Discover the geological treasures of the American Southwest, exploring Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks. Explore the North Rim of the Grand Canyon on foot, and learn about the powerful forces that have carved this mile-deep chasm over 200 million years. Wind through colorful gorges on a float trip down the Colorado River. Hike amid Zion's wonderland of slot canyons, hanging gardens, and waterfalls, and explore Bryce Canyon's otherworldly maze of crimson-colored spires. Soak up the Old West atmosphere at historic park lodges.
Discover the geologic and natural wonders of three national parks — Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion.
Immerse yourself in the majestic beauty of the American Southwest: hike amid Bryce Canyon's surreal maze of pink spires and Zion's magnificent red rock monuments.
Explore the Grand Canyon on foot, and the Colorado River on a rafting trip.
Stay in historic national park lodges, and learn about the region's unique wildlife and varied vegetation.
Itinerary - 7 Days
Day 1 — St. George, Utah/Grand Canyon
Arrive in St. George and travel southeast into canyon country, stopping at Pipe Springs National Monument and Kaibab Indian Reservation. Upon arrival at the Grand Canyon, check into our historic lodge and learn about its geology from our expert. Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim (L,D)
Day 2 — North Rim of the Grand Canyon
Set out to explore the canyon’s rim, peering into the multi-hued chasm, carved by the Colorado River over millions of years. Choose from a variety of hikes for all levels, and learn about the park’s unique ecosystems and geology while enjoying sweeping views at every turn. Return to the lodge this evening, and capture the canyon’s dazzling colors at sunset. Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim (B,L,D)
Day 3 — Colorado River/Zion National Park
Enjoy the early morning light as it spotlights mesas and mountaintops on our journey to the Colorado River. Float down this scenic and historic river on a leisurely rafting trip starting at the head of the Grand Canyon and wind through colorful gorges and high desert landscapes. Enjoy a riverside picnic before continuing north across the Kaibab Plateau to Zion National Park. Cliffrose Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Zion National Park
Spend today exploring Zion, a wonderland of sandstone slot canyons, lush hanging gardens, and cascading waterfalls. Hike the Emerald Pools Trail, passing under the cool spray of a waterfall. In the afternoon, explore the Narrows of the Virgin River, where our expert will discuss the geological events that have shaped this land for over 200 million years. This evening, explore the town of Springdale located just outside of the park. Cliffrose Lodge (B,L)
Day 5 — Bryce Canyon National Park
Beautiful landscapes unfold as we travel to Bryce National Park. Stop for breathtaking views at Fairyland Point, then stroll along the Rim Trail overlooking Bryce Amphitheater. Settle into our home for the next two nights near the rim of the canyon. Bryce Canyon Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Bryce Canyon National Park
Spend the day exploring Bryce Canyon’s famous hoodoos—whimsical rock formations shaded red, orange, and yellow, which have been eroded into surreal spires. Hike or drive into the heart of the park, and learn about the geology behind this landscape of time-sculpted stone. Bryce Canyon Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Kolob Canyons/St. George
Head to Kolob Canyons, a lesser known area of Zion National Park. Hike up the short Timber Creek Overlook Trail and peer into the red sand-stone expanse. After a final picnic lunch, return to St. George for your flight home. (B,L)
Kirt Kempter is a field geologist and teacher based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A Fulbright Fellow, Kirt has led many geologic expeditions to Bryce, Zion, and Grand Canyon National Parks, and has published numerous maps and articles on the geology of the American Southwest. He has conducted fieldwork on a National Geographic-funded project, as well as studies of plate tectonics and volcanism around the world, including Iceland, Costa Rica, and Mexico. He received his Ph.D. in geology from the University of Texas.
Kirt will join the following departures:
May 26 - Jun 01, 2013 Jul 07 - 13, 2013
Price is per person, double occupancy. Price does not include a 6.25% Utah state sales tax. For a single room, add $800. Airfare from/to your home city and trip leader gratuity are not included in the expedition cost.
What To Expect
This expedition is designed to accommodate guests at different activity levels. Choose hiking options ranging from easy one to two mile walks to moderate or strenuous hikes of four miles or more, depending on your preference.