Learn about indigenous culture and history in Monument Valley during a tour led by a Navajo guide and spend the night in a traditional hogan hut.. Hike past sculpted sandstone formations, waterfalls and hanging gardens in Zion National Park, roasting s’mores around a campfire by night.. See the exquisite sandstone arches of the aptly named Arches National Park and witness spectacular desert colours during a sunset hike.. Get closer to nature in cabins and campsites, the perfect way to take advantage of Utah’s dark skies for some premier stargazing.
Utah packs a lot into 200,000 square kilometres – more than many countries, let alone states, could ever imagine. Hit the road and head into the vast desert on this eight-day Lonely Planet Experience, powered by Intrepid. Leave Vegas behind to discover the tranquillity of the hidden gardens of Zion, iconic Monument Valley, the inspiring scenery of Moab and the majestic spires of Bryce Canyon. Find the heart of this giant continent on a journey to some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring parts of the USA.
Breakfast Included: Lunches Included: Dinner Included: 1
Welcome to Las Vegas! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting in the hotel lobby at 6 pm today. If you arrive early in the desert city, there's plenty to see and do, even if gambling isn't your thing. Hit the shops, feel your stomach drop on a rooftop roller-coaster or simply stroll along the extravagance of the Strip, walking through the casinos and past the desert palms. In the evening, perhaps feast in one of Vegas’ restaurants or buffets, check out one of the large array of stage shows on offer or party the night away in a Vegas nightclub.
Zion National Park
Today, leave Nevada and drive for around 3 hours to Zion National Park. The park is home to stunning desert landscapes, sculpted sandstone formations, waterfalls and hanging gardens. There will be plenty of time on arrival to stretch your legs and have a good look around the park. The Emerald Pools trail, a two-hour stroll past a lush stream, is a good option for those who don't want anything too strenuous. If you are feeling adventurous and have a decent level of fitness (plus aren't afraid of heights), you might want to tackle the famous Angels Landing trail. Taking around six hours and following a path with sheer drops on either side, this isn't for the faint of heart. However, the views from the top of the rock formation are spectacular. In the evening, set up camp for the night.
Zion National Park
You’ll have a full day to explore what you missed yesterday in Zion. It would be the ideal time to head on a longer hike, potentially to admire the beauty of the flowing streams along The Narrows, or a steep climb to an incredible view at Observation Point. The national park can also be discovered via shuttle or an optional float trip, giving your feet a well-deserved rest. At night, don’t forget to look up at the dazzling night skies while camping and enjoy and try your luck at stargazing – quite perfectly combined with some s’mores around the campfire.
Drive through southern Utah to Monument Valley, so-named for the giant sandstone formations scattered across the desert. Passing by stunning lookouts and by Forrest Gump’s desert running scene, make sure to also check out the Navajo roadside stalls for some authentic goods, and if you’re lucky, some fried bread. The backdrop for countless Westerns, the valley is part of a massive Navajo reservation, and there’s no better way than heading out on an incredible guided jeep tour. Get your camera out and snap some photos of the spectacular landscape, which changes colour with the setting of the sun. Take in the stunning night skies and spend the night in a hogan, a traditional Navajo hut made of logs and earth. Total driving time today is approximately 3 hours.
Continue on your journey this morning through the impressive landscape of Utah. On the way north to Moab, you’re going to see some incredible scenery, including Goosenecks State Park overlook, Muley Point and Moki Dugway. Moab is a small city in Utah that attracts hikers, mountain bikers and nature enthusiasts to the incredible Canyonlands and Arches National Parks. Arches National Park is punctuated with spectacularly eroded sandstone formations and contains the world's largest concentration of natural stone arches. Take a group hike at sunset to see famous sights such as Delicate Arch.
Experience Moab for a second day, filled with towering rock formations, winding trails and never-ending horizons. Hopefully there will be time to take a group hike in the Arches in the morning before the day gets too hot, however the afternoon is yours to explore. Perhaps book yourself into a raft float trip down the Colorado River, or test your balance with some stand-up paddleboarding. If you need to give your weary muscles a rest, a Slickrock Hummer tour might be your thing – though keep in mind it’s not exactly a smooth journey. At nightfall, maybe head into town and hit the local brewery.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park is next on the list. On the way, you’ll stop and admire the golden sandstone of Capitol Reef, and refuel at the unique Kiva Koffeehouse, which overlooks the expanse of the Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument. Once arrived, there is a chance to hike a section of Bryce Canyon: from the easy Rim Trail, to the moderate Queen's Garden Trail or the strenuous Peek-a-boo Loop. The canyon is famous for its 'hoodoos' – odd-shaped rock spires formed by centuries of erosion. Wherever you walk, there are unique landscapes and a kaleidoscope of desert colours, especially at sunset. If you're keen to live out a Wild West fantasy, chat to the group leader about a horse-riding optional activity.
Today, drive across the border into Nevada and back to Las Vegas, where your trip ends on arrival. No accommodation is provided for tonight, however, if you do wish to spend extra time in Las Vegas, we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).