Utah’s Mighty Five

October 25-November 1, 2020 • 8 Days • SALE! $2250 * SOLD OUT!

Small Group Tour * Max 7 Travelers per Van!

Arrive: Salt Lake City, UT
Depart: Las Vegas, NV

Join us for an excursion through Utah’s Mighty Five National Parks! This unique small group van tour of amazing Utah includes 5 national parks and 3 state parks!

Reserve your spot on this tour with a refundable $100 Registration Deposit!

Video Overview

Take a brief look at Utah’s Mighty Five.

We spend nearly all of our Adventure exploring the Colorado Plateau, a geology wonderland covering southern Utah and parts of Colorado and Arizona. This high plateau is crisscrossed by a seemingly endless spider web of stunningly-colorful, bizarrely-shaped stone canyons. It truly feels like its own world, shut off from the rest of planet Earth, and the central part of Utah, from Boulder to Escalante, was one of the last places in the Lower 48 to be penetrated by roads, rather than be serviced by packmules. You’ll understand why when we drive Utah’s Journey through Time Scenic Byway along the Hogsback, a narrow bridge of stone, surrounded by a sea of sandstone valleys, barely wide enough to lay a 2-lane road.

We will be offering Utah’s Mighty Five as a small group tour only, using 12 passenger vans to ferry our way through the highlights of this gorgeous red rock state. We’ll allow 7 travelers max on each small van, in addition to your WAI guide!

Join us for this once in a lifetime small group van tour amidst the wonders of amazing Utah!

What’s Included:

Pricing is per person is based on double occupancy.

  • All land travel by 12 passenger van as outlined
  • Group airport transfer at end of tour
  • Tourist class or better hotel accommodations
  • 6 meals: 5 breakfasts and 1 dinner
  • 5 walk routes as listed
  • Walking fees for 4 walks for those collecting AVA walk credit (if AVA sanctions approved)
  • WAI guide service throughout
  • Cultural and historical expertise of our local guide in Escalante area
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $450. We also provide a roommate matching service for those interested.

Visits to/Admission fees

  • Wild West Retreat Dinner
  • Arches National Park
  • Dead Horse Point State Park
  • Canyonlands National Park
  • Goblin Valley State Park
  • Capitol Reef National Park
  • Guided tour of Highway 12 – All American Road
  • Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
  • Anasazi State Park Museum
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Zion National Park

Adventure Pace

Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5

Important Info

Group Size

We’ll take up to 7 travelers in each van

Hotels

Strategically located Tourist Class accommodations or better

Meals

6 meals included: 5 breakfasts, 1 dinner. Additional meal options on this tour will offer a combo of restaurant options and grocery stops/picnics.

Airfare

Not included. Start point is Salt Lake City International Airport, Utah (SLC) and finish point is McCarran International Airport (LAS), Las Vegas, Nevada.

Transportation

12 Passenger Vans

Traveler Age

Our travelers usually range from 50–75 years of age. All ages welcome!

Your Guide

Guide Dan FriesenDan Friesen has been guiding tours for over 25 years on all 7 continents. Dan will be lead guide on our new Utah’s Mighty Five tour, and is looking forward to sharing the geological wonders and fantastic walking trails of this gorgeous state with you!

Itinerary

Click on each day to reveal more details. BD refers to meals included – Breakfast or Dinner.

Day 1-Oct 25: Arrive Salt Lake City, Utah

Optional Salt Lake City, Utah Capital Walk – 5/10 km, rated 2B

Travelers arrive into Salt Lake City today for the beginning of our Small Group Van Tour of fantastic Utah. No activities are planned for the day but walkers are welcome to explore Salt Lake City, Utah’s state capital on a walk sponsored by a local walking club. We’ll rendezvous at the hotel this evening for a Welcome Orientation get together.

Day 2-Oct 26: Salt Lake City – Moab, Utah (B)

Arches National Park Walk – 9 km, rated 1B

A lengthy drive down country roads takes us into the Colorado Plateau area that we’ll be traveling through for the rest of the adventure. The small town of Moab serves as a base for two unforgettable national park experiences. Today’s 3-part walk in Arches National Park is characterized by graceful, gargantuan arches and windows carved into magnificent reddish sand-stone monoliths. The bonus of walking right up to many of the formations adds an almost sacred sense of scale to the experience.

Day 3-Oct 27: Activities from Moab (B)

Canyonlands National Park Walk – 11 km, rated 2C

A 4-kilometer walk at Dead Horse Point State Park is a great warm up for the main event in Canyonlands—three additional short trails in the aptly-named Island in the Sky section of the National Park. A top-of-the-world feeling overtakes us as we walk along mesa rims, looking down 2000 feet to the canyon floor spread before us to infinity. Our eyes are drawn deeper still, into the dark grooves of a third tier of sandstone below, through which the Colorado and Green Rivers have carved their way. Vistas offered on these walks are among the most dramatic we’ve ever witnessed!

Day 4-Oct 28: Moab - Escalante, Utah (B)

Goblin Valley Walk – 3 km, rated 1B (unsanctioned)

Goblin Valley really shouldn’t be situated on planet Earth. The goofy, mud-colored, larger-than-life shapes seem to belong more in a corny, 1960s sci-fi film. The fact that they’re real, however, allows us to share child-like delight as we wander through the bizarre formations. Capitol Reef National Park also has its share of geological wonders, mostly inaccessible to our coach, but it’s the early 20th century settlement of Fruita that makes this park unique. Fruit orchards offering a variety of produce are still tended by National Park Service staff. The final leg of our journey takes us down storied Highway 12, designated an All-American Road for its combined offerings of scenery and history.

Day 5-Oct 29: Activities from Escalante (D)

Shannon, a born and raised local, hosts us on a driving tour this morning along Highway 12 through the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to Boulder. Our stop at Anasazi State Park Museum sheds light on the mysterious predecessors of the Navajo, the Anasazi, who inhabited this part of the Southwest for over a thousand years! On the return drive, we enjoy the view while Shannon shares memorable tidbits on the area’s history and culture, and maybe even a dinosaur track sighting! This evening, we meet Shannon’s wife, Jenifer, our hostess for a down-home Utah, back-country dinner at the Wild West Retreat.

Day 6-Oct 30: Escalante – Springdale, Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park Walk – 9 km, rated 2B

Bryce Canyon boasts some of the most colorful, fantastical rock formations on a journey chock-full of incredible canyons of color! We walk at our highest elevation here, over 8,000 FASL, and use two different trails to see the canyon. Part 1 has a “standard” option along the rim or a “challenge” option that drops down amongst the captivating hoodoo formations of the Queen’s Garden trail. More scenic driving takes us through tunnels east of Zion National Park to Springdale, situated on the southern border of Zion, and our home for the last two nights.

Day 7-Oct 31: Activities from Springdale (B)

Zion National Park Walk – 10 km, rated 1B

Zion’s excellent shuttle system and network of trails and viewpoints make this a delightful, low-stress way to unwind after 6 days packed with “amazing”! WAI guides orient you to the Park and the shuttle service, providing our trail recommendations and approach to Zion, then you are on your own to enjoy the day!

Day 8-Nov 1: Depart from Las Vegas, Nevada (B)

Breakfast is followed by a drive across the desert to the Las Vegas McCarran International Airport. Here, we say farewell to our walking pals, and to an otherworldly walking adventure in amazing Utah!

More Details

Click on each heading for more details.

How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?

To save yourself a spot on this Adventure, contact us to register with a refundable $100 deposit for the tour. Our group size for this particular adventure will be no more than 7 travelers per van.

Modified Payment Terms

Cancellations received in writing by October 14, 2020 will receive a full refund. The final payment is due October 15, 2020 and is nonrefundable. No refunds will be made on any unused or cancelled services once the tour has commenced.

Please view our updated General Tour Conditions for more details on our policies and cancellation terms.

General Tour Conditions and Registration Forms

To finalize your official registration, a completed and signed copy of the Registration Form is necessary. Please be sure to read all the fun stuff (the fine print) in the General Tour Conditions!

Travel by Van

While we have made this adjustment to our Utah tour to abide by special travel guidelines at this time, we are excited to take advantage of some of the new options van travel will allow.

By using a van instead of a bus, our small group tour will be able to:

  • Offer more flexibility in the day’s schedule, making additional stops along the way available!
  • A smaller group will improve restroom stops and allow us easier entry into restaurants and grocery stores.
  • A smaller vehicle such as a van will also give us easier access to turn-outs and highways, allowing us to take the scenic option rather than the freeway, more often than not!

How Is Airfare Arranged?

This tour starts in Salt Lake City, Utah and finishes in Las Vegas, Nevada. Travelers will fly into the Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) and out of the McCarran International Airport (LAS). We offer a group transfer to the McCarran International Airport at the end of the tour. We recommend that you contact Laura Pfahler, the travel agent we work with, to help book your flight arrangements. In this age of airfare complications and airport uncertainty, using a travel agent is a good investment! More details about flight arrangements and travel agent contact information will be provided by email after you register for the Adventure.  Please do not book your airfare prior to receiving these flight details from us!

Tour Accommodations

Good quality, tourist-class accommodations are the standard for our Adventure. Most accommodations on this tour are selected primarily as a practical base from which to pursue our itinerary. Because much of this Adventure is in small town Utah, a few of our properties are quality motels reflecting the spirit of our setting, which we think you’ll enjoy. Many, but not all, of our accommodations on this adventure are single-floor or have elevators. Travelers should be able to carry their luggage up a number of steps to get to a second-floor room if necessary.

Elevation on Tour

Through most of this adventure, we are traveling on the Colorado Plateau. The elevation of our hotels—where we overnight—has a greater impact on us physically than where we travel or walk during the day. That is, the elevation of where you sleep overnight is usually more important than the elevation of activities during the day. Our hotels are located around 4000 to 5000 feet above sea level, with one just under 6000 feet above sea level. Activities are generally in that range as well, with the exception of the walk at Bryce Canyon National Park, where we are at about 9000 feet above sea level for activities on this day. Because Bryce Canyon is near the end of the trip, it is possible that your body will have acclimated to mid-range altitudes by that time. It is important to pursue any concerns you have about altitude with your doctor. As always, travelers are free to opt out of any activities.

What about the walks?

We generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. In most cases, we are not “strolling.” We are walking at a relaxed but steady pace. Your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. Because these are guided group walks, the success of the walks is predicated upon walkers having this minimum level of fitness in order to ensure that we are walking at a somewhat similar pace.

If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand in order to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion. If you have questions about your ability to participate, please talk with our office at 1.800.779.0353.

We have adopted a walk difficulty rating system which contains a numeric indicator for trail incline and an alpha indicator for trail terrain. The explanation for this system is presented below:

INCLINE

1. Very small hills or very little stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: up to 200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 1000-2000 feet.
4. Lots of significant hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 2000-3500 feet.
5. Many steep hills. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: more than 3500 feet.

TERRAIN

A. Almost entirely on pavement.
B. A significant part of the route is on well-groomed trails with very few obstacles.
C. A significant part of the route is on somewhat difficult terrain (rocky / rooted paths or soft sand).
D. A significant part of the route is on very difficult terrain.
E. The majority of the route is on very difficult terrain.

No Traveler Discounts

No traveler rewards or discounts are available for this tour.

Travel Insurance

WAI believes strongly in the importance of travel insurance for financial and medical protection from any number of unforeseen circumstances that can arise before departure or during your Adventure. This is now especially true in the era of COVID-19, which is typically treated like any other illness for travel insurance purposes. Many travel insurance providers are available for you to consider. Laura Pfahler and Sharon Mitchell of World Travel Inc. are travel agents who provides air travel and insurance services to many WAI travelers.

Check out Insurance Tips from World Travel for a short introduction to travel insurance. (NOTE: WAI receives no commission or financial remuneration from World Travel Inc.).

As always, do some shopping to ensure you are getting the best value. Using the squaremouth.com website can be a good way to compare pricing.

Other options include:

  • Allianz
  • Betins
  • Travel Guard
  • Travel Insured International

NOTE: We suggest purchasing from a reputable, well-established insurance company (avoid buying insurance from an unknown company found only online). Travelers interested in purchasing “cancel for any reason” insurance coverage should be careful to check pricing and terms BEFORE they register for a tour. Recent changes in the international travel landscape has caused changes in the policies of some insurance companies, and made the purchase of this particular type of policy even more time-sensitive.

COVID-19 Policies and Procedures

This COVID-19 Policies and Procedures document identifies and explains Covid-19 mitigation policies and procedures WAI is using as a starting point for our fall 2020 tours. Because the knowledge base about COVID-19 changes daily, we review these policies and procedures on an ongoing basis, and will, of course, notify travelers on tour of updates as we approach the departure date of your tour.

Contact our office with any questions at 800.779.0353 or [email protected].

COVID-19 Travel Waiver

During this age of COVID-19, WAI evaluates worldwide reports and conditions on an ongoing basis. Please read our COVID-19 Policies and Procedures document before signing the COVID-19 Travel Waiver. Participation in this tour requires your signature on the COVID-19 Travel Waiver.

Contact our office with any questions at 800.779.0353 or [email protected].

Tour Cancellations

Walking Adventures International reserves the right to cancel this tour departure with fewer than 5 participants, in which case registered participants will receive a 100% refund of payments received. This refund policy contains one exclusion related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Many suppliers require non-refundable deposits as a condition of booking services. Unforeseen circumstances linked to the virus can force us to cancel a tour. Due to these supplier’s non-refundable policies, WAI intends to retrieve as much of these deposits as possible, but cannot guarantee a 100% refund. In cases where full refunds cannot be obtained for a cancelled tour, we will do our best to transfer unrefunded money as traveler credits to be applied to a future tour to that destination.

View our full Coronavirus FAQ for more details.

What happens next?

Upon registering for this Adventure, you will receive a welcome letter and initial invoice. An email with critical information on flight arrangements will be sent soon after, with important information about steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review the Flight Arrangements email. About 1-2 weeks before departure, you will receive a final packet with all the details of the program, including hotel names and contact information, a list of fellow travelers, and a more detailed daily schedule.

Take a few minutes to peruse the enclosed itinerary. In the end, we think you will agree that walking is still and always the best way to experience our world. Give us a call and talk to one of our Adventure Consultants about how to join us for this unforgettable Walking Adventure program in amazing Utah.