Kaleidoscope of Color
Projected Dates: October 4-14, 2020 • 11 Days • Price TBA
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.
Traveler Rewards Program: New Travelers receive a $200 discount on the Unforgettable Utah tour! Returning travelers receive our Alumni Traveler Discount of 5-10% off the main tour price. Terms, exclusions and conditions apply. Check out our Traveler Rewards page for more details.
Now accepting Early Bird deposits on this potential 2020 tour! If 25 Early Birds are received for this departure, we’ll add it to the official 2020 Schedule. An Early Bird is a $50 deposit that holds your spot during the planning stages of a trip, when we don’t have a set itinerary or dates. Early Birds are always refundable!
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 canyons comprised of stunningly-colorful, bizarrely-shaped stone. It truly feels like its own world, shut off from the rest of planet Earth. In fact, 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 surprises of this program, depending upon weather conditions, is the colorful fall foliage. From Bluff onward, the likelihood is strong for pockets, sometimes blankets, of yellows, day after day—cottonwoods, box elder, gambel oak, poplars, and perhaps a few late-turning aspens at the higher elevations. Clearly, we’re enamored with southern Utah. We think you will be too, even if you’ve already been there to see the national parks.
Join us for Unforgettable Utah—Kaleidoscope of Color!
- Canyonlands National Park – with a surprising companion walk in Dead Horse Gap 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 are currently being made, and an updated itinerary with dates and pricing will be made available!
- All land travel as outlined
- Tourist class or better hotel accommodations
- 15 meals: All breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 4 dinners as listed (BLD)
- 7 walks
- Fees for those collecting AVA credit
- WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
- Cultural and historical expertise of local guides at several points of interest
- Tips for local guides, coach driver and group meals
- Pricing is based on double occupancy. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement.
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 are currently being made, and an updated itinerary with dates and pricing will be made available!
Click on each day for more details.
DAY 1: Arrive Las Vegas, Nevada
We rendezvous today in Las Vegas, the city that never sleeps. Since travelers arrive throughout the day, our first group activity is a Welcome Orientation Meeting in the hotel at 7:30 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 you’ll discover on this Adventure. Our first walk is on the short side, and there are two options – the “standard” walk through 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 a group dinner is planned at one of the local eateries.
DAY 3: Activities from Page (B)
Glen Canyon Walk – 7 km, rated 2B
An unforgettable day begins with an early wakeup call followed by a 6-hour cruise on lovely Lake Powell to see Rainbow Bridge, 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 wall is what may impress you more. The afternoon continues with another perspective on the panoramas of the Glen Canyon area, this time on a walk over a mesa set above the lake with 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 spiral walls of Antelope Canyon. We travel there in open-sided jeeps, then walk through the narrow, slot canyon with our Navajo guide. It’s hard to believe stone surfaces can 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 gape at the San Juan River looping lazily below us in 1000-foot deep oxbow trenches.
DAY 5: Bluff – Moab, Utah (BD)
Arches National Park Walk – 9 km, rated 2C
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 Park. We experience a top-of-the-world feeling walking along mesa rims looking down 2000 feet to the canyon floor spread before us to infinity. Our eyes are drawn deeper, grasping for glimpses into gaping grooves carved still lower, a third tier in which the Colorado and Green Rivers flow. 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 here 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 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 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 will 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 – Kaleidoscope of Color!
Click on each heading for more details.
How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?
Call or mail in your refundable Early Bird ($50) to save your spot! A maximum of 28 travelers will be accepted on this Adventure. Our guide to traveler ratios is 1:14.
Early Bird deposits are refundable $50 deposits which serve to hold your spot on a tour until dates and pricing have been confirmed. Once all details on a tour have been finalized, travelers can then register with an additional $450 deposit to bring their total on a tour up to $500.
Traveler Rewards Program
New Travelers receive a $200 discount on the Unforgettable Utah tour! Returning travelers receive our Alumni Traveler Discount of 5-10% off the main tour price. Terms, exclusions and conditions apply. See the Traveler Rewards page for more details or contact us with any questions at 800.779.0353 or [email protected].
Elevation on Tour
We are traveling on the Colorado Plateau throughout most of the Unforgettable Utah tour. 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. Bryce Canyon is near the end of the trip, however, so 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.
How Is Airfare Arranged?
The official start/finish point for this tour is in Las Vegas, NV. More details about flight arrangements and travel agent contact information will be made available after this tour has 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. 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:
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.
What happens next?
We are currently developing the itinerary for this Adventure. Once the itinerary is released, we will accept registration deposits ($500) to save space.
If you have Early Birded with a refundable $50 deposit, your spot on the tour will be held for 2 weeks after the itinerary is published while you make a decision on whether or not you’d like to register with an additional $450 deposit, bringing your total on the tour up to $500. If you decide not to join us for this tour, your Early Bird can be refunded or transferred to another tour.
Enjoy perusing this itinerary—it’s always a thrill to offer such an amazing itinerary almost in our backyard. Utah is a fascinating pocket of American countryside, chock-full of natural wonders and scenic vistas!
We look forward to walking Unforgettable Utah with you!