National Parks of the Southwest

April 26, 2018 - May 4, 2018
9 days / 17 meals

Day 1: El Paso, TX
Your journey to the Old West begins! Fly to El Paso, TX for an overnight stay. D

Day 2: White Sands National Monument
Learn about the historic region where the Camino Real meets the American West when we visit the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument. Continue to White Sands National Monument, an incredible expanse of snow-white, gypsum sand dunes covering 275 square miles and rising to 60 feet. Travel the 16- mile Dunes Drive with a local guide and the chance to scale convenient dunes along the route. Arrive for a two-night stay with lake view rooms and private balconies at the luxurious Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort. B, D

Day 3: Billy the Kid Country and Valley of Fires
Travel the Billy the Kid National Scenic Byway to the Lincoln County Courthouse, the historic frontier site of Billy’s infamous escape in 1881. Learn about the symbol of forest fire prevention during a visit to the Smokey Bear Historical Park. Enjoy a guided tour of Fort Stanton Historic Site, established to protect settlements along the Rio Bonito in the Apache Wars. See the gigantic Malpais Lava Flow during a stop at the Valley of Fires recreation area in Carrizozo. B, L

Day 4: International UFO Museum
Discover a floral oasis when we visit the Hondo Iris Farm for a tour through the glorious irises, lilies and desert botanical plants and sit on the hummingbird porch to watch the birds feed, fight and fly. Travel to Roswell, NM to explore the International UFO Museum and Research Center complete with a museum guide talk. Arrive in Carlsbad, NM for a 2-night stay. B, L

Day 5: Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Explore Carlsbad Caverns National Park in the Guadalupe Mountains of southeastern New Mexico. Descend the elevator for a self-guided tour along a paved trail of the Big Room, a massive, eight-acre chamber with an incredible 255-foot high ceiling filled with huge columns, and delicate stalactites and stalagmites. After a tranquil cruise on the Pecos River, enjoy an afternoon wine tasting and dinner at the historic Trinity Hotel. B, D

Day 6: Fort Stockton
Explore the West of the Pecos Museum located in the 1896 Orient Hotel and Saloon. Learn about the history of the “Buffalo Soldiers,” one of the military regiments created for black men who sought security in the US Army after the Civil War, during our guided tour of historic Fort Stockton. Continue to Big Bend National Park, the eighth largest national park in the lower 48 situated on the boundary with Mexico along the Rio Grande, for a two-night stay in the spectacular Chisos Basin at the Chisos Mountain Lodge. B, D

Day 7: Big Bend National Park
Explore one of the last remaining wild corners of the United States during our guided tour of Big Bend National Park, covering 801,000 acres of west Texas in the place where the Rio Grande makes a sharp turn. Visit Sam Nall Ranch and Santa Elena Canyon plus a picnic lunch in the park. Spend the evening exploring the ruins of the former Chisos Mine company in Terlingua Ghost Town and dine at the oldtimey Starlight Theatre. B, L, D

Day 8: Marfa, Texas
Travel to Marfa, home to the puzzling “Marfa Lights” and join our local expert for a guided tour of the town’s historic sites including Hotel Paisano, site of the James Dean movie GIANT. Visit Indian Cliffs Ranch for a delicious cowboy-style steak dinner at Cattleman’s Ranch before an overnight stay in El Paso. B, D

Day 9: Fly home from El Paso B

Per person rates*
double $2359
triple/quad $2146
single $2878
* Includes roundtrip airfare from MCI

Combine this tour with Spotlight Texas and take $450 off the combined per person rate! Or combine this tour with Canyonlands and take $400 off the combined rate!