Utah National Parks Ultimate Adventure

Trip Length 8 Days
Group Size 4-12
Difficulty
Starting from
$3,099 for REI Members
$3,400 for non-members
Departures May 2020-Sep 2020
Mon���Fri 7am���5pm PT

Canyonlands, Arches, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon and Zion: this 8-day trip covers them all.

This trip combines five exceptional national park experiences into one unforgettable adventure. The national parks of southern Utah are a masterful expression of nature?s best work. Unique landscapes sculpted over the millennia by powerful forces of erosion highlight the vast beauty of the high desert. Hike along some of the most spectacular trails in the American Southwest by day, and relax in comfort and good company at our cozy campsites each night.

Hike amid spectacular hoodoos in Bryce Canyon. Experience otherworldly tranquility in Canyonlands. Feel small while wading in the magnificent Zion River Narrows. Explore a 100-mile-long wrinkle in the Earth's crust in Capitol Reef. Lose count of the number of incredible arches found in aptly-named Arches National Park. With each bend in the trail comes another breathtaking landscape. Along the way, our guides take care of all of the details. Their skilled interpretation brings the desert to life, instilling in us a lasting love for this remarkable wilderness.

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Trip Highlights

  • Explore all five of Utah?s national parks in one unforgettable, action-packed trip
  • Visit Canyonlands, Arches, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon and Zion
  • Set out on some of the most scenic and exhilarating hikes in the Southwest
  • Learn about the ancient cultures that once made this rugged region their home
  • Learn about Utah's rich geological and natural history from our exceptional guides

Activities

This trip is rated Moderate [3]. Daily hikes typically range between 4-9 miles in length with three longer days of 10-12 miles with elevation gains/losses of up to 2,300?.Trip members should have previous hiking experience and be in good physical condition.

Trails are composed of dirt, sand, and slickrock with some steep sections and exposed overlooks. All hikes are optional and our guides will brief trip members on the vigorousness and exposure of each hike prior to setting out.

  • Hiking
  • Camping

What's Included

Seven nights camping accommodations; guide leadership; van transportation from Salt Lake City, UT to Las Vegas, NV; all meals as indicated on the itinerary; beverages including coffee, hot tea and hot chocolate; all group camping equipment; park fees and local taxes.

All operations are conducted under the commercial use authorization of Arizona Outdoor Specialists, Inc.

Accommodations

Camping, 7 nights.

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Travel to Canyonlands National Park and begin our exploration.

Our trip begins in Salt Lake City, Utah. We rendezvous with our guides at 8am and, following introductions and a brief orientation, set off for Canyonlands National Park. After lunch in Moab, the adventure outpost that serves as gateway to the marvelous red-rock country that lies beyond, we continue on to our campsite near Canyonlands? remote Needles District. En route, we stop at Newspaper Rock to appreciate this exceptional rock art panel containing one of the largest collections of petroglyphs in the Southwest. Arriving at camp, we pitch our tents and head out on a short warm-up hike, enjoying glimpses of the fantastic desert playground that surrounds us. Returning to our cozy basecamp at sunset, we eat our first guide-prepared dinner under the star-filled Utah sky. We spend the next two nights in our Canyonlands camp. All meals included beginning with lunch on Day 1 through lunch on Day 8.

Hiking: 2.5 miles with minimal elevation gain/loss; Transfer: 6 hours.

Day 2

Hike in Canyonlands? Needles District to Chesler Park.

A hike to Chesler Park is an ideal introduction to the awe-inspiring landscapes and unique geology of Canyonlands National Park. Today?s trail leads us over dirt, sand and slickrock, past the towering pinnacles and fins of the Needles formation and through a series of twisting canyons before emerging at a viewpoint offering fantastic panoramic views of Chesler Park itself. A vast grassy meadow dotted with multi-colored sandstone spires and domes, Chesler Park has a tranquil, otherworldly quality that perfectly showcases the grandeur of this remote national park. After a trailside lunch and some additional time to explore and take photos, we begin our hike back to the trailhead, returning to camp in late afternoon in time for appetizers and a delicious al fresco dinner.

Hiking: 10-11 miles; Elevation gain/loss: 1,755?; Terrain: slickrock and dirt trails with some stone steps.

Day 3

Travel to Arches National Park and hike the Devil's Garden Trail.

We drive north this morning toward extraordinary Arches National Park. With over 2,000 sandstone arches of all shapes and sizes lying within its borders, the park contains the largest concentration of natural stone arches on Earth. After a stop at the visitor center, we drive to the Devil?s Garden trailhead where we begin today?s hike. Winding our way over wind-sculpted sandstone, we visit a variety of the park?s iconic arches including Double O Arch and 306-foot-long Landscape Arch, one of the longest natural stone spans in the world. After our walk in the ?Garden?, we transfer to Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint for a view of the park?s most iconic feature, fabulous Delicate Arch. Rising unexpectedly from the edge of a large sandstone bowl, Delicate Arch?s graceful silhouette makes it a lovely sight to behold. We end the day with a final road transfer to our campsite in Torrey, Utah, a stone?s throw from Capitol Reef National Park.

Hiking: 4-6 miles; Elevation gain/loss: 500-800?; Terrain: slickrock and dirt trails; Transfer: 5.5-6 hours.

Day 4

Explore Capitol Reef National Park on a through-hike in Waterpocket Fold.

Still relatively undiscovered, Capitol Reef National Park is a gem in the U.S. National Park system. Waterpocket Fold, the park?s central feature, is a 100-mile-long wrinkle in the Earth's crust which has eroded over time into massive sandstone domes, narrow slot canyons and graceful arches. We spend the day exploring some of the highlights of Capitol Reef starting with a scenic drive to our trailhead along Waterpocket Fold?s tilted layers of burgundy, grey, red, orange and white-colored rock. Today?s through-hike traverses part of the Grand Wash, Frying Pan, and Cohab Canyon trails and gives us access to some of the best views and most interesting sections of backcountry in the park. After a full day of adventure in this untrammeled wilderness, our trail ultimately leads us back to our vehicle, waiting to shuttle us to our nearby campground.

Hiking: 11-12 miles; Elevation gain/loss: 1,000?; Terrain: slickrock, sandy washes and dirt trails; Transfer: 1.5 hours.

Day 5

Hike to Calf Creek Falls in Grand Staircase-Escalante.

It's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument that captures our imagination today as we explore the monument on a hike to a hidden waterfall. Departing Torrey this morning, we head south and west along Utah's Scenic Byway 12 to our trailhead for Lower Calf Creek Falls. Here we'll begin our six-mile hike to the 130-foot waterfalls, a lush oasis concealed deep within the tumbled stone and slickrock of Grand Staircase-Escalante. Continuing to Bryce Canyon, we spend the night in a private campsite near the national park, an ideal spot for stargazing in one of the darkest nighttime locations in the U.S.

Hiking: 6 miles; Elevation gain/loss: 200'; Terrain: dirt trails; Transfer: 3 hours.

Day 6

Spend the day in Bryce Canyon hiking the Fairyland and Navajo Loops.

Gazing into Bryce Canyon for the first time, it's hard not to feel an overwhelming sense of awe at the sheer number of hoodoos that rise from the canyon floor forming a jagged, colorful landscape unlike any other on the planet. We take full advantage of our hiking time in Bryce today beginning with the outstanding Fairyland Loop hike this morning. During our walks, photographic opportunities abound as we descend into the canyon proper surrounded by the warm-colored sandstone, stands of jade green pine trees, and the whimsical hoodoos that make this national park so uniquely captivating. In the afternoon, we transfer to Sunset Point and hike the Navajo Loop trail before returning to the canyon rim. Saying goodbye to Bryce we jump back aboard our van and hit the road for Zion National Park, the final stop on our amazing journey.

Hiking: 9 miles; Elevation gain/loss: 2,300'; Terrain: dirt trails and sandy washes; Transfer: 2-3 hours.

Day 7

Discover Zion National Park. Hike to Observation Point and the Narrows.

Our first hike in Zion National Park this morning takes us from the valley floor up to Observation Point (6,521?), one of the park?s best vantage points with breathtaking views stretching out over Zion Canyon. Retracing our steps to the valley, we hop aboard the park shuttle to the entrance of the spectacular Zion Narrows. Alternating between hiking and wading, our trail is the Virgin River itself as it winds its way between 1,000-foot-tall canyon walls. We follow the river for a few miles, marveling at the hanging gardens, beautiful geology and play of light in this enormous slot canyon before returning downriver. At camp tonight, we gather for a special celebration dinner and reflect on all of the wonders we?ve seen during our time together.

Hiking: 8-12 miles; Elevation loss/gain: 2,150?; Terrain: dirt trails, river wading (sometimes in thigh- to waist-deep water); Transfer: 1.5 hours.

Day 8

Hike to spectacular Angels Landing before driving to Vegas.

Before beginning our drive to Las Vegas, one final hike awaits, promising to end our journey on an unforgettable note. The trail to Angels Landing is cut into sandstone walls and follows Walter's Wiggles, a series of 21 switchbacks leading up to Scout Lookout, a viewpoint overlooking Zion Canyon. The final hike to Angels Landing itself is along a steep, narrow trail set on the spine of a sandstone fin rising 1,500 feet above the canyon floor. Chains, for use as handholds, have been installed along the trail for hiker safety on this airy route. The 360-degree views from Angels Landing viewpoint are the perfect exclamation point on our epic Southwestern adventure! After our morning hike, we have lunch before setting out for Las Vegas where we?ll say our final farewells. Please do not schedule any flights out of Las Vegas until after 9pm tonight.

Hiking: 5 miles; Elevation gain/loss: 1,500?; Terrain: dirt trails; Transfer: 4 hours.

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, ventilation and weather protection. This gear list has been created to help you choose the proper equipment. Try to bring only what is necessary; this will help you and the field staff.

What to pack

Contact Us

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 REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.