Enjoy a free day in the desert neon city of Las Vegas before your epic adventure begins. Take a stroll along The Strip to discover the resort hotels that make this desert city tick. A welcome meeting will be held at approximately 18:00 hrs in the evening with free time afterwards to explore the neon cityscape.
Accommodation: Hotel included | Meals: Paid locally
Leaving vibrant Las Vegas, make your way towards the Grand Canyon National Park stopping en route at the Route 66 town of Seligman, filled to the brim with pure Americana and echoing a time when it was the main highway across America.
The Grand Canyon itself is difficult to comprehend, even as you stand at the rim or hike down into the canyon. Carved over several millennia, this incredible 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 Colorado River, which runs 2,330 km through seven US states and two Mexican states.
In your free time, we highly recommend a scenic helicopter flight over the canyon, which offers perspectives that cannot be seen by 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 Bright Angel 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.
Please note: Due to park regulations, your leader is not able to hike with you at the Grand Canyon.
Trail: Grand Canyon Rim trails
There are number of different viewpoints along the trail which although differ in mileage and duration, remain stable with regards to altitude.
Trail: Bright Angel Trail to Plateau Point
Mileage: 10.7 miles (17.21 kms)
Altitude change: 3,195 feet
Duration: 7-8 hours (with lunch stop at Plateau Point)
Accommodation: Camping included | Meals: Breakfast (x1), lunch (x2) and dinner (x2) included
Discover sacred land in the heart of the Navajo Nation, Monument Valley, on a 4X4 vehicle, before continuing on foot. The red sandstone monoliths have been the backdrop to countless Westerns featuring cowboys riding off into the sunset. Here you'll explore the incredible array of rock formations on an included guided backroads tour and learn the magic and myth of the rich Native American culture. Your camp is also on the Navajo Tribal Lands of Monument Valley and is a photographer's paradise, with ample time to relax and view the valley's surreal sunset. This is set to be one of the highlights of your American adventure.
Walking: After disembarking the 4x4, you continue on foot primarily a long a flat desert surface. In total, you should be walking a maximum of 2.5 miles.
Accommodation: Camping included | Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
Visit Horseshoe Bend for that classic view of the Colorado River en route to the stunning Antelope Canyon, which in Navajo language means 'the place where water runs through rocks'. A Navajo guided visit is included and your guide will show you how flash floods have carved and sculpted this beautiful area, resulting in a smooth and colourful slot canyon. You continue your journey onto Kodachrome Basin State Park, before spending an evening camped out under the desert stars.
Accommodation: Camping included | Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
This morning you 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's a variety of scenic viewpoints and trails that range from easy to moderate in difficulty, but the group will hike the Peekaboo-Queens Garden Loop Trail. The 5.9-mile loop is a combination of three trails that offer the best of the park. There's a narrow canyon, arches and hoodoos galore but the toughest part of the hike is the ascent back to the top. You'll gain 582 feet when the hike is finished.
Trail: Peekaboo-Queens Garden Loop Trail
Mileage: 5.9 miles (9.4 kms)
Altitude change: 1,660 ft.
Duration: 3.5 hours
Accommodation: Camping included I Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
Next up is Zion National Park with its incredible mountains and beautiful valleys stretching as far as the eye can see. 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 in and around the fertile Virgin River as it meanders below massive, cathedral-like sandstone walls.
Warm up your legs by taking a short hike from the valley floor to view the Lower Emerald Pools before continuing to the sparkling Upper Emerald Pools, passing waterfalls along the way to Zion's 'beach'. On day 8 the group will enjoy one of the park's more ambitious walks to Angels Landing, to experience unbeatable 360-degree panoramic views. 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 are ever likely to cast your eye upon. If weather conditions permit, you may choose to hike deep into the Zion Narrows for a completely new perspective.
Trail: Angels Landing
Mileage: 4.4 miles (7.8 kms)
Altitude change: 2073 ft.
Duration: 3-4 hours
This hike features a series of switchback trails and technical scramble for the last remaining portion. It is not suited to those who are not good with heights.
Accommodation: Camping included | Meals: Breakfast (x2), lunch (x2) and dinner (x1) included
Today you make your way to one of the hottest, driest and lowest places on earth: Death Valley. Located in Eastern California's Mojave Desert, this arid area has only 5cm of rainfall each year and offers some incredible vistas and natural formations. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley, but with temperatures regularly topping 40 degrees plus, you'll be glad your hotel has air conditioning! Enjoy a wine and cheese evening with wonderful views.
Accommodation: Hotel included | Meals: Breakfast and lunch included
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. 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 famous sites situated along these trails include Yosemite Falls, Nevada Falls, Vernal Falls and Mirror Lake. Views are breathtaking from every vantage point and the granite formations of Half Dome, El Capitan and Cathedral Rocks are sure to be forever etched on your mind as some of the most beautiful scenery you've ever seen.
On day 11, you'll walk the Mist Trail, arguably one of the most outstanding day hikes from Yosemite Valley. The Mist Trail has some superb views as you walk across picturesque bridges up towards Vernal Falls, where the spray from the falls will cool you down on a hot summer's day, creating striking rainbows along the trail. Continue walking and you reach another beautiful waterfall, Nevada Falls. With no barriers, it really feels like you are well and truly in the California wilderness. Return via the John Muir Trail for the perfect afternoon views and if you're lucky you may even spot Black Bear and coyotes that roam the surrounding areas. There's never a dull moment in Yosemite.
Distance: 5.4 mi (8.7 km) round trip (via Mist Trail)
Elevation gain: 2000 ft. (610 m)
Time: 5-6 hours
After a visit to see the amazing Giant Sequoia trees, Yosemite Valley beckons. Here you can cycle, take a dip in the Merced River or wander the lush meadows.
Trail: Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias
Mileage: 2.5 miles (4 kms)
Altitude change: 400 ft.
Duration: 1.5-2.5 hrs
Accommodation: Camping included | Meals: Breakfast (x2), lunch (x3) and dinner (x3) included
Leaving Yosemite's towering Giant Sequoias behind, make your way towards the 'City by the Bay' where your tour ends. That's not before the chance to walk across Golden Gate Bridge, with views across Alcatraz and the bay. Completed in 1937, this iconic suspension bridge stretches for 2.7km and is one of the most photographed bridges in the world.
Another 'must do' if you have extra time in San Francisco is the offshore prison of Alcatraz, where you can learn all about the infamous inmates and their failed escape attempts. To do this you'll need to book directly with Alcatraz Cruises in advance, for the day after your tour finishes.
Meals: Breakfast and lunch included
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.