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 in the Mighty Five parks of Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capital Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands! Sitting under Delicate Arch at sunrise, enjoying the Narrows, the hoodoos of Bryce, the majesty of Zion, the views across Canyonlands, exploring lesser known and stunning Capital Reef….ahhh.. hiking the best of these amazing National Parks and making new or renewing old friendships. Come join us for orange sunsets on canyon walls and for a sense of peace which has to be felt, and personally experienced to be understood. September is such an amazing time to be in the parks!
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. Overnight LaVerkin.
After breakfast today, we explore beautiful Zion National Park. Drive down to the visitor center and hop on the eco-bus to Sinawava Temple. Here we’ll hike the Riverwalk and also Emerald Pools. We’ll have lunch at the Lodge and a bit of time for shopping before we head out of the park. Late afternoon will find us heading north to Bryce Canyon with stops along the way. One of our favorites is delicious pie and a beverage. We’ll also stop at unbelievably beautiful Red Canyon en route. Check into our lodging and have dinner right outside the National Park. Overnight Bryce.
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
We think this is the most stunningly scenic park in the US. After breakfast, we’ll hike the loop on the zig-zag Navajo Trail and Queen’s Garden, where ponderosa pines brush canyon walls as they reach for the sky. Wall Street is an awe inspiring part of the trail. Why is it named Wall Street? Join us and find out! This three-hour hike has stunning views and great photo opportunities. We’ll visit some of the most scenic overlooks too. We’ll lunch at Bryce Canyon Lodge – always a treat! Later in the afternoon our drive takes us through the amazing scenery of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Perhaps a surprise stop at a little known State Park for another quick hike that is jaw droppingly gorgeous. Our van takes us over a 9600’ pass through alpine meadows of aspens with great views of the Waterpocket Fold, and down to the small town of Torrey. We found some of the best Mexican food around in this little town. We will check into our lodging right outside Capital Reef National Park. Overnight Torrey.
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 pictographs on ancient walls. We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch in the park and stop at the historic Gifford House for what..? Pie! We’ll pile back in the van before driving across to Moab. Once there, we’ll check into our lodging for two nights, and dine at one of the many delightful restaurants. The shops stay open late and it’s a fun town to shop in. Overnight Moab.
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 iconic Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring formations in the west! This is a moderately challenging hike (by some standards) and also one of the most satisfactory hikes we’ve experienced. Gorgeous views as we slowly manage the escalation, and when we reach the Arch, you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world! We’ll take some time here to appreciate this special place, have a snack, and head back to the trailhead. On the way back to the visitor center, we’ll take time to visit the Windows section of the park, some gorgeous overviews, and Balanced Rock to name a few spots. We’ll have lunch on the way back to our hotel. This afternoon is free to relax by the pool, check out the local brewery, and enjoy the shops of Moab before our dinner in town. Overnight Moab.
After breakfast we’re off to Canyonlands National Park for a morning hike enjoying the splendor of Grandview Islands in the Sky and Mesa Arch. Gorgeous scenery surrounds us, and if we’re lucky, we may see bighorn sheep or peregrine falcons on this two-hour hike! We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch in the park and other scenic stops too. We’ll stop by the Visitor Center, as we always do in each National Park, to get park passports stamped and shop, in support of our national treasures of course. This afternoon, it’s time to say farewell to Utah’s Big 5 National Parks and try to decide which one was your favorite. We drive back to Salt Lake City to our hotel close to the airport for easy transfers in the morning. We’ll get cleaned up and enjoy our Farewell dinner as we recount our amazing week together. Overnight Salt Lake City.
It’s only Tuesday and I’m out of adjectives!
— Suzanne C, Boston
Enjoy the hotel amenities before you take the airport shuttle to the airport for your departure flight home or stay and play in Utah.