Ultimate Southwest USA National Parks

Southwest USA
12 nights private tour from $23,000

Immerse yourself in the red rock beauty of America’s Southwest, a region of extraordinary landscapes, stunning national parks, Native American history, and Wild West folklore. Scarcely populated and fused with a compelling spiritual energy, whether you wish to commune with nature or indulge in a range of outdoor activities, the Southwest will refresh and revive you in a way that few other places are able to.

Ultimate Southwest USA National Parks
At a glance
  • Experience the beauty and unique energy of Sedona with an off-road adventure and the chance to learn about the geology and natural history of its characteristic red buttes and lush forests

  • Visit some of Arizona’s most beautiful slot canyons accompanied by a personal Navajo guide. Sculpted by wind and rain over thousands of years, shards of light reflect the twists and turns of the sandstone’s stunning colors to jaw-dropping effect

  • Ride the Colorado rapids and the backcountry trails in Utah’s Canyonlands and Arches National Parks. The memorable and epic scenery is a highlight of the tour

  • Explore one of the world’s premier destinations for canyoneering and one of the world’s most incredible hiking routes, The Narrows, on a visit to Zion National Park. Or sit back and enjoy the views as your guide drives you through the park explaining the area’s history and geography

Journey highlights
  • Experience the beauty and unique energy of Sedona with an off-road adventure and the chance to learn about the geology and natural history of its characteristic red buttes and lush forests

  • Visit some of Arizona’s most beautiful slot canyons accompanied by a personal Navajo guide. Sculpted by wind and rain over thousands of years, shards of light reflect the twists and turns of the sandstone’s stunning colors to jaw-dropping effect

  • Ride the Colorado rapids and the backcountry trails in Utah’s Canyonlands and Arches National Parks. The memorable and epic scenery is a highlight of the tour

  • Explore one of the world’s premier destinations for canyoneering and one of the world’s most incredible hiking routes, The Narrows, on a visit to Zion National Park. Or sit back and enjoy the views as your guide drives you through the park explaining the area’s history and geography

Our tailor made journeys include:
  • Your dedicated Travel Consultant who will take care of arrangements
  • Private international airport transfers in destination
  • Your own private, English-speaking local guides
  • Unique experiences, hand-picked by our Journeys team
  • Entrance to must-see local sites
  • Dedicated 24/7 team providing in-country support and guidance
  • Complimentary access to My Scott Dunn – industry-leading travel app providing pre-departure information and in-journey support

When to visit

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Best time to visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit

Spring is the best time to visit Phoenix. Summer may be vacation season, but temperatures reach or exceed 40°C degree with high humidity. In Spring, especially late March and April, daytime temperatures tend to be in a comfortable 20-30°C range. Everything's in bloom and the weather is at its best. Fall is also a good time to visit. Late September through mid-November often has pleasant days and cool nights.

Itinerary

Day 1-2

The Southwest

After flying into Phoenix Airport, you will pick up your rental car for the short drive to the Four Seasons Scottsdale. Located in the stunning Sonoran Desert. This luxurious hotel is reached from a drive lined with saguaro cacti and offers beautiful views of Pinnacle Peak. Reflecting the desert tones that surround it, the hotel’s casitas are arranged around an inviting pool, making this a wonderful place to begin your Southwest adventure.

Accommodation: Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North ( 1 night )
Day 2-4

The Southwest

Having enjoyed the chance to acclimatise, the following morning you will drive north to the spellbinding landscape of Sedona. Your home for the following two nights is the Enchantment Hotel, which blends seamlessly into the red rocks and groves of pinyon and ponderosa pines. The breath-taking red rock scenery and evergreen vegetation both contribute to the special energy of Sedona, which is said to inspire and regenerate all those who visit.

In the afternoon you will meet your guide in downtown Sedona at the Adventure Center for a 2-hour sightseeing experience in an open-top jeep. After a short drive through the town learning the history of this special place, you will head off the main roads and take to the trails to explore the rugged beauty of Sedona’s landscape.

Built for off road adventures, you will ride along dirt tracks, crawl over rocks, and enjoy views few ever get to marvel at.

Look out for jack rabbits and fast-moving roadrunners in the scrub, along with hawks and vultures overhead. Along the way, your guide will explain the rich geology and natural history of this incredible area of sandstone towers, red rock pinnacles, spires, buttes, and domes.

The following day you’ll enjoy a full day tour of Sedona, which your expert guide will tailor to your requests and interests. Again, you will learn about the geology, history, and legends of this region. Highlights include the Red Rock Scenic Byway, often referred to as a ‘museum without walls,’ the architectural landmark, the Chapel of the Holy Cross and Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village for Native American arts and crafts. Also popular are the four vortexes or energy centers where the powerful and spiritual energy of Sedona is strongest. These are Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, Boynton Canyon and Airport Vortex.

Between the 15th May and 15th October it is possible to extend your itinerary by adding a two night glamping experience on the Grand Canyon’s North Rim. From here you can enjoy spectacular views and hikes both in and around the canyon. This is a fantastic way to experience the majestic beauty of the canyon away from the crowds and hotels of the South Rim.

Accommodation: Enchantment Resort and Spa ( 2 nights )
Day 4-6

The Southwest

This morning you depart from Sedona for the drive to the fabulous resort of Amangiri, Canyon Point, Utah. The drive takes around 3-hours, but you can stop at various points of interest along the way to stretch your legs and take in the views. These include the Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki National Monument near Flagstaff, the Dinosaur Tracks near Tuba City and the magnificent Horseshoe Bend, a meander of the Colorado River near Page.

Once settled in at the dramatic and secluded setting of the Amangiri, there’s a chance to relax and explore this exclusive resort. Indulge in the spa, relax around the pool, and soak up the sunset desert views.

The next morning sees the opportunity to visit some of the unique slot canyons that the area is famous for, accompanied by a Navajo driver and guide. Slot canyons are narrow canyons formed from water erosion and Antelope Canyon is one of the world’s finest examples. Located on Navajo National lands, Rattlesnake Canyon is full of stunning sandstone color, while Owl Canyon is named after a family of great horned owls that live there.

You can then choose to visit either Upper Antelope Canyon or Mountain Sheep Canyon. Your private guide will be with you but please note that Upper Antelope Canyon is also open to other guide services. Often referred to as the ‘corkscrew,’ owing to the twists and turns of the rock, Upper Antelope Canyon has been sculpted by natural forces. Dancing sunbeams of light reflect off the glowing spectrum of sandstone colors, creating a sight of unbelievable beauty.

Mountain Sheep Canyon is another geological wonder where the canyon walls are more rustic and jagged than its fellow canyons. A visit involves an adventurous trek, as well as the need to scale a series of ladders. During the visit, your Navajo guide will share with you how the canyons have been carved over time and their significance and meaning to the Navajo people.

Later that afternoon you will be picked up from the Amangiri for a captained boat tour on Lake Powell. Your captain will chart a course based on your interests. With over 2,000 miles of shoreline, 90 scenic side canyons, secluded bays, and sandy beaches, you can choose to explore or play. Drop anchor and cool off with a refreshing swim, meander through canyons, picnic on the beach or venture deep into narrow canyons - you navigate the route.

Accommodation: Amangiri ( 2 nights )
Day 6-9

Moab

Today, it’s time to head to Moab, Utah, gateway to the dramatic scenery of Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, carved out by the mighty Colorado and Green Rivers. The drive time is around 5-hours. Once you’ve arrived, check in at the Hoodoo Moab, your base for the following three nights and spend the rest of the day relaxing and exploring this laidback and charming little town.

The next day is full of fun and adventure with the chance to ride a state-of-the-art inflatable motorized white-water rafting boat through the Colorado rapids. The morning is spent gently drifting along the upper river, taking in the amazing views while your guide points out the onshore flora and fauna. During this part of the experience, there’s the chance to swim, hike and enjoy a riverbank buffet-style picnic lunch. From here, you head downstream to the white-water rapids of Cataract Canyon, a section of river that runs through Canyonlands National Park. While this is an exhilarating and memorable experience, there is also the option to take a calm water cruise instead.

The following morning you will be picked up by your private guide for a day of tailored sightseeing and hiking through both Canyonlands and Arches National Parks. The day begins with your guide driving you through the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands, highlighting all the major sights, stopping for photographic opportunities, and enriching the trip with historical, geological, and archaeological information. The Ancestral Puebloans left their mark in mysterious and compelling rock art which you can still see today. The route travels down to the Colorado River corridor via the famous Shafer Trail, using the switchbacks the area is renowned for.

Before exploring Arches National Park, you will enjoy a deli-style lunch in the Devil’s Garden, before heading out onto the backcountry trails. Your route includes a trail that climbs a steep rock wall, cutting across the valley and meandering through the sandstone fins and dunes of the park. Along the way you will see the Marching Men, Tower Arch, and the Eye of the Whale. Leaving the park via an old cowboy trail, you can also see ancient dinosaur tracks on the route back to Moab

Accommodation: Hoodoo Moab ( 3 nights )
Day 9-11

Springdale, The Southwest, United States of America

This morning you will leave Moab to drive to Springfield, Zion traveling along Utah’s famous scenic Highway 12. The drive will take you through Utah’s Badlands with the chance to see three extraordinary national parks along the way.

The first stop is Capital Reef National Park, where you can take a self-guided hike through the towering rocks and stark desert scenery. The park is part of the Waterpocket Fold, a unique ‘wrinkle’ on the surface of the planet that creates natural water pockets. The ‘wrinkle’ also contains some of the oldest pre-historic fossils in North America. Capital Reef is also home to the historic remains of Fruita, a town established by Mormon pioneers in the 1880s, where you can discover Gifford House and the one room schoolhouse. The hiking is easy, and trails include the 2-mile Capitol George Hike which takes you deep into the canyon, past the rock inscriptions of the early settlers and the water pocket folds.

Next up is beautiful Bryce Canyon, a picturesque park of hoodoos, chiselled rock spires and pinnacles that rise from the canyon floor. Shaped by the power of the wind and water, there is a great selection of self-guided hikes to enjoy through this wondrous landscape.

Arriving early afternoon, the final park on the journey is Zion National Park, where you can enjoy a last gentle hike past the iconic red cliffs, thundering waterfalls and cool blue pools that define this fabulous landscape. Finally, check in at the comfortable Cliffrose Lodge Hotel, superbly located on the banks of the Virgin River, just a 5-minute walk from the Zion National Park Visitor Center.

After a glimpse of all that Zion has to offer, today you will be picked up by your private driver/guide to head back into the park for a guided tour tailored to your specific interests. The park has several hikes, some more challenging than others which you may wish to tackle or depending on the time of year you may wish to walk The Narrows. One of the world’s most incredible hiking routes, you follow the sinuous path of the Virgin River, wading upstream through the narrow gap of this slot canyon, known as Wall Street.

Alternatively, adventurous types may wish to enjoy a canyoneering session, while others may appreciate the opportunity to sit back and relax, enjoying the views from their luxury vehicle. The day includes a gourmet picnic lunch, before a visit to an authentic Wild West ghost town, where you can embrace your inner cowboy.

Accommodation: Cliffrose Lodge ( 2 nights )
Day 11-13

Las Vegas

After departing from Zion in the morning, you head to the bright lights of Las Vegas and the opulent comfort of the Wynn Hotel, which boasts an impressive collection of restaurants, entertainment venues and even an 18-hole golf course. An assault on all your senses, Vegas is an experience you will never forget. Whether you try your luck in the casinos, dine on gourmet cuisine, see a first-class show or shop at the many outlet shopping centers, there is much to see and enjoy.

The following day is yours to explore the city at your own pace. With the Grand Canyon close to hand, some may wish to book a helicopter excursion for a once-in-a-lifetime bird’s eye view of the canyon and surrounding landscape.

The following day, head to the airport for the flight back home.

Accommodation: Wynn Las Vegas ( 2 nights )
We design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something completely bespoke to you.
Call us on 858 523 9000 to start planning your holiday.

Experiences included in this itinerary


Your Hotels


When to visit

  • J
  • F
  • M
  • A
  • M
  • J
  • J
  • A
  • S
  • O
  • N
  • D
Best time to visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit

Spring is the best time to visit Phoenix. Summer may be vacation season, but temperatures reach or exceed 40°C degree with high humidity. In Spring, especially late March and April, daytime temperatures tend to be in a comfortable 20-30°C range. Everything's in bloom and the weather is at its best. Fall is also a good time to visit. Late September through mid-November often has pleasant days and cool nights.

Ultimate Southwest USA National Parks
Ultimate Southwest USA National Parks

We design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itineraryis a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something completely bespoke to you. Call us on 858 523 9000 to start planning your vacation.

Plan your trip

Why Scott Dunn?

At Scott Dunn, we live and breathe travel. An insatiable appetite to discover the world runs through everything we do. We relish the planning and revel in the detail. We know it’s the smallest touches that make the biggest difference, and we stop at nothing to make every trip not only exceptional but totally unique.

  • Every itinerary is crafted from scratch, based around exactly what’s important to you
  • Packed full of unique experiences, hand-picked by our journeys team
  • Expert local guides enrich your experience in every destination
  • Your own dedicated Travel Specialist who will take care of every detail of your trip
  • We have a 24/7 team providing in-country support and guidance
  • We offer flexibility and financial protection to give you total peace of mind

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