Deserts and Canyons of the Southwest

Starting From

$3,189/person

Number of days

14

Start Location

Las Vegas, Nevada

Group Size

4-14

Operated by

World Expeditions

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Enjoy refreshing winter hiking in the typically scorching red deserts of southwest USA

Operated by:

World Expeditions

World Expeditions is an adventure travel and ecotourism company that offers guided small group trekking and adventure holidays.

Itinerary

Arrival in Las Vegas, Nevada

Upon arrival into Las Vegas, it is recommended that you clear customs and take the shuttle bus to the group hotel specified in your final tour voucher. You will meet with your group leader and other members of the group at 8am the following morning when the group briefing will take place.

Death Valley

Your tour leader will meet you at the hotel at 8am for the group briefing. A short drive takes us through the Mojave Desert towards Death Valley National Park in California, where more than 3.3 million acres of spectacular desert scenery, rare desert wildlife, complex geology, undisturbed wilderness and sites of historical interest abound. We spend the day exploring the park on foot. We walk the beautiful Golden Canyon, where the erosion has carved soft deposits of multi-coloured rock into a wonderland of rocks known as the 'Badlands'. We walk through the narrow canyon enjoying the scenery. The afternoon finds us at the sand dunes, where we scramble through the soft sand. Driving: ~250km, 3 hrs Walking: ~12km, 4-5 hrs / Elevation diff: +/-314m

Death Valley NP

The uniqueness of Death Valley National Park is derived from the fact that it is the lowest, hottest driest location in North America with a substantial area of the park lying below sea level. Over thousands of years, mineral rich water has evaporated, leaving behind giant salt flats. We walk over the salt flats at Badwater and Devil's Golf Course, then we head to Mosaic Canyon, where we explore a narrow canyon carved into granitic rock. Walking: ~7km, 3 hrs / Elevation diff: +/-76m

To Zion National Park

We spend the morning driving to Zion National Park in Utah, where a little desert creek, the Virgin River, has carved an 800m-deep canyon out of dark red Navajo Sandstone. At times we see the top capped in snow - a fantastic contrast. Some of the west's most iconic walks are to be found here. Our hotel is in historic Springdale, centrally-located to many tourist facilities. In the afternoon, we're off on our first walk to the beautiful Emerald Pools. Driving: ~480km, 4.5 hrs Walking: ~3km, 2-3 hrs / Elevation diff: +/-200m

In Zion National Park

We have all day to explore this remarkable park. Depending on preference and snow conditions, you can choose between a self-guided or guided walk to the top of Angel's Landing (a sandstone monolith often used as a landing spot by majestic condors), a self-guided and more strenuous walk to Observation Point, or we may stay low and walk the wonderful valley trails. Angel's Landing: ~8km, 4-5hrs / Elevation diff: +/-450m Observation Point: ~11km, 5-6hrs / Elevation diff: +/-650m

Bryce Canyon National Park

Of all the desert parks, Bryce Canyon is considered by many to be the most stunning. Tectonic forces uplifted an ancient lakebed, exposing soft sandstone deposit to the elements and allowing frost, rain, and wind erosion to chisel away a true wonderland of rocks. Bryce is a giant maze of brilliant red, pink and purple stone towers. We spend all day winding our way though this wonderland of rocks. Because of its elevation, this is the coldest place in the south west, and snow conditions vary from year to year. We may be walking on icy trails with step on crampons or use our snow shoes to access the many sights. Afterward, we continue to our hotel in the colourful canyons near Capitol Reef. Walking: ~13km, 4 hrs / Elevation diff: +/-300m Driving: ~320km, 4 hrs

Capitol Reef Canyonlands NP

Capitol Reef is a giant monocline with a lot of twisted canyons. We walk to the top of Cassidy Arch, where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were once hiding from authorities. From here, the group can continue through the slot of Grand Wash, while the guide drives the vehicle to pick you up. The afternoon finds us at Canyonlands and a short walk takes us out to famous Mesa Arch, precariously perched on a cliff edge. Overnight Moab. Walking: ~6km, 3hrs / Elevation diff: +/-200m Driving: ~240km, 3-4 hrs

Arches NP

Arches National Park is famous among hikers. We find a maze of twisted, dark red sandstone fins eroded into more than 2000 arches. Trails lead through this wonderland of rocks and provide never-ending photo opportunities. We start with a walk on the Primitive Trail to Double O Arch, then we explore the arches at The Windows, before concluding the day with a walk to the ultimate of all arches, Delicate Arch - Framing the often snow-covered La Sal Mountains. Walking: ~13km, 4-6 hrs / Elevation diff: +/-320m

Monument Valley Lake Powell

We continue our journey heading south towards the Grand Canyon and we soon reach Monument Valley - The fabulous valley of the Navajo, popular with Hollywood movies. There is a chance to do an optional jeep tour (approx. $70) with Navajos through the fantastic valley, offering a deeper insight into their nomadic world. In the late afternoon, we head to Page, Arizona - on Lake Powell. Here the mighty Colorado River was dammed to a lake with a 3000 km shoreline. Dark red sandstone towers rise out of the blue waters, a true feast for the eyes. We enjoy a short walk to Horseshoe Bend before settling into our centrally-located hotel. Driving: ~430km, 4.5 hrs

Page, Arizona and to the Grand Canyon

We have the day to explore picturesque Page, Arizona. We recommend a walk into the amazing Antelope Canyon. A local Navajo family owns the land and charges an entry fee of about $40 per visit (optional). This evening, we reach the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Grand Canyon and settle into our hotel at the entrance to the national park, where we stay for the next 3 nights. Driving: ~200km, 2.5 hrs

Grand Canyon South Rim Day Hikes

It is a real treat to hike along the Grand Canyon's South Rim in the off-season. With far fewer crowds than in the busy summer season, we can enjoy some of the park's most spectacular trails and take in classic views with a greater amount of solitude. During these two full days at the canyon, we plan to hike both the Kaibab Ridge trail and the Bright Angel Trail, each descending down into the canyon on well defined routes that afford incredible vantage points. Kaibab Ridge: ~14km out and back, 7hrs; Elevation diff. +/-1014m Bright Angel Trail: ~19.6km out and back to Plateau Point, 8hrs; Elevation diff. +/-974m

Hike out of Grand Canyon and return to Las Vegas

There is time this morning for another fantastic, and much more gentle walk along the south rim of the mighty canyon before we pack up and drive back to Las Vegas this afternoon. On the way, we stop at Hoover Dam to take in this incredible feat of engineering. Walking: ~12.8km one-way self-guided with pickup at the end, 5hrs / Elevation diff. -67m Driving: ~450km, 5 hrs

Departure

Our tour ends in Las Vegas. The hotel offers a free shuttle to the airport. NB: If you wish to spend more time in Las Vegas, we are able to book additional nights for you in advance.

Additional Information

The cooler temperatures of the spring/fall season allow us to spend more time exploring some of the USA's most breathtaking deserts and canyonlands - The focus of our adventure. We begin our journey hiking amongst the multi-coloured rocks of Death Valley's 'Badlands' and narrow canyons, before heading to stunning Zion National Park where we spend 2 days enjoying some of the most iconic walks of the west, including Angel's Landing and the Emerald Pools. In Bryce Canyon, we may need to strap on ice crampons depending on the winter conditions, as we explore the parks's wonderland of stone towers. At Capitol Reef we scramble over and through the twisted sandstone domes, and then discover endless natural stone arches in aptly named, Arches National Park. We will marvel at the wonders of Monument Valley and enjoy a scramble through the narrow slot of Antelope as we make our way to the highlight of our journey - The Grand Canyon. The south rim often sees snow and/or ice at this time of year, so we may need our winter equipment once again. We enjoy a supported 3-day trek into the remote wilderness far away from tourist crowds to and into Havasupai Canyon, a tributary of the Grand Canyon featuring turquoise waterfalls, where the last of the once nomadic natives live in a remote village that can only be reached on foot.

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