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Deserts And Canyons Of The Southwest

United States

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


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.Overnight: La Quinta Hotel (3-star) or similar, 1 night.

Towards the Colorado Plateau

Your tour leader will meet you at the hotel at 8am for the group briefing. We head out to nearby Utah, where we commence our first walks at Snow Creek Canyon. Here trails lead over petrified sand dunes past lava tubes and interesting geological formations.Overnight: Ramada 3* or similar, 2 nightsDrive time: ~120 miles / 190 km or 2 hrsWalking time Lava Tube to Moqui Marbles: ~3 m / 5 km, approx. 2-3 hours, Elevation difference: +/-150 m

Zion National Park

We have a full day to enjoy the wonders of Zion National Park, where a little desert creek, the Virgin River, has carved an 800m-deep canyon out of dark red sandstone cliffs. Some of the west’s most iconic walks are to be found here, such as the famous Angel’s Landing with its Via Ferrata and Observation Point. The group will hike to Observation Point, while those wanting the experience of Angel’s Landing (a sandstone monolith often used as a landing spot by majestic condors) can head out on their own up this trail.Drive time: ~80 miles / 120 km or 50 + 50 min.Observation Point: ~5-6 hrs, approx. 7.4 miles/11km, elevation difference: +/-650mAngel’s Landing: ~4-5 hrs, approx. 5 miles / 8 km, elevation difference: +/-450m

Bryce Canyon National Park

We soon reach Bryce Canyon National Park via winding mountain roads. Of all the parks, Bryce Canyon is considered by many to be the most beautiful. Tectonic forces uplifted an ancient lakebed, exposing the soft sandstone deposit to the elements. Over time, the frost and wind erosion continued to chisel them and created a true wonderland of rocks. We walk through a giant amphitheater filled with purple, pink, and dark red stone towers. In autumn, the fall colors contrast magically with the red rocks, while in spring the wildflowers enchant with their fleeting beauty. 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. Overnight: Bryce View Lodge (2-3-star) or similar, 1 night.Drive time: ~140 miles / 220 km or 2 hrsPeekaboo and Navajo Loop: ~4 hrs, approx. 8 miles / 13km, Elevation difference: +/-300 m

Capitol Reef National Park

Continuing over the amazing Highway 12 we skirt Boulder Mountain. The Burr Trail is a little known track through stunning desert scenery. A remote hike takes us to one of the most amazing overlooks: Strike Valley. From here we have vast views over Utah’s desert, the Henry Mountains, and the striking giant monocline of Capitol Reef. We then continue to our hotel on Lake Powell and with a little luck experience a beautiful sunset. Overnight: Defiance House (3-star) or Ticaboo Lodge or similar, 1 night.Drive time: ~150 miles / 240 km or 2.5 hrsStrike Valley Overlook: ~4 hrs, approx. 6miles / 10km, elevation difference: +/-100m

Hidden Slot Canyon

At Goblin Valley State Park we marvel at the rock formations creating a labyrinth of mushroom rocks.Then we head out to a breathtaking loop hike in a remote slot Canyon of San Rafael Reef. Some tight squeezing through the narrows will be required (this hike is not possible on a rainy day due to flash flood danger). Our hotel is in the sleepy town of Green River. Overnight: America Best Value Inn (3-star) or similar, 1 night.Drive time: ~140 miles / 220 km or 2-3 hrsSan Rafael Reef Canyons: ~5 hrs, approx. 8 miles / 13km, elevation difference: +/-200 m

Arches National Park

Arches National Park is famous among hikers. Here 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 head over slick rock toDelicate Arch, often framed by the snow covered La Sal Mountains.Overnight: Our hotel is in the little town of Monticello at the Inn of the Canyons (3-star) or similar, 2 nightsDrive time: ~100 miles / 160 km, or 2 hrsDouble O Arch: ~2-3 hrs, ca. 4 miles / 7 km, elevation difference: +/-140 mDelicate Arch: ~2.5 hrs, approx. 3 miles / 4.8 km, elevation difference: +/-184 m

Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park is a huge park consisting of 3 different regions. The Needles District is little visited yet fabulous for hiking. Trails lead over rock fins,through rock fissures and at times over ladders and slick rock past towers, walls, and arches of dark red sandstone.Drive time: ~100 miles / 160 km or 1.5 hrsSquaw Loop: ~5-6 hrs, approx. 8 miles / 13 km, elevation difference: +/-200 m

Monument Valley & Chinle

We continue our journey heading south towards the Grand Canyon soon reaching Monument Valley. The local tribe offers guided Jeep tours, allowing you a deeper insight into the world of the nomadic peoples that inhabit this area (not included, approx. $75). Then we head to Chinle, the small Navajo settlement at Canyon de Chelly National Monument where we stay in the historic, 1896 trading post built of adobe brick.Overnight: Thunderbird Lodge (2-3-star) or similar, 2 nights.Drive time: ~220 miles / 350 km or 4 hrs

Navajo guided walk at Canyon de Chelly

Canyon de Chelly is a very special place. The canyon has been inhabited for over 4000 years and the Anasazi or “Ancient Ones” that lived here between 350 and1300 A.D. supported a thriving community of farmers. The Ancient Ones built their settlements into the canyon cliffs to protect against enemies. The Navajo arrived in the area around the year 1400, proclaiming “Spider Rock” as the most sacred site of their religion. The Navajos thrived in the valley until the arrival of the Europeans. After prolonged battle, Kit Carson accepted the largest Native American surrender in US history in 1864, when 8000 Navajo surrendered. After imprisonment at Fort Sumner, the Navajo returned to their beloved, sacred canyon to reestablish their farms and way of life. Today the Navajo continue to live on their farms, only accessible by 4x4 or foot. Because of the culturally sensitive nature, walks are only allowed with local guides. On our trip, we descend into the canyon on the Bare Rock Trail, traveling along farms, 1000-year-old rock art panels, and 800-year-old cliffdwellings. In this place we explore the magic and the silence of the canyons (some trails require creek crossings, bring water sandals for wet conditions).Twin to Bare Rock Trail: ~5-6 hrs, approx. 11 miles / 17km, elevation difference: +/-300 m

The Grand Canyon

Our next destination awaits the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Grand Canyon! We head through the Painted Desert to reach the canyon in the afternoon in time for a walk at sunset. Overnight: Red Feather Lodge (3-star) or similar, 2 nightsDrive time: ~224 miles / 350 km or 4 hrs

A Day at the Grand Canyon

We have all day to spend at this amazing sight. The Grand Canyon is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site and although plenty of tourists visit the area, few are found on the trails. If you prefer, you can hike into the canyon to Plateau Point or walk along the West Rim, where incredible views await. There will be time to enjoy an unforgettable sunset along the canyon rim. (Hikes in Grand Canyon National Park are self-guided due to permit regulations.)Kaibab Ridge: ~3-4 hrs, approx. 3 miles / 5 km, elevation difference: +/-300 mPlateau Point: ~8-12 hrs, approx. 12miles / 20km, elevation difference: +/-1150mHike along the rim: ~up to 4 hrs, up to 8 miles / 13 km, elevation difference: +/-50m

Return to Las Vegas

In the morning you have a chance to take a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon (optional, starting at $225). We then head back to Las Vegas via Route 66. At Seligman there is chance to stock up on some last minute Route 66 memorabilia. Our journey concludes with one night in the city that never sleeps – Las Vegas.Overnight: La Quinta (3-star) or similar, 1 night.Drive time: ~260 miles / 400 km or 4-5 hrs


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 walking over petrified sand dunes and past lava tubes at St. George, before heading to stunning Zion National Park, where we climb the iconic Observation Point. In Bryce Canyon, we may need to strap on ice crampons depending on the winter conditions, as we explore the park's astounding wonderland of stone towers. At Capitol Reef we scramble over and through the twisted sandstone domes to an overlook of the immense monocline stretching over 100 km. At San Rafael Reef we enjoy an intriguing trek through narrow slot canyons before exploring the arches and discover endless natural stone arches in aptly named, Arches National Park. A full day of trekking takes us to the Needles of Canyonlands, a true wonderland of twisted sandstone rock. We will marvel at the wonders of Monument Valley, you have the choice of a jeep tour before spending the day walking through the fascinating Canyon de Chelly. Here we walk with the Navajo on trails off limits to tourists. This valley is steeped in culture and history, complete with 1000-year-old rock art, cliff dwellings, and Navajo homes. Finally 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.

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Starting From


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14 Days


United States of America

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