Combining a vacation with volunteer work is a great way to see beautiful parts of the world while also helping out people who live there.

One destination in America that offers both breathtaking scenery and the chance to make a difference in someone’s life is an area known as the Colorado Plateau.

Native American nations currently make up roughly one quarter of the population and manage almost a third of the land in this region, which includes the Grand Canyon as well as the many wild venues of southern Utah. The Grand Canyon Trust is one organization that is devoted to helping Native American communities diversify their economies so as to be less dependent on coal mining and the energy it produces.

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According to the Trust’s web site, “Volunteers will have the opportunity to mitigate the effects of past environmental degradation on Tribal lands as well as connect with members of local communities where we conduct sustainable, community-driven, economic development work. Our aim is to help create teamwork and progressive change while facilitating cultural exchange.”

No trip out West would be anywhere near complete without experiencing several of the area’s natural wonders. Consider complementing your volunteer stint with visits to the following:

Bryce Canyon National Park (pictured above): This spectacular site features amazing rock formations, some as old as 50 million years, that are as high as a ten-story building. The park’s many canyons can be enjoyed by taking a 37-mile drive through the gorgeous scenery, or on foot via several trails.

Lake Powell National Recreation Area: The second-largest man-made lake in the United States, Lake Powell is home to many houseboats, kayaks and personal watercraft. It is named for explorer John Wesley Powell, who led an expedition to the area in 1869. The lake, with more than 90 major canyons, boasts almost 2,000 miles of shoreline – more than America’s west coast.

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Zion National Park (below): Covering almost 230 square miles in southwestern Utah, this haven for outdoor enthusiasts is comprised of canyons made out of red sandstone which have been formed by the Virgin River. Previously known only to Native Americans and a few Mormon pioneers, the park was discovered during a Federal Land Survey in 1908.

Whether for pleasure, service or both, be sure to shop Royal Robbins for all of the gear that you will need for your pilgrimage West!