As the rise in slow travel has proven the value of pumping the breaks, one itinerary is also challenging the way we think about typical New Year’s celebrations. In an antithesis to tradition, REI Co-op Adventures’ Zion Winter Hiking Adventure wants to take visitors on a six-day trip through both Zion and Bryce Canyon national park.
The trip, which is scheduled to take place from Dec. 29 to Jan. 3, will start and end in Las Vegas. Each day, the group will set out on spectacular hikes, ranging from two to eight miles, including trails to the Emerald Pools and Observation Point in Zion, along Peek-A-Boo Loop and Wall Street in Bryce Canyon, and at Pink Ledges and Birdseye in Red Canyon. The package also encompasses five nights of double-occupancy hotel accommodations, five breakfasts, six lunches, four dinners, and park entrance fees.
Other highlights include a New Year’s Eve hike along Zion’s West Rim Trail and going up 21 switchbacks of Walter’s Wiggles to take in the view of Zion Canyon from Angels Landing. Equally spectacular is the New Year’s Day agenda, which will see visitors snowshoeing on Bryce Canyon’s Fairyland Loop Trail.
“By the time New Year’s rolls around, tourist season has wrapped up, and Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks offer an amazing sense of peace and solitude,” REI Co-op Adventures travel program manager Heather Gyselman tells Travel + Leisure. “Most visitors don’t get to experience that at any other time of the year.”
She adds that this time of year also “turns up the theatrics,” often with snow bringing a “gorgeous contrast between vibrant red sandstone and a sparkling white blanket.”
Of course, the countdown to 2022 won’t go unnoticed, as it will be spent in the park’s only hotel, Zion Lodge. “The setting is incredible and provides the backdrop for our New Year’s celebration,” Gyselman says. “After an amazing day on the trail, we enjoy a festive holiday dinner at the lodge before ringing in the new year with a glass of Champagne among a fantastic group of new friends.”