An Unforgettable Utah Vacay? Lead the Way

By Melinda Rhodes
April 27, 2023

Hey look! There’s a hoodoo. And an arch waaaay over there on the horizon. And another one. Is it getting hoodoo … errrr … I mean hotter out there? Shoot! I think I missed the turnoff for the trailhead! 

While this might seem like a bit from a “National Lampoon” movie set in Utah, the scenario has played out in real life. There are millions of acres of public land within the borders of our six-sided state, waiting to be explored. That’s a lot of ground to cover, which poses plenty of questions. Where do you start? Can your rental car handle the washboards on a steep dirt road? Is there more to these geological features than meets the eye? Why is the road painted oddly near some of these pristine places ?

If only you’d booked a Utah guided tour. The answers would be served to you on a silver platter..

Monumental Trivia

Did you know that cows can be conditioned? But unlike Pavlov’s drooling dogs, no food or bells are required. Strategically placed road paint that mimics the look of a cattle guard keeps those grazers off the pavement. Just one of the many fun facts you might learn from your Utah tour guide whilst on a Southwest Adventure Tour

But this is the only time you need eyes on the road. You’re not in the driver’s seat. Good news for all the car-caleptics who nod off in their captain chairs as soon as the wheels on the plush passenger van go round and round. Even better news for the goose-neckers who can’t get enough of the stunning scenery outside. Go ahead. Gander out the large windows all you want. 

Feel free to pick your guide’s brain for more fun facts during the drive or while you’re out and about. The pros at Southwest Adventure Tours are intimately familiar with the area. (One even worked as a Utah State Park Ranger for 25 years.) They’ll share all sorts of juicy tidbits — geological, gastronomical, historical and pop-cultural —  all along the way. This type of knowledge could come in handy if an answer on your “Jeopardy!” desk calendar back home is: This state park in Moab, Utah, was a filming location for multiple blockbusters, including “Thelma and Louise” and “Mission: Impossible II.” (What is Dead Horse Point State Park?)

The Upside of Downsized

Sure, super-sized is superior when it comes to the sheer face of the rock formation Ethan Hunt is free-climbing in the opening scene of the aforementioned spy thriller. Bigger is also better when it comes to cheesecake and brownies. But not when it comes to group tours. If a guide has to hold up a brightly colored paddle like a line leader in kindergarten to prevent people from getting lost on their way back to the bus, the group is too large. 

Southwest Adventure Tours has perfected the art of small group travel. Tours are usually capped at 13 people; some have fewer than that. Whether you choose the six-day Canyons of the Escalante, the 12-day Grand Circle Experience or one of the shorter guided tours of national parks Southwest Adventure Tours offers, you won’t just be sightseeing from a vehicle. You’re gonna get out and go hiking. Maybe even shimmy through a slot canyon. See things you’d probably walk right by if you didn’t have a guide with you. Bond with your new travel companions. Get a local perspective. Eat at hole-in-the-wall restaurants that don’t have the capacity to serve large groups. You’re gonna love it! 

For those who want an even more intimate trip, consider a custom Couples Tour. It’s like a guided tour … with an invisible guide. The experts at Southwest Adventure Tours curate an experience for you and take care of all the details — including hotel accommodations, restaurant reservations, daytime activities and directions for the most scenic route — but don’t actually come with you. There’s no need to spend hours on end researching Utah national parks and planning the perfect getaway for you and your partner. 

Alone Together

Regardless of which type of tour you choose, you don’t have to spend every waking minute with the people in your group. Southwest Adventure Tours build plenty of free time into each trip’s itinerary. On the Mighty Five tour, for example, you’ll have several hours in Moab to grab a quesadilla at a food truck then leisurely stroll down Main Street shopping for souvenirs. Or you could lounge by the hotel pool and DoorDash dessert. Or rent a bike and hit one of the trails around town. Whatevs. You do you. 

Get a Guide

Utah’s landscape is legend … wait for it … dary. Words cannot describe it. Photos don’t do it justice. You have to experience it firsthand to truly understand. And one of the best ways to do that is with a friendly Utah tour guide sharing their own love for the land. Find a full list of trips and departure dates from Southwest Adventure Tours and reserve your spot now.