Welcome to the capital of Arizona. Check into your hotel and explore a city "reborn from the ashes" in the midst of the Sonoran Desert. This evening, we'll meet our Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception.
The Valley of the Sun shines brightly as you traverse desert landscapes, passing sanguaros and red rock formations en route to the artists' enclave of Sedona. Consider an optional jeep adventure into Red Rock Country, then admire the epic natural beauty of Oak Creek Canyon with its towering red cliffs and crystal pools. We arrive at the UNESCO-listed Grand Canyon this afternoon where we'll meet a Local Specialist who will share insights into the canyon's geological marvels. Skirt the South Rim, staring into its depths to see the Colorado River, and watch how the light plays on its layered cliff-face.
Rise early for a bird's-eye view over Grand Canyon during an optional sunrise flightseeing tour. Continue to Monument Valley where we'll board open-air vehicles to navigate the iconic landscape immortalised in such classics as Stagecoach and The Searchers. Journey past towering sandstone buttes and mesas that rise up from the red valley floor before joining your Navajo hosts for a traditional cookout Regional Meal against the surreal backdrop of Monument Valley.
We continue east through a mesmerising desert landscape before arriving at UNESCO-listed Mesa Verde National Park at the edge of the San Juan National Forest. Delve into the history and culture of the once-flourishing community of the Ancestral Puebloan people whose well-preserved dwellings we will see first-hand today. See how these homesteads were hewn from the sandstone cliffs centuries ago and look down at the massive Cliff Palace, the largest cliff dwelling in North America. Our final stop today is in the outdoor mecca of Moab where our Stay with a Story is also home to a winery and the Moab Movie Museum, revealing the region's film-making history.
Witness the effects of wind erosion on the natural stone arches of Arches National Park and, if you like, take a short hike to the iconic Delicate Arch view point for an up-close and personal look. Enjoy a free afternoon, then Connect with Locals during an exclusive Be My Guest dinner in Moab at a local grill.
Journey to the San Juan Mountains and into a small-town wonderland that deserves its status as the "Switzerland of America". Soak up friendly Ouray vibes as you admire this outdoor recreation hub's classic Victorian architecture and exquisite views. We'll embark on a road-trip along the Million-Dollar Highway next, winding our way along tight hairpin turns that reveal scenic snow-capped peaks. Stake your claim in Silverton, a former silver mining camp turned centre for extreme sports. Consider an optional steam train ride from Silverton to Durango, chugging your way along the Narrow Gauge Railroad route through the wilderness. Enjoy an evening at leisure at your Stay with a Story, built in the 1800s as a winter retreat.
Head south to UNESCO-listed Taos Pueblo this morning displaying the traditional lifestyles and beliefs of the local Taos people, members of the Native American Pueblo Indians. Visit the striking adobe chapel of San Geronimo, whose walls reveal the remnants of tumultuous conflicts that shaped the state of New Mexico. We'll continue travelling along the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the colourful artists' retreat of Santa Fe. Enjoy an evening at leisure to soak up its humble surroundings, sampling sizzling Southwest flavours at your leisure. Our Stay with a Story is built in the local adobe style and reflects the true spirit and history of the city of Santa Fe.
Join your Local Specialist this morning on a private trolley tour to see the iconic and unexpected sights and sounds of Santa Fe. Immerse yourself in its warmth and the richness of its heritage, arts and culture. Delve into the mysteries of the spiral staircase in Loretto Chapel. Then, enjoy the afternoon on your own to explore old downtown, including the Eldorado Hotel and St. Francis Cathedral. Admire the local artwork as you stroll along the quaint streets. This evening, we'll toast to our Southwest sojourn over a festive Farewell Dinner.
Our journey comes to an end after breakfast. Bid farewell to newfound friends and take a transfer to Albuquerque International Airport or consider extending your stay in Albuquerque at the BW Plus Rio Grande Inn.
Crossovers: All 2018 departure dates will operate as per the 2018 brochure. Itineraries, durations, hotels and inclusions may vary. Please inquire at the time of booking.