10 Days. 1,900 Miles. 9 Icons of the West.

10 Days. 1,900 Miles. 9 Icons of the West.

By Chad Taylor
January 11, 2019

These stunning sites took millions of years to create, but you can see them all in just ten days. It's the Grand Circle Tour, expertly guided by Southern Utah Scenic Tours.

Did you know that between southern Utah, northern Arizona and southeast Colorado there are seven national parks? That's right — seven. And that's not including all the natural areas that are more than worthy of park-hood, like Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell and the Colorado Rockies (the mountain range, not the baseball team).

Did you also know that you can see all of these parks and places in just 10 days? And you don't have to go it alone, either. Sure, you can do the tour on your own, but why spend time wondering where you’re going to stay/park/eat when you could spend that time wondering about rock formations and what it was like when dinosaurs roamed? That's where the experts at Southern Utah Scenic Tours come in.

Let them do the legwork, so you can relax and just focus on the experience. And of course, we mean the planning legwork. They’re not going to carry you on the hikes. We don't think.

Dead Horse Point

Day 1: Zion National Park

Zion National Park

Your tour begins in St. George, Utah, although many visitors to the region choose to fly into Las Vegas. When you book with SUST, your guide will happily make the two-hour drive to shuttle you from the Vegas airport to your accommodations in St. George. The next day, the official first day, you’ll explore Zion National Park, visiting landmarks like Angels Landing, the Great White Throne and the Court of the Patriarchs. That night you’ll stay in the neighboring town of Springdale, where you'll be treated to a "get-acquainted" dinner with your guide and tour mates.

Day 2: Grand Canyon National Park

Yes, the Grand Canyon is all it’s cracked up to be (get it?), and the drive from Zion is spectacular in its own right. On your way to the Grand Canyon's North Rim, you’ll drive through the Zion tunnel, see Checkerboard Mesa and pass by countless mesmerizing rock and sand formations.

Upon arrival, you’ll walk along the rim and enjoy a picnic lunch at a scenic overlook (with a capital S ... and CENIC). An afternoon of exploration is followed by a trip to Page, Arizona for dinner and sleep.

Day 3: Lake Powell –Antelope Canyon – Page, Arizona

Antelope Canyon

This area will add a massive splash of azure blue to all your trip’s red, orange and yellow. You’ll begin with a float trip down the Colorado River just below Glen Canyon Dam, finding a new way to appreciate the waters that carved out the Grand Canyon and look up at cliffs that start to rival it in size. Then, local Navajo guides will lead you on a trip through Antelope Canyon, the most photographed slot canyon in the world. (You know, the one from the screensaver.) Time permitting, you'll end the day with a tour of Glen Canyon Dam.

Day 4: Horseshoe Bend and Monument Valley

After breakfast, your group will walk out to Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River. You might remember it from your float yesterday (although it looks different from above). Safety tip: be sure to emember to pick up your jaw before the walk back. Next, it’s time to drive through Monument Valley, aka the desert road Forrest Gump ran on (you can stay in the car). You’ll get a full tour of this incredible tribal park from the native Navajo, and have plenty of time to photograph the famous East and West Mittens.

Day 5: Mesa Verde National Park and Four Corners

Mesa Verde

You know it’s corny, but admit it — you still want to stand in four states at once. At the Four Corners Monument, your wish is your guide's command. Enjoy some time at this cartographic anomaly before picking a state (Colorado) and heading to Mesa Verde National Park. You’ll see the famous Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings and even tour “Cliff Palace" (depending on availability). You’ll have plenty of time to see the park's best-preserved sites and browse the museum. You’ll end the day in the quaint, mountain-meets-desert town of Durango, Colorado.

Day 6: Durango, the Silverton Railroad and Colorado's Rocky Mountains

Silverton Railroad

All aboard! Day six starts with an old-fashioned steam engine train ride. You'll be treated to incredible views of the San Juan Mountains and the Animas River as you travel from Durango to Silverton, Colorado. After lunch, you’ll set out for one of the most scenic drives in the country, the Million-Dollar Highway, which travels through an area of Colorado often called "Little Switzerland" due to its sweeping views of the Rocky Mountains. Later, you'll stop in the old mining town of Ouray for ice cream before heading to Moab, Utah for the night.

Day 7: Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point

You'll start the day at Arches National Park looking at, you guessed it, arches. That includes the A-list arches of license plate and welcome sign fame, plus a bunch you never knew existed. It's all thanks to your guide, who'll be like family by now (or at the very least have a fun nickname). After Arches you’ll enjoy views of desert canyons and the Colorado River (it's like it's following you) at Dead Horse Point State Park and the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park.

Day 8: Capitol Reef National Park

From Moab, you'll drive to the sprawling, wild and uncrowded beauty of Capitol Reef National Park. At this underrated (and previously underwater) park, you'll l get a glimpse at unusual rock formations like petrified deserts and ancient sea floors. Capitol Reef might not any have iconic features like Bryce Canyon's hoodoos or Arches' arches, but it does have something no other park on the tour has — pies. That's right, the historic Gifford House in the park sells hand pies made with fruit from the park's own orchards. Snack on one after lunch or save it for a post-hike treat back at your accommodations in nearby Torrey.

Bryce Canyon

Day 9: Highway 12 and Bryce Canyon

After breakfast, you'll travel through red-rock cliffs and forested mountains on world-famous Highway 12, en route to your seventh national park in nine days. The grand finale of the Grand Circle is Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah's smallest but tallest park. Your guide will take you down into the canyon to walk among the hoodoos, but only if you want to (it's a long way back up). If not, the view from the rim trail ain't half bad. And by that we mean one of the best of your life.

Day 10: Bryce Canyon and Back to Las Vegas

Day 10 begins with another optional activity — sunrise over the hoodoos and spires of Bryce Canyon. Not an early riser? Try it out this time and you might be hooked. Although you definitely don't have sunrise colors like this back home. After tearful goodbyes to the your final national park, it’s time to head back to Las Vegas (which is not a national park). You'll travel along the scenic Cedar Mountain route, a drive we like to call Slot Canyons to Slot Machines.

Sound like a plan? Book your Grand Circle Tour with Southern Utah Scenic Tours today.