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.


Start
San Francisco, United States
Finish
Salt Lake City, United States
Country
United States
Style
Original
Theme
Astronomy
Code
EXUW
Physical rating
Ages
Min 14
Group size
Min 10, Max 51

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

Is this trip right for you?

  • Road tripping is the ultimate way to see the USA and on this trip there will be some long drive days. So on this trip you'll be spending a fair amount of time in a van with other travellers, so conditions may feel a little cramped. This is all part of the adventure, however, and you might even make some lifetime friends.

  • Traffic in and out of the larger cities can be hectic, especially during holiday periods. There may be delays, so be prepared to take part in car games to keep you entertained. Many of the cities on this trip are best explored on foot. To get the most out of these, plus also the hikes within the national parks, it is best if you have a reasonable level of physical fitness and are able to walk moderate-to-long distances.

  • This trip only allows for limited time at some destinations, so you may have to move quickly, and may not be able to see everything on your to-do list

Itinerary

Welcome to San Francisco – the city by the bay! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. Your guide will welcome you and brief you on the next few days ahead. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We’ll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader. If you’re going to be late, please inform hotel reception.

For those of you on the group flight, you will be met by our local representative at arrivals. They will be holding a sign with Intrepid on it. If for any reason you have any difficulty locating the driver/group please contact our local office on the number in the notes section below.
Accommodation
  • Holiday Inn San Francisco-Golden Gateway (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
After breakfast enjoy a morning guided tour of San Francisco Union Square & Fisherman's Wharf. Drive through Golden Gate Park with an afternoon visit to the California Academy of the Sciences (entry included).

The evening is free to enjoy at leisure.
Accommodation
  • Holiday Inn Golden Gateway (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today we leave the city and travel through the Sierra Nevada foothills to Yosemite National Park, founded in 1890. With its 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 the Yosemite Valley, we check-in at our Mariposa, CA hotel.
From our hotel area, take in the night sky, which typically offers favorable stargazing conditions due to limited light and air pollution.
Accommodation
  • Mariposa Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Accommodation
  • Bally's Resort and Casino (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Accommodation
  • La Quinta Inn & Suites Springdale (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Short drive to Bryce NP, where you can spend the afternoon on a walk among the colored sandstone hoodoos that make the canyon of Bryce famous. Tonight we’ll visit Bryce Canyon for night sky viewing. 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!
Accommodation
  • Best Western Ruby's Inn (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today we leave the parks behind and head for Salt Lake City, the capital of Utah and founded by Brigham Young, leader of Mormon community. Visit Temple Square to gain greater understanding of Mormon culture, as well as admire the beautiful gardens and architecture.
Accommodation
  • Holiday Inn Express & Suites Salt Lake City West Valley (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Drive to Yellowstone, the world's first National Park and designated World Heritage Site. Its massive size (3,472 square miles or 8,987 square km), diverse wildlife and unique geologic highlights, provide no shortage of options to explore.
Late afternoon we will have an introduction to park's geysers and hot springs with stops at Grand Prismatic Springs and the iconic Old Faithful, time permitting.
Accommodation
  • Best Western Desert Inn (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Full day to explore Yellowstone's highlights. We'll keep our eyes open for wildlife such as bison, grizzly 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 For those on shorter walks, there are shops, cafe and visitor to enjoy the experience. Coach bus will shuttle group to key points in park and AmAd guide provides interpretive talks
Accommodation
  • Best Western Desert Inn (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Leaving Yellowstone we drive to Grand Teton National Park. A highlight of the park is to leisurely walk along Jenny Lake with views of rugged Grand Teton Peaks towering more than 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) above. Return across Jenny Lake by ferry (optional and at own expense). Please note, your local guide cannot hike with you at Grand Tetons NP due to park restrictions.

We continue to our Jackson hotel to prepare for next day's eclipse, starting with an evening lecture with Dr. John Mason at the National Museum of Wildlife Art.
Accommodation
  • Super 8 Jackson (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
ECLIPSE VIEWING DAY! We will depart early (approximately 8am) for our exclusive viewing site at a Jackson area ranch. We will be able to spend the morning and early afternoon at the ranch, including a catered BBQ lunch.

Please note that all guests will be provided with eclipse viewing glasses.

Totality begins approximately 11:35am local time.

Return to Jackson midafternoon for time on own at leisure.
Accommodation
  • Gray Wolf Inn (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Today we return to Salt Lake City, where you can enjoy an afternoon of shopping or evening dining at any of the town's fine restaurants.
Accommodation
  • Holiday Inn Express Salt Lake City (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Departure day, with no activities planned. If you are booked on the group flight you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home.
Accommodation
  • Lexington Inn (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

11 breakfasts, 1 lunch

Transport

Private Coach

Accommodation

Hotels

Dates & availability

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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

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

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.