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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. 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 wonders of three national parks—Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce Canyon—alongside a National Geographic expert.
Set out on an interpretive stargazing excursion along the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Hear an expert describe the geological events that shaped the regions, then delve into Zion’s magnificent sandstone slot canyons and Bryce Canyon’s surreal maze of red spires.
Stay in historic national park lodges, and learn about area wildlife from park rangers.
Itinerary - 8 Days
Day 1 — St. George, Utah
Arrive in St. George by late afternoon and check into our hotel. Meet your guides and fellow travelers at a welcome reception and presentation from a National Geographic Expert before dinner this evening.
Best Western Abbey Inn (D)
Day 2 — St. George, Utah/Grand Canyon, Arizona
The next morning, travel into canyon country,
stopping for a catered picnic lunch at Pipe Springs National Monument-a beautiful desert oasis. We arrive at the North Rim and get our first glimpse of this amazing natural wonder. Walk along the rim and view the colorful rock formations that reveal the region's geological history. After dinner this evening, gather for guided star-gazing outing in this certified 'Dark Sky Park".
Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim (B,L,D)
Day 3 — Grand Canyon North Rim
Set out to explore the canyon’s rim, peering into
the multi-hued chasm carved by the Colorado
River over millions of years. We stop at Point Imperial and Cape Royal for short walks and the chance to capture amazing photos. 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 from the stone balcony overlooking the canyon.
Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Grand Canyon/Zion National Park, Utah
Rise early this morning for a spectacular sunrise viewing before journeying north across the Kaibab Plateau on the Mt. Carmel Scenic Byway passing the vermillion, white and pink cliffs of Grand Staircase and the orchards of Long Valley. Later this afternoon, take a short hike before settling into our hotel in Zion Canyon. This evening learn about the fascinating geological history of the Grand Staircase that stretches from Bryce, through Zion and into Grand Canyon National Park. Flanigan's Inn or Desert Pearl (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Zion National Park
Spend today exploring Zion, a wonderland of
sandstone slot canyons, lush hanging gardens,
and cascading waterfalls. Choose from a variety of hiking options; the Emerald Pools Trail, passing under the cool spray of a waterfall, Angels Landing or the famed Narrows slot canyon. Flaningan's Inn or Desert Pearl (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Bryce Canyon National Park
Bid farewell to Zion this morning with one last hike before continuing on to the last destination of the trip, Bryce Canyon National Park. A hike along the Canyon rim from Fairyland Canyon to Sunset Point offers a breathtaking introduction to the Park. Settle into our home for the next two nights near the rim of the canyon and join a National Park Service Ranger for a starry night telescope viewing on the canyon rim this evening.
Bryce Canyon Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Bryce Canyon National Park
Spend the day exploring Bryce's famous hoodoos and learn about one of the world's geologic masterpieces. From the rim of the canyon, the ground falls away to reveal an unrestrained gallery of hoodoos, fins, mazes and spires in shades of red, orange, pink yellow and cream. Today's hikes wind along the rim and down into this striking landscape. Watch the sun set over the canyon and join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner.
Bryce Canyon Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Kolob Canyon/St. George, Utah
Wind through Red Canyon to Cedar Breaks National Monument and on to Kolob Canyon, a stunning, lesser known area of Zion National Park. Return to St. George this afternoon. (B)
Award-winning Earth science educator, avid outdoorsman, and national parks aficionado Steve Kluge has taught New York Regents and college-level geology courses for more than 35 years. He’s planned and led day, week, and month-long field trips and expeditions that include geology and natural history, cave exploration, and backpacking. He has led a pre-college expeditionary science program on the Juneau Icefield in Alaska and taught geology on the flanks of Hawaiian volcanoes in a semester-long Cornell University field program. Steve has designed fun and rewarding standards-based instructional activities for kids and teens in partnership with National Geographic, the Geological Society of America, NASA, and New York public television. He has also built his own kayaks, one of which he's paddled along most of the coast of Maine. Kirk Johnson of the NY Times described him as a man of "rumbling enthusiasm,” and Steve brings that enthusiasm with him wherever he goes. He looks forward to sharing the wonders of Grand Canyon, Bryce, and Zion National Parks with National Geographic travelers.
Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives, or easy hikes, with options for more physical activities such as hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and biking.
Click here for a description of all activity levels.
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.