Zion National Park & Grand Canyon Rim to Rim
September 28 - October 3, 2019
(6 days, 5 nights; Sat - Thu)Alternate Tour Dates
Includes all lodging, all meals, park entrance fees, van shuttles, leaders, trail maps and narratives. Note that private lodging is not available for our night at Phantom Ranch.
Las Vegas, NV
*IMPORTANT NOTE: This tour starts in Las Vegas and ends in Flagstaff
Timberline van shuttle is included from Las Vegas to Zion and from the Grand Canyon to Flagstaff.
Not included: Airline service to McCarran International Airport; Guide Gratuity.
Hotel 8:00 am
This tour combines two of the most scenic and challenging national parks in the southwest: a trip to the heart of Utah’s “color country” at Zion National Park, and a bucket list trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon for a stay in the fabled Phantom Ranch cabins. These two parks comprise a geologic dreamland that offers some of the most fascinating and breathtakingly beautiful landscapes to be found on this planet. Nowhere is nature’s workshop so dramatically displayed, where time is inconsequential and the artistry will always be a work in progress. We start our tour in Zion, a park distinguished by canyons, steep red cliffs, deep chasms, forested trails, waterfalls, a hanging garden, and The Narrows wading hike. It may seem impossible to top the vistas encountered in Zion – until you reach the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to look across the 10 mile chasm that drops over a mile to the mighty Colorado River below. Prepare yourself for the breathtaking descent into the Grand Canyon, from the ponderosa forests at the rim through the layers of Kaibab limestone, Coconino sandstone and Hermit shale to the Colorado at the base of the Canyon. The variety within the Canyon is overwhelming. The land forms, the colors, the spectacular vistas, that first sighting of the Colorado – every step is its own visual and sensual adventure.
It is important to note that this tour is our most challenging itinerary with elevation gains and loses in the thousands, long distances and steep dropoffs. Plan to come prepared mentally and physically for the most enjoyment of this truly spectacular area.
On Day 1, we assemble in Las Vegas and shuttle to Zion National Park. For our first introduction to the park we will venture up the canyon as far as the road goes to visit The Narrows of the Virgin River. We’ll wade through the shallow river bed upstream at least far enough to sense the awesome beauty of this narrow corridor through which the Virgin flows (5 miles).
Day 2, we’ll climb from the floor of Zion Canyon through Echo Canyon to awesome Observation Point, the highest accessible promontory in Zion. The views from Observation Point are incredible. Far below, the Virgin River winds through Zion Canyon towards its ultimate rendezvous with the Colorado; massive sandstone temples line the Virgin corridor. From our vantage point, we look down on the famed promontory that is Angel’s Landing (8 miles). It is precisely there that we venture on Day 3, Our hike to the pinnacle of the hogback includes canyon crossings, switchbacks, and chains that provide at least a semblance of security. (5 miles) After our descent we’ll head to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to enjoy our first views. A hearty dinner and an early bedtime will prepare us for the hike the next morning.
On Day 4, we follow Bright Angel Creek as it tumbles toward the Colorado on the North Kaibab Trail. Along the way, we’ll pass Roaring Springs, the primary water source for both the North and South Rim villages. A short spur trail offers the irresistible opportunity to visit Ribbon Falls. By the time we reach Phantom Ranch, our destination for the evening, we will have descended almost 6,300 feet over 14 miles through five distinct life zones to the canyon floor. Our lodging at Phantom Ranch will be in 4 – 10 person cabins, or single sex dormitories. Unfortunately we cannot offer a choice of beds as our bed assignment is provided from a lottery and we take what they can give us. Toilets are in each lodging unit, and the well stocked showers are located in a separate, single sex building.
By the morning of Day 5 we’ll be crossing over the Colorado, as the sun begins to rise above the canyon walls. We’ll follow the Bright Angel Trail as it climbs from the river beyond the Inner Canyon to Indian Gardens, onward and upward to the South Rim (10 miles). We’ll spend the evening at a lodge on the South Rim and celebrate over dinner at magnificent El Tovar Restaurant.
Day 6, we’ will be a bit more relaxed as we explore the South Rim of the Grand Canyon along the West Rim Trail past Hermit’s Rest, The Abyss, Mohave Point and Hopi Point. All too soon we’ll need to depart for Flagstaff for our afternoon arrival and the conclusion of our tour.
|Day 1||Assemble Las Vegas, transfer to Zion National Park: The Narrows of the Virgin River - Orderville Canyon||5|
|Day 2||Zion National Park: Observation Point||8|
|Day 3||Zion National Park: Angels' Landing; van shuttle to North Rim of the Grand Canyon||5|
|Day 4||Hike to the Colorado River (floor of the Grand Canyon) - North Kaibab Trail: (6400-foot descent); overnight lodging at Phantom Ranch||14|
|Day 5||Hike to the South Rim - Bright Angel Trail; overnight lodging on South Rim, celebratory dinner||8|
|Day 6||Hike the West Rim Trail, return to Flagstaff||4.6|
Total Distance: 44.6 miles
- Zion Lodge
- Phantom Ranch
- Grand Canyon Lodge