COVID-19 UPDATES Learn More >

Southwest

8-Day Wildlife & Scenic Wonders

Tour:
8 Days
Price From:
5,498
Pricing Details
Singles:
998 What's this?
Close

A Little More Info

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
Single travelers staying in a room by themselves will be charged this additional single supplement fee, as all of our regular prices are otherwise based on double occupancy.

SINGLE SHARE OPTIONS (if available)
If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room, we will make every effort to find you a roommate of the same gender, in which case you will not have to pay the single supplement fee. The single supplement will be charged until we are able to confirm a roommate for you. If we are able to match you with a roommate, the single supplement will be refunded. In the event that we cannot find a share for you, you will be required to pay the single supplement fee.

New: Click the Singles Find a Share' icon below or check our "Community" page to connect with other single travelers looking to share.

Rating:
Easy to Moderate

Southwest

8-Day Wildlife & Scenic Wonders

Destinations

  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Zebra Slot Canyon - Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
  • Arches National Park
  • Dead Horse Point – Canyonlands National Park
  • San Juan River
  • Monument Valley
  • Secret Antelope Valley
  • Horseshoe Bend
  • Wupatki National Monument
  • Sunset Crater National Monument
  • Wild Mustangs of Salt River
  • (Optional) Grand Canyon Scenic Flight/Hike

Highlights

  • See 3 National Parks, 2 National Monuments, 1 Slot Canyon, Raft 2 Rivers & more – Bryce Canyon, Arches & Canyonlands National Parks, Wupatki and Sunset Crater, Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Horseshoe Bend, Secret Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley, San Juan River & Salt River.
  • Unique Wildlife Emphasis: Special wildlife activities to see wild horses, prairie dogs and rare ring-tailed cats, plus big-horn sheep, pronghorns, wild burros. On the rivers we may see wild mustangs, javelina, coyotes, fox, bobcat and river otter.
  • Dark Ranger Stargazing in Bryce Canyon - View distant galaxies, exploded stars, star-birth nebulae, and close-up colorful views of the planets through giant telescopes in the dark desert sky.
  • Float by Wild Mustangs While Rafting the Salt River
  • Exclusive Rare Ring-Tailed Cat & Nocturnal Wildlife Excursion – An exciting 3D/2N San Juan River Rafting Wildlife Float trip is included in this journey!

Itinerary at a Glance

  • DAY 1 Bryce Canyon
  • DAY 2 Bryce Canyon, Zebra Slot Canyon (Grand Staircase-Escalante)
  • DAY 3 Arches National Park, Dead Horse Point (Canyonlands)
  • DAY 4 San Juan River Rafting
  • DAY 5 San Juan River Rafting – Ring-tail Cat Excursion
  • DAY 6 San Juan River / Monument Valley
  • DAY 7 Monument Valley, Secret Antelope Valley, Horseshoe Bend
  • DAY 8 Wupatki & Sunset Crater National Monuments, Salt River Wild Mustangs
  • DAY 9 (Optional) Grand Canyon Scenic Flight & Hike

8-Day Wildlife & Scenic Wonders

Detailed Itinerary

DAY 1 - Bryce Canyon National Park – Tropic Trail, Dark Ranger Tour
This morning you will be picked up at the Homewood Suites by Hilton in Henderson, South Las Vegas, to begin our journey to Bryce Canyon National Park, a 4.5 hour drive.

Bryce Canyon Hike – Tropic Trail (2.9 mi, 823 ft gain/820 ft loss)

Upon arrival at Bryce Canyon, we’ll choose from a variety of hikes depending on the time and our group’s desires. Typically we hike the unique Tropic Trail. Here, Bryce’s breathtaking hoodoos and epic views are revealed gradually, increasing the excitement as we hike. Bryce Canyon is actually not a canyon; it's an amphitheater of hoodoos and other unique natural rock formations. Hoodoos are 5 ft. to 150 ft. tall rock formations created by frost and stream erosion that form a chimney-like spire with a flat, rounded, or peaked shape at the top. As we get closer, the hoodoos begin to feel like we are on an alien planet, walking like an insect through a city of magical, towering golden spires. On this trail we’ll have a chance to a particularly famous hoodoo known as "Thor's Hammer” with a ball shape on top. Depending on our timing, other trail options may include Navajo Loop, Rim trail, Navajo loop to Queens Garden, or Peekaboo loop to Navajo loop.

Prairie Dog Viewing

After our hike, we’ll transfer to an area of sandy grasslands that is habitat for Utah Prairie dogs. While most visitors to Bryce only spend a few minutes with these highly entertaining critters, we’ve allocated significantly more time, typically around an hour, with a second viewing possible tomorrow morning, depending on our group’s desires for prairie dog photos, who, like meerkats in Africa, can be quite expressive and are really fun to watch! In fact, travelers who are familiar with Wild Planet Adventures “Rare 5” South Africa safari will immediately notice some similarities between prairie dogs and meerkats: Prairie dogs exhibit mischief, romantic trysts, anti-predator behavior, fighting and kissing that we might be able to witness, as well as – and there’s no good way to put it – hysterically poor life choices. Prairie dog moms are not really good at protecting their burrows. They are known to let as many as 165 species of animals and insects live in the burrows or graze near the mounds, which often end up eating the prairie dogs. The dads are even worse, sometimes eating their own young themselves.

Prairie dogs also become combative with each other in the spring, when new litters are born and male yearlings from the previous year's litters attempt to take over. Fights start with territorial calls and quickly devolve into tussling and wrestling until the two prairie dogs become a single ball of fur rolling around each other. The looser – no matter how young or old - is exiled and must leave the colony and create a new “town” on their own.

Prairie dogs live in complex social colonies or “towns.” Their burrows are made up of several chambers and provide protection from predators, places to raise young, store food and hibernate during cold winters. You can tell the difference between an entrance hole and an exit hole by how steep it is. Entrance holes are dug from the surface and have high dome-shaped mounds and descend more gradually, whereas exit holes are excavated from underneath, so they have very low mounds. Exit holes are also steeper, making them the preferred route to escape predators. Once a predator departs, prairie dogs will jump in the air, arch their backs and bark out “Weeee-Ohhh” – which likely means "All clear!" but could just as easily mean “Come back and fight like a weasel!”

Prairie dogs are known to walk into nearby bodies water and attempt to swim. Unfortunately, they aren't great swimmers, so they usually drown. They’re better in the desert, where a prairie dog can outlast a camel by living off its body fat for up to 60 days without eating or drinking. This can prove handy during winter, when some prairie dogs apparently forget to hibernate!

Despite their questionable life choices, Utah prairie dogs are considered a "keystone species" that perform a variety of important ecological functions including improving soil quality, providing prey and places to live for other animals, and maintaining meadow ecosystems. Their ability to engineer the landscape adds to the overall diversity of both plants and animals. Because of this, over 200 other species have been associated with prairie dog colonies, including wildlife that either depend upon or directly benefit by prairie dog activity for survival. It cannot be overstated how beneficial the Utah prairie dog is to the overall health of southern Utah's meadows.

Please Note: Do not feed the prairie dogs under any circumstances, as they can become habituated to humans and get too close. Bubonic Plague has been known to infect prairie dog populations in previous years. A type of flea transmits this disease, which can jump up to 10 feet onto a human being and give them the disease. Fortunately, Bubonic Plague can be cured if caught soon enough, but it can be painful…a reminder that feeding wildlife can be a poor life choice too…for humans.

Dark Ranger Stargazing
This evening we’ll take the hotel shuttle to an area near the park for an exciting ranger-led evening of stargazing. View distant galaxies, exploded stars, star-birth nebulae, and close-up colorful views of the planets through giant telescopes in the dark desert sky.

  • Lodging: Best Western Plus Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel
  • Activity: Hiking 2.9 miles
  • Elevation: 823 ft gain/820 ft loss
  • Driving: 5 hours
  • Meals: Lunch, & Dinner

 

DAY 2 - Prairie Dogs of Bryce Canyon, Zebra Slot Canyon

Prairie Dog Viewing
This morning, time and conditions permitting, we will attempt a second viewing of the prairie dogs after breakfast. On sunny summer days, Utah Prairie Dogs can regularly be seen in the meadows that border the roads in the northern portion of Bryce Canyon National Park. We’ll have time to observe them as the sun rises and they become more active.

Zebra Slot Canyon
Zebra Canyon is well known as the most beautiful of all of the slot canyons in Utah. It is a stunning and unique canyon located in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Our guide will lead us on a hike through the narrow slot to find the beautiful pink and white striped pattern along the sides of the canyon walls. As we start hiking in the slot canyon, it becomes more and more narrow. Depending on time of year and recent weather, you may find some pools of water that can reach waist deep in places. Although the hike is rated as “easy” and great for families, most of it is exposed with little shade and can get hot during the summer months. The best time to hike is in spring and fall. Make sure to bring plenty of water. We’ll have lunch on the trail.

Dinner either early in Boulder, UT and then continue driving 3 hours to Moab; or at the Broken Oar in Moab.

  • Overnight Aarchway inn, Moab.
  • Hiking: 5.3 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation gain: 225 ft
  • Approximate hiking time: 3-4 hours
  • Driving: 2.5 hr
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 3 - Arches National Park, Sunset at Dead Horse Point overlooking Canyonlands

Arches National Park – Delicate Arch Overlook, Devils Garden Trail
We’ll start our day at Arches National Park with a short stop at the viewpoint for Delicate Arch, a must-see for most park visitors. Then we’ll continue to Devil’s Garden Trail, easily the best hike in Arches. Devil’s Garden trail is an out-and-back hike that features the highest concentration of arches in the park, with a multitude of options so we can tailor the hike to our group’s desires. You start seeing arches less than ½ a mile in and the hiking is not strenuous. The options range from about 4-6 miles and include 7-9 arches! Some of the most beautiful are Landscape Arch, which is 306 feet long but only 11 feet wide at its narrowest point. Navajo Arch is the opposite – it is so wide it has more of a cave-like feel than an arch. And Double O Arch is a truly fascinating geological feature, with one arch on top of another.

We’ll enjoy a guide-prepared lunch on the trail or en-route, depending on our timing.

Dead Horse Point State Park – Colorado River & Canyonlands National Park Overlook
After our hike in Arches National Park, we’ll transfer about 1 hour to Dead Horse Point State Park one of Utah’s most spectacular state parks. The view from Dead Horse Point is one of the most photographed scenic vistas in the world. Towering 2,000 feet above the Colorado River, the overlook provides a breathtaking panorama of Canyonlands’ sculpted pinnacles and buttes. Millions of years of geologic activity created the spectacular views from Dead Horse Point State Park. Deposition of sediments by ancient oceans, freshwater lakes, streams and wind-blown sand dunes created the rock layers of canyon country. Igneous activity formed the high mountains that rise like cool blue islands from the desert below.

The legend of Dead Horse Point states that in the late 1800’s the point was used as a corral for wild mustangs roaming the mesa top. Cowboys herded them across the narrow neck of land and onto the point. The neck was then fenced off with branches and brush. One time, for some unknown reason, horses were left corralled on the waterless point where they died of thirst within view of the Colorado River 2,000 feet below.

It is simply too hard to tear ourselves away from the incredible panoramic vistas at Dead Horse Point…so we’ve arranged for a special picnic dinner to enjoy at Dead Horse Point and linger in the beauty longer, perhaps even until sunset (in Spring and Fall).

In the event conditions or logistics make it too difficult to enjoy a picnic dinner at Dead Horse Point, we’ll enjoy dinner in town.

  • Lodging: Aarchway Inn
  • Activity: Hiking 4-8 miles
  • Elevation: up to 1500 feet elevation gain
  • Driving: 3 hr
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

 

DAY 4-6 - Rafting on the San Juan River, Exclusive Ring-Tailed Cat Expedition

This lovely river is sourced out of the San Juan Mountains in southern Colorado and crosses the Four Corners Region before flowing into Lake Powell. The Anasazi Indians made their home around it’s life-giving waters for hundreds of years. They farmed along her banks and today we can still find abundant remains of their civilization including chips of stone and pottery, ancient homes and ceremonial rooms, and pictures carved into the walls of the canyons or painted on the roofs of overhanging rock shelters. Some of the finest rock art in the southwest can be seen just steps from the river’s edge!

We’ll put-in near Bluff, Utah, where the San Juan River meanders lazily past groves of cottonwood trees and braids across sandbars in a wide valley bounded by low sandstone cliffs. Within a few short miles, the river begins to cut directly into the heart of a great bulge in the layers of the earth’s crust, the Monument Upward. As the river carves into layers of rock, it forms a steep and breathtakingly beautiful limestone canyon whose walls climb a massive 1,300 feet above the river!

The river itself flows swiftly but does not form huge rapids. Although the river has a steeper average gradient than the Colorado River in Grand Canyon, our section from Sand Island to Mexican Hat is mostly considered flatwater, with some Class I, II, and even a few III rapids which are fun and bouncy and offer plenty of challenges. We’ll average around 9 miles a day on this 27-mile float trip, using a paddle raft with the option for additional 1 or 2 person kayaks.

The San Juan River is a magical favorite of river paddlers seeking a more unique and far less commercial river experience than the more widely run Colorado and Green rivers, where the numbers of commercial rafting operations are so high that no wildlife can be seen. On the San Juan, we often see wild horses (mustangs), burros, bighorn sheep, and occasionally javelina, coyotes, fox, bobcat and river otter. We will also attempt a very special excursion to spot ring-tailed cats at night amongst the cliff walls, one of the most rarely seen cats in the US.

We’ll begin our float around 9:00am, putting in where the river meanders past orange and black streaked sandstone outcroppings. Nearby we may take a short walk to a site where the Anasazi carved large oval steps into the cliff wall that has petroglyphs around every corner. Downriver a short distance, lunch is served under the cottonwood trees at the famous Butler Wash petroglyph panel with plenty of time to examine this extensive group of mysterious images. After more floating we’ll take another walk to the River House, an 800-year-old cliff dwelling. Camp is pitched in the late afternoon on a sandy beach amongst the cottonwoods and giant sagebrush. The guides prepare dinner, complete with appetizers and dessert. Sunset and campfire, then it’s off to sleep in a tent or out under the stars.

First light finds the guides in the kitchen making coffee and fixing breakfast. Gear is repacked, the boats are loaded, then the float continues. The morning walk could include Chinle Wash, where painted rock art and cliff dwellings hide among the rock alcoves.

At Mile 9 the river enters the “anticline” and the canyon walls rise up dramatically. The river narrows and the pace quickens as small riffles and rapids rock the boats. The sheer cliffs make our second night’s campsite especially dramatic. Here the limestone walls are full of fossils and a lively current murmurs against the rocks.

Wild Planet Adventures Exclusive! Ring-Tailed Cat Nocturnal Excursion

One evening, after dinner, we take a walk below the sheer cliffs, perhaps to a side canyon if one is nearby, to look for ring-tailed cats which are known to have dens amongst the towering rocks. These adorable creatures look very similar like ring-tailed lemurs of Madagascar and are the cutest mammal you’ve probably never seen or even heard about! Rarely spotted except by wildlife aficionados “in the know” who are actively looking for them, ring-tailed cats often come down to the river to scavenge at night. This activity will be done mostly in silence, as it is necessary to listen carefully for their tiny feet scurrying amongst the rocks high above. If we hear them, we will find a spot to set up a “quiet blind”, enjoy some wine in silence and use our headlamps to look for eye-shine amongst the rocks. Your guide will instruct you on the best way to see them once spotted without scaring them away.

Possible Wildlife Sightings on the River – Wild horses, wild donkeys, pronghorns, mule deer, ring tailed cats at night.

  • Equipment required or available for rent – tents, sleeping bags, pads
  • Lodging: Camping on the San Juan River
  • Activity: ~9 miles of rafting each day and optional short hikes
  • Driving: Minimal
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
  • River Trip Season: April-Oct

 

DAY 6 - San Juan River / Monument Valley

Our last day on the river continues with more floating and fun rapids. Desert bighorn sheep may appear along this final stretch. The rocks tilt and canyon walls diminish as Mexican Hat Rock comes into view, a large red slab balanced on a small pedestal. The vivid reds and grays of the anticline zig-zag across the eastern horizon, a Navajo blanket of stone.

Around 4:00pm we’ll finish on the river and after a short transfer back to Bluff Utah, continue on our way to Monument Valley.

5:00pm Transfer to Monument Valley (Drive 1 hour)

6:00pm Check into Gouldings or The View Hotel, Monument Valley

7:00pm Dinner at Gouldings or The View Hotel, Monument Valley

  • Lodging: The Gouldings Lodge, Monument Valley or similar
  • Meals: Breakfast and Lunch provided on the river. Dinner at Gouldings Hotel or similar.

 

DAY 7 - Monument Valley & Page – 4x4 Adventure in Secret Antelope Valley & Horseshoe Bend
Today we’ll enjoy a visit to the amazing “Secret Antelope” Canyon and the breathtaking Horseshoe Bend Overlook.

Secret Antelope Canyon is part of the Lake Powell, Antelope Canyon system and is still an undiscovered gem. This uniquely beautiful slot canyon limits group sizes to just a fraction of Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons in Page, AZ so it is also far less crowded. In addition, we’ll have access to a private Navajo viewpoint of Horseshoe Bend located immediately adjacent to the congested National Park Service viewing area.

We’ll board a shaded and cushioned, open-air, 4x4 truck and enjoy a thrilling six-mile off-road adventure driving through sandy washes and rolling hills to arrive south of Lake Powell in Antelope Canyon. There you will enjoy a 300-meter nature walk to the entrance of one of the longest slot canyons on the Navajo Nation. You will have up to an hour to photograph and meander through the slot canyon and back out to the vehicle.

Horseshoe Bend - We’ll then continue to the Horseshoe Bend Overlook on Navajo land, avoiding the congested public parking lot and taking a private dirt road which leads to within 100 meters of the edge of the canyon. From here, you will have a much shorter walk to the rim where you can stroll along the side of a 1,000 ft. drop overlooking one of the most famous vistas in the US. The undulating sandstone provides various angles and views of the Colorado River as it meanders around a rock promontory, creating the Horseshoe Bend loop beloved by visitors and photographers from around the world.

  • Lodging: Lake Powell Resort
  • Activity: Hiking 3.9 miles
  • Elevation: 380 ft gain
  • Driving: 2.5 hr
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

 

DAY 8 Wupatki & Sunset Crater National Monuments, Salt River Rafting Amongst Wild Horses

Wild Horses
This morning we’ll transfer to the Salt River for our Wild Horses float trip, stopping en-route at Wupatki and Sunset Crater National Monuments.

Wupatki National Monument is one of several sites preserving pueblos (villages) of ancient peoples, but unlike the Tonto, Montezuma, Casa Grande Ruins and Tuzigoot monuments which contain only one main building, here there are many ruins scattered over a large area of desert northeast of Flagstaff. The pueblos all have a distinctive deep red color and were made from thin, flat blocks of the local Moenkopi sandstone.

Sunset Crater Volcanic National Monument is a fascinating volcanic area with lava flows, lava caves, ash hills and reddish cinder cones. The contrasting colors of the cinders is the source of its name, but the jagged and twisted lava fields are also quite spectacular. It is just one small part of the San Francisco volcanic field, an extensive region of nearly 2,000 square miles that contains some 600 identified volcanoes.

Wild Horses of the Lower Salt River
There are over 250 beloved and majestic wild mustangs roaming the lower Salt River in Arizona’s Tonto National Forest. They are the pride of the community, a favorite subject of photographers and the icon of the wild, free spirit of the American West. Floating this very intimate river gives us the best chance to see them drinking, galloping and “horsing around.” As no wildlife sighting can ever be guaranteed, even if we don’t see the wild horses, we are likely to spot blue heron, bald eagles, and river otters which frequent its banks. It is for the most part a gentle river, although there are some class 1 rapids in sections. The lower Salt River is perfect way to end our incredible Southwest wildlife adventure and cool off on a warm day in Arizona’s desert. We’ll spend a few relaxing hours paddling along lush green riverbanks and towering cliffs, keeping alert for sightings of wild horses and bald eagles.

End of 8-day trip, or EXTEND with Grand Canyon Scenic Flight & Hike, requiring overnight in Scottsdale or Phoenix

Trip Extensions

Grand Canyon Scenic Overflight and Hike

Enjoy the scenic, narrated flight over the Tonto National Forest, Sedona and the Coconino Plateau, to the Grand Canyon, including the over-flight of the widest and deepest part of the Canyon.

Upon landing, your guide will take you in one of the flight company’s private vans for a trip inside the park where you will have the opportunity to view the Grand Canyon from the rim. You and your guide will be dropped off directly at the trailhead to begin your hike into the Grand Canyon.

Start with a series of switchbacks before arriving at Ooo-Ahh Point. At this aptly named lookout point, the views open up to the panorama of the Grand Canyon in all directions.

Next, you will continue on to a picnic area at Cedar Ridge, dropping almost 1,200 feet in elevation and through more than 40 million years of geological history.

This scenic trail is unique to the Grand Canyon in that it traverses along a ridgeline instead of descending a side canyon, allowing for unobstructed views and excellent photo opportunities. As you descend through the layers of rock strata, your guide will provide information on the Grand Canyon’s history, ecosystems, and geology.

After lunch and time to explore Cedar Ridge, you will begin your ascent to the rim to visit the Yaki Point overlook. Finally, our vans will take you back to the airport for your one-hour flight back to Phoenix.

Please note the Grand Canyon hiking tour is moderately strenuous and not suitable for anyone with mobility challenges.

 

Southwest Lodging

LAS VEGAS

Homewood Suites by Hilton

Home is just 10 minutes from McCarran International Airport and 20 minutes from the bright lights of the Las Vegas Strip. Green Valley Ranch Resort Spa & Casino is in walking distance, and the Hoover Dam is always worth the short drive. WiFi, breakfast, airport shuttle, and our Monday – Thursday evening socials are on us. Make the most of your own in-suite kitchen.

BRYCE NATIONAL PARK

Best Western Plus Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel

Enjoy spectacular sights and a charming old town area during your stay at Best Western Plus Bryce Canyon Hotel. Hotel amenities include:

  • Desk/work area
  • Cable or satellite television, CNN® or other 24 hour news station
  • In-room movies, Lodgenet
  • AM/FM alarm clock
  • AM/FM radio stereo
  • Coffee/tea maker
  • Microwave
  • Refrigerator
  • Hairdryer
  • Iron, ironing board
  • High-speed Internet access, wireless
  • Direct dial telephone
  • Voice mail
  • Free local calls under 30 minutes
  • Bathrobe available
  • Air-conditioning

MOAB

Aarchway Inn

Located just on the edge of Moab, UT; The Aarchway Inn claims stunning views and relaxing evenings under the stars. Amenities include an outdoor pool, hot tub, horse shoe course, splash pad, playground, and a beautiful river walkway. Aarchway is also 2 miles from Arches National Park and 30 minutes from Dead Horse Point and Canyonlands National Park.

MONUMENT VALLEY

Gouldings Lodge

Relax on your own private balcony and savor the spectacular views from your Monument Valley room, including Eagle Mesa, Brigham’s Tomb, King on His Throne and Stagecoach, just to name a few.
After the sun has set on another perfect day, get cozy with the following complimentary comforts of home:

  • Complimentary WiFi
  • Flat-screen Television with 200+ Dish Network Channels
  • Mini Refrigerator
  • Keurig Coffee Maker
  • Hair Dryer and Bathing Amenities
  • Ironing Board and Iron
  • Individual Climate Control for Heating or Air Conditioning

LAKE POWELL

Lake Powell Resort

Lake Powell Resort is located at Wahweap Marina in Page, Arizona - right in the heart of all your "down-lake" activities and adventures. The Resort offers comfortable lodging and suites, terrific dining, and an ideal place to return to each evening after a day of fun and relaxation. Here hotel guests can kick back by the side of the pool and enjoy some of the most spectacular scenery in the West.

SCOTTSDALE

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Scottsdale - Old Town

Hotel in Old Town Scottsdale with Spacious Suites near Scottsdale Stadium Nestled in the Sonoran Desert, Scottsdale is a lovely oasis that offers the excitement and attractions of a busy metropolis, as well as the laid-back atmosphere of a Western town. The Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Scottsdale located at the heart of Old Town offers easy access to the Scottsdale and Phoenix area's attractions.

 

Southwest Activities

At a Glance

We know you've chosen to travel with us for our wildlife emphasis, so we've included a wide variety of adventure activities designed to educate, inspire, and bring out the wonder in you. All of our American Southwest activities are flexibly designed to accommodate different skill levels and interests, while exposing you to a variety of unique eco-systems in order to see the most amount of wildlife. And did we mention fun?

Unparalleled Wildlife Viewing

Opportunity to see Wild Horses (Mustangs), Prairie Dogs, Wild Burros, Bighorn Sheep, Pronghorn, Mule Deer, Ring-tailed Cats, Javelina, Coyotes, Gray Fox, Bobcat, Beaver, River Otter, and over 450 species of birds such as the Golden Eagle, Condor, Rufous and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, and Wild Turkey to name a few.

Activities Include:

  • Hiking
  • River Rafting
  • Scenic Drives
  • Stargazing
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • 4WD Adventure to Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend

Exclusive Wildlife Activities

Ring-Tailed Cat Nocturnal Excursion:

Take a walk below the sheer cliffs to look for ring-tailed cats which are known to have dens amongst the towering rocks. These adorable creatures look very similar like ring-tailed lemurs of Madagascar and are the cutest mammal you’ve probably never seen or even heard about! Rarely spotted except by wildlife aficionados “in the know”, they often come down to the river to scavenge at night.

Rafting on the San Juan River:

A magical favorite of river paddlers seeking a more unique and far less commercial river experience than the more widely run Colorado and Green rivers, on the San Juan we often see wild horses (mustangs), burros, bighorn sheep, and occasionally javelina, coyotes, fox, bobcat, and river otter.

Rafting with the Wild Horses of the Lower Salt River:

Over 250 beloved and majestic wild mustangs roaming the lower Salt River in Arizona’s Tonto National Forest. They are the pride of the community, a favorite subject of photographers and the icon of the wild, free spirit of the American West! Floating this very intimate river gives us the best chance to see them drinking, galloping, and “horsing around.” As no wildlife sighting can ever be guaranteed, even if we don’t see the wild horses, we are likely to spot blue heron, bald eagles, and river otters which frequent its banks. We’ll spend a few relaxing hours paddling along lush green riverbanks and towering cliffs, keeping alert for sightings of wild horses and bald eagles.

Other Activities

Grand Canyon Scenic Overflight and Hike

Enjoy the scenic, narrated flight over the Tonto National Forest, Sedona, and the Coconino Plateau to the Grand Canyon, including the over-flight of the widest and deepest part of the Canyon.

Land and enjoy the opportunity to trip inside the park to view the Grand Canyon from the rim hike into the Grand Canyon along a scenic trail unique to the Grand Canyon in that it traverses along a ridgeline instead of descending a side canyon, allowing for unobstructed views and excellent photo opportunities! As you descend through the layers of rock strata, your guide will provide information on the Grand Canyon’s history, ecosystems, and geology.

After the hike return back to the airport for your one-hour flight back to Phoenix. Please note the hiking tour is moderately strenuous and not suitable for anyone with mobility challenges.

 

Southwest Wildlife

Rare or Endangered Possible Sightings

  • Ring-tailed Cats
  • Javelina
  • Coyotes
  • Gray Fox
  • Bobcat
  • Beaver
  • River otter

Likely Sightings

    Common Sightings
  • Wild Horses (Mustangs)
  • Prairie Dogs
  • Wild Burros
  • Bighorn Sheep
  • Pronghorns
  • Mule Deer
    Birds - Utah is home to over 450 species of birds.
  • Golden Eagles
  • Condors
  • Rufous and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds
  • Wild turkey
  • Great Blue, Tricolor, Black-crowned and Green Herons
  • Kingfishers
  • Violet-green Swallow
  • Coopers Hawk
  • Ring-necked Pheasant
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Western Screech Owl and more
 

Southwest Departures

Southwest-8-Day Wildlife & Scenic Wonders

Mar 20, 2021 - Mar 27, 2021 8-days $5,498
Apr 17, 2021 - Apr 24, 2021 8-days $5,498
May 01, 2021 - May 08, 2021 8-days $5,498
May 20, 2021 - May 27, 2021 8-days $5,498
Jun 19, 2021 - Jun 26, 2021 8-days $5,498
Sep 02, 2021 - Sep 09, 2021 8-days $5,498
Sep 25, 2021 - Oct 02, 2021 8-days $5,498
Oct 16, 2021 - Oct 23, 2021 8-days $5,498

 

Southwest FAQ

Southwest Facts for Visitors

Location:

The Southwestern United States, also known as the American Southwest, Desert Southwest, or simply the Southwest, is the informal name for a region of the western United States. Definitions of the region's boundaries vary a great deal and have never been standardized, though many boundaries have been proposed. The largest metropolitan areas are centered around Phoenix, AZ (with an estimated population of more than 4.7 million as of 2017); Las Vegas, NV (more than 2.2 million); Tucson, AZ (more than 1 million); Albuquerque, NM (more than 900,000); and El Paso, TX (more than 840,000). Those five metropolitan areas have an estimated total population of more than 9.6 million as of 2017, with nearly 60 percent of them living in the two Arizona cities—Phoenix and Tucson.

Most of the area was part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain in the Spanish Empire before becoming part of Mexico. European settlement was almost non-existent outside New Mexico in 1848, when it became part of the United States through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, while southern areas of Arizona and southwestern New Mexico were added in the later Gadsden Purchase.

While on Wild Planet Adventures’ tours, you will be traveling through the states of Nevada, Utah, and Arizona.

Geography:

The geography of the region is mainly made up by four features: the Mojave, Sonoran, and Chihuahuan Deserts, and the Colorado Plateau; although there are other geographical features as well, such as a portion of the Great Basin Desert. The deserts dominate the southern and western reaches of the area, while the plateau (which is largely made up of high desert) is the main feature north of the Mogollon Rim. The two major rivers of the region are the Colorado River, running in the northern and western areas, and the Rio Grande, running in the east, north to south.

Population:

The Southwest is ethnically varied, with significant Anglo American and Hispanic American populations in addition to more regional African American, Asian American, and American Indian populations.

Language:

English is the official language and is spoken commonly across the region with Spanish being the next most common language.

Entry Requirements:

Whether you can travel to Nevada, Utah, and Arizona without a visa will be determined by your country of origin. Meaning, if you are a citizen of one of the 39 countries member of the Visa Waiver Program you do not have to apply for a tourist visa to Alaska. Instead, you can obtain the ESTA Alaska by completing an online form with your personal details and passport info.

As a part of the United States, travelers must follow US immigration regulations and laws. Upon arrival, travelers will be required to present a valid passport and a valid ESTA or US tourist visa.

Please contact your local US Embassy / Consulate for up-to-date entry requirements.

Banking and Currency:

The currency of United states is the United States Dollar (USD). Current exchange rates can be found at http://x-rates.com. Many, but not all, locations accept credit cards, mainly Visa and MasterCard.

Climate and Weather:

The southwestern United States features a semi-arid to arid climate, depending on the location. Much of the Southwest is an arid desert climate, but higher elevations in the mountains in each state, with the exception of West Texas, feature alpine climates with very large amounts of snow. The metropolitan areas of Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas, and El Paso hardly ever receive any snow at all, as they are strictly desert lands with mountains.

Nevada and Arizona are both generally arid with desert lands and mountains, and receive large amounts of snow in the higher elevations in and near the mountains. Although it snows in this region, the snow in this part of the United States melts rapidly, often before nightfall. This is due mainly to the higher altitude and abundant sunshine in these states. New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado are generally arid, with desert lands and mountains as well. They all receive decent amounts of snow and large amounts of snow in the high elevations in the mountains, although some areas in far southwestern and southern New Mexico do not receive much snow at all at lower elevations.

Electricity and Plug Standards:

Electrical outlets, plugs and voltage are all exactly the same as in the rest of the United States (120V).

WIFI - All the hotels we use have wifi. Some places have faster/better service than others, but it is generally available.

Time Zone:

The region stretches across multiple time zones, with Wild Planet’s tours traversing 2, Pacific Standard Time (PST) around Las Vegas, and Mountain Standard Time (MST) for the majority of the tour in Utah and Arizona.

Sales Taxes:

Sales tax varies from state to state and may even very between individual municipalities. Typically, taxes will vary between 4.85% – 5.6%. For international travelers who have not visited the United States before, it is important to note that sales tax is not typically included in the prices you will see listed in stores, but will added upon final payment.

Tipping:

Tipping is never expected, but always appreciated. General guidelines are:

  • Hotel housekeeping staff: US$2 per day per room
  • Guides: US$20/person/day
  • Drivers and Boat Captains: Half what you prefer to tip your guide
  • This Trip's Exclusive Wildlife Features:

    Choose Your Southwest Travel Style! Any of our wildlife adventures are also available as fully customizable private trips, honeymoons or family wildlife adventures.
    CONTACT US | EMAIL US | CHAT NOW | RESERVE A TRIP | 1-800-990-4376
    We're Wild for Wildlife...
    • See 3 National Parks, 2 National Monuments, 1 Slot Canyon, Raft 2 Rivers & more – Bryce Canyon, Arches & Canyonlands National Parks, Wupatki and Sunset Crater, Zebra Slot Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Secret Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley, San Juan River & Salt River.
    • Unique Wildlife Emphasis: Special wildlife activities to see wild horses, prairie dogs and rare ring-tailed cats, plus big-horn sheep, pronghorns, wild burros. On the rivers we may see wild mustangs, javelina, coyotes, fox, bobcat and river otter.
    • Dark Ranger Stargazing in Bryce Canyon - View distant galaxies, exploded stars, star-birth nebulae, and close-up colorful views of the planets through giant telescopes in the dark desert sky.
    • Float by Wild Mustangs While Rafting the Salt River
    • Exclusive Rare Ring-Tailed Cat & Nocturnal Wildlife Excursion – An exciting 3D/2N San Juan River Rafting Wildlife Float trip is included in this journey!
    We're Wild for Wildlife...
    • See 3 National Parks, 2 National Monuments, 1 Slot Canyon, Raft 2 Rivers & more – Bryce Canyon, Arches & Canyonlands National Parks, Wupatki and Sunset Crater, Zebra Slot Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Secret Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley, San Juan River & Salt River.
    • Unique Wildlife Emphasis: Special wildlife activities to see wild horses, prairie dogs and rare ring-tailed cats, plus big-horn sheep, pronghorns, wild burros. On the rivers we may see wild mustangs, javelina, coyotes, fox, bobcat and river otter.
    • Dark Ranger Stargazing in Bryce Canyon - View distant galaxies, exploded stars, star-birth nebulae, and close-up colorful views of the planets through giant telescopes in the dark desert sky.
    • Float by Wild Mustangs While Rafting the Salt River
    • Exclusive Rare Ring-Tailed Cat & Nocturnal Wildlife Excursion – An exciting 3D/2N San Juan River Rafting Wildlife Float trip is included in this journey!
    Close

    Share this trip via Email

    Send me a copy of this Email