The Pros Know: 5 Adventure Tours to Make You Feel Better
Aug 17, 2020
By: Melinda Rhodes
It’s travel season. And after months of isolation, you are unquestionably ready for a vacation ... just not to a faraway destination. Satisfy your wanderlust, beat the coronavirus blues, and cure other travel-related conditions with one of these Utah adventure tours. Whether going solo or with a small group guided by pros, local road trips are one of the safest ways to travel right now — as long as the proper precautions are taken. So make sure you have a ham sammie and some hand sani with you.
Feel like the walls are closing in on you? Say buh-bye to claustrophobia and cabin fever by temporarily trading your home’s modest square footage for Utah’s massive square mileage (84,899 to be precise). That’s a lot of scenery to be seen and hills to be hiked.
Southwest Adventure Tours’ 6-day Mighty Five package gives you the option to start in Salt Lake City or Las Vegas, then takes you through all of Utah’s national parks — Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion — in the comfort of a clean Mercedes Sprinter with captain seats. A self-drive itinerary is also available if you’re not comfortable sharing a van with other masked meanderers.
Pro tip: Get a homemade pie from Gifford Homestead in Capitol Reef National Park before you head to the Cassidy Arch hiking trail. The flakey, fruit-filled pastries often sell out in the afternoon.
Zion and Bryce
Nothing is worse than a carcoleptic copilot who leaves you to do all the driving on a road trip without any en-route entertainment. Except, perhaps, getting a speeding ticket because you have a lead foot.
Either way, let a knowledgeable guide safely chauffeur you from Salt Lake City or Las Vegas and provide edutainment on the 1-day Zion and Bryce tour. It’s ideal for those who are short on time but still want to enjoy richly hued views in Utah’s two most popular national parks. Lunch at a local cafe on Highway 89 is included.
Pro tip: If you become lovestruck with Zion (you will!) and decide you want to go back when you have more time, check out this 3-day hiking itinerary.
Not everyone is a Road Scholar who loves to spend hours on end researching destinations and planning trips in minute detail. Especially when the trip encompasses three different states and takes you through seven national parks, two national monuments, two recreation areas, and two Indian reservations. Zion. Grand Canyon. Lake Powell. Monument Valley. Mesa Verde. Arches. The list goes on and on.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to show up without studying up, book the 10-day Grand Circle package from Southwest Adventure Tours. Their local guides know all the hidden gems, local eateries, and cultural curiosities within this scenic circle, giving you a truly immersive experience. There is also a self-drive version of Grand Circle (but you’re still going to have to let someone else drive the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Train).
Pro tip: If you’re traveling with children, download and print a copy of the Junior Ranger booklet from each national park’s page on NPS.gov prior to leaving. This gives them something to do during transit ... besides begging to play on your phone or bickering about who is and is not allowed to look out their window.
Trail of the Ancients
Ever walked into a room and forgotten why you were there? Moments of destinesia like these are laughable ... unless you’re on vacation. It’s not so funny when there are things you want to see or do in a certain area, but they slip your mind because of the sheer volume of attractions. And once you’re gone, there’s usually no turning back. This is why it’s important to have a well-developed itinerary like the 7-day Trail of the Ancients.
This guided tour departs from Albuquerque and takes you through historic sites, ancient pueblo ruins, volcanic formations, and luminous landscapes in four states, including Utah. From Hovenweep National Monument to San Juan River Goosenecks and Mesa Verde National Park, professional guides ensure you don’t miss a thing. You’ll even visit locations made famous by modern films. Once you travel this way you’ll be ...
Logan and Ogden
It might seem like southern Utah gets all the love, but there’s a lot to be enamored with up in northern Utah, too. Cooler temperatures for one. Evergreen trees for another. And don’t forget the raspberry shakes. Load the kids in the car and enjoy a family-friendly weekend or a midweek adventure through mountain towns, national forests, and state parks using this itinerary.
Pro tip: After eating some Beehive Cheese Curds at Roosters Brewing Company, head up Ogden Canyon to the Wheeler Creek trailhead and hike the lollipop around Icebox Canyon. The trail follows a stream most of the way and is densely vegetated.
Whether you opt for a guided tour or want to drive yourself, Utah.com and Southwest Adventure Tours are pros that know where to go and what to do. Have fun out there, but be sure to #RecreateResponsibly in national parks and anywhere else you visit.