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National Parks – Utah and Arizona

  • Las Vegas, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Moab, Monument Valley, Lake Powell, Grand Canyon, Sedona
National Parks – Utah and Arizona National Parks – Utah and Arizona
£ 5945

Encompassing six national parks and countless geological wonders – from the emerald pools of Zion to the sandstone monoliths of Monument Valley – this extraordinary road trip unveils the rugged beauty of Utah and Arizona. 

After soaking up the bright lights, glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, you’ll set off on your road trip through the southwest, making your first stop in Zion National Park where you’ll be welcomed by blue skies and some of the finest walking trails in the country.  

You’ll go on to discover the colourful ‘hoodoos’ of Bryce Canyon, the towering red buttes of Monument Valley and the dramatic sweep of the Grand Canyon. As well as the 2,000-plus natural sandstone arches of Arches National Park, and the ancient rock carvings scattered about Canyonlands. After a couple of days on beautiful Lake Powell, a sanctuary for water sports enthusiasts, you’ll finish your journey in artsy Sedona.   

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    Detailed Itinerary
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    Day 1-2 London - Las Vegas
    London - Las Vegas

    Fly into Las Vegas. Shining bright amidst the arid Nevada desert, this glitzy, money-making oasis offers a fabulous introduction to any USA adventure.  

     The Strip beckons, not just for its upscale casinos but its whacky, over the top parade of buildings – an Eiffel Tower one minute, Venice Grand Canal (complete with gondoliers) the next. Even if you don’t gamble a cent, you can enjoy first-class shows such as Cirque du Soleil and the Blue Man Group, dine at Michelin-starred restaurants and watch the famous choreographed fountains in front of the Bellagio Hotel. Your own hotel, the glamorous Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, provides you with an enviable location overlooking the Strip.  

     Stay: Two nights at Encore at Wynn Las Vegas 

    Day 3-5 Zion National Park 
    Zion National Park 

    Picking up your hire car, today you’ll begin your road trip with a two-hour drive to Zion National Park in Utah. A geological wonder of sheer sandstone canyons, mountain mesas, red-rock spires and emerald pools carved by water and time, Zion’s scenery is some of the most striking in the country. The breathtaking Zion Canyon is the centrepiece of this 147,000-acre parkland that also protects a surprising diversity of plant and animal life.  

    A hiker’s paradise, you can venture out on miles of picturesque trails ranging from easy, interpretive nature walks to more lengthy, challenging hikes through narrow canyons and past sandstone cliffs. Zion can also be explored by bike or on horseback, as well as by car with many scenic byways slicing through the park. Meanwhile, wildlife watchers can stop at numerous lookouts and search the sky for more than 200 bird species, as well as keeping an eye out for mountain lions and mule deer.  

    Stay: Three nights at Zion Lodge 

    Day 6-7 Bryce Canyon National Park 
    Bryce Canyon National Park 

    Just 78 miles from Zion, Bryce Canyon National Park is best known for its natural amphitheatres and crimson-coloured ‘hoodoos’ – distinctive spire-shaped rock formations caused by the triple impact of water, frost and wind over millions of years. The park also has narrow bridges and other geological formations noted for their brilliant colour.  

    The aptly named Sunrise and Sunset Points are the most popular outlooks in the park, offering unrivalled views across the canyon and hoodoo rock formations. Bryce is also one of the best places in the USA for stargazing thanks to its pristine air and lack of surrounding development. A moonlight hike is a wonderful opportunity to see the park after dark and admire its starry night skies. Staying at the only lodging within the national park itself, you can expect easy access to hiking trails and lookout points. 

    Stay: Two nights at the Lodge at Bryce Canyon 

    Day 8-10 Moab 
    Moab 

    Leaving Bryce Canyon behind, your next stop is the city of Moab in eastern Utah – gateway to two incredible national parks, Arches and Canyonlands. Arches is relatively small, its most scenic drive taking you past many outstanding natural features including some of the park’s largest natural sandstone arches.  

    Canyonlands, by contrast, is huge, encompassing ancient petroglyphs and incredible mesas and buttes carved by the Green and Colorado Rivers. Hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, ATV adventures, horseback riding, canyoneering, white water rafting and kayaking are among the array of outdoor activities available, as well visits to the Museum of Moab with its dinosaur bones and unique archaeological artefacts.  

    Stay: Three nights at Red Cliffs Lodge 

    Day 11 Monument Valley 
    Monument Valley 

    Sprawled across the Arizona-Utah border, the red-sand landscapes of Monument Valley – complete with towering ‘buttes’ soaring hundreds of feet above the plateau  have become a familiar backdrop of countless Hollywood westerns. In fact, the scenery has become almost synonymous with the ‘wild west’. But, however many times you may have seen it on the screen, nothing can prepare you for the impact of a first-hand encounter. Be sure to take the 17-mile scenic loop drive through Navajo tribal lands that passes many of the valley’s most famous formations, including the iconic 300-metre monoliths known as the Mittens.  

    Stay: One night at Goulding’s Lodge

    Day 12-13 Lake Powell 
    Lake Powell 

    Framed by Navajo sandstone cliffs and fed by glacial waters from the Colorado River, the man-made reservoir known as Lake Powell is your next port of call. Stretching for almost 200 miles, the lake is a popular vacation spot celebrated for its scenic beauty and water-based activities  scuba diving, boating, snorkelling, water skiing and jet skiing are all on the menu. Your resort enjoys a prime location close to the water’s edge, making it the perfect base for a morning surf or swim.  

    Stay: Two nights at Lake Powell Resort 

    Day 14-15 Grand Canyon 
    Grand Canyon 

    You now come to the UNESCO-listed Grand Canyon. The earth’s undisputed number-one natural wonder; a mile-deep, multi-coloured chasm carved into the plateau over some two billion years by the Colorado River. ‘It’s one of the great sights every American should see,’ wrote Theodore Roosevelt. And not just Americans.  

    As well as the jaw-dropping landscape which you can drink in from various viewpoints, there’s a choice of active and adventurous pursuits that include hikes, mule rides (the Bright Angel Trail to the canyon floor being the most popular) and exhilarating rafting descents of the Colorado’s 150 rapids.  

    Stay: Two nights at El Tovar Hotel 

    Day 16-18 Sedona

    On day 16, cruising through a cactus-studded landscape, you’ll arrive in Sedona – the final destination on your southwest self-drive. A pretty, laidback desert town framed by spectacular red-rock buttes, steep canyon walls and lush pine forests, your time here can be as laidback or as active as you prefer. The nearby Red Rock State Park offers wonderful walking, fishing and birdwatching, whilst the Slide Rock State Park draws visitors with its natural waterslide and pretty meadows.  

    Sedona is a vibrant arts hub, with a whole host of galleries to discover including the superb Sedona Arts Centre. When not exploring, unwind and enjoy the facilities of your upscale hotel which include an outdoor pool, rejuvenating spa, complimentary yoga sessions, full moon meditations, stargazing and duck feedings.  

    Stay: Three nights at L’Auberge de Sedona 

    Day 19-20 Sedona - London   

    Transfer to the airport for your return flight back to London.  

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      JE, 2020