Like almost all our tours, this is a small group trip. The vehicle used generally has between nine and 14 seats. Our guides are skilled in the geology, customs, traditions, history and people of the areas through which you travel – feel free to ask all and any questions!
Day 1 - Salt Lake airport to Moab - 234 mi / 376.51 km - About an hour
We suggest you spend the night before your tour at our preferred property in Salt Lake, the downtown Crystal Inn. This is so we can arrange a free ride to the airport for you. if you stay anywhere else, you'll need to get yourself to the Salt Lake City International Airport, where your trip starts with a flight to Moab. This is included in the tour price.
Please be aware that the airline we use charges a checked luggage fee which you will need to pay.
After you land in Moab you will be taken to your hotel. Please note that you may have a wait of about 15 minutes, to be picked up. It is almost certain to be too early to check in, but you can drop off your luggage and start exploring. Moab is Utah's outdoor adventure capital, and one of the best regions for these activities anywhere in the world.
This afternoon you have a choice of one of four activities that are included in the tour price. You can select ONE of the following on check out.
White water rafting - this is a three to four hour trip along the Colorado River.
Canyonlands by jet boat - you will explore the river canyons between Moab and Canyonlands, along the Colorado River, on this one hour trip.
Sport boat - this is a two hour trip in a small inflatable boat along a flat section of the Colorado that is filled with diverse landscapes.
Rock art tour - 1.5 to two hour tour to explore rock art created up to 7 500 years ago
Please feel free to discuss these options with us.
You are on your own for dinner, and your guide will meet up with you at your hotel in the morning. There are numerous restaurants in Moab, to cover all tastes, from micro breweries to south-western cuisine, with just about everything in between.
There is a LOT to see and do today! We'll be visiting no fewer than three great national parks. Normally our guides will let you take your own sweet time, to meander around the sights at will, within reason. Today, however, time is at a premium, especially outside the summer months, and it will be important to adhere to your guide's requests.
For this reason, we include a sack lunch today, to save a little time.
Arches is a park that has the wow factor! Because it is not close to any major city, or freeway between two cities, it is not as well known as other national parks. It is, however, just a couple of miles outside Moab. You will be amazed at the assortment of arches, fins and spires inside the park. In fact, most of the world's natural arches are to be found here.
If you would like to, you can spend a lot of time outside the vehicle, walking on trails and getting up close and personal with some of the arches and other rock formations. If you prefer not to do that you can also get a good view of just about everything by standing next to the vehicle.
The first stroll we like to do is down Park Avenue, with towering fins and slabs of rock everywhere you look. This is an easy, predominantly downhill walk, that should take 30 to 45 minutes.
We will stop at Balanced Rock for photographs, and also drive up to Windows Arches, where you can take a comfortable walk all the way up to both of the windows. You can expect to see many other arches and rock formations while in the park, and we will stop often to take photographs and admire the views.
Delicate Arch is Utah's state symbol, and the most famous arch of them all. There may not be enough time to hike up there but if you have the energy for a steep climb, we can take you to an overlook.
We will continue our drive through the park, stopping to take pictures of arches and rock formations along the way, until we get to Devil's Garden. We'll take a walk through Devil's Garden, and make our way to at least one of the major arches to be found here.
Canyonlands is a jewel in the national park system that is also one of the system's best kept secrets. As with Arches, it is also far away from a major city and the main freeways.
The park is divided into three sections: Island in the Sky, Needles and the Maze. We'll be going to the first mentioned, because, as the name suggests, it is situated high up with fantastic views over the canyon country all around it.
Once at Island in the Sky we will show you the dramatic vistas that seem to stretch on forever. There will also be the opportunity to take some short walks, time and energy permitting.
Amongst the sights we hope to show you are Grand View Point, the Green River Overlook, the Shafer Trail and the White Rim Trail. The views from this elevation, looking down on canyon country, are really spectacular.
We'll leave the Moab area behind as we start the trip to Capitol Reef National Park. On the way there will be a very brief detour near Green River, to enable you to get some take out food for the road.
Utah has five national parks, more than any other state in the country. Capitol Reef is the least well known, as it is situated relatively far from major centers and roads. It is long and thin in shape, and we will be traveling through a sliver of it. If you refer to the map to the left, we will generally enter the park to the east (right) of where it says Orientation Pullout, on the red line demarcating the road. We will follow the red line to the west (left) and depart the park to the west of where the map says Twin Rocks.
In addition to the beautiful scenery, Capitol Reef has a rich history dating back to Archaic hunters and gatherers. In more modern times, Mormon pioneers settled the area in the 1800's, and you will see some of the old buildings in which they conducted their daily lives.
Fruita is one of the more picturesque areas in the historic part of Capitol Reef. As the name suggests, it is home to a variety of fruit orchards, including peaches, apples, cherries, plums, apricot, pears, mulberries, almonds, and walnuts. For a nominal fee, the public is permitted to harvest fruit at certain times of the year, and we will try and do so, circumstances permitting.
The route to Bryce Canyon this morning is scenic, with forests, mountains and wilderness areas on both sides of the road almost all the way. Just before the final turn off to Bryce, we will pass the small town of Tropic, which is where Ebenezer Bryce lived, the man for whom the park is named.
Many who have seen both Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon tell us that Bryce is far more spectacular. You will marvel at the weirdly shaped hoodoos, in an amazing array of colorful hues. Bryce is not really a canyon, but a large amphitheater carved out of a variety of rock types. You will be taken to the three main overlooks, and will have time to walk around and explore these.
Feel free to spend an extra night or two just outside Bryce Canyon, at Bryce View Lodge. Please order this option when you check out, and note that it is subject to availability. If you do choose to extend at Bryce Canyon, you will continue with the regular tour after your extension.
There is a free shuttle that runs from a location that is a couple of hundred yards from Bryce View Lodge, into the park and around much of Bryce. Please be aware that this is a seasonal shuttle, which generally runs from the end of April to the end of September, although this is subject to change. We do not recommend extending at Bryce if the free shuttle is not running, as it will be difficult to get around.
You will carry on with the scheduled tour if you do not want to stay a little longer at Bryce.
Day 3 - Bryce Canyon through Zion - 88 mi / 141.59 km - About 2 3/4 hours
We will take a particularly scenic Utah back road, following first the Sevier River and then the Virgin River, towards Zion National Park. Zion's story is one of rock and water, with plenty of both to be seen. The relatively soft and porous Navajo Sandstone is often layered over impregnable Kayenta Shale, and the interaction of this rock with the water has created myriad amazing shapes and patterns.
We will enter Zion at the less used east entrance, and take in the striking rock formations, with trees actually growing in the rocks. You will see how massive sand dunes have solidified into rock over the millennia. After traveling through an amazing tunnel that was blasted into the Navajo sandstone almost a century ago, we descend down a precipitous switchback road, to discover the Great Arch of Zion, a gigantic work in progress.
You can now extend your tour by spending a night or two in Springdale, which is literally right outside Zion. There is a free shuttle system that will take you into the park. You can order this Zion extension when you check out, although we do not recommend extending at Zion unless the shuttle is running, which is generally from the middle of March to the third week of October. If you extend at Zion, you will carry on with the rest of the tour the next day.
The trip continues as normal for those who are not extending at Zion.
From Zion we will wind our way to Interstate 15 and the main road back to Vegas, which goes through St. George.
At St. George we will be dropping you off to take a shuttle back to Salt Lake. This is a four hour trip, and as you have already had a long day, you may like to consider upgrading to a flight back to Salt Lake. The additional cost can be seen below, and you can select this option at check out. If you do decide to fly back, the tour will end at the Salt Lake City airport.
If you stay with the shuttle option, you will be dropped off in the south of Salt Lake, from where a driver will take you to your downtown Salt Lake hotel. Please note that there may be a wait of up to 15 minutes from the time the shuttle drops you off to when the driver picks you up.
The days and dates this tour operates can be seen in the calendar at the top right of this page.
Prices are based on double occupancy. Single, triple and quad occupancy rates are also available and will be seen at checkout. There is no tax.
After ordering this tour please wait to receive a confirmation email before making any plans that are dependent on this tour.
The entry fees to all parks are included.
Two nights' accommodation are included at: the River Canyon Lodge or similar in Moab; the Howard Johnson or similar just outside Capitol Reef.
The price includes the services of a guide/driver and transportation.
Vehicles are mini buses or executive vans, which are vans with individual, high back, reclining seats.
If you extend your stay at Zion, at the end of your extension, on some days you may travel by pre-paid taxi to St. George, where you will take a shuttle to the Las Vegas airport, where the tour will end. There will be a short wait from the taxi drop off to the time the shuttle departs.
Meals: One breakfast, one sack lunch on the second day.
Not all Moab activities may be available all year. If weather or other factors beyond our control prevent them being offered, you will get a refund of $40.00.
Portions of this tour are subcontracted to other reputable vendors.
A minimum of two people may be required for a tour to depart. That is not two in your group, but a total of two.
This tour starts at the Salt Lake City airport. If we book your lodging for you at the downtown Crystal Inn, we will arrange free transportation to the airport.
This tour drops off as detailed in the tour description above.
Most of the first day is an unescorted part of the tour, meaning there is no tour guide with you for much of that day.
All times are approximate. We are not responsible for the consequences of any delays, and this itinerary may change without notice.
Please note that in the winter months snow or other bad weather may result in tour itineraries being changed without notice, or even tours being canceled in extreme weather. Should a cancellation occur the only amount we will refund is the cost of the portion of the tour that is canceled, or a refund of the entire tour price if the tour itself is canceled.
Payment And Cancellation Details: CANCELLATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED FOR THIS TOUR. Changes will also not be accepted, and refunds will not be given. Please consider purchasing trip insurance as our cancellation policy is strictly enforced. The payment schedule is as follows: This tour has an air leg. The cost of the flight, plus half of the remaining balance will be charged any time from when you make the booking. The final balance will be charged 30 or fewer days from the tour date, at our discretion.