Explore the glorious red-rock landscapes of Utah and Colorado, encountering fascinating geology and indigenous archaeological sites in national monuments and three celebrated national parks. 

Starting at: $4,495 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde  Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park  Delicate Arch, Arches National Park  The Colorado River in Canyonlands National Park  Vista of Arches National Park. Credit: Fadhillah Azman  The cliff dwelling of Mesa Verde

Hiking Canyon Country in Utah and Colorado

An Active Journey

7 days from $4,495

Explore the glorious red-rock landscapes of Utah and Colorado, encountering fascinating geology and indigenous archaeological sites in national monuments and three celebrated national parks. 

or Call 855-330-1542

Overview

Straddling the border of Utah and Colorado, the red-rock country of the American West is home to spectacularly sculpted landscapes and a rich cultural legacy. Set off on a hiking adventure in four national parks and monuments for a closer look at the region’s natural and human history. Hit a variety of trails in both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Trek to ancient rock art in Bears Ears National Monument, and learn about the land’s significance to numerous Native American tribes. Take a scenic drive through Canyons of the Ancients, where thousands of archaeological sites have been found, and cap off your experience among the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park. 

Highlights Include

  • Canyonlands National Park: Set out on hikes in two regions of Canyonlands: the 1,000-foot-high mesa known as Island in the Sky and the unusual Needles District, which bristles with striped rock pinnacles. Learn about the park’s ancient residents while examining the petroglyphs of Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument. 
  • Arches National Park: Spend a morning exploring the awe-inspiring rock formations of Arches National Park. Follow short trails to iconic sites such as Delicate Arch, Balanced Rock, Landscape Arch, and Windows; and stop for a picnic with a view in the park. 
  • Bears Ears National Monument: Enjoy the expertise of a seasoned guide as you explore this undeveloped protected area. Hike through juniper forests and among wild red rock formations and high plateaus, and encounter ancient rock art and other vestiges of Native American culture. 
  • Ancestral Puebloan Sites: Drive through Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, where Ancestral Puebloans lived for 10,000 years, and learn about the archaeological finds at more than 6,300 sites.  Then go on walks and hikes in Mesa Verde National Park, home to some 600 cliff dwellings built into crevices and ledges many centuries ago. 
  • Unique Accommodations: Stay in a range of wonderful properties, including an upscale desert oasis in the heart of red rock country, charming cabins along the Colorado River, and a historic Old West hotel in the heart of Durango.  

Itinerary

Day 1 — Arrive in Grand Junction, Colorado

Arrive in Grand Junction by mid-afternoon and check into your stylish hotel on the campus of Colorado Mesa University. Gather on the rooftop this evening for a welcome reception and dinner with panoramic views of Grand Junction and the red cliffs beyond. (R,D)

Day 2 — Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Get an early start this morning for the journey to Canyonlands National Park, a protected area so large it is divided into four distinct districts. Spend today exploring the Island in the Sky District, where a vast 1,000-foot mesa is edged by sheer sandstone cliffs. Set off on a variety of hikes through this fascinating landscape, stopping at viewpoints and encountering fascinating geological features like iconic Mesa Arch. Late in the afternoon, drive through Moab to cabins perched along the Colorado River—your home for the next two nights. (B,L,D)

Day 3 — Arches National Park

Rise early to arrive in Arches National Park when it’s still quiet, before the daytime crowds. Set out to discover some of the 2,000-some natural arches that occur in an area about a tenth of the size of Rhode Island. On a series of short hikes, encounter arches and geological formations of all forms and sizes, including landmarks like Delicate Arch, Balanced Rock, Landscape Arch and the Windows. After a picnic lunch, return to our lodge for a free afternoon. Take a swim in the outdoor pool, visit Moab’s Museum of Film and Western Heritage, or wander over to the on-site winery on the property for a tasting. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Needles District of Canyonlands

Start the day at Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument, where many generations of native peoples etched petroglyphs into the rockface up to 2,000 years ago. Learn what researchers have learned from this treasure trove of ancient symbols and art—the largest known collection of petroglyphs in the U.S. Then enter the Needles District in the southeastern corner of Canyonlands National Park to explore the unusual striped rock pinnacles that give the area its name. Stops here may include an Ancient Puebloan ruin, interesting desert potholes, a primitive cowboy camp, and ancient rock art. Enjoy a picnic lunch before traveling to our lodgings near the town of Bluff. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Bears Ears National Monument 

Spend the day discovering Bear Ears National Monument, a protected area with diverse geography, important archaeological sites, and spiritual significance to numerous Native American tribes.  

As the park infrastructure is still relatively undeveloped, you’ll explore with seasoned guides, following a range of stunning trails to ancient rock art sites, red-rock formations, forests, and high plateaus. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Journey through the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument this morning. The region and has been occupied by Ancestral Puebloans for 10,000 years, and you’ll stop to see some of its more than 6,300 recorded archaeological sites. Continue to Mesa Verde National Park, a World Heritage site that protects astonishing archaeological ruins—including 600 cliff dwellings—left by the Ancient Puebloan people who inhabited these cliffs from 600 to 1300 BC. See some of the dwellings on short guided walks for an intriguing glimpse into everyday life, and enjoy a longer hike in the surrounding canyons. Later, travel to Durango and gather for a farewell celebration and dinner at our historic hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Depart Durango

After breakfast, head to the airport to catch your flight home.

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)