Explore rocky canyon trails, multi-chromatic geysers and imposing mountain ranges, and marvel at a myriad of meteors showering the nightly sky. Experience the last frontiers of the Wild West and hike century-old trails of Antelope Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Monument Valley, Moab, Arches and Grand Canyon. See elk and bison, brown and grizzly bears, and search for coyote and cougar, bighorn sheep and mountain goat, and more than 250 bird species. Travel back in time and relive the days of fearless first settlers, gold miners, trappers and traders, who made their way west in rickety carriages or on horseback. It’s time to embark on this journey of discovery!
Moderately Active. May involve some moderate hikes in forests and nature reserves, getting in and out of vehicles and rocking boats, and walking in uneven pavement in archaeological sites, in some cases in extreme weather conditions, heat, high elevation and humidity.
Our national parks comprise some of the most spectacular sites, but they’re also governed by extreme heat and winter snows. Montana and Wyoming are difficult to traverse in the winter, while Nevada and Utah can have some extreme heat in the summer. On the extension, going through the Tioga pass and Yosemite can be difficult the later the season. Best time to access all the wonders offered on this tour is May through September, but we do not suggest July.
Arrive in Sin City USA, located in the Mojave Desert, and transfer to your resort and casino. Tonight, meet your fellow travelers during a welcome dinner. GOLDEN NUGGET. (D)
Leaving the bright lights of Vegas behind, you drive approximately 3 hours to Zion Canyon – 15 miles long and up to half a mile deep, it cuts through the reddish and tan-colored Navajo sandstone. Sedimentation, uplift, and erosion have resulted in elevations ranging from 3,600 to 8,700 feet, and the unique geology of massive cliff walls has created diverse environments of deserts, canyons, hanging gardens, riparian zones and high plateaus, hosting a variety of unusual plants and animals, some not found elsewhere. Visit the museums, discover the surroundings with the park tram, hike the trails (easy to strenuous), or enjoy the IMAX Movie Theater (at additional cost.) In the late afternoon, continue to Bryce Canyon, your home for the next two nights. Next day, observe the hoodoos of the Claron Formation at Bryce Canyon, ranging in size from that of an average human to heights exceeding a 10-story building. The canyons and plateau of Bryce are home to many animals and birds: hummingbirds, nesting Peregrine Falcon, elk and Pronghorn. Stop by at the visitor’s center to learn the history of the geological formations and this evening, enjoy a traditional ‘cowboy’ dinner. BEST WESTERN GRAND. (B,L; B,D)
Drive towards north- central Arizona to Page, the gateway to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Lake Powell. Enjoy a picnic by Lake Powell, one of the most popular lakes in Arizona formed by one of the world’s highest dams and the waters of the Colorado River. Afterward, discover one of the most spectacular attractions of the area, Antelope Canyon, on a jeep tour through the vibrant pink sand and dramatic red sandstone. Located on a Navajo reservation, it is one of the most visited because it is extremely beautiful, with just the right combination of depth, width, length, rock color and ambient light. Enjoy a short hike to Horseshoe Bend for panoramic views of the emerald green Colorado River. LAKE POWELL RESORT. (B,L)
Enjoy a 45-minute tour of Glen Canyon Dam, a concrete structure rising 710 feet above the Colorado River, an engineering feat. Continue to Grand Canyon National Park in time for a magnificent sunset, reflecting an abundance of colors and shades of the desert. With the diverse landscape, habitat and elevation change from the top of the Rims to the Canyon floor, there is a huge variety of wild mammals in the Grand Canyon: Canyon bats, bighorn sheep, mountain lion, elk, California Condor and Bald Eagle, to name a few. Next day board the Grand Canyon Railway for a scenic ride back to the Canyon – 2 hours each way. You’ll have time to select the activity that best suits you: hiking, visiting historical sites, park ranger led walks and talks, bird watching and wildlife viewing, before returning to your hotel at Williams on the 3:30 train. GRAND CANYON RAILWAY HOTEL. (B Daily)
Discover Monument Valley, a wide, flat landscape interrupted by colorful red buttes and spires rising hundreds of feet into the air. One of the most remarkable landscapes in the world, it is featured as background in countless Western films. Embark on a Navajo-guided jeep tour with lunch on the Navajo Reservation and continue to Four Corners National Monument, to find the one spot in the USA where you literally can be in four places at once – Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado all meet here. Located in a Navajo Indian Reservation, you will have time to browse the local crafts and find a way to stand in all four States at the same time. Continue to Cortez, Colorado for your overnight. HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS. (B,L)
With a ranger, explore the cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made Mesa Verde their home for over 700 years. Today, the park protects over 5,000 archaeological sites including 600 cliff dwellings, the most famous of which is Spruce Tree House, one of the best preserved examples of these ancient homes. Continue toward Moab and enjoy a truly spectacular sunset at Arches National Park. Next day, discover a landscape of contrasting colors, landforms and textures unlike any other in the world at Arches. Over 2,000 natural stone arches and hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive fins and giant balanced rocks make this a landscape that seemingly has been drawn for a children’s cartoon. Your afternoon and evening are free for optional activities: hummer tour, rafting, horseback riding, mountain biking, etc. BEST WESTERN PLUS CANYONLANDS. (B Daily)
A scenic drive takes you to Salt Lake City, passing by brick cottages, log cabins, and tree-lined country roads. The city by the lake was founded in 1847 by Mormon followers who cultivated the arid valley. Visit the Temple Square featuring restaurants, gardens and historical sites and enjoy a farewell dinner. Next day, bid the Southwest goodbye as you transfer to the airport and return home. SALT LAKE PLAZA HOTEL. (B,D)
Continue your exploration of America’s West with a drive to Yellowstone National Park, stopping for lunch at Idaho Falls along the Snake River. Discover the Mammoth steaming limestone terraces and continue through the Lamar Valley where traffic may be delayed by roaming bison blocking the road. Search for abundant wildlife amid volcanic glaciations and erosion that have left features as varied as Specimen Ridge’s petrified trees, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and Tower Falls – a 132-foot drop of Tower Creek, framed by eroded volcanic pinnacles. Explore the Geyser basin – home to 60% of the world’s geysers; Old Faithful has rarely missed its eruptions during more than 120 years of observation. Then discover Grand Teton, towering more than a mile above the valley of Jackson Hole, rising to 13,770 feet. Stay at Jackson Hole and enjoy a full day discovering stunning mountain scenery, diverse wildlife, and a boat tour on Snake River.
Does not include international or domestic flights. Prices are based on 10 or more travelers, and are subject to change.
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