15 days departing SAN FRANCISCO from

Style: Active
Destination: USA West
Tour Code: PNL

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Trip Overview

This unique tour explores the crown jewels of America's National Park system, whilst enjoying the luxurious comfort of its historic lodges. Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon showcase some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes in the US, and their expansive vistas and abundant wildlife have been attracting visitors for over 100 years. Lodges that were built at the turn of the century to cater to this early wave of tourists are still operational in all their former glory, and today they're more than just places to stay, they're pieces of history!

Included Highlights
  • Stay in unique & historic National Park lodges
  • Two nights in Yosemite National Park
  • Lake Tahoe panoramic views
  • Two nights in Yellowstone National Park
  • Nightlife in western town of Jackson
  • Arches & Canyonlands National Parks
  • Navajo guided backroads tour of Monument Valley
  • Two nights at Grand Canyon North Rim
  • Amazing Grand Canyon sunrise or sunset
  • Zion's towering cliffs and narrow canyons
  • Scenic walks and hikes
  • Wildlife viewing opportunities
  • Cruise the Las Vegas Strip
  • Valley of Fire State Park
Tour Facts & Features
Accommodation: 8 nights in Historic National Park lodges + 7 hotel nights in 4 star twin share accommodation. For your own room request our optional Solo Sleeper (see Dates & Prices tab)
Transport: All transportation by private vehicle
Meals: All 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, restrictions apply)

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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 (2015 version)

Download the National Park Lodges trip dossier for tour-specific details including full itinerary, pre-departure information, packing tips and more about our style of travel.

2016 versions will be available in November. (Adobe Acrobat is required to read this pdf)

Download Dossier >

Optional Activities (paid locally)

Our optional activities offer the flexibility to do the things you want to and leave out the things you don't. Below are the main optional activities for this trip which can be arranged once you are on tour via your tour leader and paid for locally. Please note all costs are subject to change.

  • Western saloons - Jackson US$varies
  • Mountain biking - Moab US$100
  • Float trip on the Colorado River - Moab US$60-$90
  • Bike rental - Yosemite US$12-$34
  • Helicopter flight - Las Vegas US$115
  • Chuckwagon dinner - Jackson US$24-$34
  • Sunset champagne cruise - Lake Tahoe US$53
  • Float trip on the Merced River - Yosemite US$31
  • Extreme off-road hummer tour - Moab US$90-$100
  • Western Rodeo - Jackson US$20-$25
  • Western horseback riding - Zion US$40-$80
  • Drive-in Movie - Salt Lake City US$8
  • Mormon History Museum - Salt Lake City US$Free

Itinerary Update

All 2016 departures will be 15 days in duration departing from San Francisco and ending in Jackson, Wyoming. For 2016 itinerary please click here >

Day : 2016 departures only - Arrival day in San Francisco

Please note 2016 departures will be 15 days in duration with a revised itinerary including an arrival night at the beginning of the tour. On this arrival day there will be a meeting at 18.00 with your tour leader and group, the tour will then depart the next day. See itinerary update above for more details.

All 2016 departure dates displayed online have been updated to reflect the inclusion of this arrival day.

Day 1: San Francisco and Yosemite National Park

After departing San Francisco you head east through California's historic gold country and then high into the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the magnificent Yosemite National Park. You begin with an easy trail walk to the Giant Sequoias before your two night stay at the historic Wawona Lodge.
Meals: Meals paid locally

Featured Accommodation: Wawona Lodge
Wawona, a National Historic Landmark, rests upon verdant meadows and beside rushing streams. The tranquillity of this Victorian-style lodge in Yosemite makes it a favourite of those who prefer a relaxed environment and the gracious charm of a bygone era. All rooms are furnished with period pieces and antiques. There are no telephones or televisions, allowing you to completely escape and relax.

Day 2: 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. The Yosemite Valley beckons. Here you may bicycle, take a dip in the Merced River or wander the lush meadows.

Hiking in Yosemite is pretty special and anyone who visits the park must hit one of the many trails, which enable you 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 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 minds. In the evening you return to your historic lodge and have the chance to relax with a cocktail on the veranda.
Featured Accommodation: Wawona Lodge | Meals: Paid locally

Day 3: Lake Tahoe

From Yosemite you continue your journey to the vibrant forest and deep blue hues of beautiful Lake Tahoe, the second deepest lake in USA with a maximum depth of 1645 feet. 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. It is a major tourist recreational area in both summer and winter with one of its ski areas, Squaw Valley, playing host to the 1960 Winter Olympics. You stay in a hotel next to the lake and have the chance to enjoy an optional sunset cruise on a catamaran, which is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
Meals: Paid locally | Accommodation: Montbleu Resort Casino & Spa included

Day 4: Idaho

From Lake Tahoe you'll delve deeper into the vast desert for some grand scenery. The Great Basin Desert actually extends right across to California, Oregon, Idaho and Utah. You'll cover some great distances today, but also get to see some fascinating and contrasting scenery on your road trip.
Meals: Paid locally | Accommodation: Shilo Inn Twin Falls included

Day 5-6: Yellowstone National Park

Next up is Yellowstone National Park, the world's first national park and home to a large variety of wildlife including grizzly bear, wolf, bison and elk. This park is so large that its boundaries cross into three states. Most of the park sits in Wyoming, but parts of the reserve extend into Idaho and Montana. Yellowstone has one of the highest concentrations of geothermal activity on the planet. Herds of bison roam amongst the erupting geysers and steam rises from the various rivers running through the park. A fire in the 1980s destroyed much of the park, but it has recovered to the extent that it is now a living monument to nature's power of regeneration.
Meals: Paid locally

Featured Accommodation: Lake Yellowstone Lodge Cabins
Situated on a site long known as a meeting place for Native Americans, trappers and mountain men, Lake Yellowstone Lodge was completed in 1891 and was restored to its 1920s grandeur in 1990. Complete with ionic columns, extend gables and 15 false balconies, this majestic hotel sits on the shores of Yellowstone Lake and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The casually elegant restaurant features a delightfully extravagant menu. You'll stay in the comfortable twin-share cabins situated in the hotel grounds for a real authentic "frontier" feel.

Day 7: Jackson, Wyoming

You continue your journey in Wyoming, travelling through Grand Teton National Park where you can opt to take the ferry across Jenny Lake before hiking up to Inspiration Point past waterfalls to a viewpoint that will take your breath away. You overnight in the town of Jackson, a truly friendly and authentic western town experience. Once home to trappers and a hideout for outlaws and rustlers, Jackson is now the base for hikers to take on some lovely hiking trails as well as a town renowned for its cafes and western style saloons! With a permanent population of around 8,600 people and a far greater transient tourist population, it attracts many of the rich and famous and is a great base for exploring the Grand Teton Mountains.
Meals: Paid locally

Featured Accommodation: The Lexington at Jackson
Conveniently located in the heart of Jackson, The Lexington at Jackson Hole Hotel & Suites (formerly the Trapper Inn), is a family-owned hotel with deep roots in Jackson's historic Western community. Offering a perfect blend of Western hospitality and modern luxury, The Lexington provides a variety of well-appointed, spacious sleeping quarters and quality amenities. The warm and personable staff are always pleased to share local insights and will help you navigate the adventure, dining, shopping, sightseeing and wildlife viewing that makes Jackson Hole such a spectacular destination.

Day 8: Salt Lake City

Your 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. Salt Lake City 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 you 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.
Meals: Paid locally | Accommodation: Shilo Inn Suites Hotel included

Day 9-10: Arches & Canyonlands National Parks

Today are you are treated with yet more spectacular scenery amid the magnificent splendour of Arches National Park, located just a few miles outside Moab, this fantastic area will be your base for the next two 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 you have the opportunity to hike to many of these incredible arches, some of which are known as Landscape Arch and the famous Delicate Arch, the latter being the most iconic and more photographed of the arches in the park.

Alternatively, why not tackle the terrain high above on a guided "hummer" tour or take a float trip down the Colorado River. In contrast, Canyonlands National Park is a little known place where the mighty Colorado and Green Rivers meet, carving this amazing landscape. Popular with mountain bikers and white water rafters, this place is full of adventure. Whatever activities you choose to do, make sure you explore all Canyonlands National Park offers from natural bridges to towering cliffs and bottomless canyons.
Meals: Paid locally | Accommodation: Best Western Plus included

Day 11: Monument Valley

In the heart of the Navajo Nation in Arizona, Monument Valley is 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'll explore the incredible array of rock formations on an included guided back roads tour and then it's time to learn the magic and myths of the rich Native American culture. The Navajo Tribal Lands of Monument Valley is a true photographer's paradise. There is also ample time to relax and view the valley's surreal sunset.
Meals: Paid locally | Accommodation: Kayenta Monument Valley Inn included

Day 12-13: Grand Canyon National Park

You arrive at Grand Canyon National Park for your two night lodge stay on the North rim. 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. Located on the less travelled North Rim, enjoy time exploring the natural beauty of the Canyon at your own pace before retiring to the lodge to relax and to take in the expansive views of the Canyon below, not to mention the glorious sunset!

Featured Accommodation: Grand Canyon Lodge - North Rim
This historic property is the only lodging available on the North Rim of the National Park. Located at Bright Angel Point, the lodge was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987. Here you can enjoy the quiet serenity of the North Rim while enjoying comfortable authenticity of western log cabins. In the evening The Rough Rider Saloon and Lodge Dining Room offers a wide range of beverages, appetizers and hearty 'home cooked' meals. Please note that because you are staying on the north rim you will not have access to Grand Canyon helicopter flights.
Meals: Paid locally.

Day 14: Zion National Park

Make your way back to Utah and onto Zion, your last national park, and one of the most spectacular destinations in the USA park system. 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, you will have plenty of time to explore.
Meals: Paid locally

Featured Accommodation: Zion Lodge
The Zion National Park Lodge offers the only "in-park" accommodation around and lies in the middle of a venerable hiker's paradise. Designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood in the 1920s, the lodge was restored back to its original classic design in 1990. Most rooms have two queen-size beds, full bathrooms, a private porch or balcony and flat-screen television with satellite. They are clean, comfortable and within walking distance to trails and the main lodge. Red Rock Grill, Zion Lodge's recently renovated dining room, boasts spectacular views of the magnificent surroundings.

Featured Accommodation: Desert Pearl
A haven in the western desert for vacations and getaways beside the Virgin River and the majestic cliffs of Zion National Park. Your stay here will allow you to enjoy sunny days, breath-taking outdoor activities and starry nights framed within a deep canyon of stony copper, and let's not forget the pool; perfect for relaxing after a full day of exploring and hiking.

Day 15: 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 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." 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 breath-taking 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!
Featured Accommodation: Zion Lodge or Desert Pearl | Meals: Paid locally

Day 16: Valley of Fire State Park & Las Vegas

Visit the Valley of Fire State Park - Nevada's largest state park before leaving nature behind and heading into Las Vegas, Nevada, with all of its neon splendour. Las Vegas is the fastest growing city in the United States and is 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. End your incredible journey with a farewell party along the famous Las Vegas Strip.

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.

Tour Notes

Please note that the featured hotels & lodges may change if there are any unforeseen issues outside of our control. On the rare occasion that accommodation is changed we will stay in a local property of a similar standard.

Special Departures

If you want to make sure you're right in the heart of the action at the absolute best time to be there, then why not book one of our Special Departures.

4th July special departures

Celebrate the 4th of July in Zion National Park

One of the most celebrated occasions in the US, enjoy the festivities of Independence Day while in Zion National Park on the National Park Lodges tour.

> Book tour departing 21 June 2015

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  • A 10% deposit per person is required to book
  • Full payment is due 8 weeks before the tour departure
  • We charged no credit card fees or hidden surcharges
  • ABTA & ATOL licensed operator offering financial security for our tours
  • Prices are land only. Call 0333 999 7965 for a flight inclusive quote (UK)

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 for every night of the tour. Single rooms in the historic lodges are very limited so this option is on a request basis only. Please call us to enquire about this.

Important Notes

We highly recommend you book this trip at least 60 days prior to departure. Reservations received within 30 days will be on request and subject to availability of en-route accommodation.

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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.

Alexis Park Resort Hotel

An all-suite hotel features 3 outdoor pools and gym. All rooms have flat screen TV, mini bar and refrigerator.

  • 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.

Hotel Tomo

Centrally located in Japantown with shops, boutiques and restaurants all nearby and close to Union Square and Lower Pacific Heights.

  • 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 8921 or click below to request a flight quote by email.

> Request a flight quote now

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


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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