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National Parks Road Trip 3/7

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Date(s) - 03/07/2020 - 03/14/2020
All Day


National Parks Road Trip

Dates: 3/7-14 Time: Multiday
Early Bird Deadline: 2/7 Early Bird Cost: $600/$700
Sign Up Deadline: 2/21 Cost: $700/$800
Pre-Trip Meeting:  2/26 @ 6pm Location: Southwest National Parks

Trip Description:

Have Spring Break plans yet? If not, come join the TCU Outdoor Center on a road trip throughout the Southwest National Parks.
The majestic beauty of the red rocks and deep canyons make for a perfect adventure. In just nine days, it is possible to explore six National Parks,
all within driving distance of each other, with time left over to hike or lounge along the way. Get your camera ready to capture some of this country’s most incredible views.

Trip Cost:

Early Registration: $600 with a TCU ID, $700 as a sponsored guest

Regular Registration: $700 with a TCU ID, $800 as a sponsored guest

  • Prices reflect the TCU student/faculty and sponsored guest rate.
  • Please read our cancellation/refund policy carefully before registering.
  • Price does not include meals on the road

Trip Registration:

Register in-person or online @



Packing List

Physical Challenge




Outfitting & Food


Pre-Trip Meeting:

4/6 @ 6pm

Pre-Trip meetings are required and are held the date of the registration deadline (listed above – generally the week of or week before the trip), from 6-7:30 pm at the TCU Climbing Wall.
You will meet the leaders and other trip members, as well as cover all details such as weather, menu, safety issues, and clothing requirements.
You will also be issued all of your equipment at this time (sleeping bags, pad, tent, etc.).


Day 1: Load vans and depart TCU. We will stop for food along the way and spend the night in New Mexico. 

Day 2: Depart from camp and drive from New Mexico to the Grand Canyon. We will get to the Grand Canyon and spend the night cooking a delicious dinner, setting up camp, and looking at the stars. 

Day 3: We will wake up, cook a hearty breakfast, and then head to the gift shops where everyone will have a chance to look around
and buy souvenirs if you choose to. We will then begin our hike along along the rim of the Grand Canyon enjoying all the beauty it has to offer and then take a shuttle back to camp.  

Day 4: On this day we will have the opportunity to visit four different National Parks. After waking up in the gorgeous Grand Canyon we will make our way to Horseshoe Bend and eat lunch at the iconic picture spot. After this we will go take a guided walking tour of Antelope Canyon and then head up to Zion where we will set up camp for the night. 

Day 5: Upon waking up in Zion, we will have the whole day to explore, go on day hikes, and take in the natural beauty the park has to offer.

Day 6: We will wake up early and head over to Arches National Park. The park has more than 75k acres of rocks, canyons, petrified dunes, and sandstone as far as the eye can see.

Day 7: From Arches, we will head to Chaco Canyon National Park, where you will see a dense collection of pre-columbian pueblos and cultural sites in the American Southwest.

Day 8/9: Make our way back to TCU.

Physical Challenge

Hiking and exploring various National Parks in the southwest can be strenuous on the legs. Designated trails may be hard to find or non-existent. We could be hiking 4-6 miles over rough terrain as we explore. Staying well hydrated, taking your time, resting when necessary (but not for too long), and keeping your energy level high is essential. Trip members should be in decent physical condition for hiking on diverse terrain.

TRIP RATING 2 out of 3 – This is a beginner and well rounded road trip with various levels of hiking difficulty in multiple National Parks.

Packing List

We are limited on space, and the less stuff you bring, the less you have to carry around. Ask yourself…What would I want in the coldest weather or the hottest weather? Pack to be prepared for both!

Things that should be packed inside your personal day pack and kept with you inside the van:

  • Small day pack
  • Money for road meals
  • A warm layer
  • Headlamp
  • Travel size pillow
  • Water
  • Snack food
  • Camera


  • Sunglasses w/retainer strap
  • Personal stuff- extra contact lenses,
    chapstick, sunscreen,
  • baby wipes, baby powder, ear plugs, hand lotion,
    medications you usually take…
  • 2 durable crush proof one-liter water
    bottles or a hydration pack
  • Eating utensils
  • Plastic bowl
  • Mug/insulated cup
  • Hand sanitizer


  • Wide brimmed shade hat
  • Beanie/ stocking cap
  • Bandana
  • Gloves
  • Tennis shoes with good ankle support
  • Hiking Socks
  • Hiking Shoes/ Boots
  • Cotton or synthetic blend hiking shirt (breathable layer)
  • Cotton or synthetic camp shirt (a clean shirt to wear at camp)
  • Synthetic Long Sleeve Top(s) – Polypro, Capilene, or polyester.
  • Fleece jacket or sweatshirt
  • Sports bra
  • Windbreaker
  • Nylon shorts
  • Lightweight long pants/ cotton or
    synthetic hiking pants
  • Rain Pants
  • Sweatpants
  • Underwear
  • Synthetic long underwear (top & bottom)
  • Bathing suit
  • 15-30˚ sleeping bag and Thermarest sleeping pad
  • Tent with rain fly (sleeps 2-4)
  • Headlamp
  • Camp chair
  • Pack Bag: to hold all of the above items PLUS your personal gear and clothes
  • Expedition First Aid Kit
  • Ground Tarp
  • Stoves, fuel and all cooking gear-pots,
    pans, spice kit etc.
  • Repair kit for tents, stoves, packs, etc.
  • Water bags -2+ gallon bags for camp use
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert


There are numerous risks and hazards associated with hiking through the National Parks. Rattlesnakes, scorpions, cactus, and other sharp desert plants require extra caution when hiking. Not dressing appropriately can result in heat or cold illnesses (Hyperthermia or Hypothermia). Not drinking enough water results in dehydration and not being in adequate physical condition can result in sore muscles. Trip members must make a conscious effort to be safe. One person’s disdain for safety will always result in more hardship for the group. If we do have an accident or injury that requires medical attention beyond the scope of our leader’s experience, the trip is immediately over without refund. Our leaders are trained to administer first aid in an outdoor environment; however, while they may be able to treat injuries they cannot always prevent them.


We will be camping, therefore, our campsite will be located in various National Parks. This means there will be no guaranteed access to showers or bathrooms. There will be designated tent sites and water sources nearby. TCU will provide tents, warm synthetic sleeping bags, and foam sleeping pads. You will have the choice to share a tent with two or three trip members or sleep under the stars. The sleeping area provides us with durable hard packed dirt.


The trip leaders will research the weather conditions in advance to assess the situation. The Trip will be cancelled if the weather is dangerous. If you do not receive an email about this, then please be prepared to be out in the weather. Please follow the weather and use your best judgement as well as the packing list to determine what you will personally need to stay warm and dry during the entirety of this trip. Layers are recommended for cold weather and failure to bring proper attire will be detrimental to your experience.