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National Parks of the Southwest — Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion

Trip Length 6 days

From $3,295

  • Get away from it all hiking through three of the National Park treasures in just a week: the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Park
  • See the amazing Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument with its beautiful rugged terrain
  • Learn how these incredible rocks were formed and about the diversity of the Southwest’s flora and fauna from MTS's professional, naturalist guides
  • Pamper yourself MTS style in comfortable lodges set in stunning locations, without having to camp!

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. Hike through three of the National Park Service’s crown jewels: the Grand Canyon, with its awesome walls of red rock, hundreds of plunging waterfalls, and narrow slot canyons; Bryce Canyon, a fairytale amphitheater of spires, columns, and pink “hoodoos” (pinnacles); and Zion Canyon, called a “Yosemite dressed in red.” And MTS delivers this grand-slam in just 6 days —ideal and within reach if you really want the feeling of getting away. Explore Kodachrome Basin and 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 in comfortable lodges set in stunning locations, without having to camp. After spending a week among 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.

Follow the Leader Trip with John Baston — Oct 2–7, 2016

"The Southwest in the fall is perfect, with its calm bluebird days and soft breezes, and I'm excited to go back and explore three of its most treasured National Parks: Zion, Bryce, and the incredible Grand Canyon. These places collectively reveal over 1.5 billion years of the earth's history and its amazing to think that the top limestone layer of the Grand Canyon was once at the bottom of the sea! We'll explore the strange hoodoos of Bryce and the giant Navajo sandstone walls of Zion, and take in world-class scenery on moderately challenging day hikes. At night, we'll enjoy the luxury of soft beds and delicious meals. At this time of year, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."

 

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, you will meet with the Mountain Travel Sobek trip leader in the lobby of the Hyatt Place Las Vegas at 8:00 a.m. After a brief orientation, we depart and travel northeast through the deserts of the remote Arizona Strip and up onto the Kaibab Plateau. We then change direction and head south across the high elevation meadows toward the Grand Canyon’s North Rim. The North Rim is 1,500 feet higher and receives 60% more rainfall than the South Rim. Its remote location, low visitation, and high elevation create an island of quiet green forests and alpine meadows filled with wildflowers, a stunning contrast to the enormous red abyss of the Grand Canyon.

In the afternoon we will reach Point Imperial, where we will enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking the Grand Canyon. Following lunch, we will set off on a short warm-up hike following the Transept Trail, which ends at the Grand Canyon Lodge where we will be spending the next two nights.

The original Grand Canyon Lodge was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1937 by architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood. Its rustic construction of limestone walls and timbered ceilings complements the North Rim’s lush beauty. The Lodge offers peace and comfort to the North Rim visitor and is a National Historic Landmark. Tonight we’ll enjoy a dinner in its magnificent dining room, which offers fine dining with a western flair and a view of the canyon.

  • Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Grand Canyon Lodge

Day 2: Grand Canyon

After an early breakfast, we will dip below the rim on the North Kaibab Trail, the only maintained trail into the canyon from the North Rim. Guests of all abilities will enjoy this trail by choosing one of three turn-around points, each perfect for different levels of fitness and accomplishment. Watch your step down this steep trail as the incredible views can distract you during our descent to Coconino Overlook—and for the more ambitious members, down to the Supai Tunnel. For those looking for an ultimate challenge, we will continue on the North Kaibab Trail to Roaring Springs where we will dip our feet in the cool waters while enjoying a picnic lunch. Don’t get too excited about your accomplishment yet, because it’s not over until you’ve returned to the rim—a total of 10 miles and 3,200 feet in elevation change for the longest option. 

For those that turn around at Coconino Overlook or Supai Tunnel, we will spend the afternoon sightseeing along the road to Cape Royal. The views from here are stunning and easily accessible via paved pathways traversing along the canyon’s rim. Angels Window, Vishnu Temple, the Little Colorado River, and Unkar Wash are all seen from Cape Royal making it one of the best views of the Grand Canyon. We will then return to the lodge for a well deserved drink on the patio tonight before dining with a view of the setting sun.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Grand Canyon Lodge

Day 3: Bryce Canyon

After breakfast and a leisurely morning we will drive north into Utah and ascend the Paunsaugunt Plateau before entering Bryce Canyon National Park. Words cannot describe the sweeping views we will have at the rim of Bryce’s amphitheater, where we will begin our hike along the rim trail to Sunset Point. Soon it is time to descend into this wild land of rock as we hike downhill through a surreal maze of pink hoodoos, spires, and rock windows. We settle into our lodge, just minutes away from the rim, and enjoy the fine dining of Bryce Lodge before getting a good night’s rest in anticipation of adventures to come.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Bryce Canyon Lodge

Day 4: Kodachrome Basin and Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument

We’ll take time to soak in the serene surroundings of our lodge while breakfast is served. We’ll then venture into Kodachrome Basin, which contains eroded, multicolored rock formations in various shades of red, yellow, pink, white, and brown. Together with the deep blue sky and occasional green vegetation, this combination of colors led the National Geographical Society to name the area Kodachrome Basin, (with the consent of the Kodak Film Corporation). One especially unique feature of the park is the presence of many spires or “chimneys” of rock, known as sand pipes, which are thought to be solidified sediment that filled ancient springs or geysers, left standing after the softer surrounding sandstone rock weathered away.

We then drive deeper into the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument for a hike to the enchanting Lower Calf Creek Falls.  Walking between mineral-streaked cliffs of Navajo Sandstone, we pass beaver ponds, pre-historic rock art sites and more before reaching the base of the 126ft waterfall.  On a warm summer day, this place is a veritable desert paradise with shady cottonwood trees and clear waters to cool our feet.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Bryce Canyon Lodge

Day 5: Zion National Park

Rise and shine for an optional sunrise hike on the Peekaboo Loop, our favorite hike within Bryce National Park. As the sun peaks over the horizon and illuminates Bryce Canyon’s hoodoos, be sure to have your cameras ready. We will return to the Stone Canyon Inn for breakfast and to prepare for our departure.

We will return across the Paunsaugunt Plateau and enter Zion National Park, where we will be spending our final evening. Upon arrival, you will have the opportunity to choose your own activity for the afternoon. Options include hiking in Zion’s Narrows or on one of the many park trails, shopping in Springdale, or visiting the local museum and visitors center to learn about the history of the area.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Pioneer Lodge

Day 6: Zion National Park

After an early breakfast, we enter Zion National Park and begin the day’s hike strolling beneath shady cottonwood and sycamore trees by the Virgin River’s edge. Soon we begin ascending and it is time to conquer the challenging hike up Angel’s Landing before the desert sun peeks over the canyon walls. A classic Zion hike, the 5-mile roundtrip Angels Landing trail will lead you to one of the most breathtaking views in all of the American Southwest. The trail ascends 1,700 feet over a distance of 2½ miles to the summit, which is ringed on three sides by the Virgin River below. After returning to the canyon floor for a picnic lunch, we will head back south to the bright lights of Las Vegas, arriving around 6:30 p.m. If you plan on flying out this evening, please do not schedule your flight before 8:00 p.m. We will drop you off at the Hyatt Place Las Vegas or the airport this evening.

  • Breakfast/Lunch

Sep 28, 2016 - Oct 03, 2016

Oct 02 - 07, 2016 Follow long-time National Park ranger and MTS adventure pro John Baston on this special departure!

May 21 - 26, 2017

Jun 04 - 09, 2017

Sep 10 - 15, 2017

Sep 24 - 29, 2017

Oct 01 - 06, 2017

pricing

2016 Prices
$3,295 (8-12 members)
$3,495 (4-7 members)
$600 single supplement

2017 Prices
$3,495 (4+ members)
$650 single supplement

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Bryce Canyon Lodge — Bryce, Utah

The rustic beauty of the Bryce Canyon Lodge is second only to the spectacular setting that surrounds it. Ideally located near the canyon rim and hiking trailheads, guests are only steps away from scenic viewpoints, fine dining, shopping, and park programs. All rooms have telephones, clock radios, hair dryers, coffee-makers, portable fans, and thermostat-controlled heat. To preserve the lodge's rustic feel and experience, there are no televisions. No air conditioning is needed, as the mild climate in Bryce boasts summer highs that rarely reach above 80 degrees. There is Wi-Fi in the main lodge.

Grand Canyon Lodge — Grand 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 at Bright Angel Point. Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987, the lodge offers a place of comfort and quiet serenity, where you can fully appreciate the jaw-dropping scenery of the Grand Canyon.

Pioneer Lodge — Springdale, Utah

Located only a mile from the entrance of Zion National Park, the Pioneer Lodge mixes scenic views with local history and all the comforts of home (free Wi-Fi, TVs, air conditioning, and more). From standard two-queen rooms to family-friendly three-bedroom suites, these bright and airy accommodations are a comfortable place to lay your head after a long day of adventuring.

  • Get away from it all hiking through three of the National Park treasures in just a week: the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Park
  • See the amazing Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument with its beautiful rugged terrain
  • Learn how these incredible rocks were formed and about the diversity of the Southwest’s flora and fauna from MTS's professional, naturalist guides
  • Pamper yourself MTS style in comfortable lodges set in stunning locations, without having to camp!

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. Hike through three of the National Park Service’s crown jewels: the Grand Canyon, with its awesome walls of red rock, hundreds of plunging waterfalls, and narrow slot canyons; Bryce Canyon, a fairytale amphitheater of spires, columns, and pink “hoodoos” (pinnacles); and Zion Canyon, called a “Yosemite dressed in red.” And MTS delivers this grand-slam in just 6 days —ideal and within reach if you really want the feeling of getting away. Explore Kodachrome Basin and 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 in comfortable lodges set in stunning locations, without having to camp. After spending a week among 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.

Follow the Leader Trip with John Baston — Oct 2–7, 2016

"The Southwest in the fall is perfect, with its calm bluebird days and soft breezes, and I'm excited to go back and explore three of its most treasured National Parks: Zion, Bryce, and the incredible Grand Canyon. These places collectively reveal over 1.5 billion years of the earth's history and its amazing to think that the top limestone layer of the Grand Canyon was once at the bottom of the sea! We'll explore the strange hoodoos of Bryce and the giant Navajo sandstone walls of Zion, and take in world-class scenery on moderately challenging day hikes. At night, we'll enjoy the luxury of soft beds and delicious meals. At this time of year, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."

 

DAILY 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, you will meet with the Mountain Travel Sobek trip leader in the lobby of the Hyatt Place Las Vegas at 8:00 a.m. After a brief orientation, we depart and travel northeast through the deserts of the remote Arizona Strip and up onto the Kaibab Plateau. We then change direction and head south across the high elevation meadows toward the Grand Canyon’s North Rim. The North Rim is 1,500 feet higher and receives 60% more rainfall than the South Rim. Its remote location, low visitation, and high elevation create an island of quiet green forests and alpine meadows filled with wildflowers, a stunning contrast to the enormous red abyss of the Grand Canyon.

In the afternoon we will reach Point Imperial, where we will enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking the Grand Canyon. Following lunch, we will set off on a short warm-up hike following the Transept Trail, which ends at the Grand Canyon Lodge where we will be spending the next two nights.

The original Grand Canyon Lodge was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1937 by architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood. Its rustic construction of limestone walls and timbered ceilings complements the North Rim’s lush beauty. The Lodge offers peace and comfort to the North Rim visitor and is a National Historic Landmark. Tonight we’ll enjoy a dinner in its magnificent dining room, which offers fine dining with a western flair and a view of the canyon.

  • Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Grand Canyon Lodge

Day 2: Grand Canyon

After an early breakfast, we will dip below the rim on the North Kaibab Trail, the only maintained trail into the canyon from the North Rim. Guests of all abilities will enjoy this trail by choosing one of three turn-around points, each perfect for different levels of fitness and accomplishment. Watch your step down this steep trail as the incredible views can distract you during our descent to Coconino Overlook—and for the more ambitious members, down to the Supai Tunnel. For those looking for an ultimate challenge, we will continue on the North Kaibab Trail to Roaring Springs where we will dip our feet in the cool waters while enjoying a picnic lunch. Don’t get too excited about your accomplishment yet, because it’s not over until you’ve returned to the rim—a total of 10 miles and 3,200 feet in elevation change for the longest option. 

For those that turn around at Coconino Overlook or Supai Tunnel, we will spend the afternoon sightseeing along the road to Cape Royal. The views from here are stunning and easily accessible via paved pathways traversing along the canyon’s rim. Angels Window, Vishnu Temple, the Little Colorado River, and Unkar Wash are all seen from Cape Royal making it one of the best views of the Grand Canyon. We will then return to the lodge for a well deserved drink on the patio tonight before dining with a view of the setting sun.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Grand Canyon Lodge

Day 3: Bryce Canyon

After breakfast and a leisurely morning we will drive north into Utah and ascend the Paunsaugunt Plateau before entering Bryce Canyon National Park. Words cannot describe the sweeping views we will have at the rim of Bryce’s amphitheater, where we will begin our hike along the rim trail to Sunset Point. Soon it is time to descend into this wild land of rock as we hike downhill through a surreal maze of pink hoodoos, spires, and rock windows. We settle into our lodge, just minutes away from the rim, and enjoy the fine dining of Bryce Lodge before getting a good night’s rest in anticipation of adventures to come.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Bryce Canyon Lodge

Day 4: Kodachrome Basin and Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument

We’ll take time to soak in the serene surroundings of our lodge while breakfast is served. We’ll then venture into Kodachrome Basin, which contains eroded, multicolored rock formations in various shades of red, yellow, pink, white, and brown. Together with the deep blue sky and occasional green vegetation, this combination of colors led the National Geographical Society to name the area Kodachrome Basin, (with the consent of the Kodak Film Corporation). One especially unique feature of the park is the presence of many spires or “chimneys” of rock, known as sand pipes, which are thought to be solidified sediment that filled ancient springs or geysers, left standing after the softer surrounding sandstone rock weathered away.

We then drive deeper into the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument for a hike to the enchanting Lower Calf Creek Falls.  Walking between mineral-streaked cliffs of Navajo Sandstone, we pass beaver ponds, pre-historic rock art sites and more before reaching the base of the 126ft waterfall.  On a warm summer day, this place is a veritable desert paradise with shady cottonwood trees and clear waters to cool our feet.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Bryce Canyon Lodge

Day 5: Zion National Park

Rise and shine for an optional sunrise hike on the Peekaboo Loop, our favorite hike within Bryce National Park. As the sun peaks over the horizon and illuminates Bryce Canyon’s hoodoos, be sure to have your cameras ready. We will return to the Stone Canyon Inn for breakfast and to prepare for our departure.

We will return across the Paunsaugunt Plateau and enter Zion National Park, where we will be spending our final evening. Upon arrival, you will have the opportunity to choose your own activity for the afternoon. Options include hiking in Zion’s Narrows or on one of the many park trails, shopping in Springdale, or visiting the local museum and visitors center to learn about the history of the area.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Pioneer Lodge

Day 6: Zion National Park

After an early breakfast, we enter Zion National Park and begin the day’s hike strolling beneath shady cottonwood and sycamore trees by the Virgin River’s edge. Soon we begin ascending and it is time to conquer the challenging hike up Angel’s Landing before the desert sun peeks over the canyon walls. A classic Zion hike, the 5-mile roundtrip Angels Landing trail will lead you to one of the most breathtaking views in all of the American Southwest. The trail ascends 1,700 feet over a distance of 2½ miles to the summit, which is ringed on three sides by the Virgin River below. After returning to the canyon floor for a picnic lunch, we will head back south to the bright lights of Las Vegas, arriving around 6:30 p.m. If you plan on flying out this evening, please do not schedule your flight before 8:00 p.m. We will drop you off at the Hyatt Place Las Vegas or the airport this evening.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
lodgings

Bryce Canyon Lodge — Bryce, Utah

The rustic beauty of the Bryce Canyon Lodge is second only to the spectacular setting that surrounds it. Ideally located near the canyon rim and hiking trailheads, guests are only steps away from scenic viewpoints, fine dining, shopping, and park programs. All rooms have telephones, clock radios, hair dryers, coffee-makers, portable fans, and thermostat-controlled heat. To preserve the lodge's rustic feel and experience, there are no televisions. No air conditioning is needed, as the mild climate in Bryce boasts summer highs that rarely reach above 80 degrees. There is Wi-Fi in the main lodge.

Grand Canyon Lodge — Grand 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 at Bright Angel Point. Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987, the lodge offers a place of comfort and quiet serenity, where you can fully appreciate the jaw-dropping scenery of the Grand Canyon.

Pioneer Lodge — Springdale, Utah

Located only a mile from the entrance of Zion National Park, the Pioneer Lodge mixes scenic views with local history and all the comforts of home (free Wi-Fi, TVs, air conditioning, and more). From standard two-queen rooms to family-friendly three-bedroom suites, these bright and airy accommodations are a comfortable place to lay your head after a long day of adventuring.

Dates and Pricing

Sep 28, 2016 - Oct 03, 2016

Oct 02 - 07, 2016 Follow long-time National Park ranger and MTS adventure pro John Baston on this special departure!

May 21 - 26, 2017

Jun 04 - 09, 2017

Sep 10 - 15, 2017

Sep 24 - 29, 2017

Oct 01 - 06, 2017

pricing

2016 Prices
$3,295 (8-12 members)
$3,495 (4-7 members)
$600 single supplement

2017 Prices
$3,495 (4+ members)
$650 single supplement

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