Posts tagged with "Grand Canyon"

Austin Adventures: Family Appreciation Month

Through hard work and dedication to the details, Austin Adventures has grown to be the #1 Family Adventure company in the country. For over 35 years they have been taking families to the national parks of the West as well as special places around the globe. As a two-generation, owned and operated active travel company, family travel is in their DNA.

For the second year in a row, Austin Adventures is dedicating the entire month of March to “Family Appreciation,” with special incentives and giveaways, plus an interactive child & parent “Take a National Park Vacation” webinar that all ages will want to attend.

“Between work, school, athletic and social schedules, planning and scheduling a family vacation has never been more challenging, often to the point of missing the opportunity all together to create lasting bonds and memories within the family,” explains Dan Austin, company president and founder. “Austin Adventures is fully committed to helping anyway we can. Our goal is to take the stress out of vacation planning and then deliver an experience second-to-none.”

On Tuesday, Mar 12, 2019 at 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM EDT Austin Adventures invites kids and parents to a live webinar focused on helping families (especially the kids) with their vacation planning. Anyone considering a small group vacation tour now or in the future is encouraged to attend. For information and to register click here.

The seminar will be hosted by Kasey Austin, Outside Magazine 2014 Family Guide of the Year. Making a cameo appearance will be Dan Austin, company visionary and travel industry legend. Together, The Austin Family has set the bar for family adventure travel for decades, so much so, they are often referred to as “the First Family of Adventure Travel.”

During this informal and informative webinar focused on the younger generation, Kasey will offer tips and insights on planning and visiting America’s National Parks along with other popular family destinations.

As an incentive to register and attend, every family that participates will receive a coupon worth $250 off their next Austin Adventures family vacation. Plus, all participating kids (age 6-12) whose parents end up booking a 2019 family national park adventure will receive a logo-embossed backpack (on Day 1 of the trip) packed full of swag (logo water bottle, trip journal, field guide, hacky sack, stickers and more).

“I had so much fun sharing my passion for our National Parks last year, I couldn’t wait to do it all again this year. Sharing the parks with the next generation of adventurer really is my passion. I am looking forward to sharing what we know and have learned from our 35+ years of taking families deep into our national parks,” said Kasey Austin.

“Dan and I will draw from our own experiences and help families with real time information that can assist them in making the most of a park vacation, whether with us or on their own. There will be a follow-up email survey as well as ample time for questions and answers.”

The webinar will help Austin Adventures kick-off their second annual “Family Appreciation” Month. Dedicated to celebrating and encouraging family vacations worldwide, this observance comes on the heels of the company’s 2nd wildly successful “Alumni Appreciation” month held in December, 2018. Throughout the month there will be dedicated e-newsletters and blogs on family travel, special incentives, travel agent promotions and for extended families, an offer of a free trip for one guest in groups of ten or more booked.

To assist in vacation planning, Austin Adventures also offers a free Insider’s Guide to Planning the Perfect Family Adventure. See: https://www.austinadventures.com/free-family-travel-guide/.

Austin Adventures has led the field when it comes to family adventures (twice being acknowledged by Travel + Leisure Magazine as the #1 Tour and Family Tour Operator in the World). For 2019, there are over 40 family adventures planned across the globe. Here is a sampling of some of the more popular National Park itineraries on the current Austin Adventures roster. All adult rates are per person, double occupancy.

Grand Canyon National Park: 6-days/5-nights from $2,998; children from $2,398.

Alaska- Kenai Fjords National Park: 6 days/5 nights from $3,698; children from $3,328.

Bryce & Zion National Parks: 6 days/5 nights from $2,798; children from $2,518.

Yellowstone National Park:  6 days/5 nights from $2,898; children from $2,318.

Grand Teton National Park: 6 days/5 nights from $3,298; children from $2,968.

Yosemite National Park: 6 days/5 nights from $3,698; children from $2,958.

Glacier National Park: 6 days/5 nights from $3,298; children from $2,638.

South Dakota – Black Hills (Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Monuments / Wind Cave NP): 6 days/5 nights from $2,898; children from $2,318.

Banff to Jasper National Parks 6 days/5 nights from $3,098; children from $2,478.

About Austin Adventures
Based in Billings, Montana, Austin Adventures has spent over 35 years building an international reputation as a top provider of luxury, small group, multi-sport tours for adults and families to the world’s most captivating destinations. They have been acknowledged twice by Travel + Leisure Magazine with the prestigious World’s Best Awards along with other national media accolades and distinctions. Austin Adventures has perfected the art of creating itineraries featuring exceptional regional dining, distinctive accommodations, incredible guides and exhilarating activities, all while keeping all-inclusive rates and services the norm. In addition to scheduled group departures on all seven continents, Austin Adventures has developed a reputation as the leader in customized trip planning and execution, all backed by the industry’s best money-back satisfaction guarantee.

Western River Expeditions

One river rafting company anticipates one of its best years in its history is just around the bend, thanks to the unprecedented strength of its early season bookings.
 
Western River Expeditions reports that its 3, 4, 6 and 7-day Grand Canyon trips for 2020 are full on many dates. And 2019 is already completely sold out. Western River is taking a wait list for spots that open up due to cancellations.
 
Opening day to place 2020 reservations was Nov. 15, 2018. “We booked over 1,000 seats on that day alone,” says Brandon Lake, CMO of Western River Expeditions.  “Online bookings are way up, with over 70 percent of some trips being booking online. Compared to the 40 percent average norm, this is a huge increase!”
 
He adds that, “other rivers are also seeing booming interest and bookings.” Bookings for 2019 five-day trips on Desolation Canyon, Green River are up three-fold over 2018. ”We have as many bookings for Desolation Canyon now as we usually end the year with.”
 
Other rivers favored in this booking uptick, comparing same time 2018 and 2019 include 

Lake attributes these record sales in part to:

  • Good overall US economy (to this point),
  • Swell of retiring Baby Boomers,
  • Popularity of the bucket list and desire to experience lifelong dreams like running the Grand Canyon and Cataract Canyon, 
  • Increasing interest in National Parks, particularly Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park which many guests visit while in Moab, Utah, before their trip to Desolation Canyon or Cataract Canyon.
  • Many new, excellent accommodation choices and availability for pre- and post-trip stays on adventures that depart from Moab, Utah (Cataract Canyon and Desolation Canyon). 

For those chomping at the bit to get on a raft in 2019, Western River advises that people call soon to reserve their space. “There are still some spots on some of our most popular expeditions and this is going to be an incredible year to experience the river.”
 
Lake explains that Western River is bound by the permits granted to them. These permits limit the number of guests that can travel with them each year. “This number doesn’t change, but guest demand for what is essentially a limited opportunity does.”
 
Utah’s Cataract Canyon, deep within Canyonlands National Park, is near enough in scale, appearance and proximity to the Grand Canyon that it works the same kind of magic found in the Grand herself. Just one canyon upstream on the Colorado River in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park is hands down the best alternative to a Grand Canyon rafting vacation,” he says.
 
Farther north from the confluence, Utah’s Desolation Canyon was carved by the 730-mile Green River, born from glacial melts on the Continental Divide in the Wyoming Rockies. The Green has created such rare and unique universe that Desolation Canyon has been named to the National Register of Historic Places. The Green’s whitewater promises soft adventure thrills over 60 fun-filled Class II and III rapids.
 

Calling Desolation Canyon “the ultimate, back-country family river trip,” Jason Taylor, an operations manager who oversees all of Western River Expeditions’ trips in Utah, noted that the five-day program is appropriate for children as young as 5. It’s also a great river trip for extended families and first-time rafters.
 
For a copy of Western River Expeditions’ 2019 catalog, questions, availability and reservations call toll-free: 866.904.1160 (Local: 801.942.6669) or visit the website at: http://www.westernriver.com/.

Maximize Your Adventures in Moab, Utah

The high-desert, red-rock playground that is Moab, Utah, is a vast wilderness with many a secret to reveal to the curious. But this territory can also prompt frustrations when it comes to such logistics as where to go, park and sleep. Even venturing onto the trails can be tricky for greenhorns. A landscape that may appear as familiar as a Hollywood set is anything but.

Moab Adventure Center (https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/) is the go-to resource when it comes to questions about how to get the most out of a visit here. And the resident experts present will often suggest securing the services of a seasoned guide as the best way to maximize time and opportunities spent enjoying the Moab region.

Here’s why.

Avoid parking hassles. The trailhead parking lots at Arches National Park and Canyon lands National Park and at many other forest service and state park trailheads are often full by 10 a.m. A guide offers and utilizes drop-off/pick-up shuttle services to avoid the disappointment of being turned away due to a full lot.

Pack in more adventure. A guided experience eliminates back-tracking by always moving forward. More complex hikes may have different start and end points that require vehicle shuttles. Moab Adventure Center staff can arrange transfers and guide assistance for such hikes. One example is a six-mile trek from the Moab Rim to Hidden Valley that overlooks the Colorado River and town of Moab. The path drops to a canyon where the magic of prehistory is revealed in rock carvings known as petroglyphs. Different start and end points are solved with assistance of a guide or pre-arranged shuttle.

Fly instead of driveVisitors can save time and hassle by flying to Canyon lands Field Airport (CNY) in Moab from Salt Lake City or Denver (daily air service) where Moab Adventure Center will arrange transfers to in-town accommodations and to all activity sites. Guests don’t need a car as they can walk to shops, restaurants and to the Moab Adventure Center, all centrally located.

Secure sometimes-scarce lodging in Moab. Especially for peak spring and summer weekends, visitors should secure advance lodging reservations in Moab. Moab Adventure Center helps by holding blocks of rooms (Moab lodging options) for clients who book a trip with them a minimum of 30 days out.

Embellish adventures. A guide is a wellspring of information and loves to share interesting factoids and lore that embellish adventures, be it a hike among the red rocks or a full or half-day rafting trip on the Colorado River. A guide can also pick up on client interests and suggest other activities and what to do in Moab, Utah. The free Pocket Guide Moab: Last Minute Itineraries for the Undecided Traveler is also a good resource to the area.

Collect insider tips. Who has the best Happy Hour? Who has free Wi-Fi service in town? What’s the best way to view a red rock sunset? Again, guides dispense insights and suggestions at no extra cost. An Arches Sunset Tour, for example, includes a 50+ mile, four-hour guided, interpretive tour in a comfortable sightseeing vehicle that stops at five sites where easy hikes await.

Safety factors weigh in. A guide is aware of which trails may be closed and of pending weather extremes such as icy conditions or flash floods. A guide also brings along extra water, first aid supplies and a cell/sat phone. Moab Adventure Center guides are trained in how to administer advanced wilderness first aid.

Arrange meet-ups with new friends. Part of the fun of travel and adventure is sharing experiences with people who soon shift from strangers to friends. A professionally trained guide helps break the ice and set the tone for a mutually good time.

Japanese tourist Tomomi Hanamure who was brutally murdered near Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon

Murder in the Grand Canyon

Culture Editor Tom Wilmer visits with Annette McGivney, author of “Pure Land: A True Story of Three Lives, Three Cultures, and the Search for Heaven on Earth.”

McGivney’s book tells the story of Tomomi Hanamure, a Japanese citizen who loved exploring the wilderness of the American Southwest. She was murdered on her birthday—May 8, 2006.

Hanmure was stabbed 29 times as she hiked to Havasu Falls on the Havasupai Indian Reservation, at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Her killer was a distressed 18-year-old Havasupai youth.

CLICK HERE to Listen to McGivney’s podcast interview

Pure Land book cover

“Pure Land” is about this tragedy. But it is also the story of how McGivney’s quest to understand Hanamure’s life and death wound up guiding the author through her own life-threatening crisis.

On this journey—stretching from the southern tip of Japan to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and into the ugliest aspects of human behavior—”Pure Land” offers proof of the healing powers of nature and the resiliency of the human spirit.

Annette McGivney

Annette McGivney

McGivney is Southwest Editor for Backpacker Magazine and professor of journalism at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona.

You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning podcast travel show,  Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, featured on the NPR Podcast Directory,  Apple Podcast, the NPR One App & Stitcher.com. Twitter: TomCWilmer.Instagram: Thomas.Wilmer. 

 

Western River Expeditions

Some of the best whitewater in North America froths deep within the canyons of Arizona and Utah on the Colorado and Green Rivers. People hopeful of river rafting here in the 2018 season are advised that the Grand Canyon portion of the river is nearly sold out for the season with space beginning to fill for 2019 trips as well.

However, comparable adventure options on the water and on land are still available if you follow the Colorado River north into Utah.

When active travelers seek experiences similar to the Grand Canyon that also combine spectacular scenery with wild white water, veteran tour operator Western River Expeditions suggests that a Cataract Canyon raft trip is as rewarding and remarkable in its own way.

“Utah’s Cataract Canyon, deep within Canyonlands National Park, is near enough in scale, appearance and proximity to Grand Canyon that it works the same kind of magic found in the Grand herself. Just one canyon upstream, above Lake Powell on the Colorado River System is hands down the best alternative to a Grand Canyon rafting vacation,” said Brandon Lake, CMO of Western River Expeditions.

Cataract Canyon begins downstream from Moab, UT at the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers. Expanded in size and now fortified by the waters of the Green, the Colorado River carves a deep chasm through the red rock heart of Canyonlands National Park. During spring runoff, the ride can rival the most legendary whitewater anywhere in the world. The remainder of the year river rafters are treated to fun Class III-IV rapids interspersed with calm stretches ideal for a swim under spellbinding canyon walls and geologic formations. Ample time is allotted for side canyon hikes and exploration of ancient Native American sites. The adventure ends with a scenic flight over Canyonlands on the return to Moab’s Canyonlands Field Airport.

Western’s Cataract Canyon 4-day trip offers departures in May, June, July and August. A per person double rate for adults (ages 16+) is $1,520; and $1,130 for ages 10-15. The rate includes equipment and guides for rafting, hiking and camping, plus guide-prepared meals, transfers from Moab to the river and the return scenic flight over Canyonlands National Park and shuttle to Moab. A two-day program on this stretch of the river is also offered in May, June and July. See Western’s Cataract Canyon Express, https://www.westernriver.com/cataract-canyon-express.

Also on the Colorado River north of the Grand Canyon Western River Expeditions offers a four-day Westwater Canyon Rafting & Multisport Adventure combining rafting on Class III-V whitewater plus a Hummer Safari off-road adventure. Guests return evenings to Red Cliffs Lodge on the banks of the Colorado River for overnights and breakfasts. Westwater Canyon was named “The West’s Best Short Whitewater Trip” by National Geographic. This program is available June through September at $695 per adult (age 13+) and $670 for age 12 (minimum required).

Full and half-day rafting programs on the Colorado River out of Moab are also available from Western’s affiliate, the Moab Adventure Center. See: https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-river-rafting

Looking further north on the Utah’s Green River, families will discover five days of rafting through Desolation Canyon featuring 60 playful rapids and captivating off-river hiking.  After a spectacular scenic flight from Moab to a dramatic desert plateau, the adventure begins through 40 million years of geological time. Think outlaw hideouts, ancient dinosaur habitats and Fremont Native American petroglyphs. The minimum age for this trip is 5, making it ideal for young families. The rate for adults (16+) is $1,645 and $1,025 for ages 5-15. Departures are May through August. See: https://www.westernriver.com/desolation-canyon.

Western’s vacation consultants also suggest adding extra time in the area to explore the many national and state parks nearby. Guided adventures out of Moab, Utah, the undisputed adventure capital of the West encompass activities like rappelling, canyoneering, biking, hiking, flightseeing, and four-wheeling the surrounding landscape. For ideas and details see https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/. Some popular ideas:

• Tour Arches National Park

• Air Tours of Arches, Canyonlands and Monument Valley

• Hot Air Ballooning

• 4×4 Hummer Safari overlooking the Colorado River

• Stand Up Paddleboarding on the Colorado River

• Zipline, Canyoneering and Rock Climbing

• Mountain Biking, Horseback Riding, Jeep Rentals

• Day rafting trips in Castle Valley or Westwater Canyon

For a copy of Western River Expeditions’ 2018 catalog, and for questions, availability and reservations call toll-free: 866.904.1160 (Local: 801.942.6669) or visit the interactive website at: http://www.westernriver.com/.

About Western River Expeditions

Western River Expeditions is an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona. Annually from March through October it escorts more people down rivers on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah, Idaho and Arizona than any other company. It is the largest licensed outfitter in the Grand Canyon and the largest single tour provider in Moab, UT, through its division Moab Adventure Center (http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/).

Western River Expeditions, providing Grand Canyon rafting, Utah and Idaho rafting, and international multi-sport trips, was founded in 1961 by Colorado River rafting pioneer Jack Currey. It has been named one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” by the editors of National Geographic Adventure magazine. The company is the proud recipient of the “Best of State” award through Utah’s Premier Recognition and Awards Program for twelve consecutive years.

Austin Adventures Explores Heart of the Wyoming-Montana Rockies On a New Three National Park Adventure

An expert in national park multisport adventure has just launched a new way to experience three iconic Rocky Mountain destinations in one immersive journey. Over eight active days this summer guests will go hiking, rafting and horseback riding through Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks while recharging each night at distinctive lodges.

Austin Adventures’ new-for-2018 Wyoming Rockies Adventure collects guests in Jackson, WY, where the week-long expedition begins. There’s time to explore this Wild West town before settling into the Rustic Inn Creekside Resort & Spa located on seven lush acres adjacent to the National Elk Refuge and just a few blocks from Jackson’s lively town square. Welcome to the heart of the Rockies.

These mountains, constituting the spine of North America, rise thousands of feet out of the prairie, dividing the continent and providing some of the most dramatic and geologically diverse landscapes in the world. Those who have chosen to make their lives here are, among others, the guides, wait staff and innkeepers who interact with guests, sharing their understanding of this landscape while passing on love and lore.

“Our mantra is to engage as many senses as possible on an Austin Adventure,” says Dan Austin, founder and visionary director

(https://www.austinadventures.com/). To this end guests will…

Hike up to seven miles on easy to moderately strenuous terrain, ever alert for grizzly bears, bison, wolves, coyotes, elk, pronghorns – and wildflowers;

Horseback ride into the Bridger Teton National Forest, climbing 2,000 vertical feet to overlook Snake River Canyon;

Whitewater raft on class II-III rapids through Wyoming’s Snake River Canyon;

• Glide down zip lines under towering limestone cliffs, and come face-to-face with mountain goats grazing on mountainsides of wildflowers;

Swim and soak in an oversized Olympic pool fed by a virtually unlimited supply of 155-degree natural hot spring water;

Gaze 1,000 feet down into the V-shaped gorge of the color-splashed walls of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.

Learn the geological differences between three magnificently dissimilar national parks all within a geographically small area;

Investigate Yellowstone’s four geothermal features: spouting geysers, steaming hot springs, hissing fumaroles and bubbling mud pots.

Excursions from Jackson Hole will first introduce guests to the wonders of the Grand Tetons. Then moving into Yellowstone territory, guests are guided to views of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone on a backcountry hike that favors moose and elk sightings over the distant din of summer crowds. Arriving at Canyon Lodge there’s the opportunity to step back from technology and embrace lodging in the country’s oldest national park while chatting fireside with new-round friends. Departing the park at the West Gate, a 110-year-old Montana homestead, 320 Guest Ranch, offers cowboy comfort along the Gallatin River that winds through sage and towering pines. The movie A River Runs Through It was filmed nearby.

The scenic drive north to Glacier National Park is interspersed by a stop at the famous pools of Fairmont Hot Springs Resort. Guests spend a night here before heading to Whitefish, Montana, and two nights at the Grouse Mountain Lodge, one of the region’s finest. A day is spent exploring Glacier Park with a hike along the Highline Trail (also known as the Garden Wall) to Haystack Butte and back. A drive along the famed Going to the Sun Road reveals an alpine environment that wows with its wildflowers, precipitous peaks and an occasional mountain goat or bighorn sheep. A final gondola ride up Whitefish Mountain to soak in the breathtaking views precedes a transfer back to the Kalispell airport for the inevitable return home.

The per person double rate is $3,998 ($80 single supplement). Departures in 2018 are July 15 and July 25. The rate includes accommodations; all meals (except one on-own dinner); fully trained, first-aid-certified professional guides and knowledgeable local partners; all necessary equipment for scheduled activities; vehicle support and land transportation during the trip; Austin Adventures T-shirt, water bottle, luggage tags and luggage service; pre-departure and packing information; and incidental expenses such as taxes, dining and housekeeping gratuities, local partner and expert gratuities and national park entrance and permit fees.

For details see https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/montana-wyoming-rockies-adventure/.  A recent blog about the sights seen on this adventure can be found at https://www.austinadventures.com/travel-resources/best-of-the-west/

To help plan the next great journey, Austin Adventures’ 2018 catalog is available upon request. Please order ONLINE or call 1.800.575.1540 or email info@austinadventures.com. For a full roster of 2018 trips that is frequently updated beyond the print catalog please visit http://www.austinadventures.com.

About Austin Adventures

Based in Billings, Montana, Austin Adventures has spent more than 40 years building an international reputation as a top provider of luxury, small group, multisport tours for adults and families to the world’s most captivating destinations. Acknowledged twice by Travel + Leisure Magazine with the prestigious World’s Best Awards along with other national media accolades and distinctions. Austin Adventures has perfected the art of creating itineraries featuring exceptional regional dining, distinctive accommodations, incredible guides and exhilarating activities, all while keeping all-inclusive rates and services the norm. In addition to scheduled group departures on all seven continents, Austin Adventures has developed a reputation as the leader in customized trip planning and execution. All backed by the industry’s best money-back satisfaction guarantee.