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Sun, Apr 28

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Las Vegas Municipal Airport

Exploring the National Parks of Utah - FULL|AGC

Southern Utah is home to four of the most well known National Parks, each with its own special magic and unique attractions.

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Exploring the National Parks of Utah - FULL|AGC
Exploring the National Parks of Utah - FULL|AGC

Time & Location

Apr 28, 2019, 4:00 AM – May 05, 2019, 8:00 AM

Las Vegas Municipal Airport, 910 Airport Rd, Las Vegas, NM 87701, USA

About the event

Itinerary

Sunday, April 28

Our trip starts today in Las Vegas where you can arrive anytime before 4 pm. Catch the convenient shuttle to our hotel, in time to meet everyone at 5:00 pm. We'll start getting to know each other and review our plans for the trip, before sharing our first dinner. The evening is free for you to get to bed early or wander the strip: watching the dancing fountains at Bellagio is always a treat.

Monday, April 29

The drive to our first destination, Zion National Park, is about 3 hours. Our first stop is our picnic area where you can explore the area or take a break while your guides prepare lunch. After the first of many delicious picnic lunches and some instruction on how to hike happily and safely for the week, we'll explore the Emerald Pools Trail System. The 3 mile hike (we take about 2.5 hours) to the Upper Pool passes through pinyon-juniper habitat as we visit the lush environment of the lower pool and gaze at the soaring canyon walls of the upper pool. Along the way we'll talk about how Zion Canyon was formed and see evidence that it is a process that is still quite active. Our lodging tonight is right in the bottom of Zion Canyon, in one of the most beautiful and peaceful settings in the entire park system. Overnight Zion National Park.

Tuesday, April 30

Today we'll head back towards the Visitor's Center to hike the Watchman Trail, another Zion classic. The trail is about 2 miles round trip with 500 feet elevation gain through a desert environment. Along the trail we'll see many of Zion's landmarks: Beehives, Towers of the Virgin, West Temple, and the Altar of Sacrifice. The trail ends up at a viewpoint that oversees much of the lower canyon as well as the Watchman, a red spire rising to an elevation of 6545 feet. We'll then visit the Zion Human History Museum, or possibly join one of the Zion rangers for what are always informative walks. In late afternoon we'll drive to Bryce Canyon. The Zion-Mount Carmel Highway is a dramatic feat of engineering, taking us through a very different looking part of the Park. We'll arrive in Bryce in time for dinner. Our lodging tonight is about a 5 minute walk from the rim. Overnight Bryce Canyon National Park.

Wednesday, May 1

Another park, more classic hikes: the Peekaboo Loop. In contrast to yesterday where we climbed out of Zion Canyon, today we'll start by descending into Bryce Canyon. This 6 mile trail, which follows an up and down loop around a major formation with constantly changing views, provides an excellent opportunity to see hoodoos from the bottom up. For those wanting a bit shorter hike, the Navajo - Queen's Garden loop is an excellent 3 mile alternative. That evening we'll have the chance to watch the sun's rays light up some amazing geology. And after dinner, Bryce is known for having one of the most glorious nighttime skies of anyplace in the U.S. - if stargazing appeals to you, this is the perfect place to do it. Overnight Bryce Canyon National Park

Thursday, May 2

Our three hour drive this morning to Capitol Reef National Park is one of the most scenic of the entire trip as we drive though Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, crossing over vast stretches of slickrock before climbing up and over the Boulder Mountains. Capitol Reef is a small section of the Waterpocket Fold, a 100-mile long wrinkle in the earth's crust comprised of colorful canyons, buttes, mesas, and monoliths. We'll visit the Visitor Center and then have a picnic in an area where Mormon settlers once farmed. We explore only a small portion as we hike through Cohab Canyon to its exit on the other side. This hike offers more solitude and wilderness than any other on the trip, with options for a couple of side hikes up to higher points in the Canyon. We'll finish our visit to Capitol Reef with a visit to petroglyphs along the road. We stay overnight at a motel in Hanksville, a small Utah town that is home to the world famous Blondie's (at least it is in a Chinese guidebook so it must be world famous) where we'll have a great breakfast the next morning. Overnight Hanksville, UT

Friday, May 3

Today we start with a hike into Little Wild Horse Canyon. This is a slot canyon that can be as high as 250 feet and as narrow as 2.5 feet, and we'll do it as an out and back, going as far as we choose. Hiking in slot canyons is always dependent on weather but this is one of the most accessible in Utah. After lunch a short drive takes us to Goblin Valley State Park, one of those state parks that is so spectacular, it would be a National Park in any other area. Goblin Valley gets its name from the thousands of mushroom-shaped pinnacles that have been carved by wind and water over the centuries.

After finishing our hike we continue on to our condos in Moab. Moab is one of the most charming small towns in Utah, known for its great shops and limitless outdoor opportunities. If you want a chance to explore the many restaurant options in Moab, this is the night. Alternatively the guides will get some take out pizza and salad and if you want to just kick back at the condos after the day, you are welcome to join them. Overnight Moab.

Saturday, May 4

Due to Arches National Park's unique geology, this park contains the largest concentration of arches of anyplace in the US. We'll start with Delicate Arch trail, a classic Arches hike and not to be missed. We'll take the short spur trail to a Ute Indian Petroglyph and then walk up gradually sloping slickrock to a small valley surrounded by red rocks on the way to the arch. Just when you think you must have taken a wrong turn, the arch suddenly appears and you immediately understand why it is the most photographed arch in Utah. There are several other short hikes to different arches so some of us may decide to continue with more hiking while others will want time in Moab, the most fun place to shop in Utah. Tonight we celebrate our week of hiking with a final farewell dinner at our condos. Overnight Moab.

Sunday, May 5

This morning we share a final breakfast, pack up, and say our goodbyes to Utah. We will plan to leave Moab for Grand Junction, Colorado (GJT) about 8:30 am for the 2 hour drive and you can plan to fly out anytime after 11:00 am (it's a small airport and an hour is plenty of time to check in). Alternatively, we can drive you directly to the airport in Denver, CO (DEN) for an additional $45. We will have you to the airport for flights out after 6:30PM.

Trip highlights

Exploring the Emerald Pools Trail system in Zion National Park

Walking among the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park

Slithering through the slot canyons of Little Wild Horse

Hiking to some of the many arches in Arches National Park

Enjoying the remoteness and solitude of Capitol Reef

Price:

$2550

$300 deposit. There are two single rooms available (only necessary if you want to be assured of your own room) for an additional $495.

Trip Includes

Two experienced AGC guides

Seven nights of double occupancy accommodation

All meals from dinner on Sunday to breakfast the following Sunday

Transportation during the trip

National Park entry fees

Not included: Airfare to Las Vegas or from Grand Junction, alcoholic beverages, guide gratuities

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