A grand-slam adventure with MTS’ expert naturalists through the three crown jewels of the Southwest
When it comes to unique landscapes, it’s hard to top the American Southwest! Surreal rock formations reveal a diverse and ancient geology and a rare perspective into the evolution of the planet. Three of the National Park Service’s crown jewels are located here: the Grand Canyon, with its awesome walls of red rock, hundreds of plunging waterfalls, and narrow slot canyons; Bryce Canyon, a fairytale amphitheater of rock formations and pink “hoodoos” (pinnacles); and Zion Canyon, called a “Yosemite dressed in red.” Their terrains and ecosystems are three entirely distinct universes for you to discover—ideal if you really want the feeling of getting away.
Keeping in mind the traveler who is short on time, we designed this action-packed itinerary to take in all three national parks in one 6-day adventure. And we decided to do it MTS-style, choosing quiet trails to appreciate the natural environment, comfortable, well-appointed lodges set in stunning locations, and great hikes every day! Our professional, naturalist guides know the Southwest intimately, and you can count on them to explain the unusual geological formations, plants, and wildlife of each place we visit.
We begin at the less frequented North Rim of the Grand Canyon, which gets a mere 10% of park’s total visitors. We’ll hike on the high elevation of the rim, a quiet oasis of green forests and alpine meadows carpeted with wildflowers—a stunning contrast to the enormous red abyss of the Grand Canyon. We’ll also hike the North Kaibab trail down into the canyon itself, offering some of the most incredible views in the entire park. Our adventure continues on to Utah, not only a state but also its own geographical “province.” We’ll go to Bryce Canyon and hike the rim trail of the amphitheater to Sunset Point. Descending into this wild land through a labyrinth of pink hoodoos, spires, and rock windows is an unforgettable experience. We’ll venture into Kodachrome Basin with its multicolored spires and columns, and then down into Escalante National Monument, through an off-the-beaten-path slot canyon that will allow us to cool off from the desert heat. We’ll spend our last couple of days in Zion, strolling along the Virgin River under sycamores and shady cottonwoods, enjoying a challenging hike to the famous Angel’s Landing, where we’ll be treated to one of the Southwest’s most magnificent views.
MTS delivers you this grand-slam of the Southwest in just 6 days. After having spent a week in such mind-blowing landscapes, your body might be tired, but your mind will be at peace. A visit to the Southwest is the ultimate cure for what ails you.
6 days moderate hiking
- Get away from it all hiking through three of the National Park Service’s crown jewels in just a week: the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Park
- See the Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument
- Learn how these incredible rocks were formed and about the diversity of the Southwest’s plant life from MTS’ professional, naturalist guides
- Pamper yourself MTS style in comfortable lodges set in stunning locations, without having to camp!
Duration: 6 days Start Location: Las Vegas End Location: Las VegasDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Las Vegas to Grand Canyon North Rim
NOTE: You will need to arrive in Las Vegas on the day prior to day one.
On day one, meet in Las Vegas, Nevada at 8:00 am. Drive to the Grand Canyon's North Rim. Afternoon hike on the Transept Trail, ending right at the Grand Canyon Lodge.
Day 2 : Grand Canyon
Roundtrip hike on the North Kaibab Trail to Coconino Overlook, with an option to continue down to Supai Tunnel or even beyond to Roaring Springs.
Day 3 : Bryce Canyon
Drive north into Utah and Bryce Canyon. Hike downhill through a surreal maze of pink hoodoos and rock windows all the way to the mouth of the Bryce amphitheater and the Stone Canyon Inn.
Day 4 : Kodachrome Basin and Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument
Hike into Kodachrome Basin, with its eroded, multicolored rock formations, to a slot canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, then on to Grosvenor Arch.
Day 5 : Zion National Park
Optional sunrise hike on the Peekaboo Loop. Drive across the Paunsaugunt Plateau to Zion National Park. Afternoon to hike in Zion's Narrows or on one of the many park trails, or visit the local museum and visitors center to learn about the local history of the area.
Day 6 : Zion National Park
Begin with a stroll along the edge of the Virgin River, then hike up Angel's Landing trail, with one of the most breathtaking views in all of the American Southwest. Descend back to the canyon floor for a picnic lunch, then return to Las Vegas and depart.
DATES: Best time to go: May - October Departures: Sep 14 - 19, 2014 Oct 5 - 10, 2014 May 24 - 29, 2015 Jun 7 - 12, 2015 Sep 13 - 18, 2015 Oct 4 - 9, 2015
2014 & 2015 Prices
Grand Canyon LodgeGrand Canyon, North Rim
Kick back in your cabin at The Grand Canyon Lodge-the only lodging inside the National Park on the North Rim. The cabins are located within easy walking distance from the canyon rim. Located at Bright Angel Point, the Lodge was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987. Here you can enjoy the quiet serenity of the North Rim while enjoying comfortable guest rooms and cabins.
Stone Canyon InnTropic, Utah
Stone Canyon Inn serves as a peaceful base camp to explore Bryce Canyon. Each room is distinctively decorated with attention to detail for those who enjoy comfort and luxury.
Pioneer LodgeSpringdale, Utah
Well located from the entrance of Zion National Park, the Pioneer Lodge is conveniently located, and features a touch of local history. These bright and airy rooms are a comfortable place to lay your head after a day of adventure.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
Nick is a graduate of Oklahoma State University where he majored in both marketing and international business. Following graduation, Nick spent two years in the pharmaceutical sales industry before succumbing to his passion for adventure and his love for the outdoors. That passion brought him to Arizona, where he has been guiding since 2006. Nick is an avid snow skier and enjoys rock climbing, hiking, and mountain biking; he has recently taken up SCUBA diving as well. His adventurous spirit has led him to running with the bulls in Spain and skiing in the Swiss Alps. Nick also has a great motivational spirit and enjoys helping others achieve outdoor goals beyond their expectations. He holds certification in CPR, First Aid, and Wilderness First Aid.
Brian has been leading trips in the Southwestern U.S. and Western Canada for over 10 years. His attention to detail, sensitivity to guest needs, and extensive knowledge of the unique flora, fauna, geology, and history of the Grand Canyon is unrivalled. Brian is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) where he was trained in backpacking, rock climbing, canyoneering, spelunking, winter camping, and backcountry skiing. He also possesses amazing fitness and athleticism, which trip members find both entertaining and comforting! He holds a degree in philosophy from the University of Denver.
An Oklahoma native, graduated from Central University of Oklahoma with a degree in business administration and accounting. He is a Vietnam veteran with a Purple Heart and Bronze Star with valor from the 101st Airborne Division, Long Range Reconnaissance. He is trained not only in first aid and CPR, but also in Wilderness First Aid and Swiftwater Rescue. After owning his own accounting firm for 20 years he became a full-time river rafting, hiking, and mountain biking guide 12 years ago. Dave’s enthusiasm is contagious, keeping every trip he leads upbeat and filled with adventure.