NATIONAL PARKS ENCOMPASSED

28 days departing SAN FRANCISCO from

Style: Active
Destination: USA West
Tour Code: PNP

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Trip Overview

This trip ventures far off the beaten path, combining the best national parks with the less-travelled secrets of the old west. You'll experience an abundance of wildlife in Yellowstone, Yosemite's famous waterfalls and the dramatic expanse of the Grand Canyon, alongside the desolation of Craters of the Moon and the hidden lakes of the Grand Teton range. With a two night stay at a rustic mountain ranch, including horseback riding, six states, eight national parks, and two of America's most exciting cities, this tour is for those who want to see it all!

Included Highlights
  • Point Reyes coastal trails
  • Two nights in Lake Tahoe
  • Cross the Nevada Desert
  • Two nights in Yellowstone National Park
  • Grand Tetons and western town of Jackson
  • Whitewater rafting on Snake River
  • Arches National Park trails
  • Panoramic views in Canyonlands National Park
  • Two night ranch stay including meals and horse riding
  • Rock formations in Bryce Canyon
  • Two nights in Zion National Park
  • Monument Valley - Home to the Navajos
  • Two nights at the Grand Canyon
  • Cruise the Las Vegas Strip
  • Two full days in Yosemite National Park
  • Guided walks and day hikes
  • Stunning views of Shoshone Falls
  • Panoramic views at Goblin Valley
Tour Facts & Features
Accommodation: 20 nights camping with equipment (except sleeping bag), 5 hotel nights + 2 ranch nights in twin share accommodation. For your own tent and room request our optional Solo Sleeper (see Dates & Prices tab)
Transport: All transportation by private vehicle
Meals: All meals whilst camping included. All other meals paid locally
Guided: Services of a professional tour leader
Group size: Maximum 13
Age range: 18+
Wifi: Free wi-fi available in your vehicle (Max 5 users)

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Trip Itinerary

Our routes have been carefully chosen to include the best night stops and highlights. However, as local and operational conditions may vary and unforeseen circumstances can arise, the following itinerary should be used as a guideline.


Download Trip Dossier (2014 departures)

Download the National Park Encompassed 2014 trip dossier for tour-specific details including full itinerary, pre-departure information, packing tips and more about our style of travel. 2015 dossiers will be available by end of December.

(Adobe Acrobat is required to read this pdf)

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Optional Activities (paid locally)
  • Grand Canyon helicopter flight US$244-$274
  • Navajo guided 4x4 tour of Monument Valley US$45-$55
  • Western Saloons US$varies
  • Mountain biking in Moab US$45-$110
  • Grand Canyon IMAX theater US$15
  • Las Vegas clubs & casino shows US$10+
  • Limo ride in Las Vegas US$25-$30
  • Float trip on Colorado River US$43-$85
  • Bike rental in Yosemite US$12-$32
  • Lake Tahoe sunset champagne cruise US$53
  • Lake Tahoe casinos US$FREE
  • Float trip on the Merced River in Yosemite US$30
  • Lake Tahoe watersports US$25
  • Extreme off-road hummer tour in Moab US$79-$91
  • Horseback riding in Jackson US$65
  • Point Reynes Vineyards US$5
  • Drive-in Cinema, Salt Lake City US$8


Trip Departure Time

As this tour departs at 0730 we recommend that you book pre-tour accommodation. Please request hotel details at the time of booking.

Day 1-2: San Francisco to Point Reyes

Point Reyes National Seashore's striking coastal trails provide a warm up for what's to come. From its thunderous ocean breakers crashing against rocky headlands and expansive sand beaches to its open grasslands, brushy hillsides and forested ridges, Point Reyes offers visitors over 1000 species of plants and animals to discover. You may also choose to sample the local wines at Point Reyes Vineyards.
Accommodation: Camping including meals

Day 3-4: Lake Tahoe

We trade the coast for the mountains and head inland for two nights to explore the vibrant forests and deep blue of beautiful Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America. Formed about 2 million years ago and shaped during the Ice Age, the lake is actually located right on the border of California and Nevada and sits on an altitude of 6225 feet above sea level. During the summer the lake is popular for water sports and beach activities including kayaking. There are also hundreds of hiking and mountain biking trails all around the lake ranging in length & difficulty. We have the chance to enjoy an optional sunset cruise on a catamaran, which is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
Accommodation: Camping including meals

Day 5: Nevada

From Lake Tahoe we delve deeper into the vast desert for some grand scenery. The Great Basin Desert actually extends right across to California, Oregon, Idaho and Utah. We cover some great distances today, but also get to see some fascinating and contrasting scenery on today's road trip.
Accommodation: Hotel included | Meals paid locally

Day 6: Craters of the Moon National Monument

Enjoy stunning views of Shoshone Falls, often called the `Niagara of the West'. The landscape turns from rushing waters to barren lunar vistas at Craters of the Moon National Monument. This "weird and wonderful" landscape contains three major lava fields covering half million acres! Clearly visible are the lava flows and tubes, volcanic cones and spatter cones, all laying in the cradle of Idaho's Snake River Plain.
Accommodation: Camping including meals

Day 7-8: Yellowstone National Park

Nature at its best! This National Park is so large its boundaries cross into three states. Yellowstone has one of the highest concentrations of geothermal activity on the planet. Buffalo roam amongst the erupting geysers and steam rises from various rivers running through the park. A fire in the 1980s ravaged much of the park, which is now a living monument to nature's power of regeneration. Keep an eye out for elk, grizzly bears and wolves!
Accommodation: Camping including meals

Day 9-10: Grand Teton National Park and Jackson

Tucked away between Yellowstone and Jackson, Wyoming; the Grand Teton are one of the most dramatic landscapes in all of North America. Soak up the scenery of the razor sharp Teton range on a walk up to Inspiration Point with incredible views over Jenny Lake. Don't miss the included Snake River rafting trip (suitable for all levels) and the nightlife of Jackson. Pay a visit to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, complete with saddle seats.
Accommodation: Camping including meals

Day 11: Salt Lake City

Our next destination is the capital of Utah - Salt Lake City. With a city population of 186,000 and a metropolitan population of 1.13 million, it is the largest city in the state. Founded in 1847 by Brigham Young and his Mormon (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) followers, it is still the base for the religion although less than half the population in the city today are Mormons. At the centre of town is Temple Square and we have the afternoon free to explore the city's beautifully landscaped grounds, the granite Salt Lake Temple with its six spires and the domed Tabernacle, home of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Besides occasional free concerts, there are also nearby shopping centres and tasty local restaurants.
Accommodation: Hotel included | Meals paid locally

Day 12-13: Moab/Arches National Park

Next - what seems impossible - more spectacular scenery amid the magnificent splendour of Arches National Park, located just a few miles outside Moab and our base for the next three days. These stunning red sandstone arches have been created by millions of years of wind whipping down the west slope of the Rocky Mountains. Here we have the opportunity to hike to many of these incredible arches, which are known by descriptive names such as Landscape Arch and the famous Delicate Arch. Alternatively, why not tackle the terrain high above on a guided "hummer" tour or take a float trip down the Colorado River.
Accommodation: Camping including meals

Day 14: Canyonlands National Park

There is a little known place in eastern Utah where the mighty Colorado and Green Rivers meet - these are the Canyonlands. This amazing landscape is a Mecca for mountain bikers and whitewater rafters. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you explore all if offers from natural bridges and arches to towering cliffs and bottomless canyons. Take in the panoramic views of this rugged red rock landscape at our favourite view point at Dead Horse Point.
Accommodation: Camping including meals

Day 15-16: Goblin Valley & Western Ranch

Visit Goblin Valley State Park to explore the strange rock formations which have been weathered by the elements. Our next stop is a very special one as we spend a couple of days checking out life on an authentic Western Ranch nestled in the secluded high country of central Utah. We spend two nights in ranch house cabin-style accommodation, set amidst stunning mountain scenery. Whether you're an experienced horse-rider or a novice, this is certainly the place to get on a horse and take a ride around the wide expanses and absorb the beauty of the great outdoors. As the sun goes down, we get the chance to huddle around a camp fire and exchange stories like the cowboys have done so all those years. Country-style hospitality and sumptuous home-cooked meals are all included during our stay at our home on the range.
Accommodation: Ranch stay with meals included

Day 17: Bryce Canyon National Park

We climb in elevation to almost 8000 feet and traverse a high plateau to Bryce Canyon National Park. "Mysterious", "breathtaking" and "out of this world", are only a few of the descriptions offered by past visitors to describe this 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 us to hike right in amongst these unique rock formations. Wherever you walk, you will encounter a kaleidoscope of colours and a fantasy land of rock spires that will leave you searching for your own way to describe this 'indescribable' place. Some of us may prefer to remain on the rim and photograph the ever-changing shadows and hues as the sun makes its way across the wide-open sky.
Accommodation: Camping including meals

Day 18: Zion National Park

We make our way back to Utah and onto Zion, one of the most spectacular destinations in the US. 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 as it meanders below massive, cathedral-like, sandstone walls. With two nights here, we will have plenty of time to explore.
Accommodation: Camping including meals

Day 19: Zion National Park

We 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. We warm up our legs by taking some of the short hikes from the valley floor to view the Lower Emerald pool and then continue on to the sparkling Upper Emerald pools, passing a waterfall along the way to discover Zion's "beach." We can also cool off from the summer sun by exploring the Riverside Walk section of the Virgin River. If you are 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 will ever experience. If weather conditions permit, you may choose to hike deep into the Zion Narrows. Of course, horse riding is available if you'd prefer a seat with a view!
Accommodation: Camping with meals included

Day 20: Monument Valley

From red rock canyons to Indian territory, we head into the heart of the Navajo Nation in Arizona. Monument Valley is sacred land to those who call it home. The sandstone monoliths and spectacular sunsets and sunrises have been the backdrop to countless 'westerns' featuring cowboys riding off into the desert. Opt to take a Navajo-guided backroads tour off the beaten track and experience the rich Native American culture of this tribe and an incredible array of rock formations. Learn about the history and culture of the Navajo people and how Native Americans have embraced this harsh environment. Such a day could only be topped off by a spectacular desert sunset before we return to our campsite.
Accommodation: Hotel included | Meals paid locally

Day 21-22: Grand Canyon National Park

Leaving Monument Valley we travel south through the Navajo Reservation to the Cameron Trading Post to browse and shop for local jewellery, crafts and cultural souvenirs. Then we traverse the eastern entrance of Grand Canyon and catch our first glimpse of it 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.

Once again, you will have plenty of opportunities to explore the park at your own pace. In your free time, we highly recommend a scenic helicopter flight over the canyon, which offer perspectives that you cannot see by just visiting on foot. Venture down the Bright Angel Trail to Plateau Point, or just stroll along the more leisurely West Rim Trail and shuttle bus out to Hermit's Rest. Finish off the day by watching the amazing IMAX film, "The Grand Canyon Experience" and enjoy a spectacular sunset over one of the World's natural wonders.
Accommodation: Camping including meals

Day 23-24: Las Vegas

Travel down the Historic Route 66 with a stop at the roadside town of Seligman for a full dose of Americana at the famous Snow Cap Diner. Then it's time to enjoy the bright lights and casinos in the city that never sleeps. Las Vegas is the fastest growing city in United States and the entertainment capital of North America - home to pirates and pyramids, weddings and waterfalls. If it is gambling you want, you have come to the right place! Nowhere else in the world will you find as many casinos, clubs and all-you-can-eat buffets. Why not hit the strip tonight for a party?
Accommodation: Hotel included | Meals paid locally

Day 25-27: Sierra Nevadas and Yosemite National Park

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. After a visit to see the amazing giant sequoia trees, Yosemite Valley beckons. Here we may bicycle, take a dip in the Merced River or wander the meadows. We will get to hike on the many trails that will enable us to leave the crowds behind. The famous sites situated along these trails include Yosemite Falls, Nevada Falls, Vernal Falls, Mirror Lake and Half Dome. 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 our minds.
Accommodation: Camping including meals

Day 28: Yosemite to San Francisco

Make your way towards San Francisco for a tour of the laidback Haight Ashbury and iconic Golden Gate Bridge.

This tour ends at our gateway hotel at approximately 17:00 hrs. We can book you post-tour accommodation at our gateway hotel if required. If you are planning to fly tonight, please do not book a flight that departs before 21:00 hrs.

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  • A 10% deposit per person is required to book.
  • Full payment is due 8 weeks before the tour departure
  • We are an ABTA and ATOL operator offering financial security for our inclusive tours.
  • If you prefer to book by telephone please contact our UK sales office
  • Prices are land only. Call 0333 999 7951 for a flight inclusive quote

Solo Sleepers   Optional Solo Sleeper

There are no forced supplements for single travellers. Accommodation is based on twin-share, so if you're travelling on your own, you'll share with a fellow passenger of the same sex. However, if you would prefer your own space our Solo Sleeper Option can be requested from per person. This will guarantee you your own room & tent for every night of the tour except for the ranch stay on days 15 & 16. The number of single rooms & tents we can offer is limited, so it's best to book early. Simply select the "Solo Sleepers" check box on the booking form or request over the phone.

Important Notes

We highly recommend you book this trip at least 30 days prior to departure. Reservations received within 30 days will be on request basis.


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Available: Seats are available. Book Online now!
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Contact Us: Seats may be available. Please contact us.

Private Departures

Why not arrange your own Grand American Adventures departure? For groups of 8 or more, we can offer private departures on any of our published itineraries enabling friends, families or organizations to enjoy our style of travel at special rates. Although tours will run as per our standard itinerary shown here, slight modifications may be considered and dates can be chosen to suit your needs. (Subject to seasonal/operational restrictions). So contact us today and start planning your own adventure.

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Tour Extras

We've offer a whole range of travel extras with everything from city sightseeing, additional hotel nights, insurance and more so you can organise everything you'll need for your trip in one easy place

Hotels Before and After your trip

Tours begin and end at designated hotels in the departure and arrival cities, starting at 7.30am (check your tour voucher for exact details) and finishing at around 5pm, so it's a great idea to book a room for the night before and after your tour. You can book hotels either online when you book your tour or by call our sales team.

Holiday Inn Golden Gateway

SAN FRANCISCO - HOLIDAY INN GOLDEN GATEWAY
This hotel is right on the San Francisco Trolley Line and you can enjoy the epic city views from the rooftop pool or from your bed, every room has a view!

  • Twin share:  per person per night
      Matched with another traveller of the same sex.
       
    Full room:  per room per night
      Single or double room for travellers on the same booking.


Book Flights

Our specialist flights department can offer UK customers a great airline fare to all of our travel destinations.

Book Flights

We have preferred contracts with many international carriers and have secured some of the most competitive prices in the industry. We are also ATOL protected and IATA licensed.

Special offers are regularly available, so call us now on 0208 682 8920 or click below to request a flight quote by email.

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Travel Insurance

At Grand American Adventures we believe that your safety and enjoyment are the most important parts of your holiday.

Travel Insurance

Before you join your Grand American Adventures tour you MUST be covered by insurance that includes adequate coverage for baggage, medical expenses and the cost of repatriation. We can offer you a comprehensive travel insurance policy which is completely tailored for your trip and is specially designed to include all the activities listed.

See our insurance page for more information.


City Sightseeing Tours

If you are spending extra time in our gateway cities, you can now plan in advance by pre-booking unique city sightseeing day tours in addition to your trip.

San Francisco City Tours

SAN FRANCISCO

All city day tours are operated by local experts who are dedicated to take you behind the scenes so you know it like a local! When booking your trip, simply select your chosen city tours from the Tour Extras section on the online booking form.

> View City Sightseeing Tours

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