One of the most spectacular regions of the United States sprawls across southern Utah and northern Arizona: the unique landscape, wildlife, history and culture of Zion, Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon National Parks.
The small but spectacular town of Sedona sits roughly halfway between Phoenix and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, surrounded by towering red sandstone formations that seem to transform hour by hour as the light changes. It’s a great place to learn about the history and traditions of the region’s Native American heritage, whose earliest documented habitation dates back at least 11,000 years. The unique light and creative energy of Sedona has long-attracted artists ranging from painters and sculptors to jewellery makers and wood-carvers, so allow plenty of time for exploring the more than 80 galleries that are dotted throughout the town.
Keep an eye out for coyotes, black bear and hummingbirds, as you travel through the tranquil Kaibab National Forest to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. You’ll need time to soak up the incredible views of the Colorado River, winding along the Canyon floor more than 2,000 metres below. A visit to the nearby historic Cameron Trading Post, which has served as a haven for travellers for nearly a century, is a great place to shop for Navajo rugs and other Native American art and crafts – plus watch out for the Triassic-era dinosaur footprints that are preserved in the sandstone walls of the gallery.
This is the second-largest man-made reservoir in the United States, occupying nearly three hundred kilometres of the Colorado River, thanks to the incredible 220-metre high Glen Canyon Dam. Take a canyon adventure cruise that explores the otherworldly geologic formations of Antelope Valley Navajo Tribal Park or join a fascinating guided tour through Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park for a unique insight into this sacred landscape.
Elsewhere known as tent rocks or a fairy chimneys, in Bryce Canyon National Park, they’re called hoodoos: tall thin spires of brown, pink and red rock that are clustered together in a series of natural amphitheatres. There are miles of hiking trails to lead you through this unique landscape, or in winter you can try your hand at snow-shoeing or cross-country skiing, and at night, the frequently-clear skies and absence of light pollution makes it one of the best spots in the US for star-gazing.
From the back of a horse or from the seat of a helicopter, the soaring red and white cliffs of Zion are magnificent. Test your rock-climbing skills or hike to the Emerald Pools – you’ll find cascading waterfalls, natural pools and a cliff-lined natural amphitheatre.
Combining these natural wonders into a single, unforgettable itinerary is easy, but if all that solitude and serenity has you longing for bright lights and excitement, there are few better places to finish your journey than Las Vegas – ask your personal travel manager for details.