This tour runs on Saturdays. The dates can be seen in the calendar at the top right of the page. Pick ups take place from the Las Vegas Strip at about 6.15 a.m. If there are enough people in the downtown area, we will also pick up at one central downtown location. Should you have to take a taxi or bus to meet us, we will reimburse you a maximum of $10 against the receipt.
Like all of our tours this is a small group trip. The average number of people last year was only eight. Please remember that our guides are very knowledgeable about the areas you travel through, as well as the geology, traditions and customs of the local people. Feel free to ask any and all questions!
The route to the Grand Canyon takes us past Lake Mead and over Hoover Dam.
Hoover Dam is a man made marvel, and we will stop there to take photographs and admire the views. Please note that national security concerns may sometimes prevent us from going over the dam wall, and, if that is the case, we will need to take an alternate route.
Leaving Hoover Dam we travel through the desert, before arriving in the small Arizona town of Kingman, where we pick up the freeway towards the Grand Canyon. At Williams, Arizona, we head north for about 50 miles (80 kilometres), towards the South Rim.
A tiny town called Tusayan borders the Grand Canyon, and the small local airport is just to the south of Tusayan. We will stop there to allow those of you who want to take an optional helicopter tour to do so.
Although expensive, a helicopter is really the best way to see as much of the Grand Canyon as possible in a short period of time. The tour being offered is the North Canyon helicopter tour. You fly over the deepest and widest parts of the Grand Canyon, through the Dragon Corridor, and on to the North Rim, where you can view the geological differences between the two rims. On the way back to the South Rim you will take in breathtaking views of temples, shrines and other rock formations. The tour is about half an hour long, and it must be ordered ahead of time, preferably when you order the main tour itself.
If you choose not to do the helicopter tour your guide will take you into the Grand Canyon earlier.
At the Grand Canyon we will take you to several of the main viewpoints, including Mather Point and Bright Angel, as well as the Visitor Center. Your skilled guide will give you an overview of the layout of the South Rim, and then leave you on your own to explore for a while.
You can stroll around the canyon, take pictures, admire the views, buy souvenirs, or get something to eat.
The route we take out of the Grand Canyon travels along the seldom seen east part of the South Rim. On the way we will stop at the Desert Watchtower, a unique building designed by the legendary architect, Mary Colter, using rocks brought up from the bottom of the Canyon. The inside of the tower is full of artwork by Hopi (Indian) artists.
We will start dropping down from the South Rim, to the desert that is Navajo Nation land below. On the way we pass the Cameron Trading Post, one of the best purveyors of southwestern souvenirs and native American art and jewelry. If there is time we will stop here briefly.
Climbing up to a plateau once again, we start to approach Page, on the shores of Lake Powell. The first order of business is to check in at your hotel, which is the Quality Inn (www.qualityinnpage.com). After check in we invite you to join our guide for a hike to Horseshoe Bend.
Horseshoe Bend is a spectacular Colorado River overlook, viewed through the canyon walls far below, and the trailhead is a short distance outside town. Please bring a good pair of walking shoes with you.
The hike is a little less than half a mile or .65 of a kilometre. There is a fairly steep uphill section over loose sand to start the hike, and on the way back you have to go up the other side of the hill to return to the vehicle. We provide bottles of water so please grab one or two as it is almost always hot.
After the hike you are on your own for dinner, and the night is spent at the Quality Inn.
Day 2 - Breakfast and options for the morning - Half day
A free, hot breakfast buffet is available at your hotel this morning, after which you have the option of going on a flat water float trip. Please book this as early as possible, preferably at the same time as you book the tour itself.
If you do not take the float trip you can possibly go on a cruise on Lake Powell, an air tour of the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell or Monument Valley from the small airport, just stroll around town, or swim at the hotel's pool.
The Colorado River flows from Lake Powell out of Glen Canyon Dam, towards Lee's Ferry, the official starting point of raft trips through the Grand Canyon. Today you'll be taking a float trip down the river. The adventure begins with an unusual ride down the two mile long Glen Canyon Dam access tunnel. At river level, with the dam soaring almost 600 feet above you, you will board a comfortable, motorized pontoon raft for your journey downstream.
For the next fifteen miles, you will experience one of the most dramatic stretches of river in the western United States. Your experienced guide will tell the story of the area’s soaring sandstone cliffs, crystal blue-green waters, abundant wildlife, exploration by Major John Wesley Powell (after whom Lake Powell is named) and others, and the river's modern role in the Southwest’s water and power delivery system.
A stop to view an impressive set of ancient petroglyphs will offer you a chance to stretch your legs while bearing witness to the area’s former inhabitance by ancient native cultures. If you choose, you may also refresh yourself by wading in the cold, clear river.
The river portion of your trip ends at historic Lees Ferry, gateway to the Grand Canyon. The rafting company will either take you back to Page where your guide will meet you, or the guide will pick you up at Lee's Ferry.
Up next is a 1 1/2 to 2 hour tour of Monument Valley, conducted by a Navajo guide. Visitors love to see the buttes, mesas and other sandstone formations that are so prevalent in the Monument Valley area. Monument Valley is actually not really a valley at all, but a relatively flat plain surrounded by red cliffs, with the buttes, as well as the remnants of ancient volcanoes, towering from the earth.
For fans of old western movies, Monument Valley is the epicenter of the west, with many great cowboys and Indians films having been shot in the area. The familiar rock shapes can be seen from many miles away, with the really great scenery to be seen on the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, which straddles the Utah/Arizona border.
Amongst the sites that your tour will likely take in are Anasazi ruins, petroglyphs, movie locations, 1000 foot monoliths, rug weaving and Indian hogans. The famous monuments are visited.
There is an early start this morning, as there is so much to do! After breakfast the first activity is an off road tour to Antelope Canyon, one of the most striking slot canyons known to man. A slot canyon is a narrow canyon sliced through a mesa by the forces of nature. Some canyons measure less than a yard across at the top, but drop a hundred feet or more from the rim to the bottom. Slots are cut and scoured by water and wind, with the striations of the sandstone becoming almost incandescent.
From within you will see a palette of colors transmuted by light filtering down from above and bouncing from wall to wall. Antelope Canyon can only be visited using the services of an authorized Navajo Nation guide, and we use Carolene Ekis' Antelope Canyon Tours.
Leaving Page we will drive over the Glen Canyon Dam Wall. A short distance up the road is a little known dirt trail which leads to spectacular views over Lake Powell. If the road is in reasonable condition we will drive up there to take a very brief look at the spectacular golden canyons partially submerged under the blue waters of Lake Powell.
The road to the small town of Kanab leads past Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Kanab itself has been the setting for many western movies.
From Kanab we will travel along a picturesque Utah back road, through some tiny towns, before arriving at Bryce Canyon.
Many who have seen both Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon tell us that Bryce is far more spectacular. You will marvel at the weirdly shaped hoodoos, in an amazing array of colorful hues.
Bryce is not really a canyon, but a large amphitheater carved out of a variety of rock types. You will have the opportunity to take a stroll from Sunrise Point to Sunset Point, if you choose, and we will also check out Bryce Point, the most spectacular view at Bryce, and perhaps Inspiration Point, if there is time.
At Bryce you have a choice of spending additional time in the park, going for a horseback ride, or heading out for an ATV (all terrain vehicle) ride. There is only time to do one of the three. Both of the rides take about an hour.
If you choose an ATV ride, you will first get a few pointers from an experienced guide, and then hop onto your ATV, to go chasing over 14 miles (22 kilometres) of dirt road through the Dixie National Forest surrounding Bryce Canyon. Please note that you will get dusty!
The horseback riding is more sedate, but also a lot of fun. You will visit an area of Bryce Canyon viewed only by this horseback ride. The trail follows a 3 1/2 mile loop through the Dixie National Forest to the rim of Bryce Canyon. From the rim you will view the hidden Water Canyon Amphitheater, before returning.
Please be aware that both itineraries may change, and that one or both may be unavailable at certain times of the year due to weather or lack of daylight or time. Both of the rides need to be booked ahead of time, preferably when you book the tour itself. The prices can be seen elsewhere on this page.
There is a rather good, free, hot breakfast buffet served at your hotel this morning, after which we will make our way to south eastern Utah and Moab. We go down Interstate 15, and to the south of Provo head east over Spanish Fork Canyon. We climb up over a spectacular mountain pass, before dropping down the other side to an area where the outlaw Jesse James and his gang used to operate.
Your guide will take you to your motel, the River Canyon Lodge (http://www.rivercanyonlodge.com/), and you will be on your own to explore Moab for a couple of hours.
Moab is Utah's outdoor adventure capital and there is so much to see and do here. Included in the tour price is a white water rafting trip. You do not have to do it, and you will be refunded $45 per person if you choose not to.
There are other things to do instead of rafting. Moab is world famous for its mountain bike trails, and you can rent a bike and go and tackle one. You MUST speak to local experts first as it is very easy to get badly dehydrated, lost or injured on the trails if you do not know what you are doing.
You could also take a leisurely ride, or stroll, for miles alongside the Colorado River, dwarfed by the high canyon walls on either side.
With the white water rafting, our supplier will pick you up at your hotel, and take you back to their offices to be kitted out for the trip. You will be provided a life jacket, as well as water proof containers for your cameras and other personal belongings. The rapids are bigger and faster in the spring, but things quieten down a little as the summer passes. This is a fun and exhilarating trip, which almost anyone can do!
This morning you have the option of going for a four wheel tour into Canyonlands National Park. A city street becomes a country lane, then a gravel road, and finally a four-wheel drive route through Canyonlands and into the desert. To the east, thousand foot cliffs reach for the sky; to the west, the Colorado carves a canyon nearly as deep. Three hundred million years of Earth's history is written in the multicolored, infinitely varied rock layers, and your guide can interpret the events they record.
Bring a lot of memory or film as the scenery on this trip consumes it at quite a rate!
If you choose not to go rafting you can try one of the activities mentioned above.
After Canyonlands we are going to tour Arches, a park that has the wow factor. You will be amazed at the assortment of arches, fins and spires inside the park. In fact, most of the world's natural arches are to be found here.
Depending on the make up of the group, we will do one of two hikes. The first possibility is going down Park Avenue, with towering fins and slabs of rock everywhere you look. This is an easy, predominantly downhill, walk that should take 30 to 45 minutes.
The other option is hiking up to the top of Delicate Arch. This is a difficult, mainly uphill hike, of about two hours round trip. It can be even more energy sapping if it is hot, as it generally is there. Having said that, Delicate Arch, which is Utah state's symbol, is a magnificent, once in a lifetime sight, and well worth the hike. Your guide will decide which of the two to do after assessing the group. Everyone has to be able to do Delicate Arch or the whole group will settle for the Park Avenue walk. If that is the case you will still be given the opportunity of walking up to an overlook of Delicate Arch.
Day 5 - Moab to Salt Lake City - 234 mi / 376.51 km - About 4 1/2 hours
It is time to return to Salt Lake and end the tour. The departure from Moab is at about 4.45 p.m. and we should get back into Salt Lake around 9.15 p.m. The tour drop offs in the downtown area only. Thanks for joining us!
This tour is subject to a $1.00 per person fuel surcharge.
The entry fees to all parks are included.
The off road tours at Monument Valley and Antelope Canyon are included.
The white water rafting outside Moab is included
Vehicles are mini buses or executive vans, which are vans with individual, high back, reclining seats.
Four nights' accommodation is included at the Page Quality Inn (www.qualityinnpage.com) at Lake Powell (two nights), the Salt Lake City Crystal Inn (http://www.crystalinnsaltlake.com/), and the River Canyon Lodge (http://www.rivercanyonlodge.com/) in Moab.
Prices are based on double occupancy. A single surcharge of $176 is applicable, or we can try and match singles. If you want to have three or four to a room, you will get a lower price.
The price includes the services of a guide/driver and transportation.
Continental breakfasts that are specifically mentioned are the only meals included. There are plenty of places along the route to purchase food.
The tour itinerary may change at our discretion without notice. Factors that may cause a change include, but are not limited to, the weather, vendors and road conditions.
Portions of this tour may be subcontracted to other reputable vendors. This will in no way affect your comfort or safety.
A minimum of two people may be required for a tour to depart. You may also need to book several weeks out to ensure availability.
This tour runs on Saturdays. The dates can be seen in the calendar at the top right of the page.
This tour picks up on the Strip. If there are sufficient people staying downtown, we will pick up at a central downtown location as well. If you are staying elsewhere please keep your taxi or bus receipt. We will reimburse you a maximum of $10 towards the cost of your taxi or bus.
The tour only drops off in downtown Salt Lake.
Please check with us to ensure this tour is still available prior to making lodging or air bookings.
Be careful about making any show or air bookings for the date this tour returns. We are not responsible for delays getting back into Salt Lake.
Payment Details: While we would rather you not make a booking until you are sure you want to go, you are welcome to cancel the booking any time up until 45 days prior to the start of the tour, and you will get a full refund. After that time, we will not accept a cancellation and you will have to pay for the tour in full. Trip insurance is available. Half the cost of the tour will be charged to your card any time from 45 days prior to the start of the tour, and the balance will be charged any time from 10 days prior to the start of the tour.