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Limited Edition

Iconic National Parks & Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta: The American Southwest

8 DaysStarting at $4,995

Overview

Join Classic Journeys on a limited-edition trip to explore America’s magnificent southwest and participate in the 50th anniversary of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. This memorable trip takes full advantage of America’s cinematic landscapes and incredible diversity in a week full of activities, adventures, scenery and cuisine. And it’s all against the backdrop of landscapes made famous over a century of Hollywood movies, from cowboy and Old West features like Stagecoach, to iconic films like Easy Rider and Thelma & Louise, to modern day blockbusters. You’ll start in Zion and Bryce national parks where red rock canyons and towering ‘hoodoos’ are the Instagram-worthy views. Every day offers something new; from desert walks to iconic views like Horseshoe Bend, to boating amid some of the most breathtaking scenery on the planet on Lake Powell, and balloon sighting at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. And you can be sure you’ll get access to places off the beaten path too in order to experience the richness of the area’s geologic and human history. And you’ll do it all without undue exertion. Your guides know the best footpaths and trails—not to mention gracious lodges—to make certain that this journey through the iconic American southwest is a handcrafted trip of a lifetime for you.

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Highlights

DAY 1-2 - ZION NATIONAL PARK
Zion National Park wows with colorful canyons, sandstone cliffs, rocky deserts and cool forested plateaus. In a reoccurring theme of the week, you can Choose Your Adventure for how to experience it. Here it’s on foot or in a Jeep that you get to sights many visitors can only see through photos. The next day, a guided walk leads along the banks of the Virgin River to the jaw-dropping Zion Narrows, a slot gorge only 20 feet across at its narrowest point with sheer canyon walls that extend straight up to 2000 feet above.  

DAYS 3-5 - BRYCE CANYON / LAKE POWELL / HORSESHOE BEND / PETRIFIED FOREST
The landscapes you’ll enjoy daily have inspired generations of painters who have spent their lives trying to capture the cinematic nature of sky, rock and water. One of them was Maynard Dixon, a well-known painter of Southwestern landscapes and native peoples during the first half of the 20th century. He spent his summers here with his wife and his house is now a living history museum where you’ll have a private tour. From the canvas to the inspiration as you reach Bryce Canyon. Once again, it’s your choice how you marvel at the otherworldly red rock ‘hoodoos’: mule back or on foot. 

Not far away is Lake Powell, where a boat takes you face to face with the sheer sculpted sandstone, vivid colors and cinematic canyons before a walk to perhaps the most iconic view of the Grand Canyon: Horseshoe Bend. (Pro tip for any photographers joining on the walk: switch to your wide-angle lens.)

Venturing to the Petrified Forest in the Painted Desert, you might think you’ve woken up in a fantasy movie. As well as being a land of dinosaurs and wood-turned-crystal, this is the only US National Park to protect part of the iconic Route 66. You’ll explore it all as you walk parts of the remarkable Painted Desert Rim Trail. 

DAYS 6-8 - ALBUQUERQUE BALLOON FIESTA / SANTA FE
Ready for a party? Albuquerque’s annual International Balloon Fiesta has become the largest balloon event on Earth. And it turns 50 just in time for your visit! Marvel as hundreds of colorful balloons drifting across New Mexico’s famous skies. Then, stick around after sundown for the ‘balloon glow’ and fireworks. (Want to go up in the air to see the fiesta from a balloon yourself? We can arrange that for you, too.)

Turning your gaze back to eye level, you’re sure to enjoy the next day whether you are a history buff, a shopaholic or a culture creature. The day begins in Santa Fe on an introductory walk that highlights its spectacular adobe architecture, including the Palace of the Governors, America’s oldest public building erected in 1610. Soak up the historic charm of the oldest capital of the United States, where boutiques, galleries and markets are filled with artisan creations, from jewelry to home décor to clothing to food. 

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Map

  • Starting Point:

    St. George – 9:00 am – Lobby of Inn on the Cliff
  • Ending Point:

    Albuquerque – 9:00 am – Lobby of Hotel

Dates & Prices

Not ready to book just yet? Talk with one of our travel experts at 800-200-3887.

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Family Departure

Select our “Family Departure” to travel with other families.

Accommodations

Desert Pearl Inn

A riverside oasis of sun hued stucco, old railroad timbers and native stone grace this beautiful property. Rooms feature private terraces or balconies and Adirondack chairs. Relax at the end of the day in the heated outdoor swimming pool or hot tub.

What’s Included

  • All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 3 dinners
  •  Full-time experienced guide(s) who are with you throughout the trip and handle behind-the-scenes logistics
  • Admissions to scheduled events as noted in the detailed daily itinerary
  •  Gratuities for hotels, meals, and baggage
  • All land transportation during the trip

Above & Beyond Benefits

Privileged Access Events

  • One-of-a-kind access to remarkable people, places and activities arranged just for you.

Invisible Check-In

  • When your group arrives, we whisk you and your bags to your room immediately. No waiting – no tipping.