This trip in the high desert of Arizona and Utah is a seven-day version of our eight-day Best of the West tour. It is designed for those with less vacation time, those wanting a slightly less active trip and for those wanting to avoid camping. The activities are also chosen to suit late spring and mid fall when water conditions are too chilly to be swimming in the Colorado or sloshing through the river in Zion, both activities an integral part of our Best of the West trip offered in warmer months. We visit six national parks, three national monuments and the Hopi and Navajo reservations. We'll hike, jeep, horse-ride, raft and kayak. Come join us for amazing vistas and orange sunsets on canyon walls. Experience that sense of peace found in the quiet of the high desert.
|Airfares are NOT INCLUDED in Canyon Calling trips. It is your responsibility to get yourself to the assembly point of a trip and home afterwards. There are many reasons for this policy including customers wanting to use their air miles, people wanting to go early or stay on after the trip, some wanting to drive etc. Jane at Jane’s Travel in Phoenix has helped our customers with booking their flights for the last 17 years. You can phone her at (480) 755-1388 or send an email to email@example.com Internal flights are included in trip prices when they fall inside a tour like on our Costa Rican, Peruvian Andes, Australian and Hawaiian Islands trips.
Arrive in Sedona by 3pm and Cheryl, your tour leader, will meet you at the shuttle drop-off point (Super 8). Check in to our motel and change into hiking clothes. Enjoy a short tour of Sedona including a visit to a vortex. Then we’ll hike a red rock trail to Devil’s Bridge, an amazing overlook. Before dinner at Cheryl’s home we’ll dip our feet in Oak Creek beneath Cathedral Rock at Red Rock Crossing.
Depart Sedona by 8am and drive up onto the Colorado Plateau where we’ll spend the whole vacation. We just can’t go past Winslow without stopping at “the corner” that the Eagles made famous! Visit Little Painted Desert for unbelievable photos. Drive to Hopi Cultural Center for lunch. Visit the Hopi villages on First Mesa where we’ll visit an artisan’s home where there is the opportunity to purchase a kachina doll or some pottery direct from the artist. Drive to Chinle. All aboard a jeep for a great ride into Canyon de Chelly with our private Navajo guide. We’ll see Anasazi ruins including famous White House ruins, rock art, and Navajo homes called hogans. Dinner and accommodation is at the Chinle Holiday Inn.
After breakfast at our hotel we’ll drive along the rim of Canyon de Chelly to enjoy the great views and a short walk to enchanting Spider Rock overlook. Navajo legend says that Spider Woman lives in this formation and that she taught them to weave. Our drive north is very scenic and in Kayenta we’ll see an exhibit describing the importance of the Navajo Code Talkers during WWII. Arriving in Monument Valley brings back wonderful memories of watching cowboy movies as kids! We capture the quintessential photo of the left and right hand mitten buttes at the Navajo Tribal Park and then it’s on to lunch at historic Gouldings Trading Post. Driving north in Utah we stop at the Mexican Hat formation then turn into Canyonlands National Park to see Newspaper Rock. Outside Moab we visit Hole in the Rock, a unique home. There is no place in North America quite like this! It’s a two-night stay at our motel in Moab with dinner tonight at the Moab Brewery.
After a quick stop for breakfast-to-go we have an early departure for Arches National Park. Hike up to Delicate Arch one of the most beautiful formations in the West. It’s extra special to enjoy this vista before the crowds. On the way out we’ll take time to walk through the Windows section of the park. Your guide will drive you to amazing roadside pictographs before assembling for our river trip. Spend the afternoon on a float trip on the Colorado River in rafts and duckies (inflatable kayaks). A picnic lunch is served riverside on a beach. Back in Moab by 4pm you can relax by the pool or shop at the fun stores before or after dinner.
Today is probably the most scenic of an “amazing scenery” week. First stop is Dead Horse Point State Park where we’ll see the famous Goosenecks section of the Colorado River – a truly “wow” view. Then we cross over to the western side of Utah into Capitol Reef National Park. This isolated park has towering red rock formations and plenty of rock art from the Fremont Anasazi. After lunch our drive will take us up and over a 9600’ pass through alpine meadows of aspens. Enjoy great views of Waterpocket Fold in Capitol Reef National Park. Drive through the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and tiny desert communities to Bryce Canyon National Park. Check into our motel and change into hiking boots and hike one of the most stunning hikes in the world – the Navajo Trail Loop. With photo stops, this is a two-hour moderate hike. We come upon Wall St where ponderosa pines brush canyon walls as they reach for the sky. Then the orange and white hoodoos take on wondrous new shapes around every bend. Thank goodness for digital cameras or we’d surely run out of film!
Dress today in riding clothes and after breakfast, saddle-up for an incredible three-hour mule-ride through Bryce Canyon on the Peek-a–Boo Loop Trail. We think this is the most stunningly scenic park in the US and consequently we’ve allocated time for a second Bryce experience. Photograph unforgettable views from your horseback vantage point. Take a break half way through the trip - it’s great to dismount and stretch your legs. Catch a lunch on the go to ensure that we have plenty of time to enjoy Zion National Park, two hour’s drive south. The scenery driving down the Zion gorge is totally different from Bryce yet grand in its own way, so photo stops are essential. Check into our Springdale motel then catch the eco bus through Zion Canyon to Sinawava Temple. From there we’ll walk the one-mile walk along the Virgin River path for fabulous photo opportunities as the sun glows orange on the canyon walls. After dinner there are shops to explore in this cute town.
After breakfast we’ll retrace our drive back up through Zion Canyon and tunnels and drive to Page, AZ on the shores of Lake Powell. Climb aboard a four-wheel drive vehicle for a trip to Antelope Canyon, the most famous of the slot canyons. You’ll hardly believe the photos you’ll take here! Back in Page we’ll pack a picnic lunch and hike to Horseshoe Bend. It’s hard to imagine a more beautiful overlook to enjoy lunch. Back in our van we’ll drive south to the Grand Canyon with a stop at historic Cameron Trading Post. We’ll view the grandest of all canyons from our two favorite overlooks, Desert View and Lipan Point. Then it’s two hours back to Sedona down beautiful Oak Creek Canyon and check into our motel. Farewell pizza dinner in Sedona on Cheryl’s patio. Watch a slide show of our adventure and you’ll be amazed by all we have seen in a week!
How do I get to Sedona?
Arrange your flight into Phoenix in time to catch the noon shuttle van. It takes 2.5 hours to drive to Sedona where your Trip Leader will meet you at the Super 8 drop-off. Arrange your homebound flight after 12 noon on the day after the trip ends. You need to make shuttle reservations (928) 282-2066. The round trip fare is $90 which you can either pay for in advance or bring cash to pay in Phoenix.