Antarctica & Arctic
A medley of man-made and natural wonders are on full display on this popular tour of Western USA.
a Destinations d > West Coast USA > Western Explorer
11 hotel nights in 3-star twin share accommodation, all transportation by private vehicle, services of a professional tour leader and free wi-fi in your vehicle. Please note: group size a maximum 13 people, all meals paid locally.
Selected Dates; Apr - Nov 20
Yosemite Valley and the Grand Canyon are rivalled only by the power and beauty of the Navajo's sacred Monument Valley. Hike under the world's largest sandstone cliffs at Zion Canyon, observe strange landscapes in Death Valley, and gaze upon the ever-changing colours of Bryce Canyon. Adventure awaits around every corner in the most geographically diverse region of the United States.
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Spot a range of wildlife with three nights in Yosemite National Park.
Explore Zion National Park. Like an oasis rising up from the desert floor, Zion's multi-coloured cliffs and spring-fed hanging gardens are spectacular.
Experiencing Monument Valley and its red sandstone monoliths, spectacular sunsets and sunrises which have been the backdrop to countless 'westerns' featuring cowboys riding off into the desert.
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Welcome to Sin City! The fabulous Las Vegas is the fastest growing city in the United States and is renowned as the `tacky capital of the world' - home to pirates and pyramids, weddings and water fountains! Vegas really comes alive at night with resort hotels, shows and the Bellagio Fountain's regular water displays. We recommend booking extra nights to explore the city because it's not all clubs and resort hotels. 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.
This morning you leave the Bright Light City and drive towards Grand Canyon National Park for the ultimate desert showstopper! 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 km long, up to 29 km wide and over 1.6 km deep. Snaking through the canyon floor is the mighty Colorado River, which runs 2,330 km 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 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 most incredible natural wonders.
See Day 2 for today's itinerary.
Get your last glimpse of the Grand Canyon before heading to the heart of the Navajo Nation. Monument Valley, a sacred land to those who call it home, is dotted with fabulous red sandstone monoliths and from here you'll witness spectacular sunsets and sunrises. Having been the backdrop for countless Westerns, you'll half expect to see cowboys riding off into the sunset. You'll explore the incredible array of rock formations on an included and guided 4x4 backroads tour, learning all about the magic and myths of the rich Native American culture. The Navajo Tribal Lands of Monument Valley are a true photographer's paradise. For dinner, we have included a traditional meal, the Navajo taco, out in the valley with the Navajo themselves.
Welcome to the mountains, today you climb in elevation to almost 8,300 ft. 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 Queens Garden Trail or remain on the rim and photograph the ever-changing shadows and hues as the sun makes its way across the sky.
Make your way further into Utah and your destination for today - Zion National Park. Like an oasis rising 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 Southwest USA can be found here, in and around the fertile Virgin River Gorge. With an early arrival, today and two nights in Zion, you'll have plenty of time to explore.
Enjoy a full day to further explore the delights of Zion National Park. There are various hikes to choose from, ranging from easy to strenuous. Warm up your legs by taking a short hike from the valley floor to view the Lower Emerald Pools. Then continue on to the sparkling Upper Emerald Pools, passing a stunning waterfall along the way to discover Zion's `beach'. Cool off from the heat of 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 2,500 ft. to experience unbeatable panoramic views from the top of Angels Landing. After a beautiful but strenuous hike along the knife-edge ridgeline you'll be rewarded with one of the most breathtaking and powerful panoramas you've ever experienced. If weather conditions permit, you may choose to hike deep into the Zion Narrows, just be prepared to get a little wet.
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, with sand dunes and salt pans making for some exceptional photos. You cover some great distances today but also see some fascinating and contrasting scenery on your road trip.
Please note: It has occurred in the past that extreme temperatures, higher than those expected, have prevented us from entering Death Valley National Park. In the event this happens, we will notify you as soon as possible with a suitable replacement. This is a worst-case scenario and we will endeavour to run the programme as advertised.
Depart the Death Valley desert, heading north through California's wilderness, 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 lodge in the Yosemite region - your 'home' for the next three nights.
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, bobcats, marmots and if you're lucky, bears. After a visit to see the amazing Giant Sequoia trees, Yosemite Valley beckons, offering the chance to cycle, take a dip in the Merced River or wander the meadows. The views are breathtaking from every vantage point - the granite formations of Half Dome, El Capitan and Cathedral Rocks are sure to be forever etched on your mind.
See Day 10 for today's itinerary.
Welcome to the 'City by the Bay' in sunny California. San Francisco is a city which the locals are fiercely proud of and for good reason. There's plenty to keep you entertained but the best introduction is to jump on a hop-on-hop-off bus tour or book one of our 'Urban Adventures' around the city.
This tour ends at our gateway hotel at approximately 17:00 hrs. We recommend booking post-tour accommodation if time allows. If you are planning to fly tonight, please do not book a flight that departs before 21:00 hrs.
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