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All senses were refreshed and renewed from combinations of physical challenges, delicious foods, and body pampering. — Betty H., WA
|Utah, USA||May 14 – 20, 2017||$2,295|
Utah is home to the famous “Big 5” National Parks and we’ll be adventuring in all of them! Names you’ve heard of but haven’t had an opportunity to yet explore or were so enthralled you feel the pull to return. We’ll hike, raft in the Colorado River, horse-ride in Bryce Canyon, and enjoy plenty of swimming at all our favorite places. Sitting under Delicate Arch at sunrise, sloshing up the Narrows, horse or mule-riding through hoodoos, exploring the best of these gorgeous National Parks, and making new or renewing old friendships! Come join us for orange sunsets on canyon walls and for a peace only the desert offers which has to be felt, and personally experienced to be understood.
Arrive Salt Lake City, Utah by 12noon where we will meet at the airport and drive south to position ourselves for this fabulous week. With stops along the way, we’ll have dinner and overnight in a town right outside Zion National Park.
After breakfast today, we explore beautiful Zion National Park. Drive down to the visitor center and hop on the eco-bus to Sinawava Temple where we’ll hike the Riverwalk and slosh through the Virgin River in the Narrows – some even float back on the return. Late afternoon will find us heading north to Bryce Canyon with a stop at unbelievably beautiful Red Canyon en route. Check into our lodging and have dinner right outside the National Park.
The scenery and activities were absolutely awesome. I never dreamed I could have spent a week with such a diverse group of women and had such a wonderful time. — Kelly K, GA
Dress today in riding clothes and after breakfast, saddle-up for an incredible two-hour mule and horse ride through Bryce Canyon. (Must be under 220 lbs to participate in this activity.) We think this is the most stunningly scenic park in the US. You’ll photograph unforgettable views from your horseback vantage point. Lunch today will be at the Bryce Canyon Lodge. After lunch we’ll hike the loop on the zig-zag Navajo Trail and see Wall Street, where ponderosa pines brush canyon walls as they reach for the sky. This two-hour hike is perhaps the most scenic hike in any US National Park! Later in the afternoon our drive takes us through the amazing scenery of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. We climb over a 9600’ pass through alpine meadows of aspens with great views of the Waterpocket Fold and down to the small town of Torrey. Perhaps a dip in the pool before dinner? Lodging is right outside Capital Reef National Park.
After breakfast, we’ll head into Capital Reef National Park for a day of more incredibly beautiful sights and hiking. We’ll hike the Capital Gorge trail, see pictographs and petroglyphs from both Native Americans and pioneers who traveled through and lived in this area. There’ll be plenty of photo stops within this scenic park and we’ll explore the old community of Fruita and see Fremont Anasazi pictographs on ancient walls. We’ll lunch in Hanksville before driving across to Moab. Once there, we’ll check into our lodging for two nights, and eat dinner at the local brewery. The shops stay open late and it’s a fun town to shop in.
My first visit to the Southwest was chock full of grand memories. You made the trip so relaxing and fun. It was like traveling with true “road sisters! — Regina E, MD
It’s an early start to our day to beat the crowds and greet the sun on our hike up to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring formations in the west! This is a moderately difficult hike (by some standards) and also one of the most satisfactory hikes we’ve experienced. Gorgeous views, challenging escalation, and when we reach the Arch you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world! On the way out we’ll take time to visit the Windows section of the park. Back at our hotel, we’ll change for our float trip on the Colorado River in rafts. This often involves relaxing on and in the river, floating along in our lifejackets. A barbecue lunch is served at the Red Cliffs Ranch. Late in the afternoon we head back to Moab to relax in our hotel or enjoy the shops of Moab before our dinner in town.
After breakfast we’re off to Canyonlands National Park for a morning hike enjoying the splendor of Slickrock Trail with views of the Needles. Gorgeous scenery surrounds us, and if we’re lucky we may see bighorn sheep on this two-hour hike! We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch in the park and several other scenic stops too. This afternoon, it’s time to say farewell to Utah’s Big 5 and try to decide which one was your favorite, as we head back to Salt Lake City for our farewell dinner and overnight.
It’s only Tuesday and I’m out of adjectives! — Suzanne C, Boston
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before you depart for points beyond or take the airport shuttle to the airport for your departure flight home.
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