Three breathtaking National Parks lie within the red rocky terrain of the America West. Linda Walker of Preferred Travel of Naples recently took this eight-day excursion with Tauck Tours by motor coach.
Linda first flew into Phoenix, AZ and was escorted to Scottsdale’s Four Seasons Resort for the evening. “I’m almost embarrassed to tell people that I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon.” Said, Linda. “I’ve been all over the world and most of the US, but this was my first time visiting the Canyonlands of out west. For those people like me that have never been, the tall rocky backdrop among the cacti and desert brush is gorgeous. Tauck Tours reserves the perfect accommodations to take advantage of the areas visited, so the landscaping and architecture are ideal.”
The next day the motor coach headed off to Sedona. “In Sedona, towering red rocks are in the most unusual formations. In fact, these towering stones have names like Bell Rock and Snoopy, which looks just like Snoopy lying on his back. It’s almost like looking at clouds and seeing figures out of their shapes.” Linda explained. They explored Sedona, which has impressive crafts, antiques, and restaurants all along a quaint street. And the town also has many areas to hike or take in the views.
In the late afternoon, they started off for the Grand Canyon. Linda told us, “Pictures and videos can never portray the majesty of this place. Seeing the different layers and colors of rock was spectacular. I’m so grateful that I finally got the chance to see this gorgeous location in person.” The group checked into the Kachina Lodge on the south rim of the canyon.
They took a walk along the rim and looked down into the vast canyon. A geology expert gave them an informative and enjoyable talk about the geology of the canyon. Those visiting the Grand Canyon on their own might also opt for a mule tour that takes you down into the bottom of the canyon where you could camp out and spend the night. This provides a totally different perspective of seeing the Grand Canyon from the bottom up, and don’t forget to look up in the evening. The stargazing is exceptional.
“Every sunset that we got to see was the most brilliant reds and oranges. Western sunsets are absolutely breathtaking like glowing embers.” Linda explained. The sunset and the sunrise are interesting there because depending on how the light filters, the canyon looks different and changes throughout the day.
They left the Grand Canyon around 11:00 am the next morning and drove down the east rim of the canyon for the last look at the immense rocks before heading to Page, Arizona.
In Page, they stayed at Lake Powell, which was created in 1963 when the Glen Canyon Dam held back the waters of the Colorado River, forming this immense blue lake surrounded by beautiful sandstone walls. The Lake Powell Resort sits right on the shores of the lake with impressive views. The group took a private sunset dinner cruise on the lake, which offered another unique vantage point to sit back and take in the scenery. In the morning Linda and a few others took a small plane on a scenic flight. It sat twelve, but only six joined, so they all had a window seat to view the most massive sandstone arch in the world known as Rainbow Bridge.
Linda’s group also opted to extend their flight by including a ground tour of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. The mesas and rock formations were as far as the eye could see, and up close, the massive rocks were almost overwhelming. Later that afternoon, back at Lake Powell, they boarded a touring boat and motored through Antelope Canyon, which is enveloped in colossal canyon walls. That evening the stars were impressive due to no ambient light to interfere with their glowing. Linda said she’d never seen so many stars before in all her trips anywhere around the world.
The next morning they took another float trip, but this one was on the other side of the dam on Glen Canyon Dam. Meandering down the Colorado River, they stopped at several spots along the way looking up at the Canyon walls. This 2-hour journey ended at Lee’s Ferry, the last stop before the river’s whitewater rapids begin.
Later that afternoon they headed back out on the motor coach to Bryce Canyon in Kanab, Utah. The Lodge at Bryce Canyon was very exclusive, offering individual cabins with fireplaces and private porches to overlook the canyon. Bryce Canyon is well known for its abundance of Hoodoo sandstone. Hoodoos look a lot like stalagmites and Linda described them as the drip-style sandcastles she used to make as a child.
Throughout Bryce Canyon, the weather vacillated between 40 to 80 degrees. The mornings and evenings were cool and crisp and the afternoons were perfectly warm and clear. Here, Linda hiked early in the morning and viewed towering green pines. Because of the vast elevation, more incredible stargazing was to be had in the evening. The park’s Dark Rangers often offer guided night-hikes among the moonlit hoodoos.
The next day they headed to Zion National Park, where 2,000-foot sandstone cliffs were towering above. The Lodge is located at the bottom, so guests are always looking up. The sunshine and the crystal clear blue sky made the tops of the mountains look like they were glowing. Linda told us that she probably took close to 1,000 pictures on this trip because of the stunning beauty all over the Canyonlands. Zion has a great deal of grassy expanse, so seeing families of deer and other wildlife was common.
Zion has a free park shuttle and offers various hikes. Some are steep, and some are flat so that all levels of activity and mobility can enjoy the outdoors. Several of the hikes were along the river, and Linda told us the serenity and peace of the place was like no other.
On their final day, they headed out on the motor coach one last time through the Mojave Desert into Las Vegas. They ended their trip there at the Four Seasons and had a lovely farewell dinner saying goodbye to new friends made along the way. If you wanted to stay in Vegas you could, or if you wanted to head out, the airport there offers easy flights home or to wherever you might be heading next.
We asked Linda who is this trip for and why should they take this trip. “ This is a great trip for all ages including multigenerational families. You don’t have to hike, because Tauck provides great accessibility on land and by boat for all levels of fitness and function. This glorious place is in our country, in our backyard! If you haven’t seen it, you should, and if you have, you should revisit the Canyonlands. It was awe-inspiring and rejuvenating.”
Preferred Travel of Naples
If you would like to learn more about your opportunity to visit the world, Preferred Travel of Naples is the best place to start. With the highly traveled and experienced staff to guide you, rest assured that you will be in the best hands.
To find out more about this trip or other fascinating destinations, please contact Preferred Travel of Naples at 239-261-1177 or visit preferrednaples.com.