Canyon Country In-depth
Explore canyons and towering arches of the Southwest
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Leisurely
Group Size Small Group
The Desert Southwest is alive! Canyons, adventure and luxury dominate this trip through western America where you experience the more popular regions, but in a very different way. Enjoy a private backroads tour of Monument Valley with the Navajo, followed by a backcountry desert experience through Moab’s beautiful slot canyons and towering arches carved by the elements. Visit Mexican Hat, an iconic structure eroded by the elements, and Mesa Verde National Park, where the Ancestral Puebloans made their home for over 700 years. By day, explore this incredible area, but retire to your high standard hotels and lodges in the evening to relax in comfort.
* 5 nights in hotels and lodges
* 5 breakfasts, and 2 dinners
* All transport by private vehicle and 4WD and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout. Group normally 1 to 13, plus local leader. Min age 16 yrs
- Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
- Optional activities (pay locally)
- Jeep and walking tour of Monument Valley
- Canyonlands, Arches N.P. and view of incredible Dead Horse Point
- Private tour through Moab’s backcountry slot canyons
Welcome to the city of Durango in Colorado. This historic frontier mining town has something to offer both the culture vultures and adrenaline junkies. Discover the boutique restaurants, charming galleries and stroll past exquisitely restored Victorian buildings in downtown Durango before taking in the city’s surrounding scenic beauty. In the evening at 18:00, there will be a welcome meeting to meet your tour leader and fellow travellers.*Optional Activities:*• Durango & Silverton Railroad day trip US$89+ (must be booked in advance directly with the durangotrain.com)*Accommodation:* Purgatory Resort
Mexican Hat - Monument Valley
Today you travel to the Navajo Nation’s greatest treasure, Monument Valley, via the iconic monument of Mexican Hat. A sacred land to those who call it home, the red sandstone monoliths have been the backdrop to countless Western movies. After arriving at the hotel, you set out on a backcountry 4×4 (vans in winter) driving tour, heading deep into the heart of the valley. After stops to photograph both the famous and lesser-known sights in the park, you come to ‘the end of the road’. Your local Navajo guide will then lead you even deeper into the park on foot where you’ll be walking to explore places that very few non-Native Americans ever to get to see. Finish your day with yet another unforgettable sunset in the heart of the valley, where the Navajo prepare a meal and you learn about their ancient cultures and customs.*Accommodation:* The View Hotel
Arches National Park - Moab
Stunning red sandstone arches have been created over millions of years by the whipping winds that brush down the western slope of the Rocky Mountains. The park offers leisurely hikes through spectacular sandstone landscapes with intriguing names like the Devil’s Garden. One of the more widely recognised arches and by far the most visited is Delicate Arch, a 65ft freestanding arch that has become one of Utah’s most famous icons. Your leader takes you through the desert, pointing out various points of interest and of course, the overwhelming number of arches within the borders of the national park. In the afternoon, why not spend a few hours experiencing the charms of Moab – the small eclectic town that serves as the gateway to both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.*Accommodation:* Red Cliffs Lodge
Moab backcountry Needles District tour
Explore the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park by comfortable 4WD. On this trip, you travel up Salt Creek and into the archaeological epicentre of Horse Canyon. The walls appear sculpted by an artist with their smooth flowing form as you travel the canyon’s sandy terrain. Continue to the southern entrance of Canyonlands near Church Rock, passing one of Utah’s first and still operational ranches before entering the Needles. Leaving the pavement at Salt Creek, we soon arrive at Paul Bunyan’s Potty; the most famous arch in Horse Canyon.A short traverse through the canyon leads to your next stop, Tower Ruin, a well preserved Ancestral Puebloan home. This dwelling was probably lived in seasonally by farmers migrating between Horse Canyon and the mesa top. Midday signals a stop for picnic lunch and is a great time for you to drill the guides for more information on the area’s human and natural history.After lunch, make your way to the Four Faces pictograph panel plus Castle and Fortress Arches; returning afterwards back down Horse Canyon for a short stop at the Newspaper rock petroglyphs before arriving back to Moab. This full day takes you well off-the-beaten-path and reveals a side to the area that few visitors have the privilege of seeing.*Accommodation:* Red Cliffs Lodge
The first half of the day is free for activities which Moab is so famous for. These include an extreme Hummer tour, canyoneering, a float trip on the Colorado River or mountain biking the slick rock. But the late afternoon, you’ll take a drive out to Canyonlands National Park and enjoy a hike along the rim for that iconic view at Dead Horse Point of the Colorado River snaking its way through the water channels. This is the perfect place to watch the sunset and observe how the rocks change hue with the lowering sun.*Optional Activities:*• Canyoneering – Moab US$100• Float trip on the Colorado River – Moab US$60-$91• Extreme off-road hummer tour – Moab US$90-$100• Mountain biking – Moab US$100*Accommodation:* Red Cliffs Lodge
Mesa Verde National Park - Durango
This morning you travel west back into Colorado and to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mesa Verde National Park, located in Montezuma County. See how the Ancestral Puebloans, often referred to as the Anasazi, lived and be in awe of this archaeological masterpiece as you explore the 600 cliff dwellings. You spend the day here with your tour leader, exploring and learning about the area before arriving back to Durango where this tour ends upon arrival.This tour ends at our gateway hotel at approximately 17:00 hrs. We recommend booking post-tour accommodation if time allows. If you are planning to fly tonight, please do not book a flight that departs before 21:00 hrs.
Hotels and lodges
Accommodation will be in clean, comfortable national park lodges, boutique hotels and unique locations that bring the flavors of the areas to life. They will all be in close proximity to the highlights of the region. You will be roomed with a fellow passenger of the same sex on a twin share basis (two people per room) unless you are travelling as a couple. Each hotel used is listed within the itinerary so you are comfortable with the standard at the time of booking. They are subject to change for a similar style/standard , although we endeavor to stick to the advertised itinerary as closely as possible.
This gateway resort is situated in a beautifully dramatic area in Durango, surrounded by mountains with amenities including heated outdoor pool, hot tub, fitness center and complementary Wi-Fi.
THE VIEW HOTEL
This relaxed Navajo-owned property is within Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Rooms feature locally-woven rugs and Native American decor, along with flat screen TVs, mini fridges, microwaves, coffeemakers, balconies with patio furniture and views of the valley. Amenities include free Wi-Fi in the lobby and an exercise room.
RED CLIFFS LODGE
Red Cliffs is an award-winning lodge which is nestled along the banks of the Colorado River, surrounded by deep-cut Canyon lands and steep cliff walls. While the west is best known for its rugged landscape and hardy adventures, staying at the Red Cliffs Lodge is anything but primitive.
2 dinners included.
On hotel based tours when meals aren’t included , you will usually eat out in local restaurants. We have detailed on the day by day itinerary, which meals are included and when you are likely to be eating out. To help you budget for your meals on average hotel breakfasts cost from US$6-12, lunches from US$8-15 and dinners from US$13-30; this does not include alcoholic beverages. Wine costs approximately US$5 per glass and beer US$4 per bottle. Please also be aware that a tip of approximately 15%-20% is added to group meals in North American restaurants. Applicable taxes will also be added to all listed menu prices.
Please make sure we are aware of any special meal requirements before travelling. We will do all we can to accommodate for various dietary requirements but in certain parts of North America certain food types can be limited.
This active tour is suitable for people of most levels of experience and fitness, although we recommend some training prior if you intend to hike the national park trails. Active tours are about exploring the places you visit so whether it’s sightseeing, walking or hiking, you’ll be experiencing the best from each place.
There are opportunities for optional activities during your tour. Your tour leader will organize these on your behalf and you will pay locally in cash. You’ll find the main optional activities listed above under each itinerary day description, along with guideline prices. It may not be possible to do all optional activities listed on each tour.
Although each tour follows an itinerary, there is a certain amount of flexibility and from time to time your tour leader may suggest changes. This may be due to road conditions, weather or a visit to a special attraction or event that happens to be in progress. Flexibility is key and often a side diversion will be a highlight of the tour. Hikes and optional activities cannot be guaranteed and may vary depending on ability, group interest, local weather conditions and time of year.