Colorado River 2,000 feet below. From here, we are off to nearby Arches National Park for sightseeing. The 18,000 square-foot visitor center (with over 2,000 named arches within its 73,000-acre boundary) will introduce us to the unique geologic forces that created the highest concentration of natural arches in the world. We visit all of the park’s highlights including: Park Avenue, Balance Rock, The Windows and Delicate Arch. In the late afternoon, we embark on a fabulous experience, as we take a Jet Boat Ride on the mighty Colorado River through spectacular red rock canyons. As the sun dips in the west, the canyon colors come to life while we learn about the river’s ecosystem, geology and history. After the thrilling ride, we enjoy a delicious BBQ dinner served on the banks of the Colorado River. We later arrive at the beautiful Red Cliffs Adventure Lodge which is located on the bank of the mighty Colorado, and check in for a two night stay. This area has been the site of numerous classic western movies including Rio Grande with John Wayne.
Day 6 - Canyonlands National Park
Our day starts after breakfast by meeting our professional driver guide and board 4x4 vehicles for a Jeep Tour of Canyonlands National Park. The Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park is the focus of this outstanding tour. Set 2,000 feet above the canyon floor, we descend from the top of the mesa via the famous Shafer Trail. Using switchbacks, the tour will take us from atop the mesa to the meandering river corridor below. Throughout the tour, our guide will provide information on the Park and the scenery. What an exciting morning in Canyonlands! Enjoy free time in Moab to have lunch on own, and to do some shopping and exploring. This afternoon, we return to Red Cliffs where we have the rest of the day free to relax and soak in the scenery. There is time to visit the Utah Movie Museum and the Castle Creek Winery, both included, at your leisure. Dinner, this evening, will be served outside with the quintessential western scenery of Castle Valley in full view.
Day 7 - Bryce Canyon National Park
From breakfast, we depart Moab for Capitol Reef National Park. We pass through the town of Green River and the San Rafael Swell. We will see ancient petroglyphs, beautiful rock formations, deep canyons and pioneer history followed by a wonderful picnic lunch under towering cottonwood trees. We will drive scenic Highway 12, designated as an ‘All American Road,’ through Grand Staircase ~ Escalante National Monument, before arriving at Bryce Canyon National Park for sightseeing. Later, we check into our hotel for the evening. This evening is free to enjoy dinner, on own.
Day 8 - Las Vegas - Home
We depart after breakfast on a short drive to see Utah’s oldest and most famous national park, Zion National Park. The Paiutes believed mischievous spirits lived among the 2,000-foot high towers and would not enter the canyon alone or remain there after dark. There will be time for lunch on own before crossing the desert returning to the glitz and glam of Las Vegas. After an amazing trip through some of our nation’s greatest natural treasures, we enjoy a farewell dinner before being transferred to the airport for our overnight flight home.
Day 9 - Home
Upon our morning arrival at Bradley International Airport, we will be transferred home.