2017 National Parks of the American West Total Solar Eclipse Northbound Overview
|Saturday||August 12||Scottsdale, AZ Pre-Night Option|
|Day 1||Sunday||August 13||Arrive Scottsdale, Arizona|
|Day 2||Monday||August 14||Sedona - Lowell Observatory - Lake Powell|
|Day 3||Tuesday||August 15||Glen Canyon Dam - Grand Canyon|
|Day 4||Wednesday||August 16||Bryce Canyon & Zion National Parks|
|Day 5||Thursday||August 17||Salt Lake City, Utah|
|Day 6||Friday||August 18||Salt Lake City|
|Day 7||Saturday||August 19||Jackson Hole, Wyoming|
|Day 8||Sunday||August 20||Jackson Hole|
|Day 9||Monday||August 21||Total Solar Eclipse|
|Day 10||Tuesday||August 22||Grand Teton & Yellowstone National Parks|
|Day 11||Wednesday||August 23||Yellowstone - Cody - Sheridan, Wyoming|
|Day 12||Thursday||August 24||Mount Rushmore - Crazy Horse - Rapid City, South Dakota|
|Day 13||Friday||August 25||Travels Onward|
Level 2 – Easy/Moderate – short to medium walks over uneven hilly terrain, with easy/rugged travel conditions.
We at TQ want to be sure you find the trip that’s right for the trip that best suits your interests and level of fitness.
Arrive Scottsdale, Arizona
Overnight: Courtyard by Marriott Old Town, Scottsdale, AZ or similar
Sedona - Lowell Observatory - Lake Powell
Your day begins with a journey north into the red-rock country around Sedona. As we leave the Valley of the Sun, the Sonoran Desert landscape is dotted with an incredible variety of cacti, while ahead you begin to see the amazing rock formations that reveal different shades of pink, crimson, orange and umber with each turn in the road. After a photo stop in historic Sedona, we carry on through Oak Creek Canyon, renowned as one of the most scenic drives in America, to historic Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, where Percival Lowell studied Mars, Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto, and Vesto Slipher measured the redshifts of galaxies. Our tour will include a visit to the Observatory’s stately rotunda – Percival’s library – and a glimpse at Lowell’s famous 24-inch Clark refractor, with which he observed the “canals” of Mars. Later, pass through the Navajo Nation and the Painted Desert to arrive at Lake Powell by evening.
Overnight: Lake Powell Resort & Marina, Page, AZ or similar
Glen Canyon Dam - Grand Canyon
Your morning begins with a visit to the Lake Powell visitor center, where the lookout offers superb views of Glen Canyon Dam and the expanse of sparkling water beyond. Then we’re off to explore Antelope Canyon with a Navajo guide, who explains the area’s rich natural and human history while pointing you to unique photo opportunities.
Next we journey through Marble Canyon to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, one of the world’s true natural wonders. Carved by the Colorado River, this massive chasm – more than 275 mi (443 km) long, 18 mi (29 km) across at its widest point and in some places more than a mile (1.6 km) deep – never fails to exceed expectations. Enjoy the afternoon on your own, hiking or relaxing in one of the many public areas above the immense, multi-hued rock walls. Dinner this evening is in the historic Grand Canyon Lodge, which offers magnificent views from the North Rim.
Overnight: Grand Canyon Lodges North Rim or similar
Bryce Canyon & Zion National Park
After breakfast we travel to Bryce Canyon National Park, where the haunting rock formations known as Hoodoos have been shaped by wind and water erosion over the eons. Iron oxidizing within the rock creates the surreal orange and red hues of these natural sculptures.
Our final destination today is Zion National Park, with its distinctive red-and-white sandstone cliffs. For the spectacle and sheer magnitude of its natural beauty, Zion may be one of the most awe-inspiring wilderness preserves on the planet.
Overnight: Majestic View Lodge, Springdale, UT or similar
Salt Lake City, Utah
Today we drive north to Salt Lake City, “The City of the Saints,” to begin a fascinating two-night stay. In the afternoon, enjoy some time on your own to explore Temple Square: 10 acres of beautifully landscaped space in the heart of downtown, it’s one of Utah’s most visited attractions. The centerpiece is the six-spire Salt Lake Temple, an imposing granite fortress, while next door is the domed Tabernacle, famed for its massive pipe organ and, of course, the world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Overnight: Radisson Hotel, Downtown Salt Lake City or similar (2 nights)
Salt Lake City
Enjoy a morning tour of Salt Lake City, including the state capitol building, the city’s premier residential area and the shores of the Great Salt Lake. In the afternoon, learn why the Salt Lake Mormon Temple took 40 years to build as you tour Temple Square with volunteer Sister Missionaries who have come to the city from all over the world. Your tour includes the historic Tabernacle and Assembly Hall, and you’ll also have a chance to begin exploring your roots at the Family Search Center, benefiting from the Mormon Church’s devotion to researching our ancestral history. As this fascinating day comes to an end, enjoy dinner at a restaurant with panoramic views of the city.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Our route to Wyoming takes us past the majestic Bear Lake Summit and winds through breathtaking landscapes to Jackson. For the balance of the day you’re free to discover this charming frontier town set in Jackson Hole, a beautiful valley among the Rocky Mountains.
Overnight: Hampton Inn & Suites, Jackson or similar (3 nights)
Today we get deeper into the spectacular mountain scenery on a half-day float down the Snake River, taking in the views and watching for wildlife beneath the snowcapped peaks of the Tetons. Back in Jackson Hole, you’ll find plenty of shops offering local arts and crafts. And in the evening we gather before dinner for a briefing on the next day’s eclipse activities.
Total Solar Eclipse
Rise early this morning for the journey to your unique eclipse-viewing site, where you’ll stand in the Moon’s shadow for approximately 2 minutes and 20 seconds. Later, after the historic event – the first visible total solar eclipse in the continental US in almost four decades – join your fellow travellers for an eclipse celebration.
Grand Teton & Yellowstone National Parks
Setting out from Jackson Hole, we pass through Grand Teton National Park. The mountain for which the park is named rises more than 5,000 ft (1,525 m) straight up from the valley floor, reaching an altitude of 13,770 ft (4,200 m). At least nine other peaks in the Teton range soar past 12,000 ft (3,660 m), while the deep valleys between them are filled with massive glaciers. Although the Tetons form the youngest range in the Rockies, they expose some of the oldest rock in North America, creating a treasure trove for geologists – and a paradise for anyone inspired by breathtaking mountain scenery.
Leaving Grand Teton, we journey on to Yellowstone, where your home for the night is a renowned lodge set within the park. Among the many highlights of America’s original national park is Old Faithful, the geyser whose fountain of water and steam regularly rises more than 90 ft (27 m) in the air.
Overnight: Yellowstone National Lodges or similar
Yellowstone - Cody - Sheridan, Wyoming
Another day of superb sightseeing begins with a trip along Lake Yellowstone, over the Sylvan Pass and down into the prairie beyond, through an incredibly diverse array of scenery. Along the way, enjoy a visit to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, which pays tribute to one of the most colorful figures of the American frontier: William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody, renowned as a wilderness scout, hunter and showman. We then drive on through the Bighorn Mountains and across the Great Sioux Nation territory to reach our overnight hotel in Sheridan.
Overnight: Holiday Inn, Sheridan or similar
Mount Rushmore - Crazy Horse - Rapid City, South Dakota
Mount Rushmore, with giant likenesses of four presidents carved into its granite face, is one of the most famous U.S. landmarks. It’s a great finale to your journey through the West – as is the nearby Crazy Horse Monument, a memorial to the earliest inhabitants of the nation’s heartland. Here you can learn more about the culture and customs of various original nations, and talk to Native Americans about the significance of their clothing, headdresses, sacred dances and more. Then in the evening, join your fellow travelers for a Western-style farewell dinner.
Overnight: Hilton Garden Inn, Rapid City or similar
Your American West adventure draws to a close today, but you’ll carry great memories with you for years to come. After a morning transfer to the Rapid City Regional Airport (code: RAP), catch your flight homeward – or on to the next adventure.
Scottsdale, AZ Pre-Night Option
If you’d like to arrive in Scottsdale a night ahead of our Eclipse tour, TravelQuest has reserved a limited number of standard rooms at Courtyard by Marriott Old Town, Scottsdale, AZ or similar.
Cost: $155 USD per person, per night double occupancy. $300 USD per person, single occupancy. $145 USD per person triple occupancy. Rate includes arrival (PHX) airport-hotel transfer, daily breakfast and tax.