Arrive at Las Vegas International Airport (LAS) and proceed to your hotel. Welcome to the “City of Lights”! Las Vegas has something to offer everyone. From the outrageous live shows to the excitement of casinos, the action never stops from morning to night. This evening, stroll down Las Vegas Boulevard, also known as “the strip” and enjoy the spectacle offered by each hotel and casino as they all have a distinctly different theme and all present wondrous displays.
Accommodations: Gold Coast Hotel or similar
Leave the glitz of Las Vegas this morning and head toward beautiful Zion National Park. Driving into Zion you will be greeted by gigantic sandstone monoliths and hear the soft rush of the Virgin River. The Narrows are Zion’s famous slot canyons. These are narrow stone crevices with colorful stripes formed by years of water and wind erosion; the result is a hiker’s paradise. In the park and along the river there are a variety of trails and paved pathways for explorers of all skill levels. In addition, there is a complimentary shuttle system that runs throughout the park. By utilizing this, you can visit the Zion’s other major attractions such as the Emerald Pools, Weeping Rock and Angels Landing. Stop at the Visitor Center for information on guided tours and park history. Continue on to Kanab for an overnight stay.
Accommodations: Best Western Red Hills or similar
Depart Kanab very early this morning to see the north side of the Grand Canyon (Closed November 1 - May 15) The North Rim has three developed viewpoints that offer a sense of looking across the expanse of the canyon, rather than into its depths. Views of the Colorado River are rare and distant. Point Imperial and Cape Royal are reached via a winding scenic drive. The trip to both points, with short walks at each and several stops at pullouts along the way, can easily take half a day. Point Imperial, the highest point on the North Rim at 8,803 feet, overlooks the Painted Desert and the eastern end of Grand Canyon. Continue to beautiful Lake Powell in the afternoon. For thousands of years the Colorado River ran through Glen Canyon carving a tremendous canyon through the sandstone. In 1963 the Glen Canyon dam was constructed and took possession of the Colorado River, turning the natural beauty of Glen Canyon into popular Lake Powell, a body of deep blue water surrounded by red cliff walls. Continue to Page for an overnight stay.
Accommodations: Marriott Courtyard Page or similar
This morning visit the John Wesley Powell Museum to learn more about the lake, before and after the dam construction. You may also wish to visit the magnificent Rainbow Bridge, the largest natural bridges in the
world. This natural wonder has been formed due to years of erosion of the sandstone by water flowing from Navajo Mountain towards the Colorado River. It may be reached by boat, on foot, or on horseback. Bid farewell to Lake Powell and drive toward Monument Valley. Over the years, Monument Valley has been the setting for more Western movies than any other site in the United States. Unique sandstone formations punctuate the sometimes barren landscape and spires rise into strange formations that have inspired names such as “Three Sisters” and “The Thumb.” At dawn and dusk, the park comes to life when the sun transforms this area into a bright canvas, painting the monoliths with light and color. Be sure to stop by the Visitor Center & Museum and see the displays and exhibits of the nation’s largest Native American tribe or take a self-guided valley drive. The valley drive starts as a two-lane dirt road just past the Visitor Center and ends at Camel Butte, and then continues with a one-way loop around Rain God Mesa. Please allow 1.5 to 2 hours to complete the 17-mile valley drive. Consider a visit to the View Restaurant with Navajo native dishes and the Trading Post Gift Shop with a showcase of hand-woven Navajo rugs, jewelry, pottery and art. Note: Tribal Park entrance fee must be paid at the entrance booth. Continue to Kayenta for an overnight stay.
Accommodations: Kayenta Monument Valley Inn or similar
Depart Kayenta and drive toward Canyonlands National Park with its spectacular rock formations and vivid colors. Here you can view thousands of feet down to the Colorado and Green Rivers, or thousands of feet up to red rock arches, spires and cliffs. Visit The Needles district of the park, regarded as the most colorful section. If you are feeling adventurous, you can hike 1,500 feet to Needle Point for breathtaking views. Continue to Moab for a two-night stay.
Accommodations: Super 8 Moab or similar
Today, visit Arches National Park. Here you will encounter over 2,000 natural freestanding sandstone arches. The number varies from day to day, as old arches crumble and new ones form. The most famous of these is Delicate Arch. The best viewing of this impressive arch is done off the roadway and on a trail. It is well worth the hike to encounter it up close. At the Visitor Center, rangers offer guided walks and nature talks. Keep your eyes open for desert bighorn sheep. These famous residents tend to blend in with the landscape; a sighting is a special treat. You might also choose to visit the Aztec Ruins National Monument. Construction began on this 500 room “great house” by ancestral Pueblo people around 100 A.D. A short trail winds through the rooms and provides an intimate showing.
Leave Moab behind to explore more amazing natural scenery. Visit Dead Horse Point State Park. This peninsula of stone surrounded by steep cliffs is perhaps Utah’s most spectacular State Park. From the overlook, perched at 6,000 feet above sea level, canyon erosion may be viewed on a grand scale. Continue to Capitol Reef National Park. Most of the park is created from a hundred mile long ridge of rock that has eroded into wildly colorful and varied sandstone formations. Stop at Panorama Point which offers excellent photo opportunities and to enjoy the views, then at the Park’s Visitor Center to view their displays and hike one of the many trails that depart from there. The area was named for a line of white domes and cliffs of Navajo Sandstone, each of which looks somewhat like the United States Capitol building, that run from the Fremont River to Pleasant Creek on the Waterpocket Fold. Activities in the park include hiking, horseback riding, and a driving tour. Continue to Torrey for an overnight stay.
Accommodations: Best Western Capitol Reef Resort or similar
This morning depart Torrey and drive toward Bryce Canyon National Park. Stop for a visit at the Anasazi Indian Village State Park. This ancient Indian village in the heart of Utah’s canyon country was one of the largest Anasazi communities west of the Colorado River. The site is believed to have been occupied from A.D. 1050 to 1200. The Village remains largely unexcavated, but many artifacts have been uncovered and are on display in the newly remodeled museum. As you continue, drive through Kodachrome Basin State Park. This Park consists of a spectacle of massive sandstone chimneys, ever-changing from gray and white to shades of red with the day’s mood. Numerous rocks and coves offer solitude, quiet and unique desert beauty. Your next stop is Bryce Canyon National Park. Dramatically different from Zion, Bryce contains “amphitheatres” of colorful eroded rock formations. These spires of rock are called hoodoos. It is their uniqueness that sets Bryce apart from anywhere else. Light reflecting on the hoodoos at different times of day change the colorful scene of the park. A two night stay has been arranged in this area.
Accommodations: Bryce View Lodge or similar
Consider a drive to Rainbow Point today. From some of the overlooks, you can see more than 100 miles on a clear day. There are also a variety of walking trails in the park that offer an up-close and personal encounter with nature. Horseback riding is another popular way to see the highlights of the park. All of the unusual hoodoos have names that reflect the shape they resemble. Look to the guideposts or the park publications to see if you can identify these unusual formations.
Depart Bryce this morning and drive toward Cedar Breaks National Monument which somewhat resembles Bryce Canyon but in a much smaller scale. Situated at an elevation of 10,000 feet, Cedar Breaks is shaped like a giant coliseum dropping 2,000 feet to its floor. Deep inside the coliseum are stone spires, columns, arches, pinnacles, and intricate canyons in varying shades of red, yellow and purple. The bristlecone pine, one of the world’s oldest trees, grows in the area and can be found along the Spectra Point Trail. The Dixie National Forest surrounds Cedar Breaks providing lush alpine meadows clustered with ponderosa pines and quaking aspens. During the summer months, the wildflower display is nothing but spectacular. Continue to Las Vegas for a twonight stay.
Accommodations: Gold Cost Hotel or similar
Today is yours to explore this electrifying city. Make sure not to miss the nightly fountain show at the Bellagio Hotel. Using a dramatic combination of music, water and light, the Bellagio delivers spectacular performances nightly with its majestic fountains. Take a trip up to the top of the Stratosphere hotel tower, the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. Enjoy dinner at the Top of the World, or simply admire the view from the observation deck. Visit any of the premier hotels including Caesars Palace, The Venetian and Paris for luxury shopping. If you’re searching for a bargain, drive to one of the outlet malls featuring designer names at discounted prices. Dining in Las Vegas is superior. World-renowned chefs have decided to make Vegas their kitchen and there is always a restaurant nearby to satisfy any palette. For a different side of Vegas, visit Fremont Street. This historic street features shops, restaurants and casinos. Above you hangs a canopy screen where more than 12 million lights put on a spectacular show.
Depart at leisure to McCarran International Airport (LAS).