Colourful Trails of the Southwest - 2015

5 out of 5 stars

9 days

from $2273 pp

Trip available from Jun 2015 to Sep 2015.
"Trafalgar thought of everything"
Norman , Jul 2014

Quaint western towns, like Santa Fe and Durango, meet the famous icons of the Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde and Arches National Parks on this trail into the Southwest's colourful landscapes.

It's Insider moments like… staying in authentic inns and lodges in the great outdoors. In Santa Fe, we stay in luxury at The Inn and Spa at Loretto, with its kiva fireplaces, adobe walls and Native American and Pueblo artwork. In the mining town of Durango, we stay in Old West style at the Strater Hotel, built in 1887. And along the Colorado River, we stay between rapids and rugged cliffs at the aptly named Red Cliffs Lodge. It's also dining al fresco by the river as the sun sets. And it's meeting a local landscape artist at his studio in Santa Fe.

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Trip Itinerary

  • 1.


    Welcome to the Valley of the Sun! Check into your hotel, get acquainted and spend some time relaxing. At 6 p.m., gather at the hotel with your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception.


    Welcome Reception


    Scottsdale Marriott Suites Old Town

  • 2.


    Leaving behind the Saguaro cacti of the Sonoran desert, ascend into the stunning red rock formations announcing your entrance to the artists' enclave of Sedona. If you like, trade your motorcoach for a rough-and-ready jeep on an optional adventure into Red Rock Country. Get a taste of the old cowboy days where you encounter stunning landscapes. Travel onward and be sure to have your camera ready as you near Oak Creek Canyon with its towering red cliffs and crystal pools. At the Grand Canyon, meet a Local Expert who walks you through the geologic life of the canyon.


    Full Breakfast,Dinner


    National Park Lodges

  • 3.


    Rise early for an optional flightseeing tour over the Grand Canyon or spend more time in the National Park. You might experience a feeling of deja vu when you enter the wide-open expanse of Monument Valley—this scenic location has been preserved forever in classic films such as Stagecoach and The Searchers. Get up close and personal with the magnificent landscape of towering sandstone buttes and lovely desert vistas in special open-air vehicles accompanied by a guide. This evening, enjoy a unique Navajo cookout Regional Meal on the floor of Monument Valley.


    Full Breakfast,Regional Meal


    Goulding's Lodge

  • 4.


    Travel east this morning through a mesmerising desert landscape before arriving at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mesa Verde National Park at the edge of the San Juan National Forest. Between 600 and 1300 A.D., the Ancestral Puebloan people carved houses and entire communities out of the sandstone along the canyon walls. Tour some of the cliff-top buildings and look down at the massive Cliff House, the largest cliff dwelling in the world. Spend some time in the museum learning about the culture and traditions of this once-great civilisation. End your day's journey in the outdoor mecca of Moab. Your hotel for the next two nights is a scenic ranch. Tonight is yours—perhaps opt for taking in the sunset over the red cliffs or a Western barbecue dinner at your ranch-style lodge. If you're in the mood for more excitement, try an optional jet boat ride along the mighty Colorado that includes dinner.


    Full Breakfast


    Red Cliffs Lodge Authentic Accommodation

  • 5.


    In magnificent Arches National Park, the wind and rain have eroded the sandstone into more than 2,000 natural arches; wander through a kaleidoscope of geologic time as you watch the morning light play upon the ancient, multi-coloured stone. Explore the shops and outfitters in Moab as you enjoy an afternoon on your own. This evening, venture along the Colorado River for an exclusive Be My Guest dinner at a sand beach along the water. The fading sunlight is framed by towering red sandstone cliffs over your head.


    Full Breakfast,Be My Guest Dining

  • 6.


    Depart America's outdoor recreation capital for the “Switzerland of America.” Friendly Ouray boasts classic Victorian architecture, awe-inspiring views and a homey, small-town vibe. Then it's time to take to the highway—the Million-Dollar Highway, that is—with its priceless views of snow-capped peaks and shimmering alpine lakes. Stake your claim in Silverton, a former silver mining camp that now occupies a spot on the National Registry of Historic Landmark Districts. Stroll the pleasant streets, seeing well-preserved Victorian homes, the pretty city hall and the Grand Imperial Hotel. If you like, take an optional ride from Silverton to Durango on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, which operates coal-fired steam engines through the San Juan National Forest. Later on, check in to your hotel and enjoy an evening at leisure.


    Full Breakfast


    Strater Authentic Accommodation

  • 7.


    Today, head south toward the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Taos Pueblo, an ancient site that has been continuously inhabited for more than 1,000 years by members of the Native American Pueblo people. Learn about the traditional lifestyle and beliefs of the Pueblo Indians and visit the striking adobe chapel of San Geronimo. Continue travelling along the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the foothills of the Rockies, to the colourful artists' mecca of Santa Fe. Check in to your hotel for the next two nights. Your evening is free to visit some of the many galleries, sample some renowned Southwest cuisine or just admire the adobe architecture on the vibrant plaza.


    Full Breakfast


    Inn and Spa at Loretto Authentic Accommodation

  • 8.


    Embark on a private trolley tour to see the sights of Santa Fe and soak up the atmosphere of one of the West's most interesting towns—unparalleled in richness of history, heritage, arts and culture. Visit a local artist's studio and learn how this Local Expert captures the Southwest's magical light in his landscapes. Enjoy the afternoon on your own to explore old downtown, including the Eldorado Hotel, Loretto Chapel and St. Francis Cathedral. Perhaps do some shopping at a local gallery, follow in the footsteps of Kit Carson on a walking tour or pamper yourself in one of Santa Fe's elegant spas. This evening, gather with your Travel Director and travelling companions for a festive Farewell Dinner.


    Full Breakfast,Farewell Dinner

  • 9.


    After breakfast this morning, bid farewell to your fellow travellers. Extend your stay in Santa Fe or take a transfer to Albuquerque Airport. Please do not schedule any flights before 1pm.


    Full Breakfast

The Trafalgar Difference

  • Authentic Accommodation

    Opened in the late 1800's, the Strater Hotel became a popular winter retreat for Durango townsfolk who would close their homes for the winter and move in. Many noted personages called the Strater home, including renowned Western author Louis L'Amour.
    A fixture in the Santa Fe community, the Inn & Spa at Loretto shares its grounds with the famed Loretto Chapel and has an ideal location only one block from Santa Fe's historic Plaza. The property embodies the culture of the region with its adobe-style architecture and reflects the true spirit and history of the city of Santa Fe. The walls are adorned with the work of local artisans which completes this elegant retreat.
    Step back in time with your stay at Red Cliffs Lodge, truly a treasure of the West, featuring dramatic 20-foot ceilings, natural wood-paneled walls, rustic log furniture and hand-finished Mexican tile floors and a museum Lodge displaying a combination of early cowboy ranching and local movie memorabilia.
  • Be My Guest

    Delight in an exclusive dinner with wine at a sand beach along the Colorado River. Toast your host under the fading sunlight.
  • Local Expert

    Meet a landscape artist in Santa Fe.
    Examine the multi-coloured rocks at the Grand Canyon with a specialist.

Find out what makes Trafalgar different.

What's Always Included

Sightseeing Highlights

  • Scenic drives through Sedona, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and along Oak Creek Canyon.
  • Visit Scottsdale, Grand Canyon National Park, Monument Valley, Mesa Verde and Arches National Park, Moab, the quaint Colorado towns of Silverton and Durango, Taos and Santa Fe.


  • 4 dinners

    (including Be My Guest, Regional Meal, three course dinner and Farewell Dinner).
  • 8 full breakfasts.

  • Welcome Reception with light appetisers.

Travel Highlights

  • A travel wallet with your documentation.
  • 8 nights First Class accommodation
  • Audio Headsets are provided throughout your holiday to enhance your included sightseeing experiences.

Airport Transfers

Specific transfer information can be found on the airport transfers page

Optional Experiences


Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.


  • Scenic Jetboat Ride on the Colorado River with Dinner

    Adult Price: $85.00 Begin the evening with a delicious barbecue dinner with views of Moab’s red rocks and the Colorado River. Then, take a ride aboard one of the newest and most modern fleet of jet boats for an excursion on one of the most scenic stretches of the river. You will experience calm water sections down river from Moab, with remote canyons and exquisite beauty. View spectacular red rock cliffs, Indian ruins, arches and ancient petro glyphs – a photographer’s and nature lover’s delight! Tour length: 3 hours. (Minimum: 10 guests).


  • Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway

    Adult Price: $96.00 This historic train constructed in 1882 has been in continuous operation for 131 years, carrying guests behind vintage steam locomotives and rolling stock indigenous to the line. Relive the sights and sounds of yesteryear for a spectacular journey on board the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Duration: 3 hours

Grand Canyon

  • North Canyon Tour Helicopter Flight

    Adult Price: $229.00 Experience the magnitude of the Grand Canyon and its splendor of ever-changing color in a perspective incomparable to any other method of seeing this “Wonder of the World.” Your tour takes you over the Kaibab National Forest and into the deepest portion of the Grand Canyon, through the Dragon Corridor, and continues to the North Rim, where you view the incredible geological differences between the North and South Rims. During your return to the South Rim, enjoy breathtaking views of temples, shrines and rock formations sculpted by time while flying above the widest portion of the mighty Colorado River. Subject to weather conditions. Flight duration: 25-30 minutes. Total Duration: 2 hours. (Prices include taxes and $6 local fees).
  • Imperial Ecostar Helicopter Flight

    Adult Price: $319.00 Fly the EC 130, the “newest and quietest” helicopters in the Grand Canyon with larger windows, and all seats facing forward. Embark on this 45-50 minute tour of the Eastern Grand Canyon that combines with the renowned beauty of The North Canyon tour. Enjoy spectacular views of the Painted Desert and Colorado River. Subject to weather conditions. Flight duration: 40-50 minutes. Total Duration: 2 hours. (Prices include taxes and $6 local fees).
  • South Rim Airplane Tour - Fixed-Wing Aircraft Flight

    Adult Price: $199.00 The original air tour of the Grand Canyon and the best value! Board an ultra-quiet small aircraft for a 40-45 minute Grand Discovery flight over the Grand Canyon. This tour covers the most famous and beautiful parts of the Grand Canyon including the Eastern Zuni Corridor, the Confluence and the North Rim and returns through the Western Dragon Corridor. Subject to weather conditions. Flight duration: 40-50 minutes. Total Duration: 2 hours. (Prices include taxes and $6 local fees).


  • Easy on the Asphalt

    Adult Price: $50.00 For those who prefer not to go four-wheel-driving off road, this is a good alternative as you will ride aboard open-air Jeeps, but only on surfaced public roads. This informative and relaxing excursion will give you a snapshot of Sedona with great photo opportunities from magnificent overlooks, iincluding Cathedral Rock, one of the most photographed sites in all of Arizona and the Chapel of the Holy Cross perched high above Sedona. Duration: 60 minutes.
  • Old Bear Wallow

    Adult Price: $50.00 An exclusive experience as our jeep tour operator is the only company permitted by the U.S. Forest Service to take you on this historic trail - climb this early stagecoach route along Schnebly Hill Road through Bear Wallow Canyon, just below the Mogollon Rim to enjoy stunning views of Sedona and Oark Creek Canyon 2000ft below. Step onto Mudns Wagon or Huckaby Trail and hear stories of Sedona’s early pioneer days. Duration: 60 minutes.
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