Day 1: Depart Chicago
Canyonlands tour members will meet the Tour Director in Chicago’s Union Station. The Willis Tower, one of the tallest buildings in the United States, is close by. Other Chicago attractions are a brief cab ride away.
Early afternoon we’ll board the Southwest Chief for the 3:00 departure. Relax in your reclining coach seat with leg rest. Roomettes or Bedrooms are available at an additional cost. All dining car meals are included. Enjoy a full-course dinner tonight in the dining car.
You will want to spend time in the Sightseer Lounge where the glass windows rise from floor level to the ceiling. It is a great place to view the passing scenery.
Day 2: En Route / Flagstaff
During the night we traveled across the state of Kansas. We will be near the Colorado border when you awaken. Today you will experience the excitement of the Santa Fe Trail as we cross New Mexico and Arizona. You will have time for a train side walk when we arrive in Albuquerque at mid afternoon. Our arrival into Flagstaff is scheduled for 8:51 p.m. We’ll transfer the short distance to the Comfort Inn.
Meal(s) B, L & D
Day 3: The Grand Canyon
Following a Continental breakfast, we’ll travel by deluxe motorcoach to the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon of the Colorado River is one of the world’s outstanding spectacles. In form, size, flowing color and geological significance, it is unsurpassed.
We will view the Canyon from several observation areas. We will stop at Mather Point and Grand View.
At mid afternoon we’ll continue on to Lee’s Ferry at the lower mouth of Glen Canyon. You will cross the Colorado River on the Navajo Bridge, at Marble Canyon which is the beginning of the Grand Canyon. We’ll visit the Carl Hayden Visitor Center at Glen Canyon. Our final destination for the day is the Lake Powell Resort in Page, AZ. Dinner tonight is included.
Meal(s) CB & D
Day 4: Lake Powell
Following an included breakfast, we’ll embark on an extensive cruise on Lake Powell, the second largest man-made lake in the country. We’ll cruise as far as Antelope Canyon, a spectacular attraction. The Canyon is so narrow that you’ll feel that you could almost touch the walls which
rise straight up.
We’ll continue by motorcoach to Bryce, Utah, where we’ll spend the night at the Best Western Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel. Dinner is at the Cowboy’s Buffet and Steak Room.
Meal(s) B & D
Day 5: Bryce Canyon / Zion National Park
Following an included breakfast, we’ll transfer the short distance to Bryce Canyon National Park. Bryce Canyon includes some of Earth’s most colorful rocks, which have been sculpted by erosion into pillars called “hoodoos” and other fantastic forms. Iron oxides give red, yellow and brown tints to the limestone, while manganese oxides lend a lavender hue.
Bryce is not a true canyon, but, a series of horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters carved in the edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau by tributaries of the Paria River. We’ll travel with a local guide on a 37-mile round trip on a road that follows the high rim to many major vantage points, such as Inspiration Point, Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, Bryce Point, Paria View, the Natural Bridge and Rainbow Point.
Following an “on-your-own” lunch, we’ll continue to another of the West’s treasures, Zion National Park. You’ll find desert terrain and huge, sculpted rock formations coexisting with waterfalls and hanging gardens. The gigantic stone masses of the West Temple and the Watchman guard the southern entrance to the park. From a multicolored stairway, the red-brown Watchman looms 2555 feet above the canyon floor. The 7810-foot West Temple is one of the most prominent formations in the southern section.
Just north of the southern entrance is the beginning of Zion Canyon, a spectacular gorge being carved through strangely-colored sandstone and shale by the Virgin River. About a half-mile deep and a half-mile wide at its mouth, the canyon narrows to about 300 feet at the Temple of Sinawava, the narrowest portion of the canyon accessible by car and about eight miles from the park entrance. We will take the tram ride in Zion.
Following our time at Zion National Park, we’ll travel on 136 miles to Las Vegas where we’ll arrive at mid evening. A stop for dinner (included) will be made en route. Our home for the next two nights will be the conveniently located Treasure Island Hotel. You’re free this evening to begin to explore this magnificent oasis in the desert.
Meal(s)B & D
Day 6: Las Vegas
A buffet breakfast is included this morning in our hotel. At mid morning we’ll embark on a tour of three of the most spectacular hotel / casinos including New York New York, Excalibur and Luxor. The beautiful Venetian is within walking distance from our hotel. There is an extensive food court.
This evening we’ll transfer to original Las Vegas, now known as “downtown”. What this part of the city has done to compete with the strip hotel / casinos is phenomenal. They have constructed a huge roof that covers Fremont Street. You’ll view the “Fremont Street Experience”. It’s a ten-minute show in which over twelve-million lights are utilized. There will be time to enjoy the many options of “downtown”.
Day 7: En Route / Sedona
We’ll check out of our hotel this morning and head east across the desert. We will stop in Seligman, Arizona, a “Route 66” town. Enjoy an “on-your-own” lunch in this historic setting.
Following lunch, we’ll begin another “scenic spectacular” when we head south on State Route 89A, the famous Oak Creek Canyon road. About 16 miles long and rarely more than one mile wide, the canyon is known for its spectacularly colored white, yellow and red cliffs dotted with pine, cypress and juniper. Rocky gorges, unusual rock formations and buttes add interest to the drive.
By late afternoon we’ll arrive in beautiful Sedona. Sedona is a center for contemporary and traditional arts and a relatively upscale retirement and tourism area. Galleries and boutiques are found throughout the city and in Tlaquepaque, a Mexican / Spanish-style village. Specialty shops feature pottery, sculptures, paintings, jewelry and imported wares.
Our hotel is the attractive Best Western Inn of Sedona. You’ll enjoy a great view of the surrounding hills. Tonight we will enjoy dinner at a local restaurant (included).
Day 8: Sedona / Flagstaff
You’re free to enjoy all that this beautiful city has to offer. Sit on your veranda this morning and soak in all of the red-rock beauty that lies before you. Wander through the excellent shops and boutiques near our hotel.
Several options are suggested. Embark on a gentle jeep ride into the scenic and historic Dry Creek Basin surrounded by seven majestic canyons. Relive the early cowboy days with the tales of murder and moonshine at the old log cabin. A variety of other jeep excursions into the red rock mountains and canyons surrounding Sedona are available.
Another option is the famous Verde Canyon Railroad excursion train. Enjoy the three-and-a-half-hour round-trip ride through Arizona’s “other” Grand Canyon. You’ll view Sinaqua Indian Ruins, unique and distinctive geology and a variety of wildlife and waterfowl. Live narration and music is performed throughout the trip. You are encouraged to enroll on this attraction at the time you book this tour. The deadline is 30 days prior to your departure. (The price is approximately $50 per person.) Late this afternoon, we’ll board our motorcoach and travel north about 50 miles to Flagstaff. Our hotel for tonight is the Comfort Inn. The Tour Director will host a Farewell Dinner this evening (included).
Meal(s) CB & D
Day 9: En Route
We’ll transfer the short distance to the Flagstaff Amtrak station to board Amtrak’s famous Southwest Chief prior to its early morning departure for Chicago. You’ll again enjoy your reclining coach seat with leg rest, all train meals and other amenities experienced on the westbound Southwest Chief. Sleeping accommodations are available at an additional cost. Breakfast will be served in the dining car.
You’ll want to take advantage of the fascinating scenery of Arizona and New Mexico our train passes through.
Meal(s) B, L & D
Day 10: En Route to Chicago
The Southwest Chief is scheduled to arrive in Chicago mid afternoon.
Meal(s) B & L