Kaleidoscope of Color
Fall 2021 • 11 Days • Approx $4150
In addition to walks in four of Utah’s national parks (Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon, and Zion), and a fun visit to the fifth (Capitol Reef), we have included walks or visits to Valley of Fire State Park (Nevada), Goosenecks State Park, Dead Horse Point State Park, and Goblin Valley State Park.
This tour is not yet finalized. We are waiting to finalize our 2021 Schedule till Spring of 2021, and will send out an announcement at that time.
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.
One of the delights of this program, dependent upon weather conditions, is the brilliant fall foliage. From Bluff onward, pockets, sometimes blankets, of yellows, day after day, are highly likely—cottonwoods, box elder, gambel oak, poplars, and perhaps a few late-turning aspens at the higher elevations.
Clearly, we’re enamored with southern Utah, and we think you will be too. Join us for Unforgettable Utah—Kaleidoscope of Color!
- Canyonlands National Park – with a surprising companion walk in Dead Horse Point State Park overlooking dramatically layered sandstone terraces 1000-2000 feet below our trail
- Arches National Park – geologists’ playground with massive red sandstone windows and arches hinting at erosive forces and a scope of time beyond our ability to comprehend
- Monument Valley – boasting some of the most photographed southwestern sights and setting for John Wayne’s first western movie Stagecoach
- Antelope Canyon – symphony of swirling sandstone that defies description
- Bryce Canyon & Zion National Parks – a perfect finale to Unforgettable Utah
This is a draft itinerary. Revisions will be made, and an updated itinerary with finalized dates and pricing will be made available!
Pricing is per person is based on double occupancy.
- All land travel by motorcoach as outlined
- Group airport transfer at end of tour
- Tourist class or better hotel accommodations
- 15 meals: All breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 4 dinners as listed (BLD)
- 7 walk routes as listed
- Walking fees for 5 walks for those collecting AVA walk credit (if AVA sanctions approved)
- WAI Guide service throughout
- Cultural and historical expertise of local guides at select points of interest
- All tipping for group meals, coach driver, and local guides
- Pricing is based on double occupancy. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement. We also provide a roommate matching service for those interested.
Visits to/Admission fees:
- Valley of Fire State Park (Nevada)
- Rainbow Bridge Lake Powell Cruise (Arizona)
- Antelope Canyon Jeep Tour (Arizona)
- Monument Valley with steak cookout lunch (Utah)
- Goosenecks State Park (Utah)
- Arches National Park (Utah)
- Dead Horse Point State Park (Utah)
- Canyonlands National Park (Utah)
- Goblin Valley State Park (Utah)
- Capitol Reef National Park (Utah)
- Guided tour of Highway 12 – All American Road (Utah)
- Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (Utah)
- Anasazi State Park Museum (Utah)
- Wild West Retreat cowboy dinner (Utah)
- Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)
- Zion National Park (Utah)
- More fun stops than we can list!
“Thank you for bringing us up close & personal with this amazingly colorful area. This Unforgettable Utah excursion reminded me I live in the most beautiful and diverse country on earth.”
-Kay E; Bedford, IN
“I think that the area covered by the trip is the most amazing mind-blowing area. This trip has been placed in the top 5 of trips I’ve have taken with WAI.”
-Jill S; Vacaville, CA
“It truly was Unforgettable!”
-Kathleen I; San Lorenzo, CA
“Loved every moment. I’m so happy I was convinced to take this trip. Great experience! Thanks to the work and great company of Dan, Amanda, Ruth and Ron. This trip was much better than expected.”
-Diana H; ON, Canada
“Once again WAI has put together another fantastic trip. Many Thanks!”
-Mamie B; Venice, FL
“I really enjoy and appreciate how WAI includes the local culture in the trips. This was my 3rd WAI trip.”
-Debbie E; Renton, WA
“Glad a 2nd trip was offered and I didn’t miss out on an outstanding adventure. Unforgettable was right.”
-Virginia N; Yakima, WA
“I’m impressed with WAI. We would consider another trip…Denise & Pat were outstanding. The whole group was wonderful & we will miss being with them.”
-Cecile M; Portland, OR
“I’ll be back again & again!..Great organization, great knowledgeable guides, always a great group, new friends with like interests and seeing old friends.”
-Margie M; Gaithersburg, MD
“We always have a good time and know that we will see and learn a lot more than we would if we tried to plan it for ourselves.”
-Bob S; Portland, OR
This is a draft itinerary. Revisions will be made, and an updated itinerary with finalized dates and pricing will be made available!
Click on each day to reveal more details. BLD refers to meals included – Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner.
DAY 1: Arrive Las Vegas, Nevada
We rendezvous today in Las Vegas, the city that never sleeps. Travelers arrive throughout the day, enjoying free time to explore the infamous “strip”. Our first group activity is a Welcome Orientation Meeting in the hotel at 7:00 pm this evening.
DAY 2: Las Vegas – Page, Arizona (BD)
Valley of Fire Walk – 2 km, rated 1B (unsanctioned)
Valley of Fire State Park is one of many little-known gems we discover on this Adventure. Our first walk is on the short side, with two options – the “standard” walk along petroglyph-marked canyon walls to Mouse’s Tank, or the “challenge” walk on the White Dome trail, notable for its many shades of sandstone and a delightful little slot canyon. Following the walk, our coach takes us to the southern boundary of “canyon country” at Page, Arizona, where we enjoy a group dinner at a fun local eatery.
DAY 3: Activities from Page (B)
Glen Canyon Walk – 7 km, rated 2B
An unforgettable day begins with an early start. We set out on a 6-hour cruise on lovely Lake Powell to see Rainbow Bridge, the largest stone bridge on the planet. The bridge is impressive, but the cruise there and back through Glen Canyon’s ever-changing curtain of colorful sandstone is what may impress you more. The afternoon continues with another perspective on the panoramas of the Glen Canyon area, this time by foot. We walk over a mesa set above the lake, taking in impressive panoramas in all directions.
DAY 4: Page – Bluff, Utah (BL)
This morning’s sandstone encore is a Navajo-led excursion to view the ethereal play of light and shadow on the swirling curved walls of Antelope Canyon. An open-sided jeep ride takes us to the mouth of the narrow, slot canyon, and our local Navajo guide walks us through while we marvel at stone surfaces that look so convincingly like whipped cream. Early this afternoon, we arrive across the border in Monument Valley, storied setting for countless movies, including the western Stagecoach that propelled John Wayne to stardom. A cookout steak lunch in the company of our Navajo hosts is a perfect introduction to this time-forgotten land. En route to a lovely country hotel in Bluff, we stop at Goosenecks State Park to wonder at the 1000-foot deep oxbow trenches of the San Juan River, looping lazily below us.
DAY 5: Bluff – Moab, Utah (BD)
Arches National Park Walk – 9 km, rated 1B
Moab serves as a base for two unforgettable national park experiences. After a pleasant drive north from Bluff, 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 6: 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 through. Vistas offered on these walks are among the most dramatic we’ve ever witnessed!
DAY 7: 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 8: Activities from Escalante (BD)
Shannon, a born and raised local, hosts us on a driving tour this morning along Highway 12 through 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 9: Escalante – Springdale, Utah (B)
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 10: Activities from Springdale (BD)
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 9 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! Next rendezvous is back at the hotel this evening for a fun Farewell Dinner at a local eatery to reminisce about the sights and scenes of the Adventure.
DAY 11: Depart from Las Vegas (B)
Breakfast is followed by a drive across the desert to Las Vegas International Airport. Here, we say farewell to our walking pals, and to an otherworldly walking adventure in Unforgettable Utah!
How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?
We are not accepting deposits on our 2021 tours at this time. We are waiting to finalize our 2021 Schedule till the Spring of 2021, and will send out an announcement then.
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.
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.
How Is Airfare Arranged?
This tour starts and finishes in Las Vegas, Nevada. Travelers will fly into and out of the McCarran International Airport (LAS). The official start point for this Adventure is the Fairfield Inn by Marriott Las Vegas Convention Center. We offer a group transfer to the McCarran International Airport at the end of the tour. More details about flight arrangements and travel agent contact information will be available after dates and pricing for this tour have been finalized.
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.
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:
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.
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.