Come face to face with the USA's wild frontiers

Head out across the wide, rugged western expanses of the US of A for an enthralling sampling of all-American culture and landscapes. Whir along Route 66, gape in awe at the world's grandest canyon and embark on nature hikes through Zion National Park. Revel the night away in Las Vegas, camp out in Monument Valley and wander among the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon. For a travel experience that leaves no stones unturned in mining one of the world's richest travel destinations, this two-week adventure is just the ticket.

1,000 holidays, 120 countries 20% OFF everything

Get 20% OFF all trips when you travel before 31 March 2018. Hurry - offer only available until midnight on 25th September 2017.

Terms & Conditions

Start
Los Angeles, United States
Finish
Las Vegas, United States
Country
United States
Style
Basix
Theme
Explorer
Code
SSRUC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 13

Why we love this trip

  • The Grand Canyon is one of the most immense and spectacular canyon systems in the world. We spend two days here to make the most of this incredible site

  • From the stone hoodoos of Bryce Canyon to the hanging gardens of Zion National Park, see a diversity of landscapes all within a short drive of each other

  • As well as the famous must-see attractions on this trip, visit some lesser-known but no less spectacular national parks, such as Dead Horse Point and Arches National Park

  • The iconic sandstone formations of Monument Valley have played backdrop to many a cowboy western. Learn about Navajo culture and history during a jeep tour of the park, before spending a unique night in a traditional hogan hut

Is this trip right for you?

  • This is a participatory trip. That’s a fancy way of saying you’re not just along for the ride – you’re part of a team! You know the phrase ‘the more you put in, the more you get out’. Well that’s extra true on this trip. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and help out with camp activities like food prep and washing up. It’s all about giving your new travel mates a hand – everyone knows there’s nothing worse than trying to put up a tent on your own!

  • That teamwork also extends to our optional food kitty of approximately US$10 per day, run to cover the cost of meals. This kitty saves you worrying about stuff like where to get food or what exactly sales tax is, and actually helps keep your costs down. Instead of paying individually as you go, it means we can bulk purchase items and cook our own food – though there’s always the chance to use it for the occasional pizza night! The kitty is optional and for your convenience, so if you've got specific dietary requirements you can opt out and purchase (and cook) your own food.

  • The United States is a world of endless possibilities – that’s why our Basix trips are designed so they fit together as (not quite endless) combinations. That means while you might just be starting your trip, some of your new travel mates may have been travelling together for a week or more (and so have some great tips for you). You can see how our trips fit together and all the different possible combinations at www.intrepidtravel.com/brochures. Simply click view/download on the North America brochure and look at the combo map on page 12.

  • You'll be travelling in a van with a group of travellers, so conditions may feel a little cramped. This is all part of the adventure, however, and you might even make some long-term friends.

  • The USA is a big country. Distances between destinations may be longer than what you're used to, especially if you're coming from Europe. There are many long days of driving, so expect to spend a lot of time in the van.

  • Although our vans do have air conditioning, it has to work pretty hard to keep a full group cool. Expect to feel hot during summer and cold at other times of the year, especially at night. Please consider the season and research the weather conditions to determine the best time to travel for you. Remember to come prepared with adequate clothing.

  • This trip involves a lot of walking through the trails of the national parks and the sparkling streets of the cities. Please ensure you bring sturdy walking shoes and comfortable clothes. To make the most of the trip, it's best if you have at least a moderate level of fitness.

Itinerary

Welcome to the USA! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting in the hotel lobby today at 6 pm. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

As this trip spends little time in Los Angeles, we recommend you arrive a few days early to see the sights. The 'City of Angels' is world-renowned for the glamorous districts of Hollywood and Beverly Hills, not to mention the shopping on Rodeo Drive. From Venice Beach to Disneyland, it's a veritable smorgasbord for the senses. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). You might consider doing our one-day Urban Adventure sightseeing tour of Los Angeles (see urbanadventures.com).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today drive south for two-and-a-half hours to San Diego, close to California's border with Mexico. Sunny San Diego is a great city to get out and explore as it serves up year-round temperate weather. Perhaps relax along the golden beaches of Mission Bay, take a stroll through Balboa Park or feast on some delicious Mexican fare. In the evening, you may like to head down to the Pacific Beach district and sample some of the bars on Garnet Street.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • San Diego - Balboa Park Museum Pass - USD44
  • San Diego - Beaches - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today head away from the coast and drive to Joshua Tree National Park. Sitting between the Mojave and Colorado Deserts, the park is famous for its spectacular desert plants, including Joshua trees, cacti and Mojave yuccas. The area is also home to striking rock formations and mountain ranges. You might like to head out on a scenic hike around the park or even take a refreshing dip in the Colorado River. Today's total driving time is around seven hours.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Joshua Tree National Park
Optional Activities
  • Colorado River - Swimming - Free
  • Joshua Tree National Park - Hiking - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Drive for six hours to Grand Canyon National Park. Words don't do justice to the Grand Canyon. This stunning gorge is 1.5 kilometres deep, formed by over six million years of erosion from the Colorado River. You'll spend two nights here, in order to allow a full day of exploration tomorrow.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Grand Canyon National Park
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is a free day to explore the Grand Canyon, one of the largest canyon systems in the world. Stroll along the meandering South Rim Trail or hike your way down to Plateau Point. If you're feeling extra adventurous, you might even opt for a scenic helicopter flight over the area (at your own expense). In the early evening, relax at the canyon's edge and enjoy a spectacular sunset over one the world's natural wonders.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Grand Canyon - Helicopter flight (45 mins) - USD295
  • Grand Canyon - Hiking - Free
  • Grand Canyon - IMAX movie - USD15
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we drive for about five hours to Las Vegas. This may be the gambling capital of the world, but there's plenty to do if gambling isn't your thing. Hit the shops, feel your stomach drop on a rooftop roller coaster or simply stroll along the Strip, soaking up the glitz and gaudiness. In the evening, perhaps feast on an 'all you can eat' buffet, check out one of the many shows on offer or party the night away in a Vegas nightclub.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet any new travellers that join the group.
Today leave Nevada and drive for around three hours to Zion National Park. The park is home to stunning desert landscapes, sculpted rock formations, waterfalls and hanging gardens. There will be plenty of time on arrival to stretch your legs and have a good look around the park. Go for a hike in Zion Canyon, or if you are feeling adventurous (and aren't afraid of heights) tackle the famous Angel's Landing Trail. In the evening, set up camp for the night.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Zion National Park
Optional Activities
  • Zion National Park - Hiking - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Drive for around two-and-a-half hours to Bryce Canyon. The canyon is famous for its 'hoodoos' - odd-shaped rock spires formed by centuries of erosion. You will have ample time to explore the park's extensive network of hiking trails, from the easy Rim Trail, to the moderate Queen's Garden Trail or the strenuous Peek-a-boo Loop. Wherever you walk, you'll encounter unique landscapes and a kaleidoscope of desert colours.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
Optional Activities
  • Bryce Canyon National Park - Hiking - Free
  • Bryce Canyon - Horseback Riding - USD60
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Continue on your journey this morning through the impressive Utah landscape. Depending on time and the group's interest, perhaps make a stop at Capitol Reef National Park (additional cost) before heading to Moab. Close to the incredible Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, Moab is a small city in Utah that attracts hikers, mountain bikers and nature enthusiasts. Arches National Park is punctuated with spectacularly eroded sandstone formations, and contains the world's largest concentration of natural stone arches. Take a hike out to see famous sights such as Delicate Arch and Landscape Arch. The total driving time today is approximately five-and-a-half hours.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Arches National Park
Optional Activities
  • Arches National Park - Hiking - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
On your second day in Moab, discover the red plateaus, cliffs and canyons of nearby Deadhorse Point State Park. Enjoy incredible views from Deadhorse Point. 610 metres (2,000 feet) above the ground, cowboys used to the point to round up wild mustangs in the 19th century. You might like to take an optional float down the Colorado River, or even hire a mountain bike to explore the area.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Dead Horse Point State Park
Optional Activities
  • Moab - Float Trip on Colorado River - USD45
  • Moab - Mountain Biking - USD50
  • Moab - Slickrock Hummer tour - USD100
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today drive through southern Utah to Monument Valley. Monument Valley is so-named for the giant sandstone formations scattered across the desert. The backdrop for countless westerns, the valley is part of the biggest Indian reservation in the US and home to more than 200,000 Navajo Indians. Head out on a guided jeep tour of the valley. Get your camera out and snap some photos of the spectacular landscape, which changes colour with the movement of the sun. Spend the night in a hogan, a traditional Navajo hut made of logs and earth. Total driving time today is approximately three hours.
Accommodation
  • Hogan (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Monument Valley - Jeep tour & overnight experience
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Drive through the unspoiled landscapes of the northern Arizona desert plateau to Lake Powell in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. This enormous manmade lake was created from the building of the Glen Canyon Dam along the Colorado River. Explore hidden coves and canyons, take a dip in the fresh water or laze on the lake's sunny shores. You could even paddle around in a kayak. Total driving time today is around three-and-a-half hours.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Optional Activities
  • Lake Powell - Antelope Canyon tour - USD35
  • Glen Canyon - Dam Tour - USD5
  • Lake Powell - Swimming - Free
  • Lake Powell - Horseback ride - USD64
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
ANTELOPE CANYON
Please note that while there are several operators running tours of Antelope Canyon, we only work with a select few who have satisfied our safety criteria. As a result, it can sometimes be difficult to get bookings for this activity, and it therefore cannot be guaranteed. If you particularly wish to do this activity, please speak to your leader on day 1 so that they have the best chance of getting a booking.
Today drive across the border into Nevada and back to Las Vegas. The drive should take around five hours in total. Las Vegas may be the gambling capital of the world, but there's plenty to do if gambling isn't your thing. Hit the shops, feel your stomach drop on a rooftop roller coaster or simply stroll along the Strip, soaking up the glitz and gaudiness.

The trip finishes on arrival into Las Vegas and no accommodation is provided tonight. The arrival time depends on each group, but if you decide to fly out on this day, please don't book a flight before 8pm. This will give you enough time to catch a shuttle from the hotel to the airport and be there two hours before departure. If you are staying in town for the evening, perhaps feast on an 'all you can eat' buffet, check out one of the many shows on offer or party the night away in a Vegas nightclub. If you do wish to spend extra time in Las Vegas we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Optional Activities
  • Las Vegas - Helicopter Tour of The Strip - USD110
  • Las Vegas - Limo (per group) - USD300
  • Las Vegas - Big Apple Express roller coaster - USD15
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL
If you are spending extra nights in Las Vegas and are interested in seeing a Cirque du Soleil show, you can book discounted tickets in advance at http://cirk.me/intrepid.

Meals

1 dinner

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (9 nights), Hogan (1 night), Hotel (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Joshua Tree National Park
  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Zion National Park
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Arches National Park
  • Dead Horse Point State Park
  • Monument Valley - Jeep tour & overnight experience
  • Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Dates & availability

Trip search is unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Bright Lights & Canyons of the USA trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

Jump to a departure month
Travel lightly with Intrepid. We’ve offset the main sources of carbon emissions from this trip on your behalf, including transport, accommodation & waste. Read more

Important notes

1. This trip finishes on arrival into Las Vegas in the afternoon on day 13.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Reviews

Our Bright Lights & Canyons of the USA trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 4 reviews in the last year.

Bright Lights & Canyons of the USA, August 2017

James Garguilo

Bright Lights & Canyons of the USA, August 2017

XUAN TRANG PHAM