Day 1 DENVER
. Welcome to Denver! Your Tour Director is on hand late this afternoon to answer any questions.
Day 2 DENVER–VAIL–GLENWOOD CANYON–GRAND JUNCTION
. Travel west into the Rockies and stop in Vail, one of America’s most popular mountain resorts. Continue through the massive 1,800-foot-high walls of Glenwood Canyon before reaching the awe-inspiring natural beauty and dramatic red-rock landscape of Grand Junction.
Day 3 GRAND JUNCTION–COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT–ARCHES NATIONAL PARK–MOAB
. This morning, visit COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT with its canyons that drop as much as 500 feet deep. On to ARCHES NATIONAL PARK, with more than 2,000 preserved natural sandstone arches. Overnight in Moab.
Day 4 MOAB. EXCURSION TO CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK & DEAD HORSE POINT STATE PARK
. The day begins with magnificent CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK, a colorful landscape eroded into countless canyons, mesas, and buttes by the Colorado and Green Rivers. The remote Maze, the rugged Needles, and our destination today, the “Island in the Sky.” Continue on to DEAD HORSE POINT STATE PARK, where your Tour Director tells you the legend behind the name. Stroll along the Rim Walk, towering 2,000 feet directly above the Colorado River. The Mesa provides breathtaking views of southeastern Utah’s canyon country and the pinnacles and buttes of Canyonlands National Park. The afternoon is free for independent activities.
Day 5 MOAB–CAPITOL REEF NATIONAL PARK–ESCALANTE NATIONAL MONUMENT–BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK
. Today’s route past Capitol Reef National Park and Escalante is one of the most spectacular, yet unknown, scenic drives in the USA. The majesty of Capitol Reef will intrigue you with its twisting canyons, massive domes, monoliths, and spires of sandstone. Next, travel along Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK, where slow erosion over the ages has created fantastically sculpted rock formations resembling castle towers and cathedral spires. The natural amphitheaters and canyons glow with different lights throughout the day.
Day 6 BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK–ZION NATIONAL PARK–PAGE
. Today, descend into half-mile-deep ZION NATIONAL PARK. “Zion” means a place of peace and refuge. Enjoy the colorful sandstone walls that rise thousands of feet above the lush greenery of the canyon floor. Later travel to the shores of Lake Powell, and join the optional cruise on the waters of America’s second-largest man-made reservoir. Overnight in the northern Arizona town of Page, located on the southern shores of magnificent Lake Powell.
Day 7 PAGE–WILLIAMS
. Visit NAVAJO NATIONAL MONUMENT, located within the Navajo Nation, and established to preserve three prehistoric cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Puebloan People. After lunch, SUNSET CRATER VOLCANO NATIONAL MONUMENT! Roughly 900 years ago, the eruption of this volcano reshaped the surrounding landscape. Afterward our journey continues to Williams, a picturesque mountain town with Route 66 as the Main Street and the gateway to the Grand Canyon. Enjoy one of the best preserved stretches of the Mother Road in America. Walk Main Street and you’ll find vintage neon on buildings that are preserved to their original character, and restaurants that have the character of the Route 66 heyday. (CB)
Day 8 WILLIAMS. EXCURSION INTO GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK
. Today, experience one of the Natural Wonders of the World and see the beauty and splendor of GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK. The day is free to enjoy the park at your leisure. Wander along the canyon rim for breathtaking views. For a once-in-a-lifetime thrill, take an optional helicopter flightseeing trip over the Grand Canyon. (CB)
Day 9 WILLIAMS–MONUMENT VALLEY–KAYENTA
. To experience the American West immortalized on the silver screen, journey across the Navajo Nation to MONUMENT VALLEY. Situated on the Arizona/Utah border, the valley’s scenic desert vistas and iconic buttes have appeared in countless classic Western films. See the massive formations on a memorable 4-WHEEL-DRIVE TOUR. Then, on to Kayenta, or join the optional Navajo cookout for dinner, surrounded by red-rock canyons. (CB)
Day 10 KAYENTA–MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK–DURANGO
. First stop this morning is MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you walk in the footsteps of Ancestral Puebloans and see their mysterious, centuries-old cliff dwellings. Spend time at the park’s museum and visitor center, depicting the story of these people who mysteriously disappeared almost 700 years ago. Afterward, head to Durango in the Animas River Valley, surrounded by the San Juan Mountains. Tonight, maybe explore the historic downtown.
Day 11 DURANGO. EXCURSION ON THE DURANGO & SILVERTON NARROW-GAUGE RAILROAD
. Board the DURANGO & SILVERTON NARROW-GAUGE RAILROAD this morning for a scenic ride through San Juan National Forest. Experience the adventure of traveling by a coal-fired, steam-powered locomotive on the same tracks that miners, cowboys, and settlers of the Old West took more than a century ago. This historic train has been in continuous operation for more than 125 years, and the locomotives used to pull today’s train are 1923-1925 vintage. The train hugs steep canyon walls as it winds its way through the Rio de las Animas Canyon, with vistas of snowcapped peaks. Free time in Silverton, once a major mining town that owes its name to the bragging statement by an early miner, “We have no gold, but silver by the ton!”
Day 12 DURANGO–OURAY–BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON NATIONAL PARK–GUNNISON
. Travel north through the San Juan Mountains, stopping in Ouray, a small community nestled in some of the Rockies’ most rugged and towering peaks. This afternoon, visit one of America’s newest national parks: BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON NATIONAL PARK. The unique and spectacular landscape was formed slowly by the action of water and rock scouring. No other canyon in North America combines the narrow opening, sheer walls, and startling depths that you will see here.
Day 13 GUNNISON–BUENA VISTA–COLORADO SPRINGS
. Our journey continues through beautiful Buena Vista, a picture-perfect town that has retained a Wild West charm and is nestled at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Continue to Colorado Springs, where the view from the top of nearby Pikes Peak inspired Katharine Lee Bates to compose America the Beautiful more than 100 years ago. Visit the GARDEN OF THE GODS, a city park that is a garden of towering red-rock formations. (CB)
Day 14 COLORADO SPRINGS–SEVEN FALLS–US OLYMPIC TRAINING CENTER–U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY–DENVER.
Visit SEVEN FALLS and discover why it has earned a spot on National Geographic’s list of International Waterfalls. At the OLYMPIC TRAINING CENTER enjoy a guided tour of the flagship training facility where the USA Swimming and Shooting teams have their national headquarters on complex. Conclude your vacation with a visit to the U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY and trace the footsteps of some of our nation’s most revered leaders. Return to Denver in the late afternoon for an evening at leisure.
Day 15 DENVER
. Your vacation ends this morning. You can extend your vacation with extra nights and explore Denver further with a variety of exciting optional activities.