Throughout REI Adventures‘ nearly 30-year history, the national parks have been the backdrop of life-changing adventures for its guests. With already the broadest national parks offerings of any active travel company, REI Adventures is expanding its popular REI Signature Camping assortment beyond Zion and Bryce Canyon. Eight new adventures now await solo travelers, couples, friends and families in Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains, Rocky Mountain and Yosemite national parks.
REI Signature Camping is a deluxe experience, where camp is a destination rather than an activity. Complete with an oversized REI tent for each couple or solo traveler, there is plenty of room to spread out. Tents are outfitted with REI cots, REI plush sleeping pads, floor coverings, lighting and more. A community area with comfy furniture, hammocks, covered dining area, outdoor games and twinkle lights set a fun atmosphere as guests reflect on their day. Thoughtful extras include French press coffee delivered to tents every morning, hearty meals that highlight regional cuisine, and appetizers and beverages that await guests’ arrival in camp. Where available, camps have bathrooms with running water, showers and flush toilets. Where not available, personal hygiene kits and access to campground bathroom facilities are provided.
“REI Signature Camping is the perfect combination of exceptional gear, knowledgeable guides and active exploration where our guests are immersed into the destination,” says Cynthia Dunbar, general manager of REI Adventures. “Our trips are truly one-of-a kind experiences. For example, our Utah National Park Ultimate Adventure explores five national parks in the state, including Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion.”
New trips include:
Arizona Ultimate Adventure – Grand Canyon & Beyond
Arizona’s defining geologic feature is surely its breathtaking canyons of every shape and size. This landscape is the backdrop of an eight-day hiking and kayaking adventure that begins with two days in the Grand Canyon. Explorers kayak the emerald-colored waters of Lake Powell and explore Antelope Canyon, a magnificent sandstone slot canyon. The itinerary visits the towering monoliths of Monument Valley and wraps up in mysterious Canyon de Chelly National Monument where a local Navajo guide enlightens guests on the history of the canyon and cultures that thrived here over the centuries.
Great Smoky Mountains Adventure
The Smokies have the distinction of being America’s most visited park and a UNESCO World Heritage site. By day, visitors explore the old growth forest along the classic Appalachian Trail and picturesque viewpoints that many hikers dream about. By night, the forest comes alive during hikes to experience fireflies, bioluminescent foxfire and owls. After three days of hiking, the group’s final adrenaline-pumping day includes zip-lining between mountain tops, followed by whitewater rafting down the Nantahala River. A Great Smoky Mountains Family Adventure is also available.
Rocky Mountain National Park Adventure
Over six days, guests have an immersive experience through this park well-known for its alpine lakes carved into rugged mountain peaks. They hike along meadows and tranquil lakes contrasted by massive rock formations formed by glaciers. Mid-way through the trip, the group sets off on a whitewater adventure on the Cache la Poudre, Colorado’s only designated “Wild and Scenic River” for an exhilarating change of pace. A scenic drive follows on Trail Ridge Road, the highest paved road in the America, and a hike that crosses the Continental Divide Trail. A family itinerary of this adventure is available, including young guests taking part in the Junior Ranger program.
Utah National Parks Ultimate Adventure
REI’s Utah trip is a comprehensive itinerary through five of Utah’s national parks: Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion. Over nine days, guests stay at four deluxe camps while they hike through awe-inspiring landscapes sculpted over thousands of years by the powerful forces of erosion. Highlights include learning about ancient cultures that once called the region their home, visiting the ruins of an ancestral Puebloan village, witnessing the mighty Colorado River, and deciphering the meaning of Newspaper Rock’s petroglyphs.
Yosemite Hiking & Camping
From the iconic granite peaks of Yosemite Valley to the wildflower carpeted meadows of the High Country, this six-day hiking adventure includes taking in the best views of El Capitan, navigating 600 stone steps down to the 317-foot Vernal Falls, experiencing Tuolumne Grove’s giant sequoias, and tackling Yosemite’s second highest peak, Mount Dana. On evening hikes, guests witness the alpenglow on the High Sierra peaks, also known as John Muir’s “Range of Light,” panoramic views of Lembert Dome and more. REI’s Yosemite Family Adventure, also six days, will impart a lifelong appreciation of the national parks among young travelers.
Honoring the Centennial
As the “Official Outdoor Retailer” for the National Park Centennial celebration, REI is donating 10 percent of the retail price for each REI Adventures’ national park trip to the National Park Foundation through 2016. With the addition of the new Signature Camp itineraries, REI Adventures now offers more than 45 trips to national parks.