Antarctica & Arctic
Experience the breathtaking desert wonders of the South West.
a Destinations d > West Coast USA > Southwestern Desert Explorer
11 nights accommodation, sightseeing as specified, services of a professional tour leader, all transportation, 1 dinner included.
09 Jun; 21 Jul; 11 Aug; 29 Sep; 20 Oct; 19 Nov; 10 Dec 2020
Enjoy a medley of otherworldly desert landscapes and natural wonders across our exhilarating tour of Western USA, where rolling canyons, babbling brooks and majestic mesas converge. The Grand Canyon and the Las Vegas Strip are rivalled only by the incredible red rock buttes of Sedona and the yuccas of Joshua Tree National Park. Take a dip in refreshing lakes and dine on freshly sourced ingredients on Southern Arizona’s Apache Trail.
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Marvel at ancient Indian petroglyphs
Farm to Table dining experience
Zion's sandstone cliffs and hanging gardens
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Welcome to 'The City of Angels'. Blessed with golden strip beaches and flower-carpeted hillsides, its hard not to see the sunny-side when you’re in LA. Aside from its massive population, this city is inextricably linked to mother nature, with hiking opportunities just a mere 9 miles away from its city hall. In the evening, we’d recommend strolling through its vibrant neighbourhoods and along the Santa Monica Boulevard, where you can take a ride on its iconic ferris wheel before meeting your tour leader at 18:00hrs.
Head to the mountain town of Idyllwild, set amongst the San Jacinto range, offering the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of California. Here, you can explore the tall pine and manzanita trees, with the sweet smell of cedar on a short hike in the state park. Enjoy trails crossing babbling brooks and many species of trees along the way, that are enough to impress any botanist. Managing to keep its small-town vibe, Idyllwild’s breath-taking scenery is the perfect pit stop before you make your way to Palm Springs. This evening wander across the downtown district, to see retro-chic boutiques and craft markets.
This morning enjoy an exhilarating ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tram. The world’s largest rotating tram car will deliver you from the desert floor, across the cliffs of Chino Canyon to the incredible heights of the San Jacinto where panoramic views of the Coachella valley await. Once at the top, explore the hiking trails and enjoy a picnic with a view. In the late afternoon you will travel to Joshua Tree National Park, a haven of yuccas, boulders and hidden oases. This protected environment is something special.
Beat the heat with an early start at Joshua Tree National Park. Named after the bristled Joshua trees that dot the landscape, this park lies in between the high Mojave Desert and the low Colorado Desert. Weave between clumped rock formations, gold mining ruins and marvel at Indian petroglyphs near Barker Dam, before discovering Keys View. From here, the park’s Keys View offers a brilliant panoramic overlooking the Coachella Valley, Mount Gorgonio and the Salton Sea. Afterwards, we cross over into Arizona where you’ll spend two nights in Phoenix.
Enjoy a scenic drive on the Apache trail, taking you to the craggy Superstition Mountains, just east of the Phoenix metropolitan area. Follow in Native Americans footsteps towards old western towns such as the Apacheland Movie Ranch and canyon lakes, where you can kayak or take a boat to the incredible Saguaro forest. Delve into its rich history by uncovering the legend of the Lost Dutchman’s Mine, a seam of gold ore that was lost in the region and has never been found since. This evening enjoy a sunset dinner at the Queen Creek Olive Mill, where they produce their own olive oil.
Stop in Sedona, whose red rocks are locally known to have healing powers. With its lush pine forests, steep canyon walls and mild climate, Sedona is beautifully picturesque and well worth exploring. Many locals believe that the area’s vortexes radiate the earths energy, allowing for the practice of alternative medicines in the region, while the more outdoorsy travellers spend their time in Sedona, climbing or mountain biking through these iconic, red rose desert spires. You will discover this beautiful backcountry on a jeep tour where you can explore the sacred landscape of the Yavapai and Apache tribes, at your own leisure, taking in their epic hiking trails or browsing their shops that boast high quality southwestern art.
See Day 6.
Visit the Grand Canyon National Park, one of the world’s seven natural wonders for the ultimate desert showstopper! Officially becoming one of America’s most famous national parks in 1919, it’s continued to awe visitors and locals alike over the last century. Admire the panoramic vistas at viewpoints across the South Rim trail, including the Desert View Road, Grand Canyon Village and Hermit Road, with some of our favourites including the Moran Point and Yavapai Point. The Grand Canyon has been carved over several millennia, spanning 277 miles long and over one mile deep. In your free time, take a once in a lifetime helicopter flight for a birds-eye view overlooking the canyons or hike your way down the challenging trail to Plateau Point.
See Day 8.
Make your way to Utah’s Zion National Park where the multi-coloured cliffs and hanging gardens are nothing short of spectacular. Revolving around Zion Canyon, that’s almost 3,000 feet deep in places, the surrounding park’s ecosystem is extremely diverse, with over 800 native plant species, making it a pleasure to trek across. Discover the best hiking in Southwest USA with Lower Emerald Pools and waterfall trails near Zion’s ‘beach’. For the adventurous, we’d recommend hiking the 2,500 ft ascent to Angels Landing.
See Day 10.
Prepare to be dazzled by the bright city lights of Las Vegas strip– a truly memorable end to your journey. The trip ends in Gateway Hotel at 17:00 hrs.
View the Terms & Conditions
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