Tag Archives: national parks

Tight Window Opens for Booking Grand Canyon Group Rafting Charters

Western River Expeditions opens select booking dates for charter groups anticipating river rafting adventures in 2023 in the Grand Canyon.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT, Nov. 12, 2021 – This month Western River Expeditions opens select booking dates for charter groups anticipating river rafting adventures in 2023 in the Grand Canyon.
 
Groups ranging from extended family to corporate to non-profit can benefit from the advantages of this advance booking window for up to 28 people on prime departure dates.
 
Advance bookings for charter groups are available for select, 3, 4 6, or 7-day Grand Canyon rafting expeditions throughout the 2023 season.
 
“As the popularity of doing an exclusive private trip with just the members of your group has grown over the years, we have found it works best to open up select dates in advance for just these groups. That way they can still find dates with wide-open availability. Doing it this way, we can give our charter guests time to advertise, market, promote and book,” said Brandon Lake, co-owner and CMO. “We still leave several dates wide open for the general public so they have plenty of space to for individual bookings when the season opens for individual bookings on Nov. 30. Once this opens, many departures will sell out online within the first several hours.”
 
Although Mother Nature provides more than enough photo ops on the descent through the Grand Canyon, for these upcoming bookings, Western River Expeditions plans to offer groups the option of custom group t-shirts, adding even more pizzazz to group photos.
 
Group charters are available on all of the rivers where Western River hosts programs: Cataract CanyonDesolation Canyon and Westwater Canyon.  Western River’s experience with charter groups is that people get hooked on river rafting and in the future segue into other river trips. For details please see – https://www.westernriver.com/group-rafting-trips.
 
If an epic river rafting adventure is in your future, Western River Expeditions says don’t delay making reservations for trips down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon and in Utah’s Cataract Canyon and Desolation Canyon.
 
Here are a few good reasons why to act now.
 
Tight controls on inventory through commercial permits make these areas available only to a limited few every year. While Western River Expeditions escorts more people down the Colorado River and Green River on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah and Arizona than any other rafting operator in the country, Western River, as well as other commercial tour operators, has to abide by the limits set by government-issued permits. These coveted seats are being snapped up quicker than ever before by an unprecedented surge of demand following months of COVID lockdown, record-breaking heat waves that beg for water-based recreation, and an exploding demand to visit America’s national parks.
 
As a result, Western River Expeditions filled all Grand Canyon slots for 2021 well in advance. Many departures for 2022 are sold out and others are very close to selling out. 2023 Grand Canyon dates will open for general bookings on Nov. 30 this year. Requests for 2023 group charters are being taken now.
 
For a copy of Western River Expeditions’ 2022/2023 catalog, questions, availability and reservations call 866-904-1160 (Local: 801-942-6669) or visit the website at: http://www.westernriver.com/.
 
Western River Expeditions is an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona. Annually from March through October it escorts more people down rivers on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah, Idaho and Arizona than any other company. It is the largest licensed outfitter in the Grand Canyon and the largest single tour provider in Moab, UT through its division Moab Adventure Center (http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/).
 
Western River Expeditions, providing Grand Canyon rafting, Utah and Idaho rafting, and international multi-sport trips, was founded in 1961 by Colorado River rafting pioneer Jack Currey. It has been named one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” by the editors of National Geographic Adventure magazine. The company is the proud recipient of the “Best of State” award through Utah’s Premier Recognition and Awards Program for the past seventeen consecutive years (2004-2020).

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Xanterra Offers Weeklong ‘Book Your Bucket List Sale’ for National Parks, Cruises, Tours

Take advantage of Xanterra Travel Collection’s week-long annual sale to lock in 50% off roundtrip tickets on the historic Grand Canyon Railway and 20% off in-park lodging at the Grand Canyon’s crown jewel, the El Tovar on the Grand Canyon’s South Rim © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Greenwood Village, CO – Carpe Diem X 7. Xanterra Travel Collection, an award-winning globally diversified travel company offering unforgettable experiences in some of the most Beautiful Places on Earth®, announced its highly anticipated annual “Book Your Bucket List Sale” from Tuesday, Nov. 23 – Tuesday, Nov. 30. This year’s sale will last a full week beginning the Tuesday before Black Friday and running through Cyber Monday and Travel Tuesday. Xanterra owns or operates the lodges in Yellowstone, Zion, Glacier, Death Valley and Grand Canyon South Rim; Windstar Cruises, The Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel, The Oasis at Death Valley, Holiday Vacations, Country Walkers and VBT Bicycling Tours. The affiliated legendary Five-Star, Five-Diamond Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs and the longest-running Five-Star award-winning Sea Island Resort in Georgia are also participating in the sale.

And now, for the first time, Xanterra is offering an unparalleled gift of discovery and wanderlust with Xanterra Travel Collection Gift Cards. Redeemable across all Xanterra Travel Collection properties and brands for accommodations, tours, experiences, and retail purchases, recipients can choose their adventure with this gift of A World of Unforgettable Experiences. All new and available starting Nov. 16 at Xanterra.com/GiftCard.

Preview and plan now. Then book during the Book Your Bucket List one-week sale (Tuesday, Nov. 23 through Tuesday, Nov. 30) at Xanterra.com/BucketListSale. Highlights include:

National Parks

The Oasis at Death Valley – 30% off hotel stays at the beautifully renovated historic AAA Four-Diamond Inn at Death Valley and newly revitalized, family-friendly Ranch at Death Valley. Valid for select overnight stays between Dec. 2021 and Feb. 2022.

Historic Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel – 50% off roundtrip train tickets on an entertaining journey to the Grand Canyon’s fabled South Rim when booking a two-night Getaway Package over select dates between Dec. 1, 2021 and March 10, 2022.

Grand Canyon South Rim – 20% off in-park lodging at Kachina Lodge, Bright Angel Lodge, Maswik Lodge, and the crown jewel, El Tovar, during select dates Dec. 1, 2021 to March 3, 2022. Discover the “secret season” at the Grand Canyon with fewer crowds. The lodges are either in or within walking distance to the Historic District and rim of the Grand Canyon which includes Lookout Studio and Hopi House.

The Grand Hotel – 30% off at the only AAA Three-Diamond hotel near the Grand Canyon in Tusayan (just one mile from the South Rim entrance) on select dates between Dec. 2021 and March 2022.

Zion Lodge – 30% off overnight stays inside the park at Zion National Park Lodge on select dates between Dec. 2021 and Feb. 2022.

Cedar Creek Lodge, at the gateway to Glacier National Park – 30% off room rates on select dates from Dec. 2021 through April 2022.

Lake Yellowstone Hotel – Save 25% off hotel stays at the charming and historic Lake Yellowstone Hotel, located inside the park on select dates during May 2022.

​​Luxury Hotels

The Broadmoor – Rates as low as $249 per night for select dates, up to 25% off published suite rates, and 10% off the all-inclusive Wilderness Properties (The Ranch at Emerald Valley and Cloud Camp).

Sea Island – In honor of its Quarter Century Club (team members with at least 25 years of service to the resort), book a stay in December, January, or February and receive the third night for only $25. Plus, receive a $250 resort credit per stay at The Cloister and The Lodge. In addition, Sea Island will donate $25 per stay to the Sea Island Legacy Fund, which assists team members experiencing economic hardship.

Guided Travel/Tours

Bicycling Tours – Receive $200 off any spring VBT Bicycling Tours Guided Italy tour departing between April 1, 2022 and June 30, 2022.

Walking Adventures – Receive $200 off any spring Country Walkers Guided Italy tour departing between April 1, 2022 and June 30, 2022.

Holiday Vacations – Save $250 per person on the Holland in Bloom featuring the Floriade tour departing on April 15, 2022.


Cruising

Windstar Cruises – Save on 2022 yacht-style cruises with fewer than 350 guests. Enjoy a $100 onboard credit per guest to use on shore excursions, spa treatments, alcoholic beverages and more. Low fares start from $1,399 per guest. Yacht Club Members receive a double Alumni discount on all voyages departing on or before March 31, 2022.

For a complete list and to take advantage of Xanterra and its affiliates’ Book Your Bucket List offers, visit Xanterra.com/BucketListSale. For the newly available gift cards, visit Xanterra.com/GiftCard.

Known for its “Legendary Hospitality with a Softer Footprint,” Xanterra Travel Collection provides a world of unforgettable experiences through its operations in national parks, including lodges, restaurants, tours, and activities, as well as through its ownership of resorts, a cruise line, a railway, and tour companies. Xanterra has operations in Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Zion, Glacier, and Rocky Mountain National Parks, and Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Xanterra Travel Collection also owns and operates the Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel in Williams, Ariz., The Grand Hotel in Tusayan, Ariz., The Oasis at Death Valley in Death Valley Calif., Windstar Cruises, Holiday Vacations, VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, and Country Walkers. Xanterra is also affiliated with two Forbes Five-Star Resorts, The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, CO and Sea Island on the coast of Georgia.

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Biden Restores Protections for Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monuments

President Biden is restoring Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to the borders that were in place on January 20, 2017 © Dave E. Leiberman/goingplacesfarandnear.com

As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s effort to better protect, conserve, and restore the lands and waters that sustain the health of communities and power our economy, President Biden is signing three proclamations restoring protections for Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monuments. By restoring these national monuments, which were significantly cut back during the previous administration, President Biden is fulfilling a key promise and upholding the longstanding principle that America’s national parks, monuments, and other protected areas are to be protected for all time and for all people.

The President’s protection of these three national monuments is among a series of steps the Administration has taken to restore protections to some of America’s most cherished lands and waters, many of which are sacred to Tribal Nations. The Administration has halted leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, committed to restore protections for the Tongass National Forest under the Roadless Rule, and initiated the process to protect Bristol Bay and the world-class salmon fishery it supports. The Great Lakes, the Chesapeake Bay, the Everglades, the Columbia River Basin, and dozens of other special places are also back on America’s conservation agenda.

The Biden-Harris Administration’s land, water, ocean, and wildlife conservation efforts are critical to solving the climate crisis, protecting public health, promoting wildlife and biodiversity, and rebuilding America’s economy. As part of his Build Back Better Agenda, the President has proposed the creation of a new Civilian Climate Corps, which would partner with unions in putting to work a new generation that looks like America – with good benefits and pay – on the path to family-supporting careers in fields restoring the health of our public lands, coasts, waters, and forests, advancing environmental justice, and helping communities better prepare for the impacts of a changing climate. The President has also set the first-ever national conservation goal, which the Administration is pursuing by supporting locally-led and voluntary conservation efforts across the country and creating more equitable access to the outdoors, including by investing in urban parks.

President Biden’s action to restore Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monuments is consistent with recommendations from Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, who – with the support of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Justice, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality – reviewed the actions of the previous administration that drastically reduced protections for these places. As part of this review, Biden-Harris Administration leaders met with Members of Congress, state and local government officials, representatives of Tribal Nations, and a wide range of stakeholders. Secretary Haaland also visited Utah to directly meet with local residents and tour the area. After gathering information and input, the Department of the Interior provided the President a report with recommendations on future protection for the areas.

“These protections provide a bridge to our past, but they also build a bridge to a safer, more sustainable future — one where we strengthen our economy and pass on a healthy planet to our children and our grandchildren,” President Biden said at the signing ceremony.

The specific actions that President Biden is taking are:

  • Restoring the Bears Ears National Monument to the boundaries established by President Obama on December 28, 2016 and retaining protections for an additional 11,200 acres added by President Trump in 2017. Restoring these protections will conserve a multitude of sites that are culturally and spiritually important to Tribal Nations— including petroglyphs, pictographs, cultural sites, dwellings, and areas used for traditional rituals, gatherings, and tribal practices — as well as paleontological objects, landscape features, historic objects, and plant and animal species. Restoring the Monument’s boundaries and conditions restores its integrity, upholds efforts to honor the federal trust responsibility to Tribal Nations, and conserves these lands and waters for future generations. With this action, the total protected area of Bears Ears National Monument is 1.36 million acres.

    In restoring the Bears Ears National Monument, the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to ensuring that there is adequate staffing and resources to appropriately protect the area’s natural and cultural resources, to manage the increased visitation that the area continues to experience, and to make Bears Ears a model for Tribal participation in the management of the Monument. The Bureau of Land Management plans to assign additional rangers to the region; install appropriate signage and infrastructure to inform and support visitors; begin working with local communities, the State of Utah, and Tribal leaders on assessing the potential opportunity for a Bears Ears visitors center that highlights the monument’s cultural resources; and support the Bears Ears Intertribal Commission’s participation in management of the National Monument.
  • Restoring Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to the boundaries that were in place on January 20, 2017. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was first protected in 1996, and as described in Proclamation 6920, the landscape holds world-class geological objects of historic or scientific interest, including the Grand Staircase, White and Vermilion Cliffs, Kaiparowits Plateau, Escalante Natural Bridge, Grosvenor Arch, and numerous other enumerated geologic objects. The Monument also contains vast paleontological objects including significant fossils of marine and brackish water mollusks, turtles, crocodilians, lizards, dinosaurs, fishes, and mammals, as well as a host of cultural objects associated with both ancient indigenous cultures and early Latter-Day Saint pioneers, including, but not limited to, petroglyphs and pictographs, occupation sites, campsites, granaries, and trails. The Monument also contains hanging gardens, tinajas, and rock crevice, canyon bottom, and dunal pocket communities, protecting the region’s unusual and diverse soils, endemic plants and pollinators, relic vegetation, and diverse wildlife. Restoring the Monument’s conditions and boundaries will restore its integrity, support the continued scientific exploration as outlined in Proclamation 6920, protect our shared lands and waters for future generations, and continue this administration’s historic efforts to honor the Federal trust responsibility. The total protected area of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is restored to 1.87 million acres.  

Restoring protections to the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, as established by President Obama on September 15, 2016. The Monument is composed of two units, the Canyons Unit and the Seamounts Unit, each of which showcases unique geological features that anchor vulnerable ecological communities threatened by varied uses, climate change, and related impacts.  Under the restored protections, commercial fishing in the National Monument will be prohibited, with fishing for red crab and American lobster to be phased out by September 15, 2023. Consistent with President Obama’s Proclamation 9496, recreational fishing in the National Monument may continue.

The Monument includes Oceanographer, Gilbert, and Lydonia canyons; and Bear, Mytilus, Physalia, and Retriever seamounts. Restoring the Monument’s conditions will restore its integrity, expand the opportunity for unique scientific study and exploration, and protect and preserve natural and cultural resources for all Americans. With this action, the management conditions directed in Proclamation 9496 for the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument, which is composed of 4,913 square horizontal miles, vertically encompassing the water column above, will resume.

Autumn Fun in Moab: Zip Lining, River Rafting and Hummer Tours

Hummer tours are on Moab Adventure Center’s short list of how to enjoy autumn in the world’s red rock playground of Moab, Utah.

Moab Adventure Center, a division of Western River Expeditions, has a short list of how to enjoy autumn in the world’s red rock playground of Moab, Utah. This region becomes an artist’s dream world when fringed by the Colorado River’s yellow cottonwoods along the Colorado River and the golden aspens of the LaSal Mountains.
 
After the summer rush, daytime temperatures in September and October cool down to around the mid-70s to mid-80s. Fewer people around means more elbow room to be had on every adventure in not just one but two National Parks – Arches and Canyonlands.
 
Here are seven suggested adventures that continue through the end of November, with the exception of rafting which concludes the end of October.

  1. Fall River Rafting Adventures are full or half days, some served up with a BBQ lunch on a world-renowned stretch of the Colorado River, winding through scenes made famous by dozens of popular movies. https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-river-rafting
     
  2. Horseback Adventures come with cowboy-trained quarter horses. A professional wrangler leads the way on trails made famous by John Wayne himself.  Rides are three hours in the mornings and 90 minutes in the afternoons. https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-horseback-riding
     
  3. Hummer Tours are conducted in style and comfort aboard the world’s most serious 4×4. Spectacular backcountry opens up in the hands of professional guides who help visitors explore seldom-seen, awe-inspiring Moab overlooks. Tours are two, three and four hours including a sunset safari. https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-hummer-tours
     
  4. Zipline Tours are always a thrill, but how about skimming over sheer sandstone cliffs and canyons on Moab’s only zip line? The Raven’s Rim Moab zip line tour begins with a spine-tingling ride to the top of the cliff faces overlooking Moab, swooping like a bird of prey landing on each of six gaps.  https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-zip-line
     
  5. Hot Air Ballooning can be likened to riding a magical carpet for 3.5 hours over the astounding red rock landscape of Moab. It’s an unbelievable way to experience the sights of Moab in the quiet of the early morning. https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/hot-air-balloon-rides-moab-utah
     
  6. Arches National Park Tours are stunning, morning or evening. Arches National Park Tours showcase the more accessible of more than 2,000 arches, the highest concentration on the planet, after which the park is named. https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/arches-national-park-tours
     
  7. Mountain Bike Tours requests a commitment of 4.5 hours to experience why Moab has become the undisputed mecca for mountain bike enthusiasts from all over the world. Whether beginner or advanced the Moab Adventure Center offers professionally guided mountain biking tours on all of Moab’s classic rides.     https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-mountain-biking 

America’s red rock playground, Moab, Utah, home of two national parks that are coveted icons to explore in post-pandemic lockdowns, has experienced an unprecedented surge in popularity this summer.

This influx means that visitors should “nail down your accommodations and your preferred guided excursions as soon as possible and certainly before you arrive in Moab,” said Cort Wright, manager of the Moab Adventure Center. This is the go-to outfitter for securing pre-set backcountry and national park access and tours. Moab Adventure Center specializes in all there is to do in Moab and bundles assorted activities and lodging to maximize enjoyment of Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park and the surrounding Colorado River country.
 
“Arrangements made in advance help deliver the peace and privacy you expect when surrounded by this natural playground,” Wright said. In fact, for early bird planners, Moab Adventure Center is offering excursions in 2022 at 2021 rates when booked this season. (www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-lodging)
 
The company has seen growing demand unleashed by the desire to return to nature and outdoor recreation. Compared to their record 2019 season, programs have seen phenomenal growth through the end of July 2021, including Moab Zipline Adventure, Arches National Park Sunset Discovery, The Ultimate Moab Canyoneering AdventureMoab Hummer Tours, and Full-Day Colorado River Rafting Adventure.

 “Making reservations well in advance of arrival helps assure that we can gear up to accommodate your specific adventure requests,” Wright said. “Now is the perfect time to plan for a fall escape to Moab. Everyone loves autumn in Moab. Just about every trip operates right through the end of October and all land-based tours through mid-November.” 
 
Moab Adventure Center is a division of Western River Expeditions (http://www.westernriver.com/) an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab and Fredonia, AZ. The company is the largest single tour provider in Moab, Utah. The Moab Adventure Center is located at 225 South Main St., Moab, UT 84532. For information and reservations please call (435) 259-7019 or (866) 904-1163. The center also has a 2,000-square-foot retail space selling adventure related gear, clothing, maps and souvenirs. Visit https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/.

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ExploreBetter Online Guide Aids Summer Travel Planning to National Parks

National Park concessionaire Delaware North launches online guide to make extraordinary outdoor adventures in America’s most iconic natural destinations more accessible for all

Hiking the John Muir Trail, Yosemite National Park. With travelers flocking to national parks this summer, national park concessionaire Delaware North has launched ExploreBetter.com, an online guide to aid planning © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Americans are dusting off their bucket lists ahead of summer travel season, and iconic natural destinations such as Yosemite, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon National Parks are high on their lists. ExploreBetter.com is an online lifestyle platform that can simplify travel planning and make extraordinary outdoor adventures more accessible to first-time and even experienced National Park and other outdoor enthusiasts. 

Already, the national parks are among the most popular destinations being snapped up by travelers bursting to get out after a year of confinement. And just in time, the CDC has lifted masking and social distance requirements for those who are fully vaccinated; it is expected that the mask requirement will also been lifted for federal buildings and federal lands. At this writing, masks were still required on airplanes, trains, buses and at airports and ports.

ExploreBetter.com shares trip-planning destination insights, accommodations, activities and inspiration featuring Grand Canyon, Olympic, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks as well as New York’s Niagara Falls State Park. In addition to crowd-pleasing activities such as guided tours and other sightseeing suggestions, ExploreBetter.com is also the place for inside tips on active adventures like rock climbingfishing and stargazing as well as romantic, wellness-oriented and even pet-friendly activities.

With content curated by site publisher and long-time National Park concessionaire Delaware North, ExploreBetter.com draws on insider knowledge of the parks and surrounding regions. The site plans to include contributions from members of the Bay Area Travel Writers, one of the country’s oldest regional professional travel journalist organizations, in the near future.

“First-time visits to National Parks can be overwhelming, and even seasoned visitors need fresh ideas. We’re simplifying travel planning so first-time visitors can plan with confidence and experienced visitors can always find new and exciting reasons to return,” explained Andy Grinsfelder, vice president of sales and marketing for Delaware North’s parks and resorts division. “As partners in the stewardship of many of these iconic destinations, we want visitors to experience unforgettable moments and forge deeper connections, not just with one another, but with their surroundings.”

With 2020 National Park visitation down by roughly 90 million visitors due to pandemic travel restrictions, ExploreBetter.com is intended to help encourage and restore responsible and sustainable visitation to National Parks and other iconic destinations. An upswing in National Park visitation was seen in data collected by U.S. Travel beginning in the spring of 2021, which fits with research that shows Americans continue to desire leisure trips to outdoor locations that are safe, socially distant and allow them to relax, disconnect, spend time with family and have new experiences. 

At the lodging properties it operates, Delaware North last year implemented its Rest Assured Commitment to Care comprehensive health and safety program, including re-engineered operating procedures to minimize contact risk and bolstered hygiene protocols aligned with guidelines of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Delaware North Parks and Resorts operates lodging, food, beverage and retail services, recreational activities, and educational programming at destinations in North America, Australia and New Zealand. This includes lodging in and near many iconic national and state parks, including Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Shenandoah, Sequoia & Kings Canyon and Olympic National Parks and Niagara Falls State Park, as well as at cultural attractions such as Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. To learn more about Delaware North’s hospitality management expertise, visit https://www.delawarenorth.com/divisions/parks

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America’s Open Spaces Filling Fast: How to Book Lodging at Some of America’s Most Popular National Parks This Summer

The historic Inn at Death Valley is quite literally in an oasis within Death Valley National Park © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Americans are discovering their national parks.  Death ValleyGlacier, Grand Canyon South Rim, Yellowstone and Zion are booking up fast for summer, fall vacations and winter (all the above except Glacier are open in the winter).  Here’s a cheat sheet on these parks for summer 2021:

Zion 

Named for the Hebrew word “refuge,” Zion National Park in Utah is one of the most beautiful places on earth with its apricot-colored canyon and is open year-round.  Zion is famed for seemingly endless breathtaking views. Only 166 miles from Las Vegas, the juxtaposition of city versus nature could not be more apparent.

The best place to enjoy a stay in the park is Zion Lodge. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Zion Lodge offers 76 hotel rooms, six suites, and 40 historic cabins, originally designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood in the 1920s.
 
Find everything you need to know about making a reservation at Zion Lodge by visiting zionlodge.com.

Glacier

Glacier will Open from May 14 to September 22, 2021
 

Known for its seemingly endless acres of rugged and breathtaking landscapes, Glacier National Park was established in 1910 and stands today as a monument to wild natural places. In 1932 Glacier National Park was designated as part of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. Today, it remains a symbol of shared stewardship and a testament to the important and deep-rooted relationship between Canada and the U.S. Just as the landscape and wildlife are part of the heritage of Glacier National Park, so are the historic lodges and classic Red Buses and their drivers known as “jammers.”  Glacier is exceptionally popular and has a very short season due to its location and the weather.  This year the season will open on May 14, 2021 and close on September 22, 2021

Many Glacier Hotel is the largest hotel in the park, located in the “Switzerland of North America,′′ in the northeastern area of Glacier National Park. Outside, awe-inspiring majesty. Inside, a magnificent towering lobby. This classic Swiss chalet-style lodge is located 10 miles inside Glacier National Park’s west entrance on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, nestled on the shores of the largest lake inside the park.

Built in 1913, Lake McDonald Lodge has a picturesque location on the eastern shore of beautiful Lake McDonald with 82 guest rooms split between the three-story main lodge, a row of cabins, Snyder Hall and the exquisite Cobb House. Main lodge rooms are located on the second and third floors. Large/small cabin rooms are located along a tree-lined pathway adjacent to the lodge. This location presents visitors with Russell’s Fireside Dining Room, Jammer Joe’s Grill and Pizzeria, Lucke’s Lounge, Creekside Reading Room, Red Bus tours, boat cruises, horseback rides, evening ranger programs and numerous other activities.
 
Cedar Creek Lodge and Conference Center is a mountain lodge with modern style just outside of Glacier National Park. This property is a four-season destination inspired by the people, culture and landscapes of Montana.  Cedar Creek blends the comfort of a mountain lodge with modern style at the gateway to Glacier National Park in Columbia Falls. A rich sense of exhilaration infuses every experience, from fly fishing on Whitefish Lake and backcountry adventures in Glacier National Park to championship golf and more.
 
Visit glaciernationalparklodges.com for the most up-to-date information on what’s open and what’s available in the ever-changing post-vaccine world of COVID-19. 

Death Valley

 Death Valley in summer?  Absolutely.  The largest national park in the lower 48 states, Death Valley remains a popular destination to explore during the summer – even when extreme heat reigns supreme in the park’s 3.4 million acres. In a land of contrasts, The Oasis at Death Valley offers travelers unique experiences that many other resorts cannot, including a tranquil and cool respite in the desert.  A true American oasis with date palm trees, lush gardens, pools, and even a golf course, The Oasis at Death Valley is a unique and exotic resort in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. It’s legendary not only for its location, but for the movies and movie stars on location (Clark Gable, Ronald Regan, George Lucas…).
 
In a world where location is everything, especially in a post-quarantine world, The Oasis at Death Valley is certainly in a “universe far, far away.” It’s 61 miles from the nearest town and sits within Death Valley National Park, the largest national park in the lower 48 states. At 3.4 million acres, that translates into about 710 acres of land per staff and guests.  Social distancing, and for that matter civilization distancing, is one of the resort’s primary features. Yet it is still very accessible – just a two-hour drive (120 miles) northwest of Las Vegas, NV and a four-and-a-half-hour drive (275 miles) northeast of Los Angeles, CA … in the middle of nowhere you’d rather be.  
 
Just off of a $100-million renaissance, The Oasis at Death Valley encompasses two hotels — The AAA Four-Diamond historic Inn at Death Valley  with 66 completely renovated rooms and 22 private casitas (outfitted with a personal golf cart) and the family-friendly Ranch at Death Valley where guest rooms that open directly to the outdoors and the spacious lawns, massive spring fed pool, and abundant open green space create an ideal environment to create your own adventure. The Ranch also features the lowest elevation golf course in the world (-214 feet below sea level) with some of the most spectacular views during the day, and a great location for stargazing in this “gold tier” dark sky park.
 
Visit oasisatdeathvalley.com for more information and reservations. 

See:

ROAD TRIP: DISCOVERING DEATH VALLEY’S TREASURES, RICHER THAN GOLD

ROAD TRIP: HITTING THE HIGHLIGHTS OF DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK

ROAD TRIP: SUNRISE, SUNSET IN DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK, NATURE’S GEOLOGIC ART GALLERY

Grand Canyon South Rim & Grand Canyon Railway

As the days get longer, peak season sets in at the Grand Canyon as many take advantage of family time afforded by their children’s summer vacation. 2021 is no different, and it’s clear that Americans have taken refuge in parks during the pandemic. The weather is warmer, but don’t let summer’s high temperatures deter you. The South Rim is a high desert with an altitude of 7,000 feet, so while summer days can find average temperatures in the 80s Fahrenheit, at night those temperatures can drop down to the 40s.
 
Longer hours of daylight ensure more time to enjoy Grand Canyon. Compared to less than 10 hours of daylight on the December 21 winter solstice, in the summertime, you’ll enjoy a surplus of daylight — nearly 15 hours of sunshine at its peak on the June 21 summer solstice. Those five extra hours can be filled with an array of activities which, in the summertime, should include watching Grand Canyon illuminated by the dawn’s early light.
 
Summer temperatures can wilt even the most experienced hikers, but you shouldn’t miss an opportunity to get a glimpse below the rim. In the summertime, that means taking a short walk from the trailhead at Bright Angel Trail in the must-see Historic Village) Since temperatures actually get higher as you walk lower into the canyon, be sure to bring plenty of water and salty and/or protein-rich snacks, wear appropriate clothing, pack sunscreen, and carry a walking stick or walking poles as you set off on a short hike either a few hundred feet or perhaps half a mile into the canyon.
 
The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel is 65 miles away in Williams, AZ where the Grand Canyon Railway starts its daily roundtrips to the South Rim.  Grand Canyon Railway operates every day except Christmas and runs from Williams, AZ on historic Route 66 to the Historic Village inside Grand Canyon National Park, just steps from El Tovar, Hopi House, Bright Angel, and all the attractions found at South Rim.  Trains leave in the morning and return late afternoon, affording guests more than 3 hours at the Grand Canyon South Rim. The train is comprised of six classes of service from historic Pullman and coach cars to luxury dome cars with beverages and tastings and even features an open rear platform observation car.  It is possible to charter your own private luxury railroad cars on this train as well. 
 
Several packages make a trip to Grand Canyon easier than ever:

  • The Longer You Stay, the More You Save: All guests staying at any of the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams, AZ, or at The South Rim at Grand Canyon through August 31 can earn the rewards of a long weekend stay. For a one-night stay, guests will receive 10 percent off the rack rate. A two-night stay equals a 20% savings and three or more nights will result in a 30% discount. All rates are per room for one or two people and guests input the promo code when making their reservation! Book here: thetrain.com/offers-packages/discounts
  • Summer Getaway Package: Save up to 30% off the train fare in conjunction with these 1- or 2-night packages. The Summer Getaway Packages include either 1- or 2-nights of accommodations in the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel plus 1 dinner and 1 breakfast at the Fred Harvey Restaurant per guest each night of your stay. The Summer Getaway Package is available June 1 through August 31, 2021*.  Book here: thetrain.com/offers-packages/popular
  • Charter Your Own Train, or Private Railway Car: It is also possible to charter an entire luxury private railroad car or even an entire private train complete with chefs, bartenders, entertainers, and staff. These are ideal for “milestone” moments such as graduations, family reunions, anniversaries, weddings, birthdays, etc. For charters call 928-635-5700 or visit thetrain.com/charters.

For more information visit thetrain.com.

Yellowstone 

Yellowstone National Park Lodges Delays the Opening of Most Operations to April and May 2021 

Based on the guidance and recommendations of public health agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Park Service, we are modifying the opening schedule of our operations and beginning with a first phase of limited services for Summer 2021.

As health and safety guidelines allow, we hope to open additional lodging and services as part of the second phase of our Summer 2021 operations. At this point, we are not able to predict when this might happen but will provide updates as they are available.   Hotel, lodges and cabins will start to come on line and open beginning on April 30 with the Mammoth Hotel.   Campgrounds will begin to open on May 14. Dining will be take-out only starting on April 15 at the Geyser Grill.


For the most updated information, visit yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/summer2021/.

Xanterra Travel Collection (www.xanterra.com) is the management company that oversees lodgings – including the campsites, cabins and lodges – in many of the most popular national parks, including the most iconic hotels, like El Tovar in the Grand Canyon, the Inn at Death Valley, Zion Lodge and the historic hotels and lodges in Yellowstone. For information about what’s open, what services will be available, reservations as well as any travel guidelines in this post-quarantine world, go to https://www.xanterra.com/contact/national-parks/.

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With Demand for RV Vacations Surging, Tracks & Trails to Start Taking 2022 Bookings in April

Driving through the wintery scenery in Zion National Park. With demand for RV vacations surging, Tracks & Trails, which specializes in packaged RV vacations in national parks such as Zion, is opening reservations for 2022 © Sarah Falter/goingplacesfarandnear.com

GRAND JUNCTION, CO – It is no mystery why RV vacations are the hottest thing going in travel today. They offer the freedom and flexibility of touring the country in a fully-equipped and self-contained unit that has everything needed for a perfect vacation. Picture it as your personal cabin on wheels going to scenic places where lodges or hotels often don’t exist.

This is the allure of RV travel, which is especially appealing during a pandemic, reports Dan Wulfman, founder and president of Tracks & Trails, whose specialty is packaging RV vacations to National Parks in the Western U.S. and Canada – not just renting the RV.

RV travel allows friends and families to be autonomous and as private as they please while enjoying the freedom of America’s open roads. Time for lunch? Just pull off at the next scenic turnout and open the fridge. Potty stop? Easy. End the day in the natural beauty of national park campsites chosen especially for Tracks & Trails travelers. 

Wulfman notes that the pandemic is turning millions of non-campers into aspiring RVers, and the trend is exploding. The RV Industry Association found that 20% of US residents surveyed are more interested in RV travel than in flying, tent camping, cruises, or rental stays amid coronavirus concerns.

“But getting in an RV and setting off without a plan can be daunting for a first-timer,” says Wulfman. That’s where the sage advice, travel tips, and insider knowledge of experts can make or break the experience. Thanks to COVID, choosing your dates 6 to 12 months in advance is now essential. Due to the growing popularity of RV vacations, Tracks & Trails is sold out for July and August of 2021, but trips in September and October are still available. 

Due to unprecedented demand, the company will begin accepting reservations for 2022 trips on April 1, 2021. 

For those savvy enough to lock in their dates early, the hard part is done. The company’s team of expert planners handles all the arrangements that make it so challenging to organize a worry-free 7-14 day, multi-destination RV trip on your own. Travelers work with their T&T Trip Wizard to select one of the 20 carefully-crafted itineraries, decide on the right RV, and pick optional excursions that suit their tastes. The company takes care of the rest: reserving prime campsites, booking guided excursions with trusted outfitters, and preparing comprehensive documentation that ensures things go smoothly on the road.

FEATURED ITINERARY:

Mighty 5: Utah & the Grand Canyon is a 13-night itinerary beginning and ending in Las Vegas that visits all 5 of Utah’s national parks – Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches – as well as the Grand Canyon. Each of these parks features fascinating geological formations and extensive hiking trails. Optional excursions include canyoneering, rafting, ATV riding, horseback riding, and Jeep tours. The base trip cost, which includes up to 4 people, ranges from $8,000 to $10,000 and is available from May 15 to October 15 (sold out July-August 2021).

Tracks & Trails created the concept of packaged national park RV vacations in 1996, providing personalized, self-drive RV trips to active couples and families from across the U.S. They help people spend quality time together outdoors while exploring North America’s iconic National Parks and other natural wonders.

For information on availability, pricing, and itineraries please visit the website at www.tracks-trails.com, email: inquiries@tracks-trails.com, or call 1-800-247-0970.

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Escape Adventures Introduces Multi-Sport Tour of Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks

Zion National Park. Escape Adventures is introducing a new six-day multi-sport and camping tour that combines Zion National Park with Bryce Canyon National Park (c) Sarah Falter/goingplacesfarandnear.com

(Las Vegas, NV) – Escape Adventures, one of the first outfitters to offer guided mountain bike tours of Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park 29 years ago, is introducing a six-day multi-sport and camping tour that combines these two of Mother Nature’s greatest marvels.  In addition to riding Escape Adventures’ favorite mountain bike routes, guests will enjoy hiking, rock climbing, canyoneering and rappelling among the region’s cliffs, crags, plateaus, and pinnacles.

This multi-sport tour with first-class camping is ideal for active families and starts at $1,895 per person. E-bikes are available at an additional cost.  For more info, click here or call Escape Adventures at 800-596-2953. Watch a gorgeous video here

“From mountain biking the trails of Red Canyon and Sunset Cliffs, to hiking and climbing in Sunset Point, Cascade Falls, and Zion’s Narrows, this multi-sport tour offers an array of exciting activities,” said Escape Adventures Director Jared Fisher. “A canyoneering day in Zion takes us bouldering in deep canyons and rappelling chutes up to 150 ft.”

Not only is the mountain biking phenomenal and diverse, so is the terrain. In a sense, it is a geologic extension of The Grand Canyon, located 75-miles to the south. The landforms lend themselves to a multitude of adventures and inspiring place names, such as The Court of The Patriarchs, The Beehives, Mountain of The Sun, and The Great White Throne.

Guests will move seamlessly from one day to the next, camping, and enjoying delicious homemade meals. The majority of campgrounds feature indoor facilities and showers. In more remote backcountry camping scenarios, Escape Adventures will provide portable toilets and private solar showers.

“There is nothing better than rolling into camp to fresh made chips and salsa, homemade guacamole, and Dutch oven enchiladas,” said Fisher. “Then making your way to a sweet and inviting campfire, sharing your favorite anecdote or image from the day’s activities, and enjoying a local beer before retiring to your tent.”

Full Itinerary:

Day 1-2: Meet in St. George. Ride Red Canyon to Bryce Canyon, Hike the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon.
Day 3-4: Ride Red Canyon past Tropic Reservoir to Hatch. Descend to Zion.
Day 5-6: Canyoneering in Zion, hike the narrows. Rock climbing in Red Cliffs.

All internal land expenses and services are covered in the cost of this tour. This means from the time Escape Adventures picks you up, all transportation, food preparation, snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, group supplies and community gear (portable chairs, large awnings, coolers, utensils, etc.) are included. Backcountry permits, licenses, park fees, reservations, and accommodations are also included, along with professionally trained trip leaders, a mobile first aid and mechanic station, spare bikes, and a support vehicle. Trip price does not include airfare, lodging prior to trip start or bicycle rental and/or camping gear unless otherwise noted on itinerary or website.

Since 1992, Escape Adventures has lead adventure travel vacations through some of the most awe-inspiring natural destinations in the world. Building on over 100 destinations, Escape Adventures caters to the full spectrum of active traveler, fitness level and activity type, from road cyclist to mountain biker to electric biker, hiker, and multi-sport enthusiast and from first timer to friends and family groups of all ability levels (https://escapeadventures.com/).

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Bike and Camp the White Rim Trail in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park with Escape Adventures

Escape Adventures guests spend most of this 4-day mountain biking and camping tour on Utah’s 100-mile White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park,  riding the famous off-road route, while detouring to admire secret passages, hidden slot canyons, natural rock arches, and ancient Puebloan ruins.

(Las Vegas, NV) — Utah’s 100-mile White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park, Utah, comes on like a natural rollercoaster, looping in and out of a multi-colored array of spires, arches, buttes, and mesas carved by the Green and Colorado Rivers. A primitive trail framed by blooming cacti below and snow-capped mountains above, the White Rim Trail loops around and below the Island in the Sky mesa top and provides expansive views of the surrounding area. Escape Adventures guests spend most of this 4-day mountain biking and camping tour riding the famous off-road route, while detouring to admire secret passages, hidden slot canyons, natural rock arches, and ancient Puebloan ruins.

“The steep, exposed sections of the Shafer Trail, Lathrop Canyon Road, Murphy Hogback, Hardscrabble Hill, and the Mineral Bottom switchbacks make the White Rim loop a very rewarding and scenic mountain bike ride,” said Escape Adventures Director Jared Fisher. “While enjoying the beauty of the nature that surrounds us, we will also appreciate the modern amenities like our custom support truck, gourmet meals, top-of-the-line camping equipment, and attentive guides.”

This multi-day odyssey through some of the most gorgeous terrain imaginable loops around the Island in the Sky mesa top within Canyonlands. Riders will definitely want to take plenty of pictures of along the way as they’ll pass an array of stop-offs and scenic overlooks, admiring both the Colorado River and the Green River far below. The ride mostly involves casual doubletrack, enjoyable for most people, from novice riders to families. (Check out the video.) 

All internal land expenses and services are covered in the cost of this tour. This means from the time Escape Adventures picks you up, all transportation, food preparation, meals (except where noted on itineraries), snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, group supplies and community gear (portable chairs, large awnings, coolers, utensils, etc.) are included.

Backcountry permits, licenses, park fees, reservations, and accommodations are also included, along with at least two professionally trained trip leaders, a mobile first aid and mechanic station, spare bikes, and a support vehicle(s). Trip price does not include airfare, lodging prior to trip start or bicycle rental and/or camping gear (if on a camping tour) unless otherwise noted on itinerary or website.

Day 1-2: Meet in Moab. Ride Schafer Trail to Airport, ride to Murphy’s Hogback via White Crack.

Day 3-4: Ride to Potato Bottom with slot canyon side hike. Ride along Green River up Mineral Bottom. Shuttle back to Moab.

The trip, including first-class camping, starts at $999 per person. E-bikes are available upon request. Tours run March-May and September-October. For more info, visit https://escapeadventures.com/tour/utah-white-rim-mountain-bike-tour/ or contact Escape Adventures at 800-596-2953. 

Since 1992, Escape Adventures has shaped and lead adventure travel vacations through some of the most awe-inspiring natural destinations in the world. With programs in 100 destinations, Escape Adventures caters to the full spectrum of active traveler, respective to fitness level and activity type – from road cyclist to mountain biker to electric biker, hiker, and multi-sport enthusiast, and from first timer to friends and family groups of all ability levels. https://escapeadventures.com/

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Don’t Wait Beyond Dec 15 to Book High-Demand 2021 National Park RV Vacation, Tracks & Trails Warns

Tracks & Trails, which organizes packaged RV vacations in national parks, features a ranger-guided hike to see granite portraits of Washington, Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Lincoln on its eight-night Mount Rushmore, Black Hills & Devils Tower itinerary out of Denver. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

GRAND JUNCTION, CO – The clock is ticking, with just over a month left to book a summer 2021 national park RV vacation with Tracks & Trails.
 
This company, which specializes in packaged RV vacations to national parks in the Western US and Canada, has set Dec. 15, 2020, as the cut-off date for new 2021 bookings.
 
Dan Wulfman, Tracks & Trails Founder and President, explains that this early booking deadline ensures that his team is able to secure the motorhomes and campgrounds necessary to create their signature self-drive itineraries that showcase the natural wonders of the parks.
 
“The idea,” says Wulfman, “is to locate your personal cabin on wheels as close as possible to all of the beauty and activities a particular park offers. You experience privacy and comfort in a fully-equipped, self-contained unit in the inspiring wilderness of our national parks.”
 
One example of a Tracks & Trails itinerary is the eight-night Mount Rushmore, Black Hills & Devils Tower itinerary out of Denver, which offers an optional add-on of two nights at Badlands National Park. This trip is available from May 1 to September 23, 2021, and the base trip price for up to 4 people starts at $5,250.
 
Highlights of this itinerary include:

  • A ranger-guided hike to see granite portraits of Washington, Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Lincoln. 
  • A nightly lighting ceremony at Mount Rushmore.
  • From Bears Lodge, viewing the 2,367-foot monolith known as Devils Tower that is a sacred site of worship for many Native Americans.
  • Exploring vast cave systems at Wind Cave and Jewel Cave in the Black Hills.
  • The remains of mammoths from the Ice Age where a simulated paleontology dig is hosted.
  • Wagon wheel tracks embedded on the original Oregon Trail.
  • Fort Laramie & Fort Fetterman which display the history of the Wild West.
  • Wild horses, bison, and begging burros. 
  • A mock shoot-out at noon in the legendary town of Deadwood. 

Why a December 15 deadline for booking next year’s vacation?

Wulfman notes that the pandemic is turning millions of non-campers into newbie RVers, and the trend is exploding. The RV Industry Association found that 20% of US residents surveyed are more interested in RV travel than in flying, tent camping, cruises, or rental stays amid coronavirus concerns.
 
For those savvy enough to lock in their dates for 2021 now with Tracks & Trails, the traveler’s work is done. The company’s team of expert planners handles all the arrangements that make it so challenging to organize a worry-free 9 to 14-day, multi-destination RV trip on your own. Travelers work with their T&T Trip Wizard to select one of the 20 carefully-crafted itineraries, decide on the fully equipped RV rental that will be best for them, and pick optional excursions that suit their tastes. The company takes care of the rest: reserving prime campsites, booking guided excursions with trusted outfitters, preparing personalized, comprehensive documentation that ensures things go smoothly on the road, and arranging first-night accommodations before the RV adventure begins.

Even before the pandemic, reservations were recommended at least 60 days in advance, because less lead time drastically reduced availability of specific RVs, campgrounds and excursions. Booking in the fall for a trip the following summer was recommended before but COVID-19 and a pent up desire to vacation (but safely, with self-distancing and the isolation an RV can provide), have caused demand for RV vacations and park campsites to be at an all time high in 2021 and beyond.

Tracks & Trails created the concept of packaged national park RV vacations in 1996, providing personalized, self-drive RV trips to active couples and families from across the U.S. They help people spend quality time together outdoors while exploring North America’s most iconic National Parks and other natural wonders.
 
For information on availability, pricing, and itineraries for 2021 please visit the website at www.tracks-trails.com, email: inquiries@tracks-trails.com, or call 1-800-247-0970.

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