Discover the geological treasures of the American Southwest, exploring Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks. Explore the North Rim of the Grand Canyon on foot, and learn about the powerful forces that have carved this mile-deep chasm over 200 million years. Hike amid Zion's wonderland of slot canyons, hanging gardens, and waterfalls, and explore Bryce Canyon's otherworldly maze of crimson-colored spires. Soak up the Old West atmosphere at historic park lodges.
- Immerse yourself in the majestic beauty of the American Southwest, discovering the geological wonders of three national parks—Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce Canyon.
- Hike amid Bryce Canyon’s surreal maze of red spires and Zion’s magnificent red rock monuments with a seasoned naturalist.
- Explore the Grand Canyon on foot and learn about its unique geology.
- Stay in historic national park lodges, and learn about the region’s wildlife and varied vegetation.
Days 1 & 2 — St. George, Utah/Grand Canyon, Arizona
Arrive in St. George and check into our hotel. The next morning, travel into canyon country, stopping at Pipe Springs National Monument and Kaibab Indian Reservation. Upon arrival at the Grand Canyon, check into our historic lodge and learn about its geology from our expert.
Hilton Garden Inn St. George; Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim (B, L, D)
Day 3 — Grand Canyon/North Rim
Set out to explore the canyon’s rim, peering into the multi-hued chasm carved by the Colorado River over millions of years. Choose from a variety of hikes for all levels, and learn about the park’s unique ecosystems and geology while enjoying sweeping views at every turn. Return to the lodge this evening, and capture the canyon’s dazzling colors at sunset.
(B, L, D)
Day 4 — Zion National Park, Utah
Journey north across the Kaibab Plateau into Zion National Park, stopping for a picnic lunch on the way. Check into our hotel and relax, or take an optional walk along a trail that parallels the Virgin River.
Cliffrose Lodge & Gardens (B, L, D)
Day 5 — Zion National Park
Spend today exploring Zion, a wonderland of sandstone slot canyons, lush hanging gardens, and cascading waterfalls. Hike the Emerald Pools Trail, passing under the cool spray of a waterfall. In the afternoon, explore the Narrows of the Virgin River, where our expert will discuss the geological events that have shaped this land for over 200 million years. This evening, visit the town of Springdale located just outside of the park.
Cliffrose Lodge & Gardens (B, L)
Day 6 — Bryce Canyon National Park
Beautiful landscapes unfold as we travel to Bryce Canyon. Stop for breathtaking views at Fairyland Point, then stroll along the Rim Trail overlooking Bryce Amphitheater. Settle into our home for the next two nights near the rim of the canyon.
Bryce Canyon Lodge (B, L, D).
Day 7 — Bryce Canyon National Park
Spend the day exploring Bryce Canyon’s famous hoodoos—whimsical rock formations in red, orange, and yellow, which have been eroded into surreal spires. Hike or drive into the heart of the park, and learn about the geology behind this landscape of time-sculpted stone.
Bryce Canyon Lodge (B, L, D).
Day 8 — Kolob Canyon/St. George, Utah
Head to Kolob Canyons, a lesser known area of Zion National Park. Hike up the short Timber Creek Overlook Trail and peer into the red sandstone expanse. After a final picnic lunch, return to St. George for your flight home.
National Geographic Expert
Kirt Kempter is a field geologist and teacher based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A Fulbright Fellow, Kirt has led many geologic expeditions to Bryce, Zion, and Grand Canyon National Parks, and has published numerous maps and articles on the geology of the American Southwest. He has conducted fieldwork on a National Geographic-funded project, as well as studies of plate tectonics and volcanism around the world, including Iceland, Costa Rica, and Mexico. He received his Ph.D. in geology from the University of Texas.
Kirt will join the following departures:
May 14 - 21, 2016
Sep 17 - 24, 2016
- May 14 - 21, 2016
- Aug 20 - 27, 2016
- Sep 03 - 10, 2016
- Sep 10 - 17, 2016
- Sep 17 - 24, 2016