- Full Itinerary
- Photo Gallery
- Travel Details
- Trip Reports
- Know Before You Go
- Other Trips You May Like
Renew your spirits in the mountains and beautiful red rock canyons of Utah. Discover a beautiful and intriguing terrain rich in scenic and geological wonders and some great birds! While not on the birding hotspot route, this area we liken the birding experience among such beauty to a finding hidden jewels. Birds of the Rocky Mountains blend with those of the Great Basin to provide wonderful variety. Plants and animals of the region are fascinating as well.
Enjoy scenic walks, landscape-rich drives, and time to explore and photograph. In the evenings, relax in the ambience of rustic lodges at the parks or in charming accommodations in nearby towns.
The Grand Canyon, Bryce, and Zion are internationally-renowned national parks. Capital Reef is less well-known but outstanding. There is no close airport to these famed parks, so on this adventure we begin and end in St. George.
- “A great overview of some of the national parks in Utah. Stupendous landscapes. Every park was different and unique.” — Maura Hamill, 2023 Traveler
- “Scenically spectacular, lots of good birds (new for us), friendly group, excellent guide.” — Bill and Joan Zealey, 2022 Travelers
- “A good blend of sightseeing and birding.” — Sheila and Jim Barr, 2022 Travelers
- Visit four of Utah’s most stunning national parks; experience red-rock canyon country at its best
- Find Gambel’s Quail, Roadrunner, Lewis’ Woodpecker and Vermilion Flycatcher at Grafton, an historic Mormon settlement in Zion
- Watch California Condor spread their massive wings in flight
- Search out American Dipper where the river comes through the famous narrows of Zion
- Hike amid the magical spires of Bryce Canyon listening to Canyon Wren and Townsend’s Solitaire
- Enjoy wildflowers and fun local dining
- Cross a sea of sandstone on the scenic drive up Boulder Mountain where Steller’s Jay and Wild Turkey roam
- Among the colorful domes of Capitol Reef, watch for flocks of Pinyon Jay and along streams Wilson’s and MacGillivray’s Warblers
- Stand in awe at the edge of the Grand Canyon
- Add a fabulous array of species in the wetlands surround Salt Lake City by opting to join the Salt Lake City Birding festival—4 species of grebes, Wilson’s and Red-necked Phalarope, American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt, and more!
Itineraries are guidelines; variations in itinerary may occur to account for weather, road conditions, closures, etc. and to maximize your experience.
Sat., May 18 : Arrival in St. George | Drive to Springdale
Plan to arrive in St. George for the tour no later than 12:30 PM today. If you prefer to arrive the night before (encouraged), we suggest choosing an airport hotel location. Please note that we drive an hour to Zion, so a delayed flight would be a problem for you to catch up to the group without a rental car.
Our plan by 1:00 PM is to be on the road to a treasured southwest national park: Zion, which is also an excellent birding site with its wide range of elevations and the Virgin River running through. Zion National Park is a fantastic realm of steep canyon walls, great domes and towers. Our lodgings is in Springdale, the gateway community to the park, where we get a great overview of the “temples,” natural domes that inspired the early Mormon pioneers of the region.
Driving into Zion, we stop at a birding hotspot along the Virgin River which provides easy passage for migrants and a breeding home for colorful species such as Western Tanager and Lazuli Bunting. This is the lowest elevation and most arid section of Zion National Park and vicinity. We settle into our lodgings in the artisan town of Springdale and have dinner at a favorite local restaurant.
Accommodations in Springdale, Utah (D)
Sun., May 19 : Zion National Park, UT
While at Zion, we use a convenient and environmentally friendly shuttle bus system to see the park, with the opportunity to walk short vista point trails. Here we look up to witness the bold power of erosion and the Earth’s movement. Local highlights are the narrows of the Virgin River, the Emerald Pools, and the Weeping Wall. The deep chasm of Zion Canyon displays a palette of reds, oranges, deep salmon, pink, yellow, and cream. Across these rocks we watch for hunting Peregrine Falcon or even a majestic Golden Eagle.
Along the trails you may find Black-throated Gray and Yellow-rumped Warblers, Black-headed Grosbeak, lizards sunning, secretive Ring-tailed Cat, and other local wildlife. Along the Virgin River we may find American Dipper, Black Phoebe, and both Rock and Canyon Wrens. One stop may have soaring California Condor, which frequent the park. We take sack lunches with us to enjoy in the shade of large cottonwoods. Time passes quickly! With the handy shuttle system, those that wish can return to town to sample the shops or relax, while others can continue to bird and enjoy the vista points.
Tonight, we dine together at another great local restaurant in Springdale and review our species list and plans for the next day.
Accommodations in Springdale, Utah (B,L,D)
Mon., May 20: Kanab | California Condors at Navajo Bridge
Enjoy some early birding at a Mormon pioneer homestead at Grafton where we often find species of the southwest such as Gambel’s Quail, Vermilion Flycatcher, Rock Wren, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Lewis’s Woodpecker, and Greater Roadrunner. We also find stunning vistas and a personal sense of history.
After breakfast, spend much of the morning in Zion as we drive to the east entrance, crossing Checkerboard Mesa where we often have a chance to spot Desert Bighorn Sheep. At scenic Highway 89, we turn south to the surprisingly well-watered town of Kanab, checking local birding hotspots along the way.
Kanab is well situated to finding California Condor, which have taken to nesting at Navajo Bridge in recent years. These are birds of the fascinating restoration effort based from the Vermilion Cliffs, a dramatic landscape feature visible for miles around. This is a good day to look for species we may have missed, a few that come to mind include Black-throated Sparrow, Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay, Prairie Falcon, and Broad-tailed Hummingbird. If by lucky chance we’ve already had good condor sightings in Zion, we may go instead to Pipe Springs National Monument, a fascinating historic site with a spring that creates good conditions for finding migrants.
Accommodations at Grand Canyon Lodge, North Rim, AZ (B,L,D)
Tues., May 21: North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park
This weekend is the traditional opening of the North Rim of Grand Canyon guest facilities, and we hope for no late snowstorms that could block our way in—the north rim sits at 8000 feet and we pass through huge pine forests along the way. After sun and heat in the valley, be sure to bundle up today! They have been busy plowing the road, and along the margins green vegetation is breaking through. Birds we may find at our stops include Williamson’s Sapsucker, Townsend’s Solitaire, Juniper Titmice, Western Bluebird, Mountain Chickadee, or an elusive flock of Pinyon Jay. Finding big groups of Wild Turkey is almost a certainty, along with some impressive Mule Deer and possibly Golden Eagle.
The canyon is grand, a realm of rock, and the main attraction here is the play of light and rock and sky. Throughout the day, the colors of the canyon change. The canyon is approximately 10 miles wide, and over a mile deep. Vivid panoramas reveal a fantastic geologic history. Weathering and erosion have created fantastic buttes and mesas within the canyon, while water and wind have sculptured the canyon walls. We take in as many of the vista points as possible before returning to Kanab for the evening.
The drive back affords one of the grandest views in the Southwest, you look off to layer after layer of colored rocks, the sequence that comprises the region’s Grand Staircase. Dinner is in Kanab upon return.
Please note: If we cannot get into the North Rim, it’s a bit of a longer drive but we will instead go to the South Rim, so you don’t miss out!
Accommodations at Grand Canyon Lodge, North Rim, AZ (B,L,D) (B,L,D)
Wed., May 22: Sevier River Corridor | Bryce Canyon National Park
This morning, we pack up and head north, following the Sevier River through Hatch, Long Valley, and Orderville, small and historic Mormon communities. Orderville, created in 1874, was a socialistic experiment by Brigham Young for all to share resources and work. Riparian vegetation occurs along much of our route, a bonus for finding Bullocks Oriole, Lesser Goldfinch, Green-tailed Towhee, Black-chinned Hummingbird, and a mix of tanagers, swallows, and warblers.
Watch for colorful Mountain Bluebirds to be sitting on western buck and rail fence posts as we travel or for flocks of Pinyon Jay to be on the wing overhead. Willows lining the river corridor make great resting spots for warblers and sparrows moving through the region. Black-billed Magpie are now common among the sagebrush hills.
Our destination today is Bryce Canyon National Park. Our lodgings at Bryce are near the park, so we can settle in, and time dinner early so that we can watch sunset over a panorama of rock features that have no equal. Bryce provides fanciful rock formations in every color of the rainbow and is completely different in character from both the Grand Canyon or Zion. It is higher in elevation and allows us to explore a variety of forests with a mixture of birds and mammals. We look for Utah Prairie Dog in the Bryce Canyon entrance area and Mule Deer and Elk can both be found here, too. The visitor center provides a wonderful orientation to the park, with excellent displays and an extensive collection of natural history books about the region.
Accommodations near Bryce Canyon National Park (B,L,D)
Thurs., May 23: Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon, established in 1905 by Theodore Roosevelt, is often the favorite of the parks among our travelers as it is small, intimate, and presents a real playground of light. Perhaps more than the other parks it appeals to the imagination, with its intricate pinnacles and hoodoo rocks that appear to take on human form. The multi-hued rocks of the large amphitheaters (eroded plateau edges) that comprise Bryce seem to glow in the early morning light. Thousands of colorful spires rise and join in a panorama like no other.
After breakfast, enjoy a great hike that makes a loop down through Bryce’s fanciful features. Experience first-hand the myriad, wonderful creations in siltstone, sandstone, limestone, and dolomite. Those that do not want to hike can enjoy birding and relaxing at the rim.
We return in time for lunch, and then take a scenic drive along the rim for varied views of this wonderland of rock. Townsend’s Solitaire sing from atop Bristlecone Pine, and Clark’s Nutcracker often call in flight overhead, busy caching their winter supply of seeds. We may find a group of migrant Townsend’s and Yellow-rumped Warblers mingling with resident Mountain Chickadee. In brushy areas look for Bushtit, Mountain Bluebird, and Juniper Titmouse. We often see both Mountain and Western Bluebirds, and if the Pinyon Pines have a good cone crop, we may find flocks of Pinyon Jay.
Accommodations in Bryce Canyon National Park (B,L,D)
Fri., May 24: Escalante Grand Staircase | Boulder Mountain | Torrey
Today’s journey provides expansive vistas as we drive up and over Boulder Mountain, one of the top scenic drives in Utah. We leave Bryce, passing through Escalante, seeing some of the vistas that comprise the Grand Staircase National Monument. At Calf Creek we enjoy a picnic and hike for a few hours. Avid walkers may reach the falls at the end; naturalists can amble, framing photos and finding songbirds in the willows and possibly fledged young of the canyon’s nesting Peregrines. Watch for American Dipper in the creek.
From here the road gets wild, crossing massive sandstone features and climbing in elevation. Enjoy some photo stops that are memorable—perhaps spy Golden Eagle or soaring Northern Goshawk!
The small town of Boulder was the last place in the US to have mail delivered by horseback; a paved road has only allowed us to traverse this route for a few decades. We stop for coffee, time to see some local art, and then head on to Torrey, climbing higher in elevation and passing through lush forests. Watch for Wild Turkey, Wilson’s Warbler, Pine Siskin, Steller’s Jay, and Mule Deer.
What goes up must come down, and our scenic road winds its way to Torrey. More red rocks await us in one of the hidden gems of Utah—Capitol Reef National Park.
Accommodations at Capitol Reef Resort (B,L,D)
Sat., May 25: Capitol Reef National Park
Today passes quickly, for we have much to see and savor. The park’s formations vary in color and texture, weaving a tale of geologic history reaching back millions of years. Away from the river, the landscape is arid, allowing for unbroken views of the vibrant rock. There are natural bridges and arches to see; black volcanic boulders washed down from neighboring plateaus and cliffs called the Fluted Wall.
Our picnic is near some of the park’s fruit orchards where some of the trees should be in bloom, striking against the red rock backdrop. We enjoy walks, birding, time at vista points, and an excellent petroglyph panel, and towards the beautiful soft light of day’s end we drive the scenic road of the park with stops for admiration and photography. We should find Gray Flycatcher, flocks of Pinyon Jay, and more Wild Turkey. Our final dinner is at a favorite local restaurant and afterwards we tally up our final list.
Accommodations at Capitol Reef Resort (B,L,D)
Sun., May 26 : Departures
Today we pack up after an early breakfast for the return to St. George. This is a three and a half hour drive, and we do take a few breaks, always looking for one more bird! We arrive in time for flights out after 1:00 PM. (B)
Cost of the Journey
The cost of the journey is $3990 DBL / $4695 SGL, per person based on double occupancy. This cost includes accommodations for 8 nights, meals as specified in the itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, and D=dinner), airport welcome and transfers, professional guide services, local park and other area entrance fees, and miscellaneous program costs. The cost does not include transportation to or from your home city, or items of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone calls, or beverages from the bar or gratuities for porterage or personal services.
Please plan to make air travel plans only after the minimum group size has been met. We will send you a confirmation email as soon as the trip has been confirmed.
Arrival and Departure Airport: St. George Regional Airport (SGU). You may find it more convenient to fly into Harry Reid International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas and take a 2-hour shuttle to St. George, UT if your preferred airline doesn’t fly into SGU.
Arrival Details: Plan flights to arrive May 17, 2024 no later than 12:30 PM.
Departure Details: Plan flights to depart May 25, 2024 after 1:00 PM.
Travel Tip: If you are arriving early into St. George, we recommend you book a room at the Wingate by Wyndam St. George, which is the same hotel our guide will stay at, making it convenient to meet up on the first day of the tour. This hotel, like most in St. George, does not offer an airport shuttle, but you can use the St. George Shuttle Service and book online or call them at (435) 628-8320 to book a taxi to the hotel. This shuttle company also makes multiple daily trips between the Harry Reid International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas and St. George if you prefer to fly into that airport.
Browse below for trip reports and species lists from past versions of this and other tours from this destination.
Utah/SW National Parks
- May 2010
- September 2011
- October 2011
- September 2012
- October 2012
- September 2013
- September 2015
- May 2021
- May 2022
- September 2022
- May 2023
- September 2023
Dave is a naturalist with interests in birds, migration, ecosystems and natural disturbances, plants, and gardening. He holds a PhD from the University of New Mexico. Dave worked for The Nature Conservancy for 25+ years as Director of its Migratory Bird Program. He has researched in Latin American and the Caribbean. An avid birder, Dave enjoys teaching about natural habitats and local cultures. He has published papers in scientific and popular journals.
Other trips with Dave Mehlman
Colombia: Birds & Nature in the Coffee RegionJanuary 22 - February 2, 2024, w/Cali extension
Colombia: Santa Marta & the Atlantic CoastMarch 18 - 27, 2024
Texas' Big Bend FULL - Check out our April 27 - May 5, 2024 departure!April 18 - 26, 2024
Texas' Big Bend Birding & Wildlife TourApril 27 - May 5, 2024
Scottish Highlands & IslandsJune 7 - 19, 2024
Panama: Three Great LodgesJuly 6 - 18, 2024
Michigan’s Isle Royale & Keweenaw PeninsulaAugust 20 - 28, 2024
Birding Canyon Country Zion, Bryce Canyon & Grand Canyon National ParksSeptember 17 - 25, 2024
Brazil’s Pantanal: Jaguars! And More…October 7 - 17, 2024, w/Atlantic Forest extension
Belize: Three Great LodgesComing November 2024
New Mexico Nature & CultureComing December 2024
Christmas Week at the AWNCDecember 21 - 27, 2024, w/Tobago extension
- Colombia: Birds & Nature in the Coffee Region
Stephen is an award-winning author, natural history educator and conservationist. He has also contributed to documentary films, and his nature photography has been widely published. Over the past two decades, he has introduced groups of travelers to nature and culture in destinations as varied as Uganda, New Zealand and Alaska.
After moving from Colorado to the Oregon coast, Stephen was captivated by the sight of a Tufted Puffin carrying fish back to its burrow, and the first time he heard a Swainson’s Thrush sing, he knew his life would never be the same. He has been studying birds and sharing their beauty with people ever since.
Formative experiences during Stephen’s journey as a naturalist have included tagging along as a teenager with his grandparents in Madera Canyon, where he absorbed their love of Arizona’s sky islands; helping people with different ability levels experience the Yellowstone ecosystem when he lived in Jackson Hole, Wyoming; and sailing aboard a historic schooner to share the wonders of the Salish Sea with students.
Now based in Port Townsend, Washington, Stephen explores the Pacific Northwest by backpacking, paddleboarding, snorkeling, biking, trail running, and skiing. His wide-ranging natural history pursuits include coring trees to count their growth rings, identifying bats by analyzing their biosonar signals, hunting mammoth tusks in Pleistocene bluffs, searching for the elusive Rubber Boa, preserving native prairie, raising awareness about plankton, and leading sea slug safaris.
Other trips with Stephen Grace
Essential Information +
This information is important for being prepared for your journey; we want you to have the best experience possible. If you only read one section, this one is key!
Ahead of Your Tour
- Please talk with your doctor about general health needs. It is a good idea to consult with your doctor about general vaccinations recommended for travel.
- Please plan to make air travel plans only after the minimum group size has been met. We will send you a confirmation email as soon as the trip has been confirmed. After you make travel reservations, please send a copy of your travel itinerary to the Naturalist Journeys office at email@example.com.
- Travel insurance in case of serious medical emergency is recommended. Full health coverage and repatriation is available through Allianz Travel Insurance.
- Soft sided luggage/duffel bags are easiest for packing the vans. Remember to pack essential medications in your carry-on luggage, as well as one day of clothing and optics in case of luggage delay.
We will share a copy of your health and emergency contact information with your guide. This information will be kept confidential but is very important in case of a medical emergency. In addition to bringing any prescription medications with you, we recommend that you have a copy of the prescriptions in case of loss.
Pace of the Tour & What to Expect
You will receive a Schedule-at-a-Glance and list of hotels (our eContact List) a few weeks before your departure. This will serve as an outline for each day and alert you to any recent changes made in the schedule or to our hotels, if needed.
Our journeys are set up to follow the rhythm of nature. Our focus is on birding and nature; we offer full, well-planned field days and often get up early for that magical time around dawn. We generally follow the published itinerary, but we stay flexible to the weather, wildlife opportunities and the interests of the group. Your guide will keep you apprised of the next day’s schedule at each evening meal, noting what to bring and what to prepare for. Questions and/or concerns are welcome.
The pace of our Naturalist Journeys tours is moderate; to fully participate you should be able to get in and out of vehicles several times a day, and walk 1-3 miles over uneven terrain. It is important to participate with a flexible attitude as adjustments may be made in our schedule to make the most of our time in the field or for other purposes at your guide's discretion. We are not a “listing” bird company that drills down on target species, but at times we do wait for those special species unique to the places we visit. During the day, we take time to stop for photos and for educational opportunities to learn about conservation projects, landscapes, and geology. We appreciate other taxa as well as birds, with mammals often the biggest draw but plants and butterflies are also very popular. Our clients often lend their own expertise to the mix.
We like to make meals a fun and memorable part of the experience, too. Breakfasts are often at hotels, and we carry snacks, fruit, and water in the vans each day. Lunches are a mix of picnics in the field (weather dependent) and a chance to dine with locals at small cafes and restaurants. For dinner, we pride ourselves in our homework to keep up with the best choices for dining, choosing restaurants with atmosphere that specialize in local foods. On occasion we keep dinner simple to go back out in the field for sunset wildlife viewing or night walks. In some remote locations, our choices are limited. If you are tired, room service for dinner may be an option you can choose.
Food & Drink
We carry water and juices/cold drinks in the cooler each day, and sodas if people like them. Please also plan on bringing and filling your water bottle for hiking each day. We try to use as few plastics as possible!
Packing, Clothing & Laundry
Soft sided luggage/duffel bags are easiest for packing the vans. Please pack essential medications in your carry-on luggage, as well as one day of clothing and optics in case of luggage delay.
Dress is informal and is casual even at restaurants. Layering is a great way to stay comfortable. Protective clothing is essential, whether it be from from sun, rain, cold, insects, or vegetation. You need closed toe shoes, and we comfortable walking shoes with good tread. Hiking boots with good support for hiking and on rocky terrain can work well.
Many people ask how much to plan to bring as spending money. Part of that depends on how much you want to shop. Most shops will take VISA and MasterCard or American Express. Typical items people purchase include local souvenirs and T-shirts, caps, and natural history books. You may want to bring cash for drinks with dinner (if available) or smaller local purchases.
Expect the normal tipping protocol to apply for hotel maids and bar service. If at the end of the tour, you would like to show your appreciation to your guides, tipping is entirely appropriate but at your discretion. We hope that you will be pleased with all professional services. Gratuities for group meals are included. For your birding tour guide, we suggest $10-$15 per day per guest. Note that if there is more than one guide, this amount can be split among them.
Cell Phones & Internet Service
Wi-Fi and cell phone service are available in most US destinations, although there are some exceptions in remote locations. Wi-Fi is generally provided in all hotels, lodges, and restaurants you visit, at least in public areas. Please refrain from taking or making cell phone calls in the vehicles when traveling with other passengers unless it appears to be an emergency as this disrupts other guests – please plan cell phone calls on your own time.
Smoking is not permitted in any vehicle or in any situation where the group is participating in an activity together, such as a vehicle excursion or a guided walk. Please respect all designated smoking areas at hotels and restaurants.
For this tour, your guides will drive travelers in either full-size or mini-vans or a combination of those two. We ask all attendees to please rotate your seating, so you ride with different drivers and alternate between front and back seats.
Photo Release & Sharing
We take many group photos and will share photos with the group. And after your tour, we will organize a chance to share photos via Dropbox or Google Photos. Please note that this is our policy and if you prefer to be excluded, we need to know ahead of your tour.
By registering for this tour, you agree to grant to Naturalist Journeys and its authorized representatives permission to record photos and/or video of your participation in the tour. You further agree that any or all of the material photographed may be used, in any form, as part of any future publications, brochures, or other printed materials used to promote Naturalist Journeys, and further that such use shall be without payment of fees, royalties, special credit or other compensation.
Please contact Naturalist Journeys by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone our office: (520) 558-1146 or toll free: (866) 900-1146 if you have any questions. Many thanks for traveling with us and we hope you enjoy your journey.
Packing List +
Please pack light!
Soft luggage is much easier for us to pack than a more rigid hard sided piece, so if you have the choice, please use your soft luggage. Be sure to have your name and address on the inside of the bag, as well as on the luggage tag on the handle. It is our hope that you can pack in one checked suitcase that does not exceed 45 pounds. Be sure to pack your personal medication, airline tickets, passport, binoculars, camera, and other essential items in your carry-on bag. You will want a day pack for field trips, so this is an ideal carry-on. Please reconfirm your airline’s baggage weight and size restrictions about a week or so before departure.
The days are typically pleasant, with temperatures dropping in the evening and remaining cool in the mornings as well. Temperatures are likely to range from lows in the 40°Fs to highs in the 70°Fs, though it is good to be prepared for seasonal variations, as well as location-based differences, including freezing overnight temperatures and highs in the upper 80s. Precipitation events are few and far between in the desert but rain showers can occur, as well as occasional wind, so it is best to come prepared with a rain jacket that can double as a wind breaker as needed.
Dress is comfortable and informal throughout the trip. Dressing in layers is the best way to be comfortable. Lightweight long sleeve shirts and long pants make ideal field clothing as they are more protective from sun and vegetation. But if you like to wear them, by all means bring some shorts. Choose clothing you don’t mind getting dirty and that is comfortable and easy to wear. We recommend muted colors of tan, brown, khaki, grey or green, as they are spotted less easily than white or bright colors.
Clothing & Gear
- Lightweight long pants, 2 pair
- Lightweight long-sleeved shirts – 2 or 3Shorts (optional)
- T-shirts or equivalent (1 per every other day recommended – remember you may buy some there!)
- Personal underclothing
- Socks – lightweight and easy to wash and dry
- Comfortable walking/hiking shoes such as tennis shoes
- Lightweight hiking boots. Please note that trails will be on uneven terrain and may be muddy - good tread and support are essential!
- Sandals for evenings, travel days, and for wearing on boats (optional, TEVA style are great)
- Lightweight raincoat or poncho
- Fleece jacket or vest
- Jacket, light down coat is ideal
- Light gloves and warm hat
- Hat with broad brim
- Comfortable clothes for evening (a cleaner version of your field clothes or a skirt, sundress, etc.)
- Bathing suit (optional)
- Bandana (optional, great for cooling off when you are hot and sweaty. They even make them with a gel inside for several hours of cooling.)
- Field vest (optional), a great source is Big Pockets
Equipment & Miscellaneous
- E-ticket verification
- Photo ID
- Small daypack or fanny pack for carrying your field gear
- Umbrella – compact and not brightly colored
- Walking stick – we find that many travelers appreciate a walking stick on trails, sporting goods stores carry collapsible models that pack easily in your suitcase (optional)
- Small flashlight with fresh batteries
- Alarm clock, or use your cell phone
- Sunscreen/lip balm with SPF
- Sunglasses with neck strap
- Insect repellent (something containing DEET)
- Toiletry articles
- Spotting scope and tripod (optional)
- Camera and extra batteries, memory cards, lens cleaning supplies and your instruction manual (optional)
- Water bottle (or plan to refill one bought on location)
- Notebook or journal and pen (optional)
- Field guides (optional)
- Laundry soap if you plan to do hand washing
- Earplugs – in urban and even rural areas barking dogs and traffic noise can be annoying
- Rechargeable power bank (optional)
WE DO NOT RECOMMEND TRAVELING WITH PRECIOUS OR VALUABLE JEWELRY – don’t tempt anyone and don’t bring things you’d regret losing - your mind will be at ease!
Medical & First Aid Items
- Personal medications
- Motion sickness preventatives if likely to be needed on bus, van drives, etc.
- Personal first aid kit and medications for general ailments
- Copy of eyeglass prescription, copy of medical prescriptions, vaccination records, and any medical alerts
- Insurance information
- Extra pair of eyeglasses or contacts
- Band-aids, moleskin to protect against blisters
- Antibacterial gel
Suggested Reading List +
There are many titles of interest for Utah; the following are a few that we have enjoyed that can get you started.
Merlin App. A phone-based birding app from Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology. You can download it here.
History & Culture
Your guide will also have a selection of reference books and materials for participants to share. As an Amazon Associate, Naturalist Journeys earns from qualifying purchases, and may get commissions for purchases made through links on this page at no added cost to you.
Useful Links +
St. George, Utah
Great Salt Lake Bird Festival
Nature, Wildlife & Biology
Utah Bird Checklist
Utah Wildlife and Habitat
Species of Utah – iNaturalist.org
Conservation, Parks & Reserves
The Nature Conservancy – Utah
Conservation Almanac – Utah
Zion National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Capitol Reef National Park
Geology & Geography
American Geosciences Institute: Interactive Map of Utah’s Geology
Utah Geological Survey: Utah’s Geologic History
US Geologic Survey: Geology of Bryce Canyon
Geography of Utah
History & Culture
Utah Culture and History
History of Utah’s National Parks
Indigenous Peoples of Utah
Helpful Travel Websites
St. George Regional Airport (SGU)
Homeland Security Real ID Act
Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
Date & Time
Photo credits: Banners: Hiking in Utah, Naturalist Journeys Stock; Bryce Canyon, Hugh Simmons; Grand Canyon, Hugh Simmons; Capitol Reef, Hugh Simmons; Black-headed Grosbeak by Homer Gardin; Bullock's Oriole, Homer Gardin; California Condors by Greg Smith; Utah Scenic, Naturalist Journeys Stock; Black-throated Gray Warbler, Peg Abbott; Hiking Bryce Canyon, Naturalist Journeys Stock; Grand Canyon Sunset by Carol Simon; Greater Roadrunner by Peg Abbott; California Condor, Greg Smith; Wynne Brown by Rainbow Bridge, Jill Rowley; Lewis’ Woodpecker, Steve Wolfe; Western Bluebird, Greg Smith; Gambel’s Quail, Homer Gardin; Bighorn Ewe, Steve Wolfe; Bullock’s Oriole, Greg Smith; Hooded Oriole, Homer Gardin; Steller's Jay, Homer Gardin; Green-tailed Towhee, Sandy Sorkin; Hiking in Bryson, Naturalist Journeys Stock; Pronghorn, Greg Smith; Canyon Wren, Peg Abbott; Calf Creek Falls, Naturalist Journeys Stock; Cedar Breaks, Naturalist Journeys Stock; Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Sandy Sorkin; Canyon Wren, Carlos Sanchez; Golden Eagle, Greg Smith; Loggerhead Shrike, Steve Wolfe; Peregrine Falcon, Greg Smith; Rock Wren, Steve Buckingham; Raven, Naturalist Journeys Stock.