2017 National Parks of the American West Total Solar Eclipse Northbound Overview

Saturday August 12 Scottsdale, AZ Pre-Night Option
Day 1SundayAugust 13Arrive Scottsdale, Arizona
Day 2MondayAugust 14Sedona - Lowell Observatory - Lake Powell
Day 3TuesdayAugust 15Glen Canyon Dam - Grand Canyon
Day 4WednesdayAugust 16Bryce Canyon & Zion National Parks
Day 5ThursdayAugust 17Salt Lake City, Utah
Day 6FridayAugust 18Salt Lake City
Day 7SaturdayAugust 19Pocatello, Idaho
Day 8SundayAugust 20Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Day 9MondayAugust 21Total Solar Eclipse
Day 10TuesdayAugust 22Grand Teton & Yellowstone National Parks
Day 11WednesdayAugust 23Yellowstone - Cody - Sheridan, Wyoming
Day 12ThursdayAugust 24Mount Rushmore - Crazy Horse - Rapid City, South Dakota
Day 13FridayAugust 25Travels Onward

Important: TravelQuest, working with our partners, makes every effort to follow the published itinerary. However, please keep in mind that it is subject to change depending on weather and other local conditions.


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.


Day 1 – Sunday, August 13, 2017Dinner

Arrive Scottsdale, Arizona

After flying into Phoenix, Arizona’s Sky Harbor Airport (airport code: PHX) on your own schedule, you’re greeted by TravelQuest’s representative, who arranges the easy transfer to your hotel in nearby Scottsdale. For the balance of the day you’re free to relax and explore the quaint city center, with its array of shops, galleries and restaurants in easy walking distance. Plan to arrive by 4:00 p.m. so you’ll have plenty of time to settle in before joining us for a Western-style welcome dinner at one of our favorite Scottsdale restaurants.

Overnight: Courtyard by Marriott Old Town, Scottsdale, AZ or similar 


D1 - Scottsdale

Day 2 – Monday, August 14, 2017Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Sedona - Lowell Observatory - Lake Powell

D2 - Sedona2-ak

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

Day 3 – Tuesday, August 15, 2017Breakfast / Dinner

Glen Canyon Dam - Grand Canyon

D3 - Antelope Canyon1-ak

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

Day 4 – Wednesday, August 16, 2017Breakfast / Dinner

Bryce Canyon & Zion National Park

D4 - Bryce  D4 - Collette UtahZionNationalPark_CVO_16027

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

Day 5 – Thursday, August 17, 2017Breakfast / Dinner

Salt Lake City, Utah

D5 - Collette SaltLakeTemple3_CVO_11184

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)

Day 6 – Friday, August 18, 2017Breakfast / Dinner

Salt Lake City

D6 - 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.

Day 7 – Saturday, August 19, 2017Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Pocatello, Idaho

Our route this morning to Pocatello, Idaho includes a visit to Golden Spike National Historic Site where on May 10, 1869, the Union and Central Pacific Railroads joined their rails at nearby Promontory Summit, creating the first transcontinental route in the United States. Later we visit Fort Hall Replica, where pioneers, trappers and gold seekers all passed through in the 1800s.

Overnight: TownePlace Suites Pocatello

Day 8 – Sunday, August 20, 2017Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

D7 - Jackson Hole Wyoming  D8 - Jackson Hole

After check out this morning, we travel to Jackson Hole for a half-day float down the Snake River, taking in spectacular mountain scenery and watching for wildlife beneath the snowcapped peaks of the Tetons. Later in Jackson, we gather before dinner for a briefing on the next day’s eclipse activities.

Overnight: Hampton Inn & Suites, Jackson or similar (2 nights)

Day 9 – Monday, August 21, 2017Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

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.

Jackson Weather Prospects for Total Solar Eclipse Viewing

by Eclipse Meteorologist Jay Anderson

Tucked into a spectacular valley in the Rocky Mountains, Jackson is protected from moist Pacific flows by the numerous mountain ranges extending across Oregon and Idaho, and therefore enjoys a semi-arid climate with large amounts of sunshine. While climate data for the area are limited, August is one of the drier months of the year, with a 70% frequency of clear skies. A typical summer morning dawns cloudless, with cumulus formations appearing on the high slopes by early afternoon. If the day’s conditions are unstable, these mountain clouds may grow to shower and even thundershower size and drift out across the valley. But the eclipse’s morning timing, as well as the cooling associated with its approaching shadow, will help to tame such buildups. And even when the peaks host clouds during the day, the valley below often remains flooded with sunshine.

The high altitude of the Jackson town site makes for cool morning and warm afternoon temperatures, with daily averages ranging from 40°F (4°C) to 81°F (27°C) – a wide span compared to lower-altitude communities nearby. On the peaks above town, daily temperatures are lower and winds may create conditions cool enough to require a jacket.

Visualization by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio on September 9, 2015

Day 10 – Tuesday, August 22, 2017Breakfast

Grand Teton & Yellowstone National Parks

D10 - Yellowstone

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

Day 11 – Wednesday, August 23, 2017Breakfast / Dinner

Yellowstone - Cody - Sheridan, Wyoming

D11 - Cody

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

Day 12 – Thursday, August 24, 2017Breakfast / Dinner

Mount Rushmore - Crazy Horse - Rapid City, South Dakota

D12 - Mount Rushmore

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

Day 13 – Friday, August 25, 2017Breakfast

Travels Onward

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.

Add-on Saturday, August 12, 2017Breakfast daily

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.

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