Great Parks of the Southwest
Canyon Country awaits on an exciting tour through the Southwest and to five of the region's scenic national parks.
Discover the scenic southwestern U.S. on this 11-day tour through Canyon Country. Your tour begins in Chicago where you'll board the legendary California Zephyr for your journey to Grand Junction. From there travel by motorcoach through red rock country to Moab. Admire thousands of sandstone arches in nieghboring Arches National Park and stand in awe of the pinnacles, spires and buttes at Dead Horse Point State Park.
But that's just the beginning! Additional tour highlights include visits to Capitol Reef National Park, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell and Sedona including an excursion through the Verde Canyon aboard the Verde Canyon Railroad and more! Return to Chicago from Winslow, Arizona aboard Amtrak's Southwest Chief.
The rushing rivers, deep canyons, rugged wilderness and natural wonders of Arizona and Utah make this a southwestern adventure to remember!
Highlights and Inclusions
- Roundtrip rail transportation aboard Amtrak (2 nights on train)
- Hotel accommodations for 8 nights
- 18 meals including dinner in the Rainbow Room and a Chuckwagon dinner
- Float trip on the Colorado River
- Verde Canyon Railroad
- 5 National Parks: Arches National Park, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Zion, and the Grand Canyon
- Escalante National Monument
- Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
- Services of a professional tour manager
- Baggage handling
Day 1 - Depart Chicago aboard the California Zephyr
Arrive at Chicago's historic Union Station, meet your tour manager and fellow travelers, and board the legendary California Zephyr for your 2:00 pm departure. As the train begins its journey west, settle into your onboard accommodations, chat with your travel companions, and take time to explore the train including the glass-walled Sightseer Lounge. Overnight train. (D)
Day 2 - California Zephyr to Grand Junction
When you awake this morning, the California Zephyr will be traveling through the Colorado Rockies. Enjoy the spectacular scenery from the comfort of your onboard accommodations, the Sightseer Lounge, or over a meal in the Dining Car. The train is scheduled to arrive in Grand Junction at 4:10 pm. Upon arrival, we'll board our waiting motorcoach and transfer to our hotel. There will be time to freshen up before a festive welcome dinner this evening. Overnight Grand Junction. (B, L, D)
Day 3 - Colorado River Float Trip / Arches National Park
Our day of adventure begins after breakfast, as we board our rafts for a leisurely float trip down the Colorado River, framed by red rock cliffs that mark the southern boundary of Arches National Park. After a delicious lunch, we will tour Arches National Park, appropriately named for its 2,000+ natural sandstone arches, fins, spires, and balancing rocks found within the confines of this 76,000-acre property. Keep an eye out for the Park's most popular attractions: Delicate Arch, the symbol of Utah, and Landscape Arch, the longest natural arch in the world. After our visit, we return to the hotel for an evening at leisure. Overnight Moab. (B, L)
Day 4 - Dead Horse Point State Park / Capitol Reef National Park
Our day begins with Dead Horse Point State Park featuring 2,000-foot sheer cliffs and viewpoints overlooking the Colorado River and Canyonlands National Park. After our visit, we head into Green River, Utah, for a stop for lunch on our own before continuing to Capitol Reef National Park, home to many colorful canyons, ridges and monoliths. This remote part of Utah is a pristine wilderness famous for its Navajo Sandstone that erodes into dome-like structures that resemble our nation's capital. We will stop at several viewpoints to take photos and see ancient petroglyphs before stopping at the Park's Visitor Center. Our day concludes with the drive to Torrey, Utah. The views from the hotel are breathtaking! Overnight Torrey. (B)
Day 5 - Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument / Bryce Canyon National Park
We leave Torrey this morning and head over the mountains to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, 1.9 million acres of wilderness cut by the Paria and Escalante Rivers. There will be stops for pictures of the panoramic vistas as well as at the Ranger Station to learn more about the establishment of this area. Our days continues with a tour of nearby Bryce Canyon National Park, named after one of the canyons that form a series of horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters on the edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Erosion has carved colorful limestone into thousands of spires, arches and mazes. After our visit, we'll check into our nearby hotel. Supper tonight is a fun Western cowboy show and chuck wagon dinner. Overnight Bryce Canyon City. (B, D)
Day 6 - Zion National Park
Today we travel to Zion National Park, taking the Mount Carmel Tunnel into the Park. There will be time for lunch on your own at Zion Lodge before an afternoon guided tram tour. We will learn the geological history of Utah's first National Park as we see the most stunning aspects of the Park, making several stops along the way for pictures and short walks. After touring the Park, there is free time to explore on your own before we check into our hotel. This evening, you may wish to explore the town or return to Zion National Park for dinner at the lodge. There is a town and park shuttle that you can access right outside our hotel. Overnight Springdale. (B)
Day 7 - Lake Powell / Antelope Canyon / Glen Canyon Dam
As we say good-by to Zion, we have one more glimpse of the Park as we exit via the Mount Carmel Tunnel again. We will stop in Mount Carmel Junction before heading through Kanab, the movie capital of Utah, where we will stop for lunch on our own. Our journey continues to Page, Arizona, where we'll head directly to the boat launch for a boat tour to Antelope Canyon. Located along the shores of Lake Powell, this canyon is a narrow slot in the sandstone. Our boat captain will amaze you with his skill at turning the craft around in this constricted gorge. We return to the marina late this afternoon and make a picture stop at Glen Canyon Dam. We will return to Lake Powell Marina for dinner in the Rainbow Room this evening. Overnight Page. (B, D)
Day 8 - Grand Canyon Experience
We leave Lake Powell this morning and travel down the Echo Cliffs on our way to the west gate of Grand Canyon National Park. Our first stop will be at the Desert Watchtower for a glimpse of Marble Canyon, the Colorado River, and the Painted Desert out in the far distance. We'll continue on to Grand Canyon Village, where there will be free time for lunch on your own and to see panoramic views of the Bright Angel Canyon. Later this afternoon we'll depart the Grand Canyon and head through Oak Creek Canyon en route to our Sedona hotel. Uptown Sedona with its shops and restaurants is just outside our hotel door. Overnight Sedona. (B)
Day 9 - Verde Canyon Railroad Excursion
After a morning at leisure, we head to the Verde Railroad depot for a quick lunch on your own before boarding the Verde Canyon Railroad. The train takes us into the Verde Canyon and along the Verde River, one of the most important water resources in this area of Arizona. Enjoy a leisurely ride spotting wildlife and seeing ancient Indian formations and other geological points of interest. After our train excursion, we board our motorcoach for a drive up the Mogollon Rim to Winslow, Arizona. Overnight Winslow. (B)
Day 10 - Southwest Chief bound for Chicago
We board the Southwest Chief early this morning for the return journey to Chicago through the colorful southwest. The return trip is a good time to relax and reminisce about your tour through America's southwest. Overnight train. (L, D)
Day 11 - Return to Chicago
The Southwest Chief travels through Kansas and Iowa and into Illinois. The train is scheduled to arrive in Chicago's Union Station at 3:15 pm, where your adventure to the Great Parks of the Southwest comes to an end. Post night hotels are recommended. (B, L)
Train and Hotel Accommodations
Hotels include the DoubleTree Grand Junction, La Quinta Inn (Moab), BW Capitol Reef Resort (Torrey), BW Plus Ruby’s Inn (Bryce Canyon City), BW Zion Park Inn (Springdale), Wahweap Lodge Lake Powell Resorts (Page), BW Arroyo Roble (Sedona), and La Posada Hotel (Winslow).
Amtrak accommodations are available in Coach class, Roomette and Bedroom. Coach accommodations include a reclining seat with leg rest. Roomette accommodations include a private cabin that features two comfortable seats beside a picture window during the day, which converts to an upper and lower berth at night. Bedroom accommodations feature a sofa and chair by day and upper and lower berth by night. Bedroom accommodations also include a sink and self-enclosed toilet and shower. All train accommodations include all meals aboard the train and access to the Sightseer Lounge car.
+Vacations By Rail can supply connecting rail from your closest Amtrak Station.
Dates & Prices
Select from the packages below to view prices for this tour.
|18th September 2014||$2,465||Book Now|
|18th September 2014||$3,040||Book Now|
|18th September 2014||$3,710||Book Now|
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Amtrak Coach: Departs 18th September 2014 ($2,465)
Amtrak Roomette: Departs 18th September 2014 ($3,040)
Amtrak Bedroom: Departs 18th September 2014 ($3,710)
Prices are land-only, per person.Prices are are correct at the time of this web page going live; however, are subject to confirmation at time of booking.
Pre and Post hotel nights are recommended in Chicago.
Vacations By Rail can supply connecting rail from your closest Amtrak Station.