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.
Immerse yourself in the majestic beauty of the American Southwest,
discovering the geological wonders of three national parks—Grand
Canyon, Zion, and Bryce Canyon.
Hike amid Bryce Canyon’s surreal maze of red spires and Zion’s
magnificent red rock monuments with a seasoned naturalist.
Explore the Grand Canyon on foot and learn about its unique geology.
Stay in historic national park lodges, and learn about the region’s
wildlife and varied vegetation.
Itinerary - 8 Days
Days 1 & 2 — St. George, Utah/Grand Canyon
Arrive in St. George and check into our hotel.
The next morning, travel 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. Hilton Garden Inn St. George; 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. 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.
Day 4 — Zion National Park
Journey north across the Kaibab Plateau into Zion
National Park, stopping for a picnic lunch on the
way. Check into our hotel and relax, or take an
optional walk along a trail that parallels the Virgin River. Cliffrose Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 5 — 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, visit the town of
Springdale located just outside of the park. Cliffrose Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Bryce Canyon National Park
Beautiful landscapes unfold as we travel to Bryce
Canyon. 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 or Best Western Bryce Canyon Hotel (B,L,D).
Day 7 — Bryce Canyon National Park
Spend the day exploring Bryce Canyon’s famous
hoodoos—whimsical rock formations in 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 or Best Western Bryce Canyon Hotel (B,L,D).
Day 8 — Kolob Canyon/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 sandstone
expanse. After a final picnic lunch, return to
St. George for your flight home. (B,L)
Stewart Aitchison has been exploring, photographing, teaching, and writing about biodiversity, geology, and the American Southwest for forty years. He frequently travels as a naturalist and photo instructor aboard the National Geographic-Lindblad fleet. Stewart also spent ten years as a field biologist for the Museum of Northern Arizona, a nonprofit institution dedicated to preserving the Colorado Plateau's natural and cultural heritage. His travels and studies have resulted in more than 20 books, including the bestselling Grand Canyon: Window of Time, a photography book focused on the history, geology, and mystery of this natural wonder. His latest book is The Desert Islands of Mexico's Sea of Cortez. Stewart's photos have appeared in National Geographic, Arizona Highways, the Los Angeles Times, Mountain Bike magazine, National Wildlife, Nevada magazine, Outdoor & Travel Photography, Reader's Digest, and Sierra.