Early this morning, we meet our guides and fellow travelers in Henderson, NV before setting out for Bryce Canyon National Park. During the 5-hour drive, we stop for a picnic lunch and a short walk at Cedar Breaks National Monument, sitting at 10,000’ and offering a first glimpse of the incredible geology of the Colorado Plateau. We see for ourselves why the Native Americans named this land the “circle of painted cliffs” with its majestic canyons and spires—a prelude to the wonders of Bryce Canyon. Arriving at Bryce, we hike from Inspiration Point—which looks out onto the main amphitheater with its endless hoodoos—to Sunset Point before descending the Navajo Loop trail. We pass the iconic landmarks of Thor's Hammer and Two Bridges and connect to the Queens Garden trail, with its bizarre and colorful formations. Ascending back to the rim, we jump in the van for the short drive to our cozy REI Signature Camp where we're welcomed in style for our first night of camping. After the sun goes down, it's time to learn about the night skies with a local astronomer, viewing planets and deep-space objects through telescopes. Lunch and dinner included.
Hiking: 3 miles, Elevation gain: +844’ / -1,020'; Van transfer: 5.5 hours
Today we switch gears for a unique adventure at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This vast unspoiled wilderness is filled with soaring cliffs, prehistoric ruins and labyrinthine slot canyons, making it the ultimate outdoor playground. Our fun and unique hike lead us along a riverbed wash into one of the many spectacular slot canyons carved into the landscape. The sandy trail, which crisscrosses the creek often, is mostly flat and does not get too narrow, making it accessible to hikers of all levels. The canyon walls with their mesmerizing wavy tan and black stripes guide us through impressive passageways that make us feel small in comparison. The shifting light and shadows alter the look and feel of the canyon almost instantly—truly a geological masterpiece. We retrace our steps back to the trailhead before returning to our private camp this afternoon. At camp, relax on your private porch and take in the views before sitting down to another delectable dinner prepared by our guides. Cap the night off by gathering around the warm glow of a campfire. All meals included.
Hiking: 3 miles, Elevation gain/loss: minimal
We set out early to experience the magic of a Bryce Canyon sunrise. From Bryce Point, the early morning light makes the hoodoos of Bryce Amphitheater glow and appear almost translucent. After enjoying this spectacle, we descend into the amphitheater on a well-maintained trail, connecting with the Peek-a-boo loop trail with its iconic rock formations, the Alligator and Fairy Castle. Continuing our descent on the Tropic trail, we appreciate our last moments in the park, enjoying its breathtaking geology, mesmerizing color, and groves of Ponderosa Pine and Douglas Fir. We have earned a hearty breakfast which we enjoy back at camp before packing up and beginning the return journey to Las Vegas. We expect to arrive between 5pm–6pm local time. Departing flights should be scheduled after 8pm tonight. Breakfast and lunch included.
Hiking: 4 miles, Elevation gain/loss: 1,300’; Van transfer: 5 hours