Land Journey

Spirit of the Desert: The National Parks of the Southwest

Ken Burns American Journeys


Year, Departure Type

Select small group departures (averaging 24 Tauck guests), or classic departures, and the year you would like to travel.

$6,190 USD
Journey Type
Time of Year
Cities & Landmarks
Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Arches National Park, Las Vegas, Moab, Bryce Canyon
National Parks Southwest Escorted Tour
Bryce Canyon hoodoos, Utah


Uniquely Tauck



TAUCK EXCLUSIVE – Filmed vignettes by Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan share their own personal stories and tell the stories of those who shaped the creation & preservation of the six national parks


TAUCK EXCLUSIVE - Local experts associated with Ken Burns's documentary, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, give special talks and lectures




On the ground or by air, explore Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Zion and Grand Canyon national parks – more than any other Tauck trip


Two Flightseeing Adventures! Fly over the extraordinary remote reaches of the Capitol Reef National Park and see the Grand Canyon from the air en route to Las Vegas





Guests should be able to easily walk one to two miles, which may include climbing one or two flights of stairs and walking over uneven pavement, groomed hiking trails or cobblestones. Standing up to one hour or more may be required.



Often robust – may include long days, active sightseeing, early starts, evening activities, significant travel times.

View Full Itinerary

Legendary Journeys and Adventures

Stunning landscapes so arresting that they’ll live forever in your mind’s eye… impossible red rock arches opening before you like grand entryways, offering a sense of endless possibility… canyons and immense cliffs, seemingly carved by a giant to form an island in the sky… fanciful hoodoos come alive while gods and legends linger everywhere… how the human spirit is cheered and fortified by the spirit of the desert.

On the ground or by air, explore Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Zion and Grand Canyon national parks. Fly over the remote reaches of Capitol Reef and see the Grand Canyon from the air en route to Las Vegas. Spend two nights on the Grand Canyon’s North Rim for a fresh, “new” perspective of the park, enjoyed by fewer than 10% of park visitors. Attend special talks and lectures by local experts from Ken Burns's documentary, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. Enjoy independent sunrise and sunset spirit-of-the-moment experiences in the national parks… and gain insights through filmed vignettes by Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan, sharing their own personal stories and of those who shaped the creation of the national parks. Read Less

A talk by historian Al Runte at Zion

Day 6

In Zion National Park, historian Al Runte talks about railroads and the national parks

Environmental historian and author Al Runte is an internationally recognized expert on national parks and railroads; a member of the team advising Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan during the production of “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” he appeared in every episode of the series. He’ll give an interesting private talk on the history of the railroad in America’s national parks at Zion National Park.

Picnic at Dead Horse Point State Park

Day 3

Sunset picnic dinner at Dead Horse Point State Park overlooking Canyonlands

Perched some 2,000 feet directly above a dramatic horseshoe bend in the Colorado River, Utah’s Dead Horse Point State Park offers a spectacular panoramic view overlooking the sculptured pinnacles, mesas and buttes of the adjacent Canyonlands National Park. And it’s a perfectly breathtaking – and breathtakingly perfect – spot for a private Tauck picnic dinner at sunset that’s nothing short of inspirational.

Inside-the-park stays in the national parks

Days 2 – 8

Experience the West’s great national parks from inside-the-park lodges

On Tauck's “Spirit of the Desert: The National Parks of the Southwest,” you'll experience six of the region’s great national parks as a true insider. And you’ll explore three of them – Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion – from sought-after lodges situated right inside national parks, several of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Tauck arranges coveted accommodations at these inside-the-park lodges, often sold out a year in advance: Grand Canyon Lodge – North Rim in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona; The Lodge at Bryce Canyon in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah; and Zion Lodge in Zion National Park, Utah. (Exception dates do apply; see specific tour departure date for more information.)

Red Cliffs Lodge

Nights 1, 2 and 3

Among red-rock cliffs on the banks of the Colorado

Situated near Moab, Utah, at the foot of dramatic red-rock cliffs beside the Colorado River’s best white-water rapids, Red Cliffs Lodge occupies a classic, rugged Western landscape worthy of Hollywood – and was in fact the location of numerous movies, including “Rio Grande” with John Wayne. Red Cliffs Lodge is also home to the Castle Creek Winery, the largest in Utah; the Moab Movie Museum, chronicling the rich history of filmmaking in the region; and the Cowboy Grill, offering delicious Western fare.


Your Journey

Pricing & Availability



{{{{/raw}}}} {{> molecules-tooltip title=false copy="{{tooltip}}"}} {{{{raw}}}}
Departure By



Pricing & Dates are not available yet. Please check back soon.

No departures found.

Try using less filters or select a different year.

Pricing & Dates are not available yet. Please check back soon.

Pricing & Dates are not available yet. Please check back soon.


Want More Detailed Information?



Small Group Departures

Our small group departures, averaging just 24 guests, are designed for travelers who want more time to experience each destination up close and personally. One of the benefits of small group travel is the personalized service and attention you’ll enjoy. Small groups enable our Tauck Directors to spend more time in the places you explore with more opportunities to connect with them. Smaller groups foster camaraderie and lasting friendships among like-minded travelers; you'll engage more closely with local experts and enjoy enhanced insider access, ease of travel and freedom to linger longer.

Solo Traveler Savings

Traveling solo doesn't mean traveling alone – with Tauck, it means camaraderie on a journey with like-minded travelers who share similar interests, enjoying the spirit of travel that makes exploring the world a necessary part of life – and sharing the special travel experiences found on Tauck’s guided land trips and cruises that create lifetime memories. For 90+ years, solo travelers have found a special "travel" home with Tauck in destinations the world over – and we’re offering solo travelers an additional reason to travel with Tauck – special Solo Traveler Savings on select departures.

Airport Transfers Included

Upon arrival and departure, transfers to and from your hotel are included as noted.

What you need to know

Before You Go


Travel Documents, Booking and Deposits, and more

No matter where your destination may be, you should bring identification with you; a valid passport is always an appropriate form of identification. Contact your booking agent for information about all necessary documents required for your journey, such as passport and visa information or documentation required for transportation security measures.

Important Information

Health and Activity

You'll find Activity and Pace Levels on all of our trips to give you a better idea of physical activity level – higher numbers mean a more active journey. To fully enjoy most journeys, you should be in good health and able to walk reasonable distances; some of the most memorable sightseeing can only be accomplished on foot and may include unpaved and uneven surfaces. Please consult your physician for pre-departure health advice.

Protect Your Travel Investment

Guest Protection Product

Your vacation is an important investment – and to help you protect it, Tauck's Guest Protection Product provides you with important benefits before your trip and while you are traveling, including 24-hour worldwide emergency assistance services; you'll also find deposit details and information should you have to cancel. Truly peace of mind travel at its best!

The Tauck Experience

Why Tauck?

Leave Your Worries At Home

One Upfront Price – No Hidden Costs

Tauck Directors – Simply The Best

Never Settle For Ordinary


Reviews and Forums


{{ reviewContent }}

Most Memorable Moment:

{{ reviewBestPart }}


Reviews (41)

The tour of 5 National Parks was well executed by Tauck. The tour director was extremely organized and very experienced. The bus breaks were at historic sights or interesting dining and shopping spots. The food and accommodations in the National Parks were excellent. The tour is on the pricey side, but we got our money's worth. Well done.

Most Memorable Moment:

Seeing the Grand Canyon from the North Rim and the free time to hike the trails.

We 've been on 10 Tauck trips and The Spirit of the Desert tour was one of the very best. The natural scenery was beyond all expectations. Hotels in the national parks are adequate, but not up to Tauck standards. Hotel cottages are 90 years old and have had some upgrades. Tauck uses these hotels because of their superior location within the parks.

Most Memorable Moment:

There was not a memorable moment. Each national and state park was uniquely beautiful. The 2 flightseeing trips, especially the one over the Grand Canyon, will be lasting memories.

Load More Reviews


Book Today... And Travel Dreams Begin

Discover The World

Call us, or call your travel advisor, to book your preferred departure date today – and explore our beautiful brochures to find your inspiration for your next journey.

Book Today... And Travel Dreams Begin

Discover The World

Call us, or call your travel advisor, to book your preferred departure date today – and explore our beautiful brochures to find your inspiration for your next journey.