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At a glance
Visit five breathtaking National Parks in the USA
Trip Highlights
Start Destination
San Francisco
End Destination
Las Vegas
What's included
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

As no meals are included on this trip, they will all need to be paid for locally. For lunches we will either stop somewhere en-route to our destination on travel days, or buy packed lunch items for the days spent in National Parks. Most of the hotels typically have several choices for meals or are located close to restaurants. At Bryce National Park and Monument Valley the choices are more limited as they are located in less developed areas. Please note that when eating group meals, a tip of approx. 20% is automatically added to the bill in many U.S. restaurants. Applicable taxes will also be added to all listed menu prices. Your tour leader may offer your group the option to operate a ‘lunch only’ food kitty, this has proven to be a popular alternative to three daily restaurant meals. Leaders will fully explain this option while on your tour, and the whole group will have to agree for this system to run. Please make sure we are aware of any special meal requirements before travelling.

What's not included
  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request) - GBP757
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Arrival & departure transfers
  • All meals
Itinerary
1
Day 1
Fly to San Francisco.
Clients on group flights will fly to San Francisco today and make their own way to the start hotel. Land only clients should also make their own way to the start hotel.
2
Day 2
To Yosemite National Park
Depart San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge, heading east through California's historic gold country and make tracks for Yosemite. Here, everything is in gargantuan proportions, including some of North America's tallest cliffs, waterfalls and trees. You'll check into your hotel in the scenic Yosemite National Park region - your 'home' for the next three nights.
3
Day 3
Walking in Yosemite N.P.
Yosemite National Park sits nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range of northern California. Here green forest meets granite walls measuring several thousand feet in height. Rock climbers come from all over the world to scale the rocks whilst hikers get to walk to the base of some of the largest waterfalls in the world. As you explore the park keep your eyes peeled for varied wildlife such as deer, elk, and if you’re lucky, bears. After a visit to see the amazing giant sequoia trees, Yosemite Valley beckons, here you may cycle, take a dip in the Merced River or wander the meadows. The views are breath-taking from every vantage point - the granite formations of Half Dome, El Capitan and Cathedral Rocks are sure to be forever etched on your mind. Optional: Bike rental in Yosemite US$12-$32
4
Day 4
Another day exploring Yosemite.
Second day exploring Yosemite National Park Optional: Bike rental in Yosemite US$12-$32
5
Day 5
To Death Valley National Park
One of the hottest, driest and lowest places on earth, Death Valley is blessed with some of the most extreme and beautiful landscapes. Sculpted by erosion, richly tinted mudstone hills and canyons await exploration, and sand dunes and salt pans make for some exceptional photos. We cover some great distances today, but also get to see some fascinating and contrasting scenery on our road trip.
6
Day 6
Travel to Zion National Park
You make your way to Utah and your destination for today - Zion National Park. Like an oasis rising up from the desert floor, Zion’s multi-coloured cliffs and spring-fed hanging gardens are spectacular. Zion Canyon was named by the early Mormon settlers of Utah who thought of it as their ‘promised land’. Some of the best hiking in this desert terrain of southwest USA can be found here in and around the fertile Virgin River Gorge. With an early arrival today and two nights here, you will have plenty of time to explore.
7
Day 7
Walking options in Zion National Park
You have a full day to further explore the delights of Zion National Park. There are various hikes to choose from, ranging from easy to strenuous ones. Warm up your legs by taking a short hike from the valley floor to view the Lower Emerald pool and then continue on to the sparkling Upper Emerald pools, passing a stunning waterfall along the way to discover Zion’s “beach.” You can also cool off from the summer sun by exploring the Riverside Walk section of the Virgin River. If you’re feeling ambitious, enjoy the park’s more challenging option and ascend 760 metres (2500 feet) to experience unbeatable panoramic views from the top of Angels Landing. After a beautiful but strenuous hike along the knife-edge ridgeline you will be rewarded with one of the most breathtaking and powerful panoramas you shall ever experience. If weather conditions permit, you may choose to hike deep into the Zion Narrows.
8
Day 8
To Bryce National Park; walk the Queen's Garden Trail.
Leaving Zion National Park you climb in elevation to almost 2438 metres (8000 feet) and traverse a high plateau to Bryce Canyon National Park. Bryce Canyon is a fascinating natural amphitheatre of pink, orange and white sandstone spires, known locally as ‘hoodoos’. There are a variety of scenic overlooks and trails that range from easy to moderate in difficulty. The Navajo or Peek-a-Boo Loop trails will enable you to hike right in amongst these unique rock formations. Some may prefer to hike on the Queen’s Garden or remain on the rim and photograph the ever-changing shadows and hues as the sun makes its way across the wide-open sky. Optional: Western horseback riding at Bryce US$40-$80
9
Day 9
To Lake Powell; visit to Antelope Canyon.
Returning south along Scenic Highway 89, you descend from the high plateau to the arid plains and past the Vermillion Cliffs en route to Lake Powell. Located on the border of Utah and Arizona and created by the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River, Lake Powell has a shoreline that stretches longer than the western coast of the USA! Many say that Glen Canyon was even more spectacular than the Grand Canyon before the dam was built. Now the lake is a haven for water sports or for relaxing in one of the many sandstone coves. Included is a Navajo guided visit to stunning Antelope Slot Canyon which in Navajo language means ‘the place where water runs through rocks’. Your guide will show you how flash floods have carved and sculpted this beautiful area. In the late afternoon you have the chance to swim before spending the night in a hotel near this beautiful lake depending on what time we finish at Antelope Canyon.
10
Day 10
Jeep excursion with Navajo guide in Monument Valley.
Stop at Horseshoe Bend for an amazing view of the Colorado River. Then to the heart of the Navajo Nation, Monument Valley, a sacred land to those who call it home. The red sandstone monoliths and spectacular sunsets and sunrises have been the backdrop to countless ‘westerns’ featuring cowboys riding off into the desert. You will explore the incredible array of rock formations on an included guided 4x4 back roads tour, learning the magic and myths of the rich Native American culture. The Navajo Tribal Lands of Monument Valley are a true photographer’s paradise. For the evening meal, try a ‘Navajo Taco’, a filling and local speciality dish.
11
Day 11
To the Grand Canyon.
After a spectacular sunrise you leave Monument Valley and drive towards the Grand Canyon, for the ultimate desert show stopper! Traversing the eastern entrance of the canyon, you’ll catch your first glimpse at Desert View. This incredible spectacle is difficult to comprehend, even as you stand at the rim or hike down into the canyon. Carved over several millennia, this massive wonder of nature is 445 kilometres (277 miles) long, up to 29 kilometres (18 miles) wide and over 1.6 kilometres (1 mile) deep. Snaking through the canyon floor is the mighty Colorado River, which runs 2330 kilometres (1450 miles) through seven US states and two Mexican states. In your free time, we highly recommend a scenic flight over the canyon, which offers a perspective that you cannot see by visiting on foot. Also recommended is the film show at the IMAX Theater, which will give you a good overview of the area and how it developed. Alternatively, stroll the easy meandering South Rim Trail, hike your way down the more challenging trail to Plateau Point, or simply relax at the canyon’s edge and enjoy a spectacular sunset over one of the world’s natural wonders Optionals: Grand Canyon helicopter flight US$254-$284, Grand Canyon IMAX theater US$15
12
Day 12
Another day exploring the Grand Canyon.
Second day of activities at the Grand Canyon National Park.
13
Day 13
To Las Vegas via Seligman on Route 66; depart.
En route to Vegas you travel a section of the original Route 66 and visit the quirky town of Seligman before stopping for a view of the mighty Hoover Dam - now for the hedonistic Sin City, which really has to be seen to be believed. Las Vegas is the fastest growing city in the United States and renowned as the ‘tacky capital of the world’ - home to pirates and pyramids, weddings and waterfalls. Upon arrival enjoy a driving tour down the famous Las Vegas Strip, this desert city really comes alive at night with casinos, shows and the Bellagio Fountain’s regular displays. We recommend booking extra nights to explore the city because it’s not all clubs and casinos. There are numerous art galleries, shops and world-class restaurants for you to enjoy. If you want to enjoy a couple of extra nights, please advise your Americas Specialist when booking your trip. Optional: Las Vegas clubs and casino shows US$10+, Las Vegas helicopter flight US$115 This tour ends at our gateway hotel in Las Vegas at approximately 5:00pm. We can book your post-tour accommodation if required. If you are planning to fly tonight, please do not book a flight that departs before 9:00pm.
14
Day 14
Arrive London.
WESTERN EXPLORER 4/5

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FAQs

The trails vary a great deal, as in the more developed parks the trails are well maintained and defined, although often rocky, whilst in the remote parks we might be following a sandy, rocky creek bed or hike cross country over open desert terrain. Crossing shallow streams or wading through a creek (Zion) can be expected. Most of the walking is at moderate altitudes and therefore should not cause any altitude-related
problems.

Karol Rogacki - Americas Operations

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