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National Parks of the American West
Sunday July 18 - Wed. July 28,2021


With Optional one night pre-tour extension to ride the Cog Train
To the summit of Pike’s Peak

Description: a distant person is dwarfed by a massive rock arch
Arches National Park – One of 8 National Parks we will visit on this tour

Enjoy visits to 8 national parks in the American West, featuring Rocky Mountain National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon (West Rim – with option to walk across the Skywalk over the Grand Canyon)

Plus visits to Escalante Staircase National Monument, Colorado National Monument, Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, the Las Vegas Strip & more
Our tour will travel in comfort in a 38 seat mini-coach with bathroom on board, air conditioning, DVD movies & free WIFI throughout the vehicle.

 
Tour Meals indicator – The initial B indicates Breakfast included at the hotel that morning

 Day 1 – Sunday July 18th , 2021- Arrive in Denver Today the Mile-High City welcomes you! Arrive at the Denver International Airport where you’ll transfer to our hotel for check in for the first two nights of our tour.  This evening we will host a group orientation at our hotel.
Drury Inn & Suites, or similar

 Day 2 Monday July 19th, 2021 –   Rocky Mountain National Park

 Today you’ll get to enjoy your first national park. We will depart Denver this morning on our 38 seat mini-coach with air cond., bathroom onboard and free WIFI onboard and make our way to Estes Park, where Joel Estes built the first cabin in the shadow of the Rockies more than l00 years ago.  This is the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.   As we journey under the shadows of these towering peaks, you will follow the park's awe-inspiring Trail Ridge Road, where magnificent views of soaring peaks, steep-walled canyons, primeval forests, and flower-studded valleys surround you on every side.  You'll see towering Long's Peak, its east face thrusting 14,255 feet into the crystalline air; from here on the "Roof of the Rockies," you'll see incredible mountain vistas on every side, and even catch a glimpse of the Great Plains far to the east.

We will of course pull into many overlooks for photo opportunities outside the bus and a stop in the park for lunch as well.  We will return to our hotel in Denver for the evening at leisure.

Drury Inn & Suites, or similar (B)

Description: Alpine Visitor Center preview image
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK

 

Day 3 –Tuesday July 20th 2021-   Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

After breakfast included at our hotel, we will head west through the scenic beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Passing through 14,000 ft. peaks, resorts and mountain passes with stops along the way. This afternoon we will arrive at the South Rim Visitors Center of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.  Black Canyon of the Gunnison provides opportunities to see spectacular and important geologic features, including some of the steepest and most amazing panoramic cliffs to witness in North America. Here we will enjoy the seven mile scenic drive along the south end of the canyon and enjoy some amazing overlooks and viewpoint stops.

Tonight, we will stay just outside of the park in Montrose CO.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Montrose, CO, or similar (B)

Description: Painted Wall
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

 

Day 4 – Wed. July 21st, 2021    Colorado National Monument & Arches National Park

Your first stop this morning after our included breakfast at our hotel is Colorado National Monument with its sheer rock canyons, towering monoliths and strange formations, a testament to the effects of time and weather on colorful sandstone.  There is also a variety of wildlife typically seen such as bighorn sheep, golden eagles, mule deer and mountain lions.

And those are just a few of the breathtaking landscapes and species that make up the spectacular 32 square mile park that is the Colorado National Monument.
Then we will cross the state border into Utah.  This afternoon we’ll continue to Arches National Park, home of the largest collection of natural stone arches in the world.  You will have time to view, photograph, and walk around some of the most interesting arches in the national park before we make our way to Moab, Utah, our headquarters for the next three nights.

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, Moab, UT or similar(B)

Description: a distant person is dwarfed by a massive rock arch
ARCHES NATIONAL PARK

Day 5 – Thurs. July 22nd, 2021 - Arches National Park & Canyonlands National Park

This morning we will re-enter Arches National Park for some additional sightseeing. The 18,000 square-foot visitors’ center will introduce you to the unique geologic forces that created the highest concentration of natural arches in the world with over 2,000 named arches within its 73,000-acre boundary.  We will visit all the park highlights including Balance Rock, The Windows and Delicate Arch.

After some free time for lunch on your own in Moab, this afternoon, we’ll take a scenic drive to Dead Horse Point State Park overlooking Canyonlands National Park for one of the most spectacular views in all the west and then enter Canyonlands National Park for a scenic drive though its amazing natural wonders, with stops at many overlooks and view-points for photo opps. outside the bus.   

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, Moab, UT, or similar (B)

Description: a Jeep driving on a flat, rocky road
Canyonlands National Park

 

 Day 6 –Friday July 23rd, 2021                   FREE DAY ACTIVITIES

Today is a free day to enjoy any of the numerous optional activities available in the Moab area.  There are jeep/hummer rides to see the unique rock formations of the Moab area, white water rafting excursions or even a visit to Monument Valley

Monument Valley optional excursion:   Depart and travel south to the heart of the Navajo Nation, Monument Valley.  Meet your Navajo guide and board a 4-wheel drive vehicle for a scenic tour of Monument Valley (optional – price below), location for scores of famous western films, television programs and commercials.  Many films have been made here including Stagecoach (1939), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) both starring John Wayne, Easy Rider (1968) with Peter Fonda, The Eiger Sanction (1975) with Clint Eastwood, National Lampoon's Vacation (1983) with Chevy Chase and Forrest Gump (1994) with Tom Hanks and many many more.  We’ll travel through the valley and visit famous locations such as John Ford Point, Artist Point and The Totem Pole and learn more of the Navajo traditions and way of life.  After this exciting tour we’ll return to Moab for overnight.

TONIGHT, IF YOU WISH, JOIN US AS WE ALL ENJOY A GROUP PARTY AT A PUB OR RESTAURANT TO WATCH ON BIG SCREEN TELEVISION THE OPENING CEREMONIES OF THE SUMMER OLYMPICS. 

The Summer Olympics are an event that brings the world together in celebration and this year’s Olympics are even more of a celebration, as the world joyously celebrates together, the official Opening Ceremony of the only Olympics ever postponed by an event other than a world war.  Tonight, we gather together and cheer the athletes of the world.

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, Moab, UT or similar (B)

 

 Day 7 Sat. July 24th, 2021- – Capital Reef National Park – Bryce Canyon National Park  

We depart Moab this morning and travel west.   Your first stop will be Goblin Valley State Park where wind and water have carved fantastic goblin-like sculptures out of sandstone, creating a unique landscape that inspires the imagination. Numerous rocks and coves offer unlimited walking, exploring, or hiking opportunities.

 Next, we will arrive at Capitol Reef National Park for a scenic drive along towering cottonwood trees and ancient petroglyphs, beautiful rock formations, deep canyons, and pioneer history.  The park was established to protect a 100-mile wrinkle in the earth’s crust called The Waterpocket Fold as well as the unique natural and cultural history found in the area.  Human occupation of the area has spanned from the ancient Freemont Culture to modern native tribes followed by Mormon Pioneers. After touring in Capitol Reef, enjoy a drive on one of America’s most spectacular roads.  Scenic Highway 12 has been designated as an “All American Road,” the crown jewel of the Scenic Byways system.  First, drive over Boulder Mountain reaching elevations over 9,000 feet with spectacular views of the Water Pocket Fold and beyond. 

Then our scenic drive continues through Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument, with vast expanses of cream- and rose-colored Navajo sandstone.  There are dramatic cliffs, high mesas, beautiful streams and deep canyons in multi-hued colors across the 1.9-million-acre monument.  We will stop for a picnic lunch here amongst the stunning scenery.

In mid late afternoon, arrive at Bryce Canyon National Park for more sightseeing and optional short walks.  The hues and intricate shapes of Bryce Canyon carry even the most mature adult away into a fairyland fantasy.  The Paiute Indians used a word to describe Bryce that translates into, "red rocks standing like men in a bowl-shaped canyon."  Mormon settler Ebenezer Bryce, for whom the canyon was named, described it as "a hell of a place to lose a cow
Our day will end with a drive of approx. 75 minutes from Bryce to Springdale Utah where we will stay the next two nights at a hotel just outside of legendary Zion National Park.

La Quinta Inn and Suites by Wyndham at Zion – Springdale Utah, or similar (B)


Description: capitol reef national park | neihtn                           Description: One Perfect Day in Bryce Canyon National Park | Earth Trekkers
      Capitol Reef National Park                                         Bryce Canyon National Park


Photos by: bing.com/travelguide?q=Capitol Reef National Park   bing.com/travelguide?q=Bryce Canyon National Park

 

Day 8 – Sun. July 25th, 2021 - Zion National Park - Free Day to Explore on Park Service Free Shuttles

Today is a free day to explore Zion National Park, Utah's oldest national park via the park service’s free continuous park shuttle buses.  Hop on and off as you wish all day to visit overlooks, take short walks or if you wish to take a half day hike/swim, or join your trip leader for a refreshing hike/swim in the popular Virgin Narrows of Zion National Park. (weather permitting)

We will be taken this morning from our hotel, just one mile outside the national park’s visitor’s center and we will be dropped off at the national park’s visitor center. 

From there you can take the continuously operating free park service sightseeing shuttle busses which make Hop on Hop off stops at many scenic sightseeing spots for you to hop off to take photos, explore and if you wish, hike a trail, for as long as you wish and then hop back on the continuously operating free park service shuttle busses, which make the loop through the national park, returning to the visitor’s center throughout the day.

An early Mormon settler described the park's massive formations as "temples built by hands, not of man." The Paiutes believed mischievous spirits lived among the 2,000-foot high towers and would not enter the canyon alone or remain there after dark. Zion is noted for its narrow canyons and isolated buttes and mesas, which are literally landlocked islands in the sky.

Return at your leisure to the hotel either via the free Springdale town shuttle which picks up at the Zion National Park Visitor Center throughout the day and drops off just steps from our hotel, or if you prefer, meet up at the park’s visitor center at the end of the day for a group transit back to our hotel in Springdale.

What is The Narrows?

The Narrows is the narrowest section of Zion Canyon. This gorge, with walls a thousand feet tall and the river, in some sections, just twenty to thirty feet wide, is one of the most popular areas in Zion National Park. You can see The Narrows by hiking along the paved, wheelchair accessible Riverside Walk for one mile from the Temple of Sinawava.shuttle stop on the hop on/off free park shuttle.   If you wish to see more, you will be walking in the Virgin River. This can involve wading upstream for just a few minutes or, if you wish, it can be a multi hour hike through the river, with incredible views looking up at the canyon walls around you.  The Narrows is about the journey, not the destination. There is no one “viewpoint” or extra spectacular spot. The entire hike is beautiful, with the canyon walls towering all around you, so hike and swim for a few minutes, or a few hours, whatever your heart and feet desire, then turn around and return the way you came.

It is a unique hike, as there is no trail, just the expanse of the river, which in most places is about knee to waist deep for most people, making it a great summer time hike/swim to cool off in the summer sunshine.

The other very popular hike in the park is the hike to the top of Angel’s Landing.  This hike involves hiking a winding path up and up to the top for an incredible panoramic view.  The end of the hike is a bit strenuous, but the view is well worth the hike.
There are many more hikes in the park which range from short easy strolls to other more strenuous hikes and the visitor’s center can go over all the hiking options for anyone interested in hiking today.  Your trip host will also lead a hike for those in the group interested in doing so. (Your trip host has been to Zion numerous times and has hiked many of the trails, including hiking both the two most popular trails in the park, the trail to the top of Angel’s Landing and the hike through the Virgin Narrows of the Virgin River.)  All hikes should only be done weather permitting and, for safety reasons, if there is rain in the day’s forecast, the longer, more strenuous hikes such as Angel’s Landing or the Virgin Narrows should not be done.

Description: Zion National Park: 10 tips for your visit to the park        Description: Image result for Virgin Narrows Zion
    ZION NATIONAL PARK                      Hiking the Virgin Narrows
Photo by: bing.com/travelguide?q=Zion National Park

 

 Day 9 – Monday July 26th 2021The Las Vegas Strip

 This morning we will be driven to "The Entertainment Capital of the World," Las Vegas.  (Approx. two hours and 45 minutes driving)  This afternoon we will take a “Las Vegas Strip” walking tour.  You may wish to close out the evening by taking in a show of your choice or flirting with Lady Luck in the casinos!   
Tropicana, Harrah’s or Balley’s on the famed strip of Las Vegas, NV (B)

Day 10 –Tuesday July 27th 2021       Grand Canyon – Hoover Dam – Lake Mead

This morning, we will depart Las Vegas for an exciting day as you enjoy a Grand Canyon West Rim tour.  After a drive through the Joshua Trees of the Mojave, arrive at the Grand Canyon West Rim, in only 2 hours from Las Vegas.  The west rim is home of the Hualapai Indian Nation.  Embrace this Native American legacy at Eagle Point. Step inside the Hualapai Village for dance performances by members of the Hualapai Tribe.  Step back in time at Hualapai Ranch, a western-themed town reminiscent of the Old West.

Eagle Point features the option to walk across the Grand Canyon Skywalk (Skywalk is an optional activity which can be purchased on site when we arrive at the Hualapai Ranch this morning).

The Grand Canyon Skywalk is a steel and glass bridge walkway that stretches 70 feet away from the rim. This amazing feat of engineering technology offers astounding angles of the Grand Canyon unseen from the rim. Peer over the edge for a better view of the Grand Canyon floor 4,000 feet beneath your feet. 

Guano Point is one of the most stunning viewpoints on your Grand Canyon West Rim tour. Walk to the tip of the point for a near 360-degree panoramic view of the Grand Canyon. Lunch is included today, you can choose from any of 3 restaurants. 

As you return to Las Vegas, we will stop on the Arizona side of the Hoover Dam for sightseeing.  Pause and reflect on the engineering wonder of the Hoover Dam above and the Colorado River below.

We will be returned to our hotel on the Vegas strip for the final night at leisure and another optional show at one of the fabulous Vegas resorts on the strip, or if you wish tonight, visit the downtown Vegas area to enjoy the free show of the Fremont Street experience, with its many neon lights under one outdoor canopy.


Description: SkywalkFromOutsideLedge.jpg
The Skywalk at the Grand Canyon West Rim

Photo By Complexsimplellc at English Wikipedia, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1961754

 

Day 11 –Wed. July 28th  2021    - Las Vegas Airport.  .  Transport is available to be arranged by the hotel or your trip leader to meet your flight schedule home.

Trip Cost: $2999 per person with a roommate of the same gender assigned to you
                                Plus tax of $299 per person

Trip includes:

  • 10 nights’ accommodations as listed in the itinerary
  • Breakfast on 8 days at the hotels  (all hotels except the 2 nights in Las Vegas)
  • All sightseeing via private 38 seat mini-coach with bathroom, air conditioning, DVD player with screen at the front of the coach and WIFI throughout the coach
  • Entrance to all national parks and monuments with scenic drives through each one, along with photo stops throughout each national park and monument scenic drives
  • Entrance to Grand Canyon West Rim with sightseeing provided by shuttle bus operated by the Hualapai Indian Tribe which operates all facilities at Grand Canyon West Rim (The optional skywalk can be purchased on site upon arrival at the Grand Canyon West Rim for approx. $37 per person)

Optional single room supplement: $998 including tax (that is less than $100 per day for the privacy of your own room)

 

Optional One night pre trip extension to ride the Cog Train to the top of Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak is one of the most beautiful landmarks in Colorado. The views from the summit inspired the words to America the Beautiful. Now that’s high praise!

Whether traveling by car on the Pikes Peak Highway, by train on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway or by foot on the Barr Trail, more than a half million people reach the summit every year. In fact, Pikes Peak is the most visited mountain summit in North America. All these people can’t be wrong!

With an altitude of 14,115 feet above sea level, Pikes Peak forms a magnificent visual backdrop for Colorado Springs, Woodland Park, Fort Carson, the U.S. Air Force Academy, Garden of the Gods, Cripple Creek and many other regional cities and attractions.

The cog train is the highest cog train in the world and takes visitors to the 14,110 foot summit in approx. one hour with incredible views and informative commentary along the ride up.

We will depart Denver this morning via our own private vehicle for the drive of only 75 minutes to Manitou Springs Colorado, where we will board the Cog Train for the ride of approx. 75 minutes up to the summit of Pikes Peak.

The train’s conductors provide an excellent commentary along the way, including sights to see, strangely shaped and named rocks, flora and fauna and a good amount of history, too. So, we’ll let them provide most of the details.

The train departs Manitou Springs (elevation 6,570 ft.) and follows Ruxton Creek up through Englemann Canyon. Just after reaching Mike Marker 1, you’ll ride into Artist Glen and then into Minnehaha (elevation 8,332 ft.).  You’ll also be able to use this short stop to check out Minnehaha Falls.
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Just before Mile 3, you’ll proceed through Hell Gate and past Ruxton Park. To your left will be Pilot’s Knob Mountain as you continue up the rails. At Mile 4 (elevation 9,500 feet), you’ll pass another “passing lane” on the Cog Rails and get your first view of Pikes Peak in the distance.   You’ll also get to enjoy the terrific views to the south as tree line fades below.

In the next couple of miles, you’ll pass Grecian Bend and Inspiration Point

Keep your eyes focused on the hillsides as many Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep frequent this area. Also, keep an eye out for the Yellow-bellied Marmot. Enjoy the views above tree line for the last three miles of the rail as you pass The Saddle, Slide’s Cut and Ghost Corner. At approximately 13,600 feet in elevation, just below the summit, you’ll pass one of the last switchbacks on the Pikes Peak Highway. Then, you’ll come up one last rise and reach the Summit of Pikes Peak.
Remember, you only get 30-40 minutes once the train reaches the summit. The Cog Rail conductors will sound warning horns and the staff in the Summit House will remind you via their PA system when it is nearing the time to get back on the train for the return journey.  

But….If you miss the return train (by taking too much time shopping in the gift shop, not hearing the all board horns while you are in the bathroom at the gift shop,  or just enjoying the views and taking photos at the observation deck, etc.) , the train will not wait for you – and it is a long and steep 9-mile walk back down.  (Many people do choose of their own desire to hike back down, so the train and gift shop personnel will not know if anyone wishes to do so and thus the train does not wait for anyone who does not get back on the train at the required all aboard time for the return journey back down.) 

There is no shuttle service back down to the Cog Railway Depot, only the long hiking trail back down, so when the train reaches the top, enjoy the 30-40 minutes the train allots to all its guests to buy your souvenirs in the gift shop at the top, admire the views at the summit and visit the restroom if you wish, but be sure to be listening for the all aboard horns, so you are ready to enjoy the ride back down the mountain.

After the return train journey reaches the base of Pikes Peak, we will have free time in the quaint town for a bite to eat and more shopping and then we will return to Denver via our own private group vehicle.

Description: Pikespeak.JPG            Description: Image result for Pikes Peak Cog Train
                       VIEW OF PIKE’S PEAK                               COG TRAIN TO SUMMIT OF PIKE’S PEAK

Our One Night pre tour Pikes Peak package includes

*1 additional night at our group’s hotel in Denver (Drury’s Inn and Suites or similar) with breakfast
*Private group transport from our hotel to the Cog train Depot in Manitou Springs CO
* Round trip ticket on the Pikes Peak Cog Rail ( approx.. three hours round trip including 30-40 minutes free time at the top)
Private group transport back to our hotel in Denver
Cost:      $299 per person with a roommate of the same gender
Optional single room supplement: Only $99

The One night pre-tour Pikes Peak package is limited to the first 10 signups for this optional 1 night package, so be sure to book early if you wish to enjoy the excursion to the summit of Pikes Peak.

 

PAYMENTS FOR THIS TRIP:

A deposit of  $750 is due within 7 days of booking your space on this trip (no deposit is required for the optional one night pre trip Pikes Peak package)

The balance payment for the trip is due April 14th, 2021.

Cancelation policy for this trip:

If you have traveled with us before and have booked in single occupancy, you can cancel for a full refund of your deposit if you cancel via email by March 1st, 2021

If you have traveled with us before and are booked in double occupancy, you can cancel for a full refund of your deposit if canceled via email by January 15th, 2021

If you have not traveled with us before and have booked in single occupancy, you can cancel for a full future trip credit of your deposit good for two years from your cancel date, if you cancel via email by March 1st, 2021

If you have not traveled with us before and are booked in double occupancy, you can cancel for a full future trip credit of your deposit good for two years from your cancel date, if you cancel via email by January 15th, 2021.

BOOK ME A SPACE ON THIS TRIP

 

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