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2017 National Parks of the American West Total Solar Eclipse Trip Itinerary

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Saturday August 12 Scottsdale Pre-Night Option
Day 1
August 13
Arrive Scottsdale, Arizona
Day 2
August 14
Sedona — Lowell Observatory — Lake Powell
Day 3
August 15
Glen Canyon Dam — Grand Canyon
Day 4
August 16
Bryce Canyon & Zion National Parks
Day 5
August 17
Salt Lake City, Utah
Day 6
August 18
Salt Lake City
Day 7
August 19
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Day 8
August 20
Jackson Hole
Day 9
August 21
Total Solar Eclipse
Day 10
August 22
Grand Teton & Yellowstone National Parks
Day 11 Wednesday
August 23
Yellowstone — Cody — Sheridan, Wyoming
Day 12 Thursday
August 24
Mount Rushmore — Crazy Horse — Rapid City, South Dakota
Day 13
August 25
Travels Onward
Important: TravelQuest, working with our partners, makes every effort to follow the published itinerary. However, please keep in mind that it is subject to change depending on weather and other local conditions.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Sunday, August 13, 2017
Arrive in Scottsdale, Arizona

After flying into Phoenix, Arizona’s Sky Harbor Airport (airport code: PHX) on your own schedule, you’re greeted by TravelQuest’s representative, who arranges the easy transfer to your hotel in nearby Scottsdale. For the balance of the day, you’re free to relax and explore the quaint city center, with its array of shops, galleries, and restaurants in easy walking distance. Plan to arrive by 4 p.m. so you’ll have plenty of time to settle in before joining us for a Western-style welcome dinner at one of our favorite Scottsdale restaurants.

Overnight: Courtyard by Marriott Old Town, Scottsdale, Arizona, or similar

Meals: Dinner

Day 2: Monday, August 14, 2017
Sedona, Lowell Observatory, and Lake Powell

Your day begins with a journey north into the "Red Rock Country" around Sedona. As we leave the Valley of the Sun, the Sonoran Desert landscape is dotted with an incredible variety of cacti, while ahead you begin to see the amazing rock formations that reveal different shades of pink, crimson, orange, and umber with each turn in the road.

After a photo stop in historic Sedona, we carry on through Oak Creek Canyon, renowned as one of the most scenic drives in America, to historic Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, where Percival Lowell studied Mars, Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto, and Vesto Slipher measured the redshifts of galaxies. Our tour will include a visit to the observatory’s stately rotunda — Percival’s library — and a glimpse at Lowell’s famous 24-inch Clark refractor, with which he observed the “canals” of Mars. Later, pass through the Navajo Nation and the Painted Desert to arrive at Lake Powell by evening.

Overnight: Lake Powell Resort & Marina, Page, Arizona, or similar

Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 3: Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Glen Canyon Dam and the Grand Canyon

Your morning begins with a visit to the Lake Powell visitor center, where the lookout offers superb views of Glen Canyon Dam and the expanse of sparkling water beyond. Then we’re off to explore Antelope Canyon with a Navajo guide, who explains the area’s rich natural and human history while pointing you to unique photo opportunities.

Next we journey through Marble Canyon to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, one of the world’s true natural wonders. Carved by the Colorado River, this massive chasm — more than 275 miles (443 kilometers) long, 18 miles (29km) across at its widest point, and in some places more than a mile (1.6km) deep — never fails to exceed expectations. Enjoy the afternoon on your own, hiking or relaxing in one of the many public areas above the immense, multihued rock walls. Dinner this evening is in the historic Grand Canyon Lodge, which offers magnificent views from the North Rim.

Overnight: Grand Canyon Lodges North Rim or similar

Meals: Breakfast / Dinner

Day 4: Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks

After breakfast, we travel to Bryce Canyon National Park, where the haunting rock formations known as Hoodoos have been shaped by wind and water erosion over the eons. Iron oxidizing within the rock creates the surreal orange and red hues of these natural sculptures.

Our final destination today is Zion National Park, with its distinctive red and white sandstone cliffs. For the spectacle and sheer magnitude of its natural beauty, Zion may be one of the most awe-inspiring wilderness preserves on the planet.

Overnight: Majestic View Lodge, Springdale, Utah, or similar

Meals: Breakfast / Dinner

Day 5: Thursday, August 17, 2017

Salt Lake City, Utah

Today we drive north to Salt Lake City, “The City of the Saints,” to begin a fascinating two-night stay. In the afternoon, enjoy some time on your own to explore Temple Square: 10 acres of beautifully landscaped space in the heart of downtown, it’s one of Utah’s most visited attractions. The centerpiece is the six-spire Salt Lake Temple, an imposing granite fortress, while next door is the domed Tabernacle, famed for its massive pipe organ and, of course, the world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Overnight: Radisson Hotel, Downtown Salt Lake City or similar (2 nights)

Meals: Breakfast / Dinner

Day 6: Friday, August 18, 2017
Salt Lake City

Enjoy a morning tour of Salt Lake City, including the state capitol building, the city’s premier residential area, and the shores of the Great Salt Lake. In the afternoon, learn why the Salt Lake Mormon Temple took 40 years to build as you tour Temple Square with volunteer Sister Missionaries who have come to the city from all over the world. Your tour includes the historic Tabernacle and Assembly Hall, and you’ll also have a chance to begin exploring your roots at the Family Search Center, benefiting from the Mormon Church’s devotion to researching our ancestral history. As this fascinating day comes to an end, enjoy dinner at a restaurant with panoramic views of the city.

Meals: Breakfast / Dinner

Day 7: Saturday, August 19, 2017
Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Our route to Wyoming takes us past the majestic Bear Lake Summit and winds through breathtaking landscapes to Jackson. For the balance of the day, you’re free to discover this charming frontier town set in Jackson Hole, a beautiful valley among the Rocky Mountains.

Overnight: Hampton Inn & Suites, Jackson, Wyoming, or similar (3 nights)

Meals: Breakfast / Dinner

Day 8: Sunday, August 20, 2017
Jackson Hole

Today we get deeper into the spectacular mountain scenery on a half-day float down the Snake River, taking in the views and watching for wildlife beneath the snowcapped peaks of the Tetons. Back in Jackson Hole, you’ll find plenty of shops offering local arts and crafts. And in the evening we gather before dinner for a briefing on the next day’s eclipse activities.

Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 9: Monday, August 21, 2017
Total Solar Eclipse

Rise early this morning for the journey to your unique eclipse-viewing site, where you’ll stand in the Moon’s shadow for approximately 2 minutes and 20 seconds. Later, after the historic event — the first visible total solar eclipse in the continental U.S. in almost three decades — join your fellow travelers for an eclipse celebration.

Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
Ben Cooper
Jackson Weather Prospects for Total Solar Eclipse Viewing
by Eclipse Meteorologist Jay Anderson

Tucked into a spectacular valley in the Rocky Mountains, Jackson is protected from moist Pacific flows by the numerous mountain ranges extending across Oregon and Idaho, and therefore enjoys a semi-arid climate with large amounts of sunshine. While climate data for the area are limited, August is one of the drier months of the year, with a 70 percent frequency of clear skies. A typical summer morning dawns cloudless, with cumulus formations appearing on the high slopes by early afternoon. If the day’s conditions are unstable, these mountain clouds may grow to shower and even thundershower size and drift out across the valley. But the eclipse’s morning timing, as well as the cooling associated with its approaching shadow, will help tame such buildups. And even when the peaks host clouds during the day, the valley below often remains flooded with sunshine.

The high altitude of the Jackson town site makes for cool morning and warm afternoon temperatures, with daily averages ranging from 40° F (4° C) to 81° F (27° C) — a wide span compared to lower-altitude communities nearby. On the peaks above town, daily temperatures are lower and winds may create conditions cool enough to require a jacket.

Day 10: Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks

Setting out from Jackson Hole, we pass through Grand Teton National Park. The mountain for which the park is named rises more than 5,000 feet (1,525 meters) straight up from the valley floor, reaching an altitude of 13,770 feet (4,200m). At least nine other peaks in the Teton range soar past 12,000 feet (3,660m), while the deep valleys between them are filled with massive glaciers. Although the Tetons form the youngest range in the Rockies, they expose some of the oldest rock in North America, creating a treasure-trove for geologists — and a paradise for anyone inspired by breathtaking mountain scenery.

Leaving Grand Teton, we journey on to Yellowstone, where your home for the night is a renowned lodge set within the park. Among the many highlights of America’s original national park is Old Faithful, the geyser whose fountain of water and steam regularly rises more than 90 feet (27m) in the air.

Overnight: Yellowstone National Lodges or similar

Meals: Breakfast


Day 11: Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Yellowstone, Cody, and Sheridan, Wyoming

Another day of superb sightseeing begins with a trip along Lake Yellowstone, over the Sylvan Pass and down into the prairie beyond, through an incredibly diverse array of scenery. Along the way, enjoy a visit to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, which pays tribute to one of the most colorful figures of the American frontier: William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody, renowned as a wilderness scout, hunter, and showman. We then drive on through the Bighorn Mountains and across the Great Sioux Nation territory to reach our overnight hotel in Sheridan.

Overnight: Holiday Inn, Sheridan, Wyoming, or similar

Meals: Breakfast / Dinner

Day 12: Thursday, August 24, 2017
Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, and Rapid City, South Dakota

Mount Rushmore, with giant likenesses of four presidents carved into its granite face, is one of the most famous U.S. landmarks. It’s a great finale to your journey through the West — as is the nearby Crazy Horse Monument, a memorial to the earliest inhabitants of the nation’s heartland. Here you can learn more about the culture and customs of various original nations and talk to Native Americans about the significance of their clothing, headdresses, sacred dances, and more. Then in the evening, join your fellow travelers for a Western-style farewell dinner.

Overnight: Hilton Garden Inn, Rapid City or similar

Meals: Breakfast / Dinner

Day 13: Friday, August 25, 2017
Travels Onward

Your American West adventure draws to a close today, but you’ll carry great memories with you for years to come. After a morning transfer to the Rapid City Regional Airport (code: RAP), catch your flight homeward — or on to the next adventure.

Meals: Breakfast
Optional: Pre-Night in Scottsdale
Saturday, August 12, 2017

If you’d like to arrive in Scottsdale a night ahead of our eclipse tour, TravelQuest has reserved a limited number of standard rooms at Courtyard by Marriott Old Town, Scottsdale, Arizona, or similar, breakfast included.

Cost: $155 USD per person, per night double occupancy. $300 USD per person, single occupancy. $145 USD per person triple occupancy. Rate includes arrival (MSY) airport-hotel transfer, daily breakfast, and tax.
Make a Reservation!


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