- Explore Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks by foot
- See slot canyons, hoodoos, Kodachrome Basin, Virgin River Narrows, and more
- Enjoy activities designed for the whole family
- Stay at REI's Signature Camps, with top-notch amenities and superb service
A trip to the southwest is truly one of America's great family vacations, and REI's family hiking trip at Zion and Bryce has been carefully designed to create a memorable experience for kids and adults alike. Arriving at Bryce Canyon National Park, we descend from the enchanting Fairyland trail to a hidden wash that will bring us to our exclusive REI Signature Campsite. The exploration jumps into nearby Escalante, where two stunning slot canyons wind into the subterranean wonderland of this National Monument. Transferring to our camp in Zion, we drop from the canyon rim into the depths of Zion National Park. Hiking trips take us to Echo Canyon and beyond into the labyrinthine of the Narrows.
Enjoy exceptional panoramic views, brimming with spires and hoodoos, while staying in posh camping accommodations. REI's Signature Campsites feature outstanding access to the parks' best destinations, superb camping amenities, and incredible service. Our highly-skilled and friendly guides love to spill the canyons' secrets as we explore these fantastic destinations.
Kids get an REI day pack — Kids traveling on our Family Adventures will receive an REI day pack for their adventure! Kids age 8-17 will receive the REI Flash 18 Pack (while quantities last, colors may vary). Learn more about REI Family Adventures.
Not traveling with kids under age 18? Check out our Zion & Bryce Hiking – REI Signature Camping trip or inquire about a private departure of this itinerary.
- Day 1 - Travel from Las Vegas to our exclusive Signature Camp at Bryce Canyon.
- Day 2 - Hike through two of Escalante's slot canyons; visit in Kodachrome Basin.
- Day 3 - Hike Bryce Canyon's rim and slot canyons; stay at Zion Signature Camp.
- Day 4 - Trek from the roof of Zion to the Virgin River and explore the Narrows.
- Day 5 - Hike the Pa'Rus trail and a swim in the river; return to Las Vegas.
Trip Itinerary and Details
Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.
Day 1 - Travel from Las Vegas to our exclusive Signature Camp at Bryce Canyon.
Our trip begins today in Las Vegas, Nevada. Arrive into Las Vegas by 10:00 a.m. and transfer independently to the Henderson REI store. Group orientation is at 11:00 a.m. at the store. Our guides will briefly talk us through the basics, ensuring everyone has all they need before we grab a bite to eat at a nearby restaurant and set out for Bryce. Making our way deep into Utah on this 5 hour drive to Bryce Canyon, we'll make a few stops to stretch our legs and pass the rest of the driving time with some travel games from the REI Family Games Bag, before arriving at our exclusive REI Signature Camp at Bryce Canyon. Our guides provide a camp orientation and then we can check into our comfortable tents and prepare to enjoy the first of many delicious meals prepared by our skilled camp chefs! All meals included from lunch on Day 1 to lunch on Day 5.
Day 2 - Hike through two of Escalante's slot canyons; visit in Kodachrome Basin.
Within 45 minutes of our private REI Signature Camp are two of the most accessible and enjoyable slot canyon hiking adventures in Escalante National Monument, a lesser-known but equally spectacular region of southern Utah. Arriving at the mouth of our morning's first slot, we'll pause to learn about the unique natural forces that have formed the canyon along with some basics of slot canyon navigation before we begin. Our selected canyons involve no technical rope travel, but we'll make use of some new skills like "bridging" and "chimneying" as we explore Willis Creek slot. We'll be feeling pretty good about our newfound canyoneering skills as the route reaches its end, and in nearby Kodachrome Basin we find an idyllic spot for one of our guides' great picnic spreads. Enjoy your lunch against the spectacular backdrop of Kodachrome's red and white colored cliffs and large columns of sedimentary pipe-shaped rocks jutting out from the ground. After refueling, if we are feeling up to it, we have the option to take it up a notch and make our way to Round Valley Draw for one more slot canyon adventure. We return to camp and relax with some fun camp games or kids can take part in a sketch session (all supplies provided) of some beautiful features visible from camp such as Bristlecone Ridge. Most evenings there will be time for some extra fun at camp—solving "Criddles" canyon riddles- answering canyon trivia about flora and geology. Another wonderful dinner followed by a delicious, well deserved dessert tonight!
Hiking: 3-5 miles. Our turnaround point is flexible. We will descend into Willis Creek, where we lose 250 ft in elevation steadily in the first 2.5 miles before returning the same way we entered. Total elevation gain/loss for Willis Creek is around 250 ft.
Optional Hike: 3-5 miles. At Round Valley Draw , we lose 100 ft in the first mile before we enter the slot itself then lose another 200 ft over the next 1.5 miles before returning the way we entered. Turnaround point is flexible. Total elevation gain/loss for Round Valley Draw is 300 ft, and total for the day with both hikes combined is 550 ft.
Note: Round Valley slot canyon requires hikers to use their hands and feet and to wedge at times through tight, narrow spaces.
Day 3 - Hike Bryce Canyon's rim and slot canyons; stay at Zion Signature Camp.
After a great breakfast of blueberry pancakes and maple sausage (or one of many other great hot breakfast possibilities), we bid farewell to our REI Signature Camp at Bryce Canyon. We pack our lunch and have a short transfer out to Inspiration Point where we hike along the rim to Sunset Point, enjoying dramatic views along the way. This chain of natural amphitheaters, formed by erosion, is bursting with thousands of brightly colored spires or "hoodoos" striped in red, orange and white, some standing over 200 feet tall, all steeped in the mythology of the ancient Paiute people. The legend of the Paiute says that a long time ago a group of people moved into the area and made coyote angry with their bad behavior. Coyote put a curse on the people, now called "Legend People" turning them to stone. See if you can find the images of people sitting and holding each other in the hoodoos! Hiking along the rim, we take in the views from a range of angles across the canyon before going below the rim to explore the dramatic corridor of stone through Wall Street, returning to the rim via the Navajo Loop. Our van transfer today takes less than two hours as the mountains and mesas of Zion appear in the distance and rise to meet us. We ascend the final stretch of road to our secluded REI Signature Camp at Zion Canyon, above the national park. At camp we'll settle in, enjoy apps and cold drinks together while we're oriented to the site, then enjoy an abundant dinner spread before evening sets in. Time for a game or two from the REI Family Games Bag before grabbing your headlamp and joining the guides for an optional evening hike to take in the sunset from a spectacular viewpoint on the rim before returning to camp for the night.
Hiking: 1.7 miles. Our day begins at Inspiration Point as we hike 0.7 miles to Sunset Point along the rim, gaining only 100 ft. From Sunset Point we descend renowned the Wall Street trail, losing 500 ft quickly in a half mile, then climbing out 500 ft back to the rim to complete the Navajo Loop in another half mile. Total elevation gain today is 550 ft, while total loss is 550 ft.
Optional hike: 1.8 mile. Queens Garden Loop hike.
Day 4 - Trek from the roof of Zion to the Virgin River and explore the Narrows.
We enjoy another scrumptious breakfast in camp, then set out for the Observation Point trailhead. After a quick van transfer, our hike today descends from the canyon rim into the depths of Zion Canyon, the heart of Zion National Park, where we'll emerge from Echo Canyon to enjoy some lovely cottonwoods. If you (or your little ones) would like to skip this descent, we'll be offering a van transfer to the floor of the canyon, stopping off for a variety of short, view-filled hikes along the way. One-mile Canyon Overlook Trail offers stunning views from above the Great Arch back into Zion Canyon, and Weeping Rock Trail offers a short round-trip to a refreshing curtain of dripping spring water. We'll reconvene to enjoy a tasty lunch and then head for the shade of the Narrows – a deep chasm in the earth carved by the North Fork of the Virgin River as it winds from the high aspen forest of the Colorado Plateau and cuts its way down to the foot of the Temple of Sinawava in Zion Canyon. We travel upstream along the steep sandstone walls of the Narrows on a route often described as one of the best hikes in the U.S. before returning to Zion Canyon rim where our transfer vehicle awaits. This spectacular day of hiking offers a variety of dramatic views into the most celebrated wonders of Zion. This might be the best way to experience Zion National Park in 1 day! Tonight, we'll enjoy a final relaxing evening in our REI Signature Camp at Zion, complete with a farewell dinner and celebration with our traveling companions and newfound friends.
Hiking: 9.3 miles (see below for shorter hiking options). Our first hike today leads from the rim of Zion Canyon to the canyon floor. We hike 2.25 miles to start, gaining 300ft before the option to take a short side hike to a very scenic overlook. Returning to the main trail, we steadily descend 2,450 ft in the final 3.75 miles of the route to reach the valley floor. On our second hike we walk approximately one mile before entering the Narrows, where we'll literally get our feet wet as we hike one mile upstream. The water is typically shallow, and we'll very gradually gain about 100 ft before turning around and exiting via the same route. We return to camp by vehicle from main Zion Canyon. Our total elevation gain for the day is 400', and our total loss for the day is 2,550 ft.
Van transfer with shorter hikes: Canyon Overlook Trail: 1 mile round trip with 163 feet of elevation gain and loss; Weeping Rock Trail: .5 mile round trip with 100 feet of elevation gain and loss Narrows hike (from Temple of Sinawava trailhead) : 3+ miles round trip.
Day 5 - Hike the Pa'Rus trail and a swim in the river; return to Las Vegas.
Today, we enjoy our final in camp breakfast before loading the van to return to Las Vegas where our trip ends. En route, we'll enjoy our final adventure walking along the Pa'Rus trail; this is an almost entirely paved trail with footbridges over the Virgin River. We have the chance to cool off with a quick swim before enjoying lunch in Springdale and making a stop at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. See how many 'Ecohunt' signs we can find throughout this "green" building .There is the opportunity to pick up a Zion map or book as a souvenir of your visit. We'll complete the 2.5 hour drive, arriving in Las Vegas between 4 and 5 p.m. Please do not schedule a departing flight prior to 8 p.m. Breakfast and lunch included.
Hiking: ~1.7 miles.
Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.
Four nights camping in our exclusive Zion and Bryce REI Signature Camps; guide leadership; round trip van transportation from Las Vegas; meals as noted in the daily itinerary; beverages including coffee, hot tea and hot chocolate; extra-thick sleeping pads; all group camping equipment; park fees and local taxes.
All operations in Grand Staircase National Monument are conducted under the authorized concessionaire permit of Arizona Outdoor Specialists, Inc.
Flights to/from Las Vegas, NV; airport transfers; alcoholic beverages; sleeping bag; guides gratuities.
Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.
During most months this high desert region receives very little precipitation. However, please be prepared for the possibility of rain. The temperature difference between Zion and Bryce/Escalante is commonly 20 degrees. Generally, summer temperatures average in the 90's in Zion and in the 70's in Bryce. Bear in mind that the dry air and ample shade created by the canyon walls will also make the temperatures feel slightly cooler. While daytime temperatures between Zion and Bryce will vary, our REI Signature Camps are at roughly the same elevation so temperatures in camp in the evenings, at night and in the mornings will be roughly the same, generally in the 40s-50s.
This trip is rated Moderate . Trip members should have some previous hiking experience and be in good physical condition. We recommend a conditioning regimen beginning at least 2-3 months prior to departure that includes hiking (preferably), walking or some other form of cardiovascular exercise (swimming, cycling) in order to prepare for the activity in this adventure. There are some steep sections and exposed overlooks on the various trails we hike. Day 4 is the biggest hiking day with the potential of 9+ miles and a big descent ( 2,450'). There are many options for shorter hikes and/or a van transfer to the valley floor to hike the Narrows. All hikes are optional and our guides will be sure to brief trip members on the vigorousness and exposure of each hike prior to setting out. Our comfortable REI Signature Camp and knowledgeable guides make this a perfect adventure for novices and experienced campers alike.
If you are traveling alone and specifically request single accommodations, you will be asked to pay the single supplement fee. There is no single supplement fee for those willing to share accommodations, and we will assign you a roommate of the same gender if possible. Please be advised that there are a limited number of single accommodations available.General Information
This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and pre-departure information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).
We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.
Family Zion & Bryce Hiking – REI Signature Camping Gear List
The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation. This gear list is provided to help you in choosing your equipment and clothing for this trip. Try to bring only what is necessary.
- REI tents
- Cots and sleeping pads
- Camp furniture and seating
- Cooking and eating utensils
- Stoves and fuel
- Trip leader first-aid kit
- Photo identification
- Airline tickets
- One large luggage piece to store your personal belongings
- Daypack 2000 - 2500 cu. in. to carry your camera, water bottles, lunch, etc.
- Luggage tags and luggage locks
- Rain jacket (or poncho), lightweight, waterproof and breathable
- Rain pants, waterproof and breathable
- Fleece jacket or insulating later (might need for evenings)
- Sleeping bag rated to 30-35°F, light weight, compressible down or synthetic material is best. (Available to rent for additional fee)
- Small travel pillow
- Base layer top and bottoms (spring and fall departures only)
- Hiking pants
- Hiking shorts
- Long-sleeve shirt
- Hiking socks
- Liner socks
- Sun hat
- Hiking boots, sturdy, midweight, broken- in, aggressive tread
- Camp shoes such as tennis shoes or sandals
- Two (2) one-quart water bottles or hydration system
- Flashlight or headlamp, and spare batteries/bulb
- Biodegradable soap and shampoo
- Baby wipes
- Toilet paper
- Sunglasses and retainer strap
- Sun block and lip balm
- Toiletry kit
- Personal first-aid kit, small
- Insect repellent
- Several Ziploc plastic bags for wet clothes and trash
- Camera, film/memory card(s), spare batteries
- Small binoculars
- Watch with alarm or travel clock
- Motion sickness remedies
- Spare contact lenses or glasses
- Reading and writing materials
- Trekking poles
- Ear plugs
Things to Consider
- Please remember to always pack essential items such as your passport, money, eyewear, a change of clothing (including hiking boots) and medications in your carry-on baggage, in case your luggage is delayed. Pack your camera and film in your carry-on, too.
- Cotton is wonderful in warm weather. However, once it becomes wet, it will drain your body heat. Consider also bringing wool or synthetics such as Capilene, MTS and Thermax.
- Always test your layers before a trip. Your outer layer should fit easily over the inside ones without binding and bunching up.
- Make sure hiking boots are broken-in. Bring blister treatment in your personal first-aid kit. Thin liner socks worn under regular hiking socks may minimize the risk of blisters. The liner sock should be synthetic, not cotton. Test your sock combination before you go on the trip.
- Stuff sacks are great for sorting gear. Use different sizes/colors to differentiate contents.
- Snacks: Plenty of food and snacks will be available at all times during the trip. Should you bring your own snacks or powdered drinks, store them in the lock boxes in the kitchen area with the other food items. Never leave food in the tents or in your daypack unattended. Animals will chew through packs and tents to get to the food.
Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.