Anyone who has visited the vast and beautiful canyons of the Southwest can tell you that red rock country will penetrate your heart. Join us as we head off the beaten path in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks to hike into the geologic past. Our day hikes have us exploring layer after sedimentary layer of sandstone and siltstone as we venture through the "Fiery Furnace," "Landscape and Delicate Arches," the "Needles" and "Dead Horse Point". We also spend a day rafting/kayaking the Colorado River, where we'll enjoy a few rapids and quietly float past a large blue heron rookery. This trip includes a few very special places - so special that we won't divulge the details in this itinerary. Let's just say if you are interested in rock art, ruins, and ancient cultures join us and we'll take you places the visitor center never mentions.
Day 1: Arrive in Grand Junction, Colorado or Moab, Utah
Highlights: Moab and the Colorado RiverArrive this afternoon at our motel in the heart of Moab, Utah. We'll provide a shuttle from the airport in Grand Junction, Colorado, or there is a commercial shuttle service available from Salt Lake City. Once one of the wealthiest mining towns in the Southwest, Moab still evokes the flavor of the Wild West, right down to the Stuntman's Hall of Fame in the center of town! We'll have a special welcome dinner together this evening.
Day 2: Hike Island in the Sky in Canyonlands National Park and more
Highlights: Corona Arch, Dead Horse Point State Park, a very special trail in CanyonlandsToday we explore a couple of our favorite trails. First we head up Highway 279, designated as one of the most scenic drives in America, to the Corona Arch trailhead. This 3-mile round trip hike not only offers spectacular views along the way, but we have the excitement of crossing a slickrock bench that leads directly under Corona (140 by 105 foot opening) and Bowtie Arches. After this "warm-up," we'll shuttle to the overlook at Dead Horse Point State Park and enjoy our lunches 2,000 feet above the confluence of the Colorado and Green Rivers. Then we'll head to an undisclosed trailhead in Canyonlands National Park. Our destination feels mysterious as we head west following an unmarked trail. It's not long, though, before we come to the base of a large alcove with tremendous views of Upheaval Dome. This alcove was once home to an estimated 20 to 40 people and still contains ancient ruins and remnants of corn grown long ago. Dinner is on your own tonight. Total Distance: 6 miles.
Day 3: Hike the Primitive trail and Devil's Garden, Arches National Park
Highlights: Arches abound today!"Giant windows in stone" is how naturalist Edward Abbey described the more than 2,000 rock formations of Arches National Park during his time there as a park ranger. We are rewarded at nearly every turn on today's hike along the Primitive and Devil's Garden trails where we'll encounter a slew of arches. We have a very special side trip planned on this hike - join us for this unique opportunity. Dinner is together this evening. Total Distance: 7.2 miles.
Day 4: Hike Arches National Park
Highlights: The Fiery Furnace and Delicate ArchWe haven't seen all that Arches National Park has to offer so we head back there this morning to explore Park Avenue, the Courthouse Towers, and Delicate Arch, the most famous arch in the park. We hike across hard packed sandstone, literally ancient sand dunes frozen in time. Take time to enjoy views and take photos of the arch. After our hike we explore the Fiery Furnace. There is no place quite like the Fiery Furnace, nature's own maze constructed of red sandstone. We're back in Moab for dinner together this evening. Total Distance: Approximately 7 miles
Day 5: Raft the Colorado River
Highlights: Raft or kayak the Colorado River near Arches National ParkWe shuttle upriver this morning to our launch site to begin our river rafting or inflatable kayak expedition along the Colorado River. We'll glide the rapids at Onion Creek, Cloudburst, and Ida Gulch before heading into the famous Whites Rapid. We'll do lunch on the river and take a swim if you'd like. After our river rafting we'll shuttle back to Moab where dinner is on your own tonight. Total Distance: 13 miles on the river
Day 6: Hike in the Needles district of Canyonlands National Park
Highlights: Hike to Chesler Park, Newspaper rock with Native American petroglyphsWhile yesterday we floated past rock spires, today we hike among them. At Island in the Sky we felt we flew above the canyons and today you are immersed with them. We are off for a full day of walking in The Needles. This maze of balancing rocks, domes, and spires features some of the best hikes in the park. Watch for Mountain Bluebirds in Chesler Park, and let your imagination run wild in search of "Teapot" and "UFO" rocks! Our last stop is Newspaper Rock, where we'll view ancient Native American petroglyphs. We'll be back in Moab this evening for our final dinner together. Total Distance: 8.6 miles
Day 7: Tour ends with a shuttle to Grand Junction, Colorado
Highlights:You may have a plane to catch this afternoon from Grand Junction. We'll take you there. But if you have the urge to rent a car, and stay in town a few more days there's plenty more rock art, ruins, and spectacular trails to see. Thanks for joining us. (Note: we will have you at the airport in Grand Junction by 11 a.m. so you should not plan to fly until after 1 p.m.)
HighlightsHikes in Arches National Parks, Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, Fiery Furnace , Rock art, Dead Horse Point State Park, Moab and the canyons of Utah, Island in the Sky Distict Canyonlands National Park, Delicate Arch, A full day river rafting/kayaking
Includes"The Usual" plus... 7 days, 6 nights lodging, 4 dinners, 1 lunch, river-rafting, all shuttles, and entrance fees to all parks
Arrive/DepartGrand Junction, Colorado or Salt Lake City, Utah
Total Distance38 miles hiking
Daily Distance3 - 10 miles
What to ExpectMedium level hiking on well groomed trails; some scrambling over slickrock
Please call 1-800-685-4565 or e-mail us for the dates for this tour.
Click on the "pins" for details about each day's highlights.
City (on route)
City (not part of route, provided for reference)
I was overwhelmed with the area, leaders, attention and professional expertise...[My favorite experience was] the last day, Elephant Rock area...the museum in town was quite interesting.
This trip is full of incredible experiences. My own personal favorite was the Fiery Furnace hike...This trip far exceeded my expectations! The pretrip advice was very helpful, and the guides were excellent.