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Expedition Details


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.

Trip Highlights

    • 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, Arizona

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, Utah

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 & Gardens (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 & Gardens (B,L)

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 (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 (B,L,D).

Day 8 — Kolob Canyon/St. George, Utah

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.

Related Trips

National Geographic Expert

Kitty Coley

Kitty ColeyKitty Coley is a geologist, naturalist, and avid birder who serves as a consultant to National Geographic magazine. She has led the Society’s expeditions for many years, including several trips to these three extraordinary National Parks. Kitty’s specialties include this rugged country’s fantastic geology and its desert plants and ecosystems. In 2006, Kitty kayaked and rafted the Grand Canyon for 21 days on a noncommercial exploratory trip, an experience which she regards as one of the highlights of her life. Kitty’s personal and interactive approach makes traveling with her both educational and fun.

Kitty will join the following departure:

May 27 - Jun 03, 2017



  • May 27 - Jun 03, 2017 (waitlist only)
  • Jun 17 - 24, 2017
  • Jul 08 - 15, 2017
  • Aug 05 - 12, 2017
  • Sep 02 - 09, 2017
  • Sep 09 - 16, 2017 (waitlist only)

Expedition Cost

2016 and 2017


Price is per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $1,050.

Airfare to/from St. George and Utah sales tax are not included in the expedition cost.

Featured Traveler Photo

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.