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“Mighty Five Review”

Southwest Adventure Tours Day Trips
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Experience Utah's National Parks: Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon, and...
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Owner description: Southwest Adventure Tours provides scenic, photography, and adventure tours throughout the Southwestern US. Join one of our small groups of 14 passengers on one of our multi-day tours into Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, Monument Valley, Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Parks or one of the many other wonderful areas throughout the Southwestern US. Your adventure awaits
Houston, Texas
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Mighty Five Review”
Reviewed 12 August 2014

I'm writing this on the plane ride home while it's fresh. I debated the three over the two stars, and in the end the sights are spectacular and I didn't pay full price otherwise I'd be at a one. Ultimately I DID do many of the things I wanted and those parts I rate highly as memorable, but the overall trip experience was not very enjoyable. So, a three is all I can do.

The "mightiest" thing about this trip is the incredibly EPIC amount of time you spend inside a cramped, semi-climate-controlled bus driving from park to park; but also curiously WITHIN the parks themselves just hopping from one short photo op to the next. During the entire trip there was only one day that didn't contain a VERY long drive and two days were almost entirely driving. I'd estimate that about 70-80% of the TOTAL time is spent inside the bus. So be warned. Perhaps you care to exercise your meditation abilities or care to practice conversational skills with strangers for six days but otherwise it's long and difficult and tiring and a substantial portion of the entire trip. This takes away most of the time that I'd expected for the parks themselves. I realize there of course must be travel time but the design of the trip itself is flawed beyond repair due to this time factor, and I think shows a remarkable lack of experience at planning reasonably-paced tours and/or a disregard for the experience of the passengers that must endure HOURS of mind-numbing and tedious riding.

The time issues above lead into my second biggest issue with the design of this trip: much of what is proposed or offered or mentioned in the descriptions and itineraries is simply impossible to fit in time-wise. Longer hikes are virtually impossible unless an entire group of 14 people decide this what they ALL want to do. Without transportation, the guide is basically forced to choose only the options that are least strenuous (Zion is the exception with its shuttle system but even then time is limited and I had to insist on doing a hike beyond the two shortest available). So your actual experience of the parks is limited to the scenic views and short walks. To some degree this situation always applies to a group tour ... I understand this. However, these other items should NOT appear on the descriptions and the itinerary. The itinerary itself should be tightened up a LOT so that people know what they are buying. If certain trails cannot be done due to time and ability of all members then they should be noted that way. If optional activities completely remove your time at a specific park that needs to be noted. Again, this seems to me a lack of experience in designing a tour, and properly designing the itinerary. Leaving this open promotes conflicts within the group and with the guide. Again, we're back to the fundamental design of the trip.

The actual implementation leaves a lot to be desired as well. First, it wasn't terribly well organized. The itinerary we received had the wrong order of parks, as well as the wrong dates. More importantly, the guide herself wasn't terribly communicative about where we were going or what was next (are sandals ok or boots a better choice?). Typically, guides give more information on what's on the agenda. Probably the most important thing though was there was only the one guide for everyone and that is FAR below the ratio I've ever experienced. I mean, she had no help at all at any point in the trip. Now, consider that she was up late, starting early and then DRIVING about half the day, every day. This seems so insanely over-taxing to expect out of one person that by the final, 5 1/2-hour drive to SLC I was more than a little concerned about fatigue on the roads - that isn't a small thing. She drove fine the whole trip, don't misunderstand, but again we come back to the design of the trip and experience of the planners.

So, the above is why I can't rate the trip more highly. Hopefully you know what you're getting now.

Visited August 2014
18 Thank Traveller Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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254 reviews from our community

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English first
Shepherdsville, Kentucky
Level 3 Contributor
23 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“4 Parks in 4 days”
Reviewed 27 July 2014

My wife scheduled this trip for her parent's 50th wedding anniversary. There was 8 in our group, not counting the other 3 people we met as part of 4 days together. Our guide, Sarah, was awesome! She was very knowledgable about the entire area from wildlife to rock formations, her information was great! She has a passion for nature unlike any other I've seen. She is a great asset both as your tour guide, if you're fortunate enough to be in her group, and to the tour company. The parks were fantastic and Sarah knew which trails were good for the best views while also taking into account my in-laws who are in their 80's.

The accommodations were better than some big cities I've visited, and the food choices were good. We always try to eat local when on vacation (you can eat fast food in any town), and while the options are extremely limited, the 8 of us had no problem finding foods we liked at the local eateries.

We would definitely use this tour group again and ask for Sarah as our guide!

Visited July 2014
1 Thank Troy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Mighty 5 was Mighty Fantastic!!!”
Reviewed 15 July 2014

My daughter (13) and I just completed the Mighty Five tour and it was fantastic. We were sad by the end of the trip because we didn't want it to be over. We made new everlasting friendships and were just amazed at what we experienced over the last 6 days. I would do this trip again only if we had Tommy as our guide. He was such an invaluable asset to this tour with his outgoing personality. He is what made this tour enjoyable. While I thought this tour would be regimented and on a strict time schedule, this was not the case. Tommy couldn't have been more accommodating and knowledgeable about everything we did and saw. By the end of the trip, I saw Tommy more as a friend than our tour guide. Southwest Adventure Tours was great the whole way. I highly recommend them and Tommy for sure.

Visited July 2014
4 Thank chudiddy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Richardson, Texas
1 review
“"4 National Parks in 4 days"”
Reviewed 3 July 2014

Could not travel with a better tour co. Great set menu breakfasts and liberal(open) lunch allowance. Plenty of time to see each park. We originally scheduled a date for our trip last Sept. Our dates were not changeable but the parks were shut due to government budget and they allowed us to reschedule without any hassle.

Visited May 2014
Thank tkazlow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Houston, Texas
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“The Mighty Five -A Mighty Tour”
Reviewed 22 June 2014

My wife and I decided more or less at the last minute to go on Southwest Adventure Tour's mighty five tour. We are both in our late 60's and were not sure we would be up to the rigor of a hiking tour but we found out that with a great tour guide and a good plan we could do anything and have a great time. Our guide, Robin, did a fantastic job of making each person in our 10 person group, feel special. We really felt like we had a personal tour and so did the other four couples. Accommodations, food, suggestions for hiking, suggestions for photographs, and many special touches made our trip a fantastic opportunity to see the most stunning and spectacular scenery in America. We are already planning our next trip with Southwest Adventures!

Visited June 2014
8 Thank WOT4WOT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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