Looking for an opportunity to share our love of the Southwest National Parks with our grandchildren we chose a Road Scholar Inter-Generational Trip to include Valley of Fire State Park, Zion National Park, Bryce National Park and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Dixie State University, in St. George, UT, handled logistics and provided leaders for this Road Scholar Adventure. Dixie State offers first rate adventures including knowledgeable and personable guides and all travel arrangements. Our group met at a non-casino hotel near the Las Vegas Airport.
Boarding the comfortable bus on the first morning, the group of 40 included 19 children ages 10-14. We quickly discovered our group was personable and easily adapted to traveling together.
Valley of Fire State Park was our first destination. Several short hikes provided our initial glimpse of red rocks and petroglyphs. The majority of the hikes on this trip are best described as walks.
Leaving the Valley of Fire our trip continued through St. George, Utah to Zion Canyon National Park. Following a brief stop at the Visitor Center our group checked into our hotel. A heat wave was engulfing the entire southwest during our trip, and the swimming pool provided welcome relief. The following day our full day adventure in Zion included a walk along the Virgin River and to Emerald Pool. Even in the heat most of our group managed the nearly six miles we walked that day. When several of the grandparents needed to opt out of some of the walks, others volunteered to hike with their grandchildren.
An evening event at Zion National Park included a presentation by Martin Tyner of the Southwest Wildlife Foundation of Utah. Seeing a Golden Eagle up close thrilled everyone.
Leaving Zion National Park we traveled towards Bryce Canyon National Park. Driving through the tunnel on the east side of Zion provides some spectacular scenery, including Checkerboard Mesa.
Red Canyon Visitor Center, located in Dixie National Forest, on the route to Bryce provided our first glimpse of hoodoos. A brief stop here allowed us time to walk among the Red Rock area we were entering.
Bryce Canyon National Park was a favorite part of our trip. Pictures do not do justice to the scenery. Our stay here included a two hour horseback ride into the hoodoos. Without a doubt this was the trip highlight.
Our final destination was the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, where our accommodations were the cabins along the rim. Entering the park we spotted part of the herd of 400 bison who reside inside. The time we spent at the North Rim included moonless nights. A number of astronomers set up telescopes and graciously allowed all to view the sky. Our schedule included short hikes and time to enjoy the views from different viewpoints.
Our goal on this adventure was to share our love of the Southwest with our grandchildren. With the help of Road Scholar there’s no doubt we accomplished our mission.