The best of America's west
Encompassing the biggest and best of the America's west, this tour explores the nations premier national parks and visits some of its iconic and fascinating cities.
Salt Lake City,
- United States
- Physical rating
- Group size
Why we love this trip
Total Solar Eclipse
San Francisco - the city by the bay
Yosemite National Park
The Hoodoos of Bryce Canyon
The Geysers of Yellowstone
In San Francisco you will meet your group at the hotel.
There are no meals included on this day.
Morning guided driving tour of San Francisco's Union Square, Civic Plaza and Golden Gate Park and visit California Academy of the Sciences. You evening is free to explore San Francisco.
Today we leave the city and travel through the Sierra Nevada foothills to Yosemite National Park, founded in 1890. With it's majestic valley flanked by sheer granite walls, towering waterfalls, giant sequoias, and crowned by iconic Half Dome, it's easy to see why Yosemite is one of the most visited parks in the country. After an afternoon to explore Yosemite Valley. From our hotel deck, take in the night sky, which typically offers favourable stargazing conditions due to limited light and air pollution.
From the wonders of Nature to the neon of Las Vegas. Enjoy a free evening to enjoy the city's nonstop gaming, shows, world class dining, or just walking the extravagant casino displays.
After leaving behind the bright lights of Vegas we head a few hours into Utah where we'll explore Zion National Park. Dubbed "Zion" by Mormon pioneers calling it the promise land, the park is a narrow valley cut by the Virgin River flanked by sandstone walls rising more than 2,000 feet (600 meters) above the valley floor. The red, orange and pink sandstone cliffs, formed by sediment of the Mesozoic era provide impressive back drop for a leisurely walk along the river, or a more in depth hike to Emerald Pools. Enjoy a walk of your choice in the afternoon or just relax at the park lodge to admire the scenery.
A short but spectacular drive brings us to Bryce NP, where you can spend the afternoon on a walk among the coloured sandstone hoodoos that make the canyon of Bryce famous. At night Bryce Canyon is the ultimate place to learn about and enjoy the splendour of the night sky. Far from the light pollution of civilization, and protected by a special force of park rangers and volunteer astronomers known as "The Dark Rangers," Bryce Canyon is the last grand sanctuary of natural darkness. The night sky at Bryce is so dark we can see 7500 stars on a moonless night! Here the Milky Way extends from horizon to horizon like a vast silver rainbow! Here Venus, and even Jupiter, are bright enough to cause you to cast a shadow! No visit to Bryce Canyon is complete without joining the Dark Rangers for one of their educational and entertaining celebrations of natural darkness.
Today we leave the parks behind and head for Salt Lake City, the capital of Utah, founded by Brigham Young the leader of Mormon community. Visit Temple Square to gain greater understanding of Mormon culture, as well as admire the beautiful gardens and architecture.
Drive to Yellowstone, the world's first National Park and a designated World Heritage Site. Its great size (3,472 square miles or 8,987 square km), diverse wildlife and unique geologic highlights, provide no shortage of options to explore. Today we will explore park's geysers and hot springs with stops at Grand Prismatic Springs and the iconic Old Faithful Geyser.
Full day to explore Yellowstone's highlights. We'll keep our eyes open for wildlife such as bison, bears, and moose en route to Artist's Point and Yellowstone Falls. Short walks, moderate hikes are available from Artist's Point and leader will provided details. A coach bus will shuttle group to key points in park and a guide will provide interpretive talks.
Leaving Yellowstone we drive to Grand Teton National Park. A highlight of the park is leisurely walk along Jenny Lake with views of rugged peaks of the Grand Tetons towering above. Return across Jenny Lake by ferry. The walk can be extended as a half day hike to Inspiration Point. We continue to our Jackson hotel to prepare for next day's eclipse. An eclipse briefing will be given in the evening by Dr John Mason.
Our journey across the States will culminate today in a total solar eclipse and after an early start the group will set off to a specially selected location to witness this extraordinary sight. Once the eclipse is over we will enjoy celebratory meal.
Today we return to Salt Lake City, where you can enjoy an afternoon of shopping, evening dining at any of the town's fine restaurants. If fortunate, there might be an opportunity to attend a performance of the world renowned Tabernacle Choir.
Tour finishes in Salt Lake City.
There are no meals included on this day.
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Total eclipses are rare events that occur along a narrow track at a precisely calculated time. People who follow eclipses want to be at the location with the best chance of clear skies so we operate a range of tours that converge of the selected eclipse site for the days around the eclipse.
Essential Trip Information
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