Travel from San Francisco to Las Vegas and visit Yosemite National Park

Hit the open roads of California and Nevada. On the way from San Francisco to Las Vegas, wind through the barren deserts of Death Valley and the evergreen forests of Sierra Nevada. Head for California's bountiful mountain region, including its most famous national park – Yosemite and finish among the wacky characters of Sin City. Combining two ever-changing cities with consistently astounding natural beauty, this trip is a great way to experience a taste of what road-tripping in the USA has to offer.

Start
San Francisco, United States
Finish
Las Vegas, United States
Countries
United States
Themes
Explorer
Code
SSOH
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 13
Carbon offset
357kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Get right into the best of California and Nevada in just a week. Enjoy the freedom to discover buzzing cities and outstanding national parks at your own pace, and let someone else do the driving!
  • Towering granite cliffs, cascading waterfalls, redwood forests and epic night skies – Yosemite National Park feels like utopia. Others might breeze through in a day, but two nights camping gives you loads of time to spot bears, crane your neck to look up at incredibly tall trees, and hike through stunning wildflower valleys
  • Brave the hottest place on Earth and be rewarded with much more than a flat and barren wasteland. Death Valley is ethereal landscapes of sand dunes, water-sculpted canyons, extinct volcanic craters and, in the spring, fields of wildflowers
  • What better place to finish a trip than in the entertainment capital of the world – Las Vegas. If you want it, Vegas has got it. Maybe celebrate the end of your adventure with a limo tour of the Strip

Itinerary

Welcome to the USA! With spectacular coastline, iconic sights, and a humming cultural mix across its unique neighbourhoods, San Francisco is the perfect chilled-out place to start this American adventure. Your trip begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm today – double check with reception to confirm the time and place. There are no activities planned today so you can arrive at anytime before then. If you can't arrange a flight that arrives on time, you may wish to arrive a day early – we’ll happily book you additional accommodation (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. As there’s so much to do in San Fran, and no time spent here on this trip, we recommend arriving a few days early anyway! We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have these on hand. In any free time, you can catch a tram to visit the waterfront, feast like a king in Chinatown, peruse zany artwork in SoMa, or do a one-day sightseeing tour of San Francisco with Urban Adventures, like ‘Temples, Tea and Beatniks’. Tonight maybe kick off the trip by gathering your group together for a first dinner – maybe a bowl of famous clam chowder at Fisherman’s Wharf.
Special Information
Notes: This trip doesn't allow time for a visit to Alcatraz, so you'll need to make your own arrangements to visit. Tickets must be booked in advance as they are limited and sell out quickly. You can make your reservations online: http://www.alcatrazcruises.com/ or by calling +1.415.981.7625 between the hours of 8am-7pm, Pacific Standard Time (USA). We recommend you reserve your tickets for the day before the tour commences.
Leave the city behind today and head east into the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. You’ll be trading skyscrapers for giant sequoias, with your destination the birthplace of the national park – Yosemite (approximately 4.5 hours). The scenery you’ll pass will have you itching to get on your hiking boots and go explore. Yosemite National Park is nature's greatest back yard, the very definition of outstanding natural beauty. With so many options, you're bound to find a walk or hike that suits your steepness and difficulty preference. Choose to take a short walk through the valley for views of towering granite cliffs, or take a more vigorous hike to higher elevations – trek under the cooling breezes of Nevada Falls (4-5 hours) or to the serenity of Mirror Lake (45 minutes). Keep an eye out for squirrels, and perhaps even a bear, along the way. Camping here is an incredible way to get closer to nature and appreciate the park’s beauty. The next day is free to explore this vast wilderness at your own pace. With such amazing scenery around you, you should probably keep your camera on hand at all times! Visit the park's museum, photo gallery, shops and restaurants, pick another a hike and be amazed at the cascading waterfalls, or perhaps cycle through the valley and play i-spy on the lush valley floor. Views of Glacier Point, Tunnel View, Tuolumne Meadows, wildflower-filled meadows and snow-capped mountains will leave your jaw on the floor. In summer you can also take it easy and soak up the stunning vistas as you float down the Merced River, with a finishing drink at the park’s café just the trick.
Continue driving east today and travel through the Tioga Pass (snow levels permitting) into the eastern Sierra Nevada (approximately 3-4 hours). Spectacular mountain scenery, crystal clear lakes and breath-taking vistas are in store for you on today's drive. Then a real contrast await in Death Valley – one of the hottest, driest places on the planet. Brave these extremes though and you’ll be rewarded with a geographically stunning and unique landscape. We’re definitely not exaggerating when we say it's hot. The mercury tips at over 56°C in the summer, but it’s this heat that has created the spectacle that everyone comes to see: never-ending low shimmering salt flats, mountainous peaks and the bizarre ‘Devil’s Golf Course’. The national park features huge sand dunes, sculpted rocks, isolated valleys and volcanic craters, and the canyon and mountain walls beautifully change colour with the changing light. Explore its unique ecosystem, a place that is surprisingly rich in living things. If the conditions are favourable, take a small walk onto the sand to see how life manages to survive among the inhospitable terrain.
Special Information
Please note that on extreme heat days we may not be able to visit Death Valley itself if we feel that the conditions present a safety risk. In these cases, we will visit some areas on the outskirts with similar geography (but higher elevation and therefore not as hot) and also visit a ghost town in the area.
Travel east through Death Valley and see the entertainment capital of the world appear out of the desert (approximately 6 hours). Las Vegas caters to all tastes, from opulent casinos on the Strip to stimulating museums, dazzling circus shows, aquariums and botanical gardens. Try your luck on the casino floor, catch an eye-popping performance, show off your moves at an all-night party spot, hit top speed at a theme park, relive the city’s past at the Neon Museum (graveyard of iconic Vegas signs), head downtown for a slice of retro Vegas, or just simply relax at the pool. Stand under the dazzling show of lights and look out across the crazy hotels that have recreated the icons of Egypt and Europe here in the desert. Maybe gather together the group for your final night and test your limits at an all-you-can-eat buffet. There are no activities planned for the final day (Day 6) and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
n/a
Transport
Private vehicle
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (3 nights), Hotel (2 nights)
Included activities
  • Yosemite National Park
  • Death Valley National Park

Dates

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Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide 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.

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Reviews

Our Vegas to San Fran - Reverse trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 9 reviews in the last year.

Vegas to San Fran - Reverse , August 2015

Vegas to San Fran - Reverse , August 2015