Zion and Bryce 4 Day Tour
St. George, UT
Our inn-based Zion and Bryce hiking tour is an opportunity to explore the highlights of Utah’s two most famous national parks over what amounts to a long weekend. We pack in the hiking so you can make the most of your vacation, visiting landmark Canyon Country features by day and enjoying cozy lodging and wonderful meals in the evenings. Our hikes take us to stunning views of ancient canyons, polished narrows sculpted by water and ice over millions of years, soaring sandstone towers, eight fascinating geologic layers, spring-fed creeks, a maze of “Hoo Doo” masterpieces in Bryce, and more!
|Trip Type: Inn-Based Hiking Tour
|Group Size: 2-7 Guests
|Trip Length: 4 Days
|Distance: 25+MI / 40+KM
Max Daily Elev. ↑↓:
DIFFICULTY LEVEL 2
Scale of 1-5. 1 is least difficult; 5 is most difficult
Overall this trip follows well-maintained trails and includes mostly easy-moderate hiking distances and elevation gains/losses. The most rugged part of the tour is hiking on slippery river rocks in the Zion Narrows. There is occasional heights exposure where drop-offs are 2-3 feet from the trail.
Please Note: Terrain, Elevation Gain and Heights Exposure ratings reflect the section or day of the trip with the maximum difficulty of each. Much of the trip is at easier levels. See the trip itinerary for more detailed information.
PHYSICAL DEMANDS OF THIS TRIP
- Hiking uphill or downhill with a 8-12 lb backpack for 5-7 hours
- Maintaining balance and footing on moderately rugged terrain, especially slippery river rocks in the Zion Narrows
- Hiking with occasional, significant heights exposure
SOLITUDE LEVEL 2
1 least solitude, 5 most solitude
We rate this Utah hiking tour a Level 2 for solitude. We’ll be around other hikers much of the time with as much as an hour of solitude occasionally.Learn More about our Rating System
- Top-of-the-line day pack and trekking poles
- All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
- 3 nights of double occupancy lodging hand-picked Canyon Country inns and lodges (single occupancy requires an additional single supplement)
- A professional, knowledgeable, certified Utah hiking guide
- Roundtrip transportation from your hotel in St. George, Utah
- Gear rentals for the Virgin River Narrows, which can include canyoneering shoes, neoprene socks, dry suit pants, dry bibs or a full dry suit.
- National park entrance fees
- Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and communication device (InReach Explorer or satellite phone)
- Mandatory 5% national park fee that passes through directly to the parks we enjoy on this trip.
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED
- Shuttle to trailhead: 1.5-hour drive from St. George, Utah
- Hiking Mileage: 7.5 miles
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 2100 feet
This Inn-based hiking tour of Zion and Bryce starts in St. George, Utah where we’ll drive to Zion National Park for our first day’s hike. Beginning near the Park Visitors Center, we’ll enjoy the start of the morning in relative solitude with a lesser-traveled hike through the lower canyon.
After a quick break, we’ll board the Zion shuttle bus and travel up-canyon to our next trailhead. Here, we’ll hike up to Scout Lookout where we’ll relish dramatic views of the surrounding canyon system. From our vantage point above the canyon floor, we’ll traverse along the canyon walls on well maintained trails to the Emerald Pools complex where we’ll marvel at the majestic desert oasis pools before descending to the lawn of the historic Zion Lodge for a late picnic lunch.
Following lunch, we’ll make our way down-canyon to pick up hiking gear for tomorrow’s adventure in the Virgin River Narrows before departing for our hotel for the evening.
- Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 60 feet
Our second day’s hike is arguably the most iconographic in Zion — the Virgin River Narrows. Stopping at Zion Outfitter, to rent gear appropriate for the conditions (can include canyoneering shoes with neoprene socks, dry suit pants, dry bibs, or full dry suit, as well as a wooden walking staff.)
Our hike starts with a stroll down the paved River Trail. Buttressed by water on our left and a 3,000-foot cliff face on the right, the River Trail gives us an up-close appreciation for the powerful hydrological forces that carved this incredible canyon.
After a mile of walking along hanging gardens and under the dappled shade of majestic cottonwoods, the sidewalk ends. Wearing seasonally appropriate water gear, we’ll enter the river. Hiking in moving water can be a new and exciting experience for many. We’ll take time to get our “stream legs” before walking another 1.5 miles upriver to our turnaround point at Orderville Canyon.
Before descending back downstream, we’ll be certain to get a few more photos of the Narrows’ majestic beauty and, of course, stop-off for a relaxing shoreline lunch before returning to the trailhead.
After our hike we’ll have some time to relax before enjoying a great dinner, a possible evening walk and a good night’s sleep.
Please note: in the event of high water, the Virgin River Narrows hike will be rerouted to a different trail in Zion. The Park is full of unforgettable hiking and scenery, so it’s easy to find an excellent substitute. To learn how seasonal river flows can affect your hike of the Virgin River Narrows, please review this article.
- Shuttle to Bryce NP: 2-hour drive from Zion
- Hiking Mileage: 5-8 miles
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 900-1500 feet
On Day 3 we’ll make our way to the Bryce Canyon. We’ll hike one of the lesser-traveled trails in Bryce, but one that offers some of the most impressive scenery in the Park. We’ll be in the northern part of Bryce, where we’ll enjoy superb vistas of Boat Mesa, the Sinking Ship formation, Tower Bridge, China Wall, Fairyland Canyon and other amazing rock structures.
After our hike we’ll settle into our historic lodging and enjoy a wonderful meal at a local Canyon Country restaurant.
- Hiking Mileage: 4 miles
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 650 feet
- Shuttle Time: 3 hours
On our last morning we’ll eat breakfast, check out of the lodge, and head back into Bryce for another exceptionally memorable hike. We’ll explore a labyrinth of sedimentary hoodoos, fins and spires and spend several hours hiking through this truly remarkable landscape. The hoodoos, which are the most characteristic of Bryce’s natural rock features, range in height from 5 feet to more than 10 stories high and are a vibrant combination of horizontally layered oranges, reds, browns and yellows. Formed 30 to 40 million years ago from deposits at the bottom of an ancient lake, Bryce Canyon features some of the youngest and most iconographic rocks of the region. After descending through geologic time on our hike into the canyon, we’ll enjoy a relaxing picnic lunch before beginning our drive back to St. George. But the wonder is not over yet!
On our journey back to St. George, we’ll stop-off for a special visit to the incredible Kolob Canyon – one of Zion’s hidden gems. Here, we’ll take the opportunity to celebrate our trip with a brief, invigorating hike to an incredible overlook straddling the western edge of the Colorado Plateau – a fitting conclusion to our 4 fantastic days in Canyon Country!
Snow Canyon Add-On Hike
Extend your adventure with a day hike in the amazing “Miniature Zion Canyon” – Snow Canyon State Park! Click here to learn more.
Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes. Normal terms and conditions apply to trips with itinerary changes.
IMPORTANCE OF BEING PREPARED
Your safety and enjoyment will depend on your level of preparedness. It is your responsibility to arrive with the items listed below. Our Gear Guide is a resource to find more information about these items and links to online options. If you have additional questions about what to pack, please ask your guide during the pre-trip contact (~10 days prior to the trip start date) or call our Adventure Consultants 7 days a week at 928-223-HIKE (4453).
STANDARD CLOTHING CHECKLIST
The following items are required for your trip unless otherwise noted. When packing, think layered clothing systems that work together and can be easily added or removed.
(GG) = Gear Guide: see for more info and links to product options
- Hiking Boots/Shoes – mid-weight, lug-soled, waterproof, and ideally well broken in (Boots GG – Shoes GG)
(Note: buy your boots/shoes 1/2 size to 1 size larger than your street shoes to allow for feet swelling and thicker socks)
- Hiking Socks – one pair for every day or two days of your trip. Hiking specific padded socks, no cotton please! (Socks GG)
(Note: wearing thin liner socks under your hiking socks can help prevent blisters)
- Sun Hat – wide brimmed hat or baseball cap/bandana combo (Sun Hats GG)
- Cotton T-shirts – short or long sleeve cotton t-shirts; these retain moisture and will help to cool the body down in arid desert environments
- Hiking Shirts – non-cotton, breathable short sleeve and/or long sleeve shirts (Shirts GG – Sun Hoodies GG)
(Note: long sleeve shirts provide better sun protection)
- Warm Top – mid-weight sweater or pullover of wicking material – merino wool, fleece or polypropylene (Mid Layers GG)
- Hiking Pants & Shorts – nylon pants AND shorts, zip-offs or leggings (Pants GG – Shorts GG)
- Rain Gear – waterproof jacket, breathable fabric such as Gore-Tex® or coated nylon. For the pants look for side zippers that will allow you to pull them over your boots. (Rain Jackets GG – Rain Pants GG)
(Note: some trips might not require the need for rain pants in our desert locations, check with your guide for the appropriate choice for your trip)
- Casual Clothing & Footwear – comfortable clothes and shoes for evenings off the trail
- Personal Luggage – small duffel bag, suitcase or backpack – for extra hiking clothes and casual clothes
ADDITIONAL CLOTHING (OCTOBER-APRIL)
- Warm Hat & Gloves – lightweight beanie and light-to-mid weight fleece or wool gloves (GG)
- Mid Layer Insulating Jacket – down-fill or synthetic-fill insulated “puffy” jacket or warm, heavy weight fleece jacket (Mid Layers GG)
- Base Layer/Long Underwear – 1 pair of wicking tops and bottoms that are lightweight to midweight, synthetic wicking materials such as polyester, polypropylene, merino wool…etc. (Base Layers GG)
- Rain Pants – waterproof pants, breathable fabric such as Gore-Tex® or coated nylon. Look for side zippers that will allow you to pull them over your boots. (Rain Pants GG)
Important Note: Please, no cotton hiking clothes with the exception of the “Cotton T-shirts” section above. Feel free to call us if you have any questions or you can reference our Gear Guide.
- Hydration System – 3+ liters capacity, either water bottles or bladder/hose system and an additional water bottle (Hydration Bladders GG)
(Note: We recommend always having a bottle with 1 liter of capacity as a back-up in case of a hydration system failure and to use while in camp)
- Headlamp – preferably with an L.E.D. bulb that works with AA or AAA batteries (Headlamps GG)
(Note: always test your headlamp before trips, travel/pack without batteries in device, and for longer trips (4+ days) consider a spare bulb and 1 set of spare batteries)
- Sunglasses, Sunscreen, Lip Balm
- 2 Bandanas
- Contact Lenses and Glasses – if you wear contact lenses, please also bring a pair of glasses – your contacts are likely to become dirty and may be difficult to clean
- Prescription Medication – please inform your trip leader of any medications you are taking
- 1-2 Face Masks (Recommended but Optional)
- Toiletries – small amounts, travel sizes and/or just what you need for the trip (important that they are small!)
- Money – for any shopping you would like to do and for consideration of tipping your guide
(Note: tipping is optional but appreciated, industry recommendation is 10-20% of your trip cost based upon the quality of your experience)
- Personal Trekking Poles – as a Wildland guest, you can enjoy a 20% discount off Leki trekking poles (reservation number required.) Click here for discount. Trekking poles are provided for guests who do not bring their own. (Trekking Poles GG)
- Swimsuit – only if swimming is an option on your trip, some guests prefer to swim in quick drying hiking clothes, sports bra, etc…
- Support Braces – consider bringing any joint braces that may be currently needed or from past injuries (i.e. knee, ankle, elbow, etc…)
- Cell Phone or Camera
- Vitamins & Supplements
TRAVEL, TRANSPORTATION, MEETING & LODGING
MEETING TIME & PLACE
You will rendezvous with the guide and group in St. George, Utah for an orientation meeting at 5:00 PM the evening before the trip begins. Your guide will be in contact approximately 2 weeks before your trip starts to specify the orientation location. The guide will then pick you up at your hotel the next morning for transport to the trailhead.
This trip will conclude at approximately 5:00 PM on the last day.
ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE DATES
Travel to and from the trip starting point is not included in the cost of our trips. Please plan on arriving in time for the orientation meeting the day before the trip leaves and departing the day after getting back from the field.
Las Vegas, Nevada or St. George, Utah
All Utah trips begin and end from St. George, Utah. St. George has a small airport served by Delta Connection and United Express. From the St. George Airport one can take a taxi into town or some hotels offer a complimentary airport shuttle. One can also fly into Las Vegas and rent a car or take a shuttle to St. George. This is often your cheapest option. It is a 2-hour drive from Las Vegas to St. George on good roads.
SHUTTLE FROM LAS VEGAS TO ST. GEORGE
St. George Shuttle (run daily vans from Las Vegas to St. George): 435-656-9040
TRANSPORTATION TO & FROM THE TRAILHEAD
We will pick you up at your hotel in St. George on the morning of the first day of the trip, and provide transportation back to your hotel in St. George on the final day.
STORAGE OF PERSONAL ITEMS & VEHICLES
We recommend checking with your pre- and post-trip hotel(s) to inquire about luggage storage. Most of the time hotels are happy to accommodate. You’re also welcome to leave your luggage in the company vehicle; however, we don’t take responsibility for its safety.
PRE & POST-TRIP ON REQUEST LODGING
We secure limited amounts of pre and post trip lodging in St. George, Utah as an optional add-on for guests of this trip. This lodging is on request, and is available on a first come, first serve basis. If interested, please reach out directly to our team to check availability.
PRE & POST-TRIP RECOMMENDED LODGING
Lodging options in St. George are numerous. We recommend the Best Western Coral Hills (details below) based on convenience, price and overall experience.
Best Western Coral Hills (location of On Request Lodging, downtown hotel with indoor/outdoor pools, in-room mini-fridge/microwave, coin-operated laundry on-site and ample parking)
Website / 435-673-4844
We strongly recommend purchasing trip insurance. We designed our terms and conditions with trip insurance in mind. When you register for a trip, your spot is no longer available to other guests. Therefore, if you discover inside of 30 days (prior to your trip departure date) that you are unable to travel, no refund is available. With trip insurance, not only is your payment to Wildland covered, but your flights, hotels and other travel costs can also be insured.
Read more about our trip insurance recommendations.
CHECK THE WEATHER FORECAST FOR YOUR TRIP
We recommend using NOAA’s website (www.weather.gov) for the most accurate 5-day weather forecasts. We recommend checking both parks’ forecasts:
PACK WEIGHT AND CONTENTS
You will be hiking with a light day pack that we provide. You’re also welcome to bring your own. The contents will be what you need for the day – rain gear, an extra layer or two, snacks, water, sunscreen…etc.
ESTIMATED PACK WEIGHT: 8-12 POUNDS
ESSENTIAL ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
Essential Eligibility Criteria (“EEC”) have been specifically identified to help you understand the skills and abilities necessary to participate on each Wildland trip, and they apply uniformly to all potential trip participants, irrespective of the presence or absence of any disability.
Once you identify a trip in which you may be interested, please carefully review the EEC and itinerary details. If after reviewing the EEC that apply to your desired trip, you determine you need an accommodation in order to meet the EEC, please contact us prior to registering to discuss your requested accommodation.
The EEC exist for your own safety and the safety and enjoyment of all participants. If you are unable to meet the EEC for the trip, with or without an accommodation, you are not eligible for that trip. If you register and arrive for a trip for which you do not meet the EEC, you will be disqualified from participation on the trip and will be dismissed or evacuated from the trip without a refund.
The better shape you’re in the more fun you’ll have! We recommend very strongly that you train for your trip.
TRAINING BY HIKING
If you have access to hiking trails in hilly or mountainous terrain, this is the ideal way to train. If not, we recommend using the Stairmaster machine (with rotating stairs like an escalator) or actually training on stairs. Nothing prepares you for a trip better than the activity itself!
Train at least 3 days a week. Start with short hikes or workouts (1-hour in length) with a light daypack. From week to week build the length and intensity of your hikes/workouts and gradually increase your pack weight until you’re comfortably able to hike 6-8 hours a day carrying the weight you’ll have on your trip. It’s best to begin your training regimen at least 12 weeks prior to your trip. Also be sure to use the boots you’ll have on your trip to break them in.
Following is how a program may look:
|Work Up To
|Tuesday: 1-hour hike/workout with daypack
Thursday: 1-hour hike/workout with daypack
Sunday: 2-hour hike/workout with daypack
|Monday: 2-3 hour hike/workout with daypack
Wednesday: 2-3 hour hike/workout with daypack
Thursday: 2-3-hour hike/workout with daypack
Sunday: 7-hour hike with the weight you’ll have on your trip
SUPPLEMENTAL TRAINING IDEAS
There are many other activities that are easily incorporated into your daily life to build your overall fitness. Cross training is important to strengthen opposing muscle groups and it helps to avoid over-use injuries. Supplemental training ideas include:
- Bike to work or when running errands.
- Gym activities including step aerobics, treadmill, bicycling, or elliptical trainers to name a few. A modest weight training program focusing on the muscles that support the ankles, knees, back, and shoulders is also beneficial.
- Swimming is a great way to build endurance and cardiovascular fitness and is easy on the joints.
- Walk to work instead of driving. Run your errands by walking and carry your groceries home in a backpack.
- Yoga and/or Pilates classes can build strength throughout your body while also improving your flexibility.
- Intramural sports
- Jogging is another option, however if you are not a regular runner it can easily lead to injuries that backpacking may then exacerbate. Undertake a jogging routine with care.
FLEXIBILITY AND HYDRATION
Flexibility is an important part of training. Remember to stretch before and after your workouts. For the two weeks leading up to your trip cut your workouts in half to avoid arriving fatigued. Also for a 72-hour period before your trip commences, ensure that you are consuming sufficient amounts of sodium and fluids. Doctors agree that hikers increase the likelihood of experiencing problems if they are sodium depleted (e.g., follow a low sodium diet) or are dehydrated (due to travel or using diuretics such as coffee or alcohol).
Important note: Always consult with your physician before commencing with a workout program.
If you’re joining one of our scheduled trekking tours you’ll be hiking with fellow outdoor enthusiasts. Please carefully examine the trip materials and difficulty level prior to registering to select a trip that matches your ability level. If you need assistance selecting the right trip we are more than happy to help.
We make every effort to accurately set expectations and effectively screen guests, however it is inevitable on some trips there will be a discrepancy in fitness levels. Consider that the trip may be a once in a lifetime opportunity for your fellow travelers and it is important to respect each guest’s individual condition, needs and desires.
Finally, guided groups are required by land management agencies to stay together on the trail. Hiking together can require patience and flexibility. If hiking at a very specific pace is extremely important to you, you may want to consider booking a private trip.
TIPPING YOUR GUIDE
Tipping your guide is greatly appreciated! Wildland guides, and outdoor/backcountry guides in general, do much more than lead guests down the trail. Although supported by amazing in-town staff, they often work independently in the field due to permit and logistical constraints. The guide is responsible for the group’s safety, menu planning (including dietary restrictions), cooking for the group, prepping and taking care of the gear, handling livestock (on stock-supported trips), driving, complying with government regulations, ensuring guest satisfaction, and generally making sure the tour runs smoothly. They wear many hats and are extraordinary at what they do!
The industry standard tip amount for hiking and backpacking guides is between 10% and 20% of the tour cost per person, depending on your level of satisfaction. If you have any questions about tipping, feel free to call us 7 days a week at 800-715-HIKE (4453)!
Guides are required to take 8 hours off each 24-hour period to sleep, recuperate, take personal/down time…etc. In addition, as part of the 8 hours off they must sleep/rest or be in their tents/rooms uninterrupted for a minimum of 5 hours each night. We ask guests to respect these requirements and to not interrupt guides’ off time and sleep time unless there is a true emergency.
Thank You! The Wildland Trekking Company is dedicated to delivering an exceptional travel experience that exceeds your every expectation. We believe travel and adventure are two of life’s great joys and take seriously our role in helping you create a trip of lasting memories. In addition to our role as your travel partner and outfitter we are dedicated to the promotion of stewardship and conservation in the regions we visit. One of our commitments is to use Wildland as a tool toward long-term sustainability of the Earth’s environment and its communities. If there is anything we can do to further inform or help you prepare for your upcoming adventure please do not hesitate to contact us. Thanks for the opportunity to serve you and we look forward to seeing you soon!
Feel free to call us for more info – we’re here 7 days a week!