Spirit of the Desert: Southwest National Parks Tauck Tours

Spirit of the Desert: Southwest National Parks

Stories by Ken Burns

The Spirit of the Desert: Southwest National Parks tour is a 10 day Tauck World Discovery tour bringing you to Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Nevada. Author and famed filmmaker Daytona Duncan removes the mystery of the West on this tour.

The Spirit of the Desert: Southwest National Parks tour begins in Grand Junction before heading on a float trip down the Colorado River. This luxury tour is full of exclusives only Tauck tours can offer as you visit places like Canyonlands National Park, Bryce Canyon and of course the ultimate location in this part of the United States, the Grand Canyon. You’ll get your fill of the wildlife, flora and fauna of these national parks before wrapping up your tour in Las Vegas.


10 Daysfr. $5,890

  • Exclusive to Tauck! Filmed vignettes by Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan share their own personal stories and tell the stories of those who shaped the creation & preservation of the national parks
  • Six National Parks! On the ground or by air, explore Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Zion and Grand Canyon national parks – more than any other Tauck trip
  • Two Flightseeing Adventures! Fly over the extraordinary remote reaches of Capitol Reef National Park and see the Grand Canyon from the air en route to Las Vegas
  • Two Nights on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon provide a fresh, “new” perspective of the park; you’ll have a privileged, less conventional national park experience that is enjoyed by fewer than 10% of all park visitors
  • Local experts associated with Ken Burns's documentary, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, give special talks and lectures
  • Dawn Patrol & Sunset Scouts – independent sunrise and sunset spirit-of-the-moment experiences in the national parks, taking place at the best times of the day, for a rich and emotional connection
  • Insights and perspectives by a member of the Navajo Nation
  • Mild-to-moderate float trip on the Colorado River
  • Airport transfers upon arrival and departure as detailed
  • All customary gratuities for hotel and restaurant staff and local guides are included.
  • The customary gratuities for the Tauck Director and local drivers are not included. We ask that gratuities be extended on a voluntary, individual basis and not as a group.
  • All items of a personal nature (room service, beverages, telephone charges, laundry, dry cleaning, special food requests, etc.) and meals not specified on the tour itinerary are not included and must be paid by the client.
  • Airline excess luggage charges, vaccinations, visa fees and services, airport arrival and departure taxes, individual airport transfers (when applicable), and other optional or incidental extras are not included.
  • All rates exclude airfare unless expressly noted.
  • 9 breakfasts
  • 5 lunches
  • 9 dinners
  • Red Cliffs Lodge in Moab, Utah (3 nights)
  • The Lodge at Bryce Canyon in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah (1 night)
  • Zion Lodge in Zion National Park, Utah (2 nights)
  • Grand Canyon Lodge - North Rim in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona (2 nights)
  • Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada (1 night)

An amazing week begins in Grand Junction

Moab, USA

Tour begins: Red Cliffs Lodge, 5:30 PM. A transfer is included from Grand Junction Regional Airport to Red Cliffs Lodge in Moab, Utah. The "Spirit of the Desert" defies just one single definition. It's the spirit of the moment, a mood, a feeling harmonious with nature yet transcendent of earth and sky. It moves the senses to create, the mind and soul to soar, adventurers to be bold. And, starting tonight, you will become part of its amazing story.

Learn about the days ahead through filmed vignettes by Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan, who explains: "If you really want to witness the national parks when they're most beautiful, you want to see them at sunrise and sunset - the times when we typically shot most of the footage for our film. Nothing quite compares to those parts of the day. From 10 am to 3 pm, standing at the rim of the Grand Canyon is certainly awe-inspiring; but standing on the rim as the first rays of light hit the canyon, or when the last rays of a sinking sun move through it, is an experience beyond words." In the vignette, Dayton introduces the “Dawn Patrol” and “Sunset Scouts,” independent explorations that take place at these optimum times of the day; mostly optional, they create an emotional connection to the parks that deepens your appreciation of all they offer.

Following pre-dinner drinks featuring hot and cold canapés, join us for a "cowboy cookout" dinner at Red Cliffs Lodge as Tauck's comprehensive national parks featuring the Grand Canyon vacation begins.

Dinner

RED CLIFFS LODGE

Arches National Park & a Colorado River float trip

Moab, USA

Rise early for a memorable journey to Arches National Park. You won’t believe your eyes – over 2,000 arches comprise the world’s largest concentration of natural sandstone arches. National park status didn’t come easily... first declared a national monument in 1929, it took 40+ years to achieve. You’re sure to recognize Delicate Arch, the amazing Balanced Rock, and a variety of sensational geological formations during guided sightseeing before returning to the lodge for lunch.

Get set for adventure this afternoon when you depart on a scenic float trip along on the Colorado River* – rock towers, colors and light reflect upon the water like mirror images. There is an optional Sunset Scouts walk, then the evening is spent at the lodge, where you dine at your leisure and are steeped in the authenticity of an architectural style that defines the West. And your Arches National Park to Grand Canyon vacation crafted by Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan begins...

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

RED CLIFFS LODGE

A Navajo perspective & Canyonlands Nat'l Park

Moab, USA

You have the option this morning of joining your Tauck Director for a trip to enjoy spectacular views of Book Cliffs, Arches National Park, Colorado, and the La Salle Mountains... and perhaps see some dinosaur tracks! A lecture by a local Navajo connects you to the sacredness of the desert, to the ancient spiritual life that transcends today’s world.

Depart for the fun little town of Moab, then on to Canyonlands National Park, whose countless canyons, mesas and buttes shadow the Colorado River and the Green River. These rivers divide the park into four districts – today you’ll explore the northern section, Island in the Sky, where among other formations you’ll see a famed pothole arch, Mesa Arch, overlooking Buck Canyon. There is no better way to experience Canyonlands than at sunset – and the setting sun, during a picnic dinner at Dead Horse Point overlooking the U-turn in the Colorado River, is nothing short of inspirational.

Breakfast, Dinner

RED CLIFFS LODGE

Flying over Capitol Reef & on to Bryce Canyon

Moab, USA

Enjoy some free time this morning – go on an optional Dawn Patrol or visit the Film Museum at the Lodge (both on your own). For the past 70 years, many of the most famous western movies were filmed in and around Moab – learn about the filming locations and the stars who brought them to life.

Vignettes today include Dayton Duncan’s insights on the best way to access the major sights in the national parks; some are available at a turnout, while others are inaccessible and require back-country hiking or an aerial overview – and that is exactly how you’ll tour Capitol Reef National Park today. Cross the Waterpocket Fold, which is sort of a “warp” in the Earth’s crust that runs nearly 100 miles, and see Strike Valley, the spectacular sandstone Capitol Domes that give the park its name, colorful cliffs, soaring spires and of course the odd monoliths.

Bryce Canyon, USA

Arrive at Bryce Canyon National Park, home to some of Earth’s more whimsical geologic formations; spend some time at the Visitor's Center and enjoy some free time before dinner – there is an optional Sunset Scouts this evening.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

THE LODGE AT BRYCE CANYON

Bryce's hoodoos & a talk on "singaways" at Zion

Bryce Canyon, USA

Another independent Dawn Patrol is available this morning – a hike along the rim of Bryce Canyon to catch the shocking array of colors illuminated by the first rays of light on the hoodoos below. More of a series of horseshoe “amphitheatres” than a canyon, morning walks reveal millions of pinnacles positively glowing.

Zions Park, USA

This afternoon, depart for Zion National Park; en route you’ll learn about the park’s complicated creation via a film vignette by Ken Burns, who shares his favorite memories of the park. Upon arrival, Ryan Paul, Curator of Frontier Homestead State Park Museum (formerly Iron Mission State Park), entertains with a lecture on “singaways” and the contribution of the Union Pacific Railroad to the story of the national parks. There is an independent Sunset Scouts opportunity tonight to the historic Virgin River bridge located at the mouth of the canyon.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

ZION LODGE

A full day in Zion National Park

Zions Park, USA

“I was so impressed by the red cliffs and wilderness surroundings of Zion Canyon that I determined we should... have it made a national park.” The words of conservationist Horace Albright set the stage for the expansion of national park designations in the Southwest, and the creation of Zion National Park in 1919. Zion’s most striking images are unique sandstone cliffs that range from towering monoliths to narrow canyons, changing in color from light cream to pink to red. Tour the park by tram through Zion Valley, with walks to Weeping Rock and the Court of the Patriarchs, then have some free time to explore as you please.

Late afternoon, internationally acclaimed environmental historian and author Alfred Runte gives a talk on the history of the railroad in the national parks; he was on the team advising Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan during production of The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, and appeared in every episode. Those who wish a little time for personal reflection this evening might do an independent Sunset Scouts’ visit to the Virgin River, a tributary of the Colorado River that earned the designation “wild and scenic.” Tomorrow – we'll travel to the last of our six national parks for some Grand Canyon vacation memories!

Breakfast, Dinner

ZION LODGE

Pipe Spring Nat'l Monument & the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon, USA

A film vignette by Dayton Duncan tells the story of Grand Canyon National Park, and how it exemplified the struggle that often occurred when creating a new national park. Leave Zion, and en route to Grand Canyon National Park get a guided tour of fascinating Pipe Spring National Monument to learn about Paiute Indian and Mormon pioneer history. Drive to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, a place more intimate and less crowded than the South Rim, with fewer than 10% of the park’s total annual visitors. Following lunch, explore the North Rim, including the vistas from Point Imperial (absolutely awesome). Dinner tonight is at your North Rim lodge – a great start to Tauck's Grand Canyon vacation days.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

GRAND CANYON LODGE - NORTH RIM

Grand Canyon National Park as you please

Grand Canyon, USA

A Dawn Patrol takes in the fantastic North Rim – and remember, sunrise comes pretty early! Naturalist John Muir remarked: “The dawn, as in all the pure, dry desert country is ineffably beautiful; and when the first level sunbeams sting the domes and spires, with what a burst of power the big, wild days begin.” The day is free to explore “your park” as you please; optional activities include additional ranger talks about history, geology, etc., and mule rides. Or, you just might want to sit for a spell in the Adirondack chairs on the porch of the lodge with a nice refreshing drink in hand – and gaze at one of the most fantastic views on Earth. It's a Grand Canyon vacation memory to treasure...

Breakfast, Dinner

GRAND CANYON LODGE - NORTH RIM

Flightseeing from the Grand Canyon to Vegas

Grand Canyon, USA

A final Dawn Patrol takes in the spectacular sunrise, at your own pace, from the North Rim of the canyon. The last of our vignettes features reflections by Ken Burns about our own private memories of the national parks – these memories are not about the “views,” but instead they are the memories of those you shared the views with. Dayton Duncan’s vignette explains how the parks belong to all of us, and the need to continue to help to protect them for future generations. The most fitting farewell to the Southwest and this Grand Canyon vacation is a flightseeing trip from Kanab over the western regions of the Grand Canyon to Las Vegas for your return home. Join us tonight for a farewell reception and dinner at your Four Seasons hotel.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

FOUR SEASONS HOTEL LAS VEGAS

Journey home

Las Vegas, USA

Your Bryce Canyon, Zion and Grand Canyon vacation ends: Las Vegas. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas to Las Vegas McCarran International Airport. Checkout time is 12:00 noon. Allow a minimum of two hours for flight check-in.

Breakfast

Departure Date
Price
Thu, May 23, 2019
$5,890.00
Thu, May 30, 2019
$5,890.00
Thu, Jun 06, 2019
$5,890.00
Thu, Jun 13, 2019
$5,890.00
Thu, Jun 20, 2019
$5,890.00
Thu, Aug 22, 2019
$5,890.00
Thu, Sep 05, 2019
$5,890.00
Thu, Sep 12, 2019
$5,890.00
Thu, Sep 19, 2019
$5,890.00
Thu, Sep 26, 2019
$5,890.00
Thu, May 07, 2020
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Thu, May 14, 2020
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Thu, May 28, 2020
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Thu, Jun 04, 2020
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Thu, Jun 18, 2020
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Thu, Sep 10, 2020
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Thu, Sep 17, 2020
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Important information:

  • All rates listed are per person based on double occupancy and are subject to change without notice. Your land package pricing will be confirmed and guaranteed once your deposit is received and applied to the booking, except where price increases may result from increases in government taxes or fees. Room configurations are subject to availability. Guests added to your party after the booking are priced at the prevailing rate at the time they are added.

ALL guests must carefully verify the existing identification requirements for their particular travel situation DIRECTLY WITH THEIR LOCAL CONSULATES OR EMBASSIES or with a visa service, as these requirements may change. Guests without proper documentation may be denied entry and will not be entitled to a refund
  • 60 days or more before departure: $525.00 per person
  • 59-8 days before departure: $925.00 per person
  • 7-1 days before departure: $1500.00 per person
  • On departure day and later: 100% of total price
  • Any changes or cancellations to airline reservations made through Tauck either before or after departure are subject to the cancellation / change policies of the individual airlines. In n some instances these cancellation / change fees may be up to 100% of the ticket price.
  • Cancellation fees may also apply to any additional services, including extra night accommodations, independently supplied services, and optional excursions reserved prior to, during, and after the tour. If flight changes, including, but not limited to, flight cancellations or name changes, are requested after full land and air deposits are received, revision fees, change fees, or airline cancellation fees will apply.
  • All cancellations must be received in writing prior to tour departure. The cancellation policy will apply according to the date that the cancellation notification is received. The MINIMUM cancellation penalty is the deposit amount.
  • The purchase to trip cancellation insurance is strongly recommended.
  • Land only “from price” is per person based on two people sharing a room together and does not include airfare unless expressly stated.
  • All prices are in US Dollars.
  • A $525 non-refundable, non-transferable, per-person, per-vacation deposit is required to reserve space for you. Payment of the deposit indicates you have read and accepted all Terms & Conditions. Your booking is not confirmed until the deposit payment is processed and you receive a confirmation invoice.
  • Final payment is due 75 days prior to departure. Within the final payment date, payment in full is required at time of booking to reserve space. Reservations (land, cruise, and air) are canceled if final payment is not received by the due date.
  • Additional deposits or payments are required for international air added to the start and/or end of your vacation.
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