From: April 22 to April 29, 2018

Destination: National Parks in Utah

  • Exploring Utah's National Parks in Spring - FULL

    Southern Utah is home to four of the most well known National Parks, each with its own special magic and unique attractions. Zion National Park is famous for its soaring red Navajo Sandstone cliffs. Nearby Bryce Canyon is a testimonial to the erosive power of ice and rainwater, carving its colorful limestone into windows, fins, and soaring spires called hoodoos. Capitol Reef is a monument to the amazing power of uplift. Goblin Valley State Park demonstrates just how bizarre rocks shaped by erosion can get and also the magic of slot canyons. And Arches National Park lives up to its name with over two thousand sandstone arches of all shapes and sizes. While we need to drive between parks (on some of the most scenic highways you will ever have the pleasure to drive on), this is not primarily a driving trip. We will hike between 2 and 4 hours every day and see each park as only hikers can. On this trip we extend a special invitation to women over 50 and to anyone who prefers an option for leisurely shorter hikes with more time for other activities. Maximum group size: 10

    THIS TRIP IS FULL. To get on a waitlist, register for the trip (no deposit required).  
  • Sunday, April 22
    Our trip starts today in Las Vegas where you can arrive anytime before 4:30 pm. Catch the convenient shuttle to our hotel, in time to meet everyone at 5:00 pm. We'll start getting to know each other and review our plans for the trip, before sharing our first dinner. The evening is free for you to get to bed early or wander the strip: watching the dancing fountains at Bellagio is always a treat.

    Saturday, April 23
    The drive to our first destination, Zion National Park, is about 3 hours. Our first stop is our picnic area where you can explore the area or take a break while your guides prepare lunch. After the first of many delicious picnic lunches and some instruction on how to hike happily and safely for the week, we'll explore the Emerald Pools Trail System. The 3 mile hike (we take about 2.5 hours) to the Upper Pool passes through pinyon-juniper habitat as we visit the lush environment of the lower pool and gaze at the soaring canyon walls of the upper pool. Along the way we'll talk about how Zion Canyon was formed and see evidence that it is a process that is still quite active. Our lodging tonight is right in the bottom of Zion Canyon, in one of the most beautiful and peaceful settings in the entire park system. Overnight Zion National Park.

    Tuesday, April 24
    Today we'll head back towards the Visitor's Center to hike the Watchman Trail, another Zion classic. The trail is about 2 miles round trip with 500 feet elevation gain through a desert environment. Along the trail we'll see many of Zion's landmarks: Beehives, Towers of the Virgin, West Temple, and the Altar of Sacrifice. The trail ends up at a viewpoint that oversees much of the lower canyon as well as the Watchman, a red spire rising to an elevation of 6545 feet. We'll then visit the Zion Human History Museum, or possibly join one of the Zion rangers for what are always informative walks. In late afternoon we'll drive to Bryce Canyon. The Zion-Mount Carmel Highway is a dramatic feat of engineering, taking us through a very different looking part of the Park. We'll arrive in Bryce in time for dinner. Our lodging tonight is about a 5 minute walk from the rim. Overnight Bryce Canyon National Park.

    Wednesday, April 25
    Another park, more classic hikes: the Peekaboo Loop. In contrast to yesterday where we climbed out of Zion Canyon, today we'll start by descending into Bryce Canyon. This 6 mile trail, which follows an up and down loop around a major formation with constantly changing views, provides an excellent opportunity to see hoodoos from the bottom up. For those wanting a bit shorter hike, the Navajo - Queen's Garden loop is an excellent 3 mile alternative. That evening we'll have the chance to watch the sun's rays light up some amazing geology. And after dinner, Bryce is known for having one of the most glorious nighttime skies of anyplace in the U.S. - if stargazing appeals to you, this is the perfect place to do it. Overnight Bryce Canyon National Park

    Thursday, April 26
    Our three hour drive this morning to Capitol Reef National Park is one of the most scenic of the entire trip as we drive though Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, crossing over vast stretches of slickrock before climbing up and over the Boulder Mountains. Capitol Reef is a small section of the Waterpocket Fold, a 100-mile long wrinkle in the earth's crust comprised of colorful canyons, buttes, mesas, and monoliths. We'll visit the Visitor Center and then have a picnic in an area where Mormon settlers once farmed. We explore only a small portion as we hike through Cohab Canyon to its exit on the other side. This hike offers more solitude and wilderness than any other on the trip, with options for a couple of side hikes up to higher points in the Canyon. We'll finish our visit to Capitol Reef with a visit to petroglyphs along the road. We stay overnight at a motel in Hanksville, a small Utah town that is home to the world famous Blondie's (at least it is in a Chinese guidebook so it must be world famous) where we'll have a great breakfast the next morning. Overnight Hanksville, UT

    Friday, April 27
    Today we start with a hike into Little Wild Horse Canyon. This is a slot canyon that can be as high as 250 feet and as narrow as 2.5 feet, and we'll do it as an out and back, going as far as we choose. Hiking in slot canyons is always dependent on weather but this is one of the most accessible in Utah. After lunch a short drive takes us to Goblin Valley State Park, one of those state parks that is so spectacular, it would be a National Park in any other area. Goblin Valley gets its name from the thousands of mushroom-shaped pinnacles that have been carved by wind and water over the centuries.

    After finishing our hike we continue on to our condos in Moab. Moab is one of the most charming small towns in Utah, known for its great shops and limitless outdoor opportunities. If you want a chance to explore the many restaurant options in Moab, this is the night. Alternatively the guides will get some take out pizza and salad and if you want to just kick back at the condos after the day, you are welcome to join them. Overnight Moab.

    Saturday, April 28
    Due to Arches National Park's unique geology, this park contains the largest concentration of arches of anyplace in the US. We'll start with Delicate Arch trail, a classic Arches hike and not to be missed. We'll take the short spur trail to a Ute Indian Petroglyph wall and then walk up gradually sloping slickrock to a small valley surrounded by red rocks on the way to the arch. Just when you think you must have taken a wrong turn, the arch suddenly appears and you immediately understand why it is the most photographed arch in Utah. There are several other short hikes to different arches so some of us may decide to continue with more hiking while others will want time in Moab, the most fun place to shop in Utah. Tonight we celebrate our week of hiking with a final farewell dinner at our condos. Overnight Moab.

    Sunday, April 29
    This morning we share a final breakfast, pack up, and say our goodbyes to Utah. We will plan to leave Moab for Grand Junction, Colorado (GJT) about 8:30 am for the 2 hour drive and you can plan to fly out anytime after 11:30 am (it's a small airport and an hour is plenty of time to check in). Alternatively, we can drive you directly to the airport in Denver, CO (DIA) for an additional $45. We will have you to the airport at 5:00 for flights out after 6:30PM.
  • Price: $2450 (see this page for travel discounts) $300 deposit. There are two single rooms available (only necessary if you want to be assured of your own room) for an additional $495. You can see our cancellation policies here.

    Trip Includes

    • Two experienced AGC guides
    • Seven nights of double occupancy accommodation
    • All meals from dinner on Sunday to breakfast the following Sunday
    • Transportation from Las Vegas to Grand Junction during the trip
    • National Park entry fees

    Not included: Airfare to Las Vegas or from Grand Junction, alcoholic beverages, guide gratuities
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  • Common Questions

    If you’ve never traveled with us before, you may have some questions about how we do things and what you can expect. We’ve answered the most common ones below and are always available by phone or email to answer any others.

    How do I pay for my trip?

    You can make the deposit by submitting a secure form with your credit card information after filling out the registration form or calling us with your card information. We will send you an invoice for the balance due with your Predeparture Information 4 months before an International trip and 3 months before a domestic trip. You can get a 3% discount for paying the balance by check.

    What if I’m coming alone?

    The majority of women who travel with us come by themselves. If you want to pay a single supplement to guarantee your own room, or if you want to share a room with someone with whom you are traveling, you can indicate that on the registration form. Otherwise we randomly assign roommates and rotate every time we change lodging – it’s a great way to get to know different women on the trip.

    Can you accommodate special diets?

    It depends on both the trip and on your specific needs. With advance notice, we can accommodate most dietary restrictions or allergies on our domestic trips, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten intolerant. This is not always true on international trips, so please contact us in advance if you have specific dietary needs. We've found that if you are willing to bring some of your own snacks and a couple of items to supplement what is on the menu (peanut butter is always good!) and possibly have less variety than you are used to at home, then dietary needs usually are no obstacle. If in doubt about your specific dietary needs, especially if you have Celiac disease, please give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email.

    What if I have to cancel my trip?

    The amount of your refund depends on how close to the trip you cancel and whether it is a domestic or an international trip. You can read our cancellation policies here. We highly recommend travel insurance because cancellations are always unexpected; we will send you additional information about insurance when you register.

    Will my family be able to get in touch with me in case of an emergency?

    Yes, we always send out emergency contact information. On a few trips, because of limitations in communication, the best approach is to give them the office number and let us make the contact.

    What other information will you send me?

    When you register, we’ll send you a Trip Summary that includes the itinerary, travel information, and a packing list. Three to four months before your trip we’ll send you Pre-Departure information that includes detailed information on how to get to the trip starting point, pre- or post-trip lodging suggestions, suggested books and websites etc. Four to six weeks before the trip, we’ll send you a list of everyone who is registered along with their travel plans; and a Pre-Trip letter with the name of your guide(s) and how to contact them if your arrival is delayed as well as any other important updates.

    Do you help with pre-trip and/or post-trip hotel reservations?

    For international trips, if you want to stay at the hotel where we’re staying the first night before the trip, or at the hotel we’re staying the last night after the trip, we’re happy to make a reservation for you. Otherwise our PreDeparture Information will have hotel suggestions. Our travel agent is also happy to help you with this.

    How does the waitlist process work and how often do people cancel?

    If you are interested in a trip that is full, you should sign up here. If there is a cancellation, we send out an email to everyone who has expressed interest and ask them to respond within 24 hours. If more than one person is interested, we give the space to the person who has traveled with us before or in the order of being put on the waitlist. Frequently, even when we have a long wait list, it is the last person to sign up who is still available to go. Whether or not there will be a cancellation is completely unpredictable, although not uncommon.

    What is the role of the guide(s)?

    On every trip, the primary roles of the guide(s) are to ensure your safety and to make sure that, to the extent possible, you are having the trip you want. The guide(s) will also make sure that you know what is happening each day and what you need to bring to be prepared. On domestic trips the guide(s) will also likely be driving, preparing picnic lunches and sometimes other meals, providing skills instruction, and giving you information about the natural history of the area. On any trip where we partner with another company (which is most international trips and some trips that require special equipment), the AGC guide will work with the local guide to make sure that the trip is conducted in accordance with the AGC philosophy.

    What if I have more questions?

    Give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email. A Program Manager is assigned to each trip. Once you have registered, she will send you a registration confirmation letter that includes her name and email, and she will be your primary contact. Her job is to make sure that you get all your questions answered and that you feel completely prepared for your adventure.

    What if I'm the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape/only single woman/only mom on the trip?

    You might be. Someone has to be the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape person on the trip. And while the great majority of our trips have both single and non-single women, and moms and non-moms, sometimes they don't. But it doesn't matter if you're "different" in any of those ways - what you will share with everyone else is a desire to experience adventure in your life, and an appreciation of the joy and camaraderie of being in an all women's group.

Trip highlights

  • Exploring the Emerald Pools Trail system in Zion National Park
  • Walking among the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Slithering through the slot canyons of Little Wild Horse
  • Hiking to some of the many arches in Arches National Park
  • Enjoying the remoteness and solitude of Capitol
  • Register for this trip today

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