Enjoy remote scenic parks and incredible attractions as you delve into the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert National Monuments that are only the beginning of some of the most beautiful natural wonders throughout New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona. Your day of exploring the Canyon de Chelly will be filled with history and legend when you jump into your four-wheel drive SUV to tour this exquisitely rugged countryside. Travel through Mesa Verde for an extensive driving tour that will leave you in awe as you discover massive cliffs and the famous Cliff Palace. Your dinner in Durango and visit to the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings are an authentic adventure. Trading Posts and Homesteads are all included in this southwestern Interlude.
This may be your only chance to go to all these remote scenic parks and attractions on this uniquely designed tour. Join Chris McCool as he applies his incredible knowledge of this area to this fascinating tour.
|PRICING DETAILS (Cost Per Person)*||PRICING|
|Deposit||$350 per person|
|Travel Insurance||Call for quote|
|Vacation Pace||Moderately Active Pace|
*Air departure from Indianapolis included; airfare pricing estimated and subject to change. Call for pricing from other departure cities.
Payment schedule: 2nd deposit of $500 due 121 days prior to departure; final payment 76 days prior to departure.
Day 1: Fly to Albuquerque / Coach to Gallup
Fly into Albuquerque (altitude 5,300’) and meet your tour managger. After lunch on your own, coach west to Acoma “Sky City” Pueblo for a guided tour of this active, 800 year old Pueblo adobe town built high upon a mesa. Then, motor west along Interstate #40 (formerly Route 66) to the historic western town of Gallup, NM (altitude 6,500’). Enjoy your Get Acquainted Dinner at a local restaurant. Holiday Inn Express, Gallup, NM (D)
Day 2 – Gallup to Chinle
A scenic drive west brings you to Petrified Forest & Painted Desert National Monuments (altitude 5,600’). Learn about the lush tropical forest that existed here 225 million years ago, only to die due to climate change. The tree trunks were buried while minerals soaked into them and hardened over time into rock fossils. Then, see the colorful formations of the badlands of the Painted Desert, with its red, pink, purple, and yellow bands of rocks. After an included lunch, continue to Hubbell Trading Post in Ganado, an authentic 1878 homestead & trading post where local Navajo people still bring their blankets, jewelry, and art to sell. Continue to the highlight of our tour, Canyon de Chelly, located near Chinle (altitude 5,500’). Spend 2 nights in the Navajo Park at the famed Thunderbird Lodge, Chinle, AZ (B,L)
Day 3 – Full Day Canyon de Chelly
Today, explore the impressive canyons, rock formations, and cliff dwellings here. Native Americans call this Tsegi, which means “inside the rock,” and have been living here over 5,000 years. Board specially outfitted SUV’s for a half day drive through the river bed that lies along the floor of the canyon. Learn the history and legends from your Navajo guide and enjoy stops like White House ruins. Return to the lodge for lunch on your own. This afternoon, coach along South Rim Drive, with scenic stops at many of the overlooks. From this perspective, look down on famous Spider Rock, a sandstone rock “chimney” standing 750 feet above the spot where 3 canyons converge. Return to your hotel before dinner at a local restaurant. Thunderbird Lodge, Chinle, AZ (B,D)
Day 4 – Chinle to Farmington
Drive north today and stop at the famous “Four Corners” Monument. Stand in the exact spot where four states all come together: New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado. Next, visit Mesa Verde National Park (altitude 7,000’-8,500’) for lunch on your own plus an extensive driving tour of the massive cliffs that house the world’s largest collection of 700 year old cliff dwellings. A guided walking tour to the famous Cliff Palace is included. Continue on into Colorado to visit the historic old western town of Durango (altitude 6,500’), home to the famous Durango to Silverton narrow gauge mining train. Enjoy a Farewell Dinner here at a fine local restaurant. Then, motor to your hotel in Farmington, NM (altitude 5,400’). Hampton Inn, Farmington, NM (B,D)
Day 5 – Famington to ABQ / Fly Home
This morning, drive south back to Albuquerque. Stop here for lunch on your own at either the historic 1793 Old Town Plaza or the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, a museum with traditional native dances. Then, arrive at the airport for your flights home. (B)
Note: This tour involves high altitude, with overnights at 5500’ to 6500’. Please check with your doctor, if you have any health conditions affected by high altitude. Also note that hotels may be rustic in some smaller areas.
Lodging Note: Lodging available in our National Parks, small towns or remote areas may not be of the same quality as larger cities.