Unforgettable Utah

Kaleidoscope of Color

October 11-21, 2017 • 11 Days • $3450

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 the state parks in this area as well Valley of Fire State Park (Nevada), Goosenecks State Park, Dead Horse Point State Park, and Goblin Valley State Park!

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WAI Guide Dan Friesen presents Unforgettable Utah 2017 at one of our Tour Presentations.

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View Daily Itinerary

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!

Highlights:

  • Canyonlands National Park – with a surprising companion walk in Dead Horse Gap State Park overlooking dramatically layered sandstone 1000 – 2000 feet below our trail
  • Arches National Park – geologist’s 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 southwest sights and the setting for John Wayne’s first western movie “Stagecoach”
  • Antelope Canyon – symphony of swirling sandstone that defies imagination
  • Bryce Canyon & Zion National Parks—perfect finale to Unforgettable Utah

Including:

  • All land travel as outlined
  • Superior tourist-class (3-star) or better hotel accommodations
  • 15 meals: All breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 4 dinners as listed (BLD)
  • 7 walks – 5 sanctioned by the American Volkssport Association (applied for)
  • Fees for walking credit
  • WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
  • Tips for coach driver
  • A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $790

Activities/Visits to:

  • Valley of Fire State Park (Nevada)
  • Rainbow Bridge Lake Powell Cruise (Arizona)
  • Antelope Canyon Jeep Tour (Arizona)
  • Monument Valley Tribal Park 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
  • 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

Adventure Pace

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

Important Info

Group Size

25-30 travelers

Hotels

Strategically located Superior Tourist Class (3 star) hotels or better

Meals

Breakfasts included with a selection of lunches and dinners. Letters BLD indicate which meals are included.

Airfare

Not included. Start and finish point is Las Vegas, Nevada.

Transportation

Included. We use full-size motorcoaches with a seating capacity of 45+ seats.

Traveler Age

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

Your Guides

WAI Guides Scott & Ruth Burk on Unforgettable Utah Walking TourScott and Ruth Burk have spent much of their free time over the last two decades exploring the world, while successfully instilling wanderlust in their two teenage children. Ruth now operates her own business as a writer consultant for high tech companies, and Scott serves as an air traffic control manager for the Portland, Oregon airport. They love travelling and sharing their experiences with others!

Itinerary

DAY 1-Oct 11: 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-Oct 12: 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 to the southern boundary of “canyon country” at Page, Arizona, where a group dinner is planned at one of the local eateries.

DAY 3-Oct 13: 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 impresses most. The afternoon continues with another perspective on the panoramas of the Glen Canyon area, this time on a walk on a mesa set above the lake with impressive panoramas in all directions.

DAY 4-Oct 14: 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 movie Western Stagecoach that propelled John Wayne to stardom. A cookout steak lunch looking out over the valley 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-Oct 15: Bluff – Moab, Utah (BD)

Arches National Park Walk – 9 km, rated 1C

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-Oct 16: 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 get that 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-Oct 17: 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-Oct 18: Activities from Escalante (BD)

Shannon, a born and raised local, leads 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-Oct 19: 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-Oct 20: 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, giving you 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-Oct 21: Return home 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!

More Details

How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?

We are now accepting reservations. Call or mail in your registration ($500) to save your spot! A maximum of 30 travelers will be accepted.

Already Early Birded?

If you are among the travelers who submitted a $50 Early Bird deposit, you have until October 26 to secure your spot with an additional $450 (total of $500) registration.

First Time Traveler Savings

In appreciation for joining us for your first Walking Adventure, we offer new travelers a $200 credit on this domestic Adventure!

Group Travel Credit

If you are part of a Group, remember that your full deposit of $500 is still required to hold your spot on this Adventure. Your group leader is responsible to submit your name in writing to us before you make your $500 registration payment, qualifying you for the Group Travel Credit. A full registration payment is needed to officially reserve your place. Your Group Travel Credit will then be applied to your final statement.

Check out more information on the Group Travel Program.

General Tour Conditions and Registration Form

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!

How Is Airfare Arranged?

The official start/finish point for this tour is the Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (airport code LAS). We recommend that you contact 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 in the Adventure Advice flyer, mailed to you after you register for the Adventure. Please do not book your airfare prior to receiving the Adventure Advice flyer!

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. Most of the walks on this Adventure are guided walks. The success of the walks is therefore predicated upon walkers having this minimum level of 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, provided by the American Volkssport Association (AVA), 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.

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.

Many travel insurance providers are available for you to consider. Debbi Custer of World Travel Inc., a travel agent who provides air travel services to many WAI travelers, can provide travel insurance options for your WAI tour as well as your airfare (email debbi@wtpdx.com -OR- call 888-276-0925 / 503-231-9507). For those of you who purchase airfare through Debbi, purchasing your travel insurance from her as well may be the simplest option. As always, do some shopping to ensure you are getting the best value. Using the Insuremytrip.com website can be a good way to compare pricing.

Other options include:

  • Betins
  • Allianz
  • Travelex
  • 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). In addition, be aware  that some travel insurance policies contain time-sensitive provisions—i.e. some benefits are available only if the policy is purchased within a certain number of days of the purchase  of the travel package.

What happens next?

Upon registering for this Adventure, you will receive a welcome letter and initial invoice. The Adventure Advice flyer 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 receive the Adventure Advice flyer. The final payment for the program is due 90 days before departure, and you will receive a final billing packet about 2 weeks prior to that point, along with a factsheet of additional information about the Adventure to help you get prepared! Then, about 3 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.

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!