Legendary Canyon Country


Trip Dates:

September 12, 2014 through September 17, 2014

NPCA Member Price From

$2,595 - $2,995 per person double occupancy; $645 single supplement.


$500 per person

Related Parks

Arches National Park
Canyonlands National Park
Mesa Verde National Park

Book now
More info

Contact ParkScapes at 800.628.7275 or travel@npca.org

September 12-17, 2014

Only 2 spots left on this Southwest journey! Check out a virtual journey of this fall tour.

The intrigue of the past, beauty of the present, and the pleasures of the outdoors blend perfectly on this journey of discovery to the fascinating Desert Southwest.

Discover the deeper stories of the Desert Southwest, from ancient Puebloans to modern Navajos. Beginning in Arches National Park, your expert guide introduces you to people, places, and ideas that reveal an intriguing view of this extraordinary landscape. Enjoy guided hikes into a backdrop of spires, fins, arches, and canyons, where you learn both the grand and subtle influences that shape life here. You’ll have a chance to try your hand at canyoneering, experiencing the scenery perhaps in a brand new way. You’ll experience the iconic Monument Valley within the Navajo Nation; our visit is led by a local Navajo guide who will not only point out unique rock formations but will share their important role in Navajo legends. Our final stop is across the Colorado border at Mesa Verde National Park, where we’ll follow an expert guide to the Ancestral Puebloan sites to learn how ancient people adapted to the land,.

The pace and variety of this journey make it a fantastic trip, and September is a great time to explore this stunning desert landscape.

View Trip Photo Slideshow

View Trip Webinar

For details about this trip, download the brochure (pdf)

Tour Highlights

Fun Walks

Enjoy a variety of easy to moderate (and incredible) hikes to explore astonishing landforms and archaeological sites.

Half-Day Canyoneering

Experience the labyrinth of narrow passageways, sandstone fins and slickrock trails with a fun (and safe!) rappel into a hidden chasm. No experience necessary.


Tour Details


Durango, Colorado

Length of Tour

6 days/5 nights


Moderately active, offering a choice of activities each day to suit different activity levels and interests. Be prepared for a variety of hikes and walks on uneven trails.

Price Includes

All accommodations, meals as noted (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner), ground transportation, entrance fees, professional guide services, park and other entrance fees, and miscellaneous program expenses.

Price Does Not Include

Roundtrip airfare to and from destination, gratuities for naturalist guides, alcoholic beverages, or personal expenses.


Space is confirmed by calling the NPCA at 800.628.7275. A $500 per person deposit is due at registration. Final payment will be invoiced separately and is due 90 days prior to departure. Cancellation notice must be submitted in writing and is effective upon date of receipt. Cancellations up to 90 days prior receive a refund, less the $250 per person handling fee. Cancellations 90-61 days prior to departure, 25% of the tour cost is forfeited; 60-31 days prior to departure, 50% of the tour cost is forfeited; 30 days or fewer prior to departure result in the loss of 100% of your total cost.

Travel Insurance

To protect yourself from the loss of deposit and cancellation fees, you are encouraged to purchase travel insurance. If you need assistance, NPCA recommends contacting Travel Insurance Services.


Daily Itinerary

Note: Activities will include hiking in a range of conditions; all tour participants should be able to hike 2-5 miles over uneven terrain with some elevation gain during the course of a day.

September 12: Meet in Durango, Colorado, on to Arches National Park

Today you explore the wonders of Arches National Park, which contains the world’s largest concentration of natural sandstone arches as well as other unusual rock formations. Walks may include the Windows, Devil’s Garden, and Landscape Arch. All in all, you will see over 20 arches, and will view the famous Delicate Arch from the overlook. Gonzo Inn (L,D)

September 13: Arches National Park & Island in the Sky, Canyonlands National Park

Discover a different side of Arches National Park - the world of hidden passageways secreted among the sandstone fins and slickrock trails. You’ll have an amazing experience rappelling into an alluring canyon, hiking among exquisite natural formations. Detailed instruction and complete safety gear is included. . After your time in the canyon, it’s off to visit a section of the Island in the Sky District at Canyonlands National Park -a striking landscape surrounded by rugged canyons carved by the Colorado and Green Rivers. Gonzo Inn (B,L,D)

September 14: Canyonlands National Park & Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument

Get your morning news at Newspaper Rock State Historical Monument, which features a flat rock with one of the largest known collections of petroglyphs. The guide may lead you to yet more rock art down a primitive, off the beaten path trail. Moving on to the Needles and District of Canyonlands National Park, explore more intricate trails through this bizarre rock world. Hikes might include Cave Springs and Elephant Hill. Desert Rose Inn (B,L,D)

September 15: Monument Valley

You’ll recognize Monument Valley from old John Wayne westerns. The red mesas and free-standing rock formations, reaching up to 1,000 feet tall, are some of the most enduring and definitive images of the American West. The valley lies within the Navajo Nation, and we will join a local Navajo guide, who will lead the group on a six-hour jeep tour deep into the landscape. A number of iconic formations are on the route of this photo safari, including the Mittens, Elephant Butte, Camel Butte, and the North Window. There may even be a chance to go to the guide’s grandmother’s hogan for a weaving demonstration. Desert Rose Inn (B,L,D)

September 16: Mesa Verde National Park

This will be a terrific day, with plenty of time to explore and experience the incredible Mesa Verde National Park. Mesa Verde offers a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Puebloan people who lived here for a period of over 700 years, from 600 A.D. to 1300 A.D. You’ll see some of the most notable and best preserved Puebloan ruins in the United States. Your guide will introduce you to this exceptional trove of Ancestral Puebloan history and present the mystery of this sophisticated culture. The largest dwelling at Mesa Verde is Cliff Palace, with 150 rooms and 75 open areas. You arrive in Durango this evening with time to check into your room and freshen up before enjoying an exceptional farewell dinner in the heart of historic Durango. General Palmer Hotel (B,L,D)

September 17: Departures from Durango, Colorado

Gather your memories of the week, absorb the ambience of this beautiful place one more time, and head to the airport for your connections home. (B)

Note: The itinerary for the days in the park may vary based on weather conditions and wildlife behavior.


Pricing Details

NPCA Member Price From

$2,595 - $2,995 per person double occupancy; $645 single supplement.


$500 per person




Alternate Departures

Unable to join us for this Canyon Country tour? NPCA’s travel partner, Off the Beaten Path, is offering additional naturalist led journeys in the spring and fall. Schedule of alternate departures:

  • May 11-16, 2014
  • August 31-September 5, 2014

Off the Beaten Path shares NPCA’s love of national parks and our philosophy of engaged, small group travel. For more information on alternate departures, contact us at 800-628-7275 or email us at travel@npca.org


Our Travel Partner

The National Parks Conservation association is delighted to be partnering with Off the Beaten Path (OBP) to bring you excellent, insider experiences in our cherished national parks. This well-respected travel company shares our love of national parks, and understands the significant role they play in safeguarding America’s most majestic landscapes. Off the Beaten Path also shares our travel philosophy of small group sizes and unique itineraries.

NPCA’s collaboration with Off the Beaten Path allows us to open up an even broader range of opportunities through which you can appreciate and enjoy your national parks. Off the Beaten Path is offering additional dates with similar kinds of experiences to the trip described in this official ParkScapes departure.


Lodging Info

Gonzo Inn

Desert Rose Inn

General Palmer Hotel


Booking Info

To contact NPCA's ParkScapes program for questions or reservations please call 800-628-7275 or email travel@npca.org. You may also book directly online.

Book Now


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