Experience the highlights of western USA

Discover the captivating cities and astounding natural attractions of the USA's west on a 19-day adventure that will take you from lively Los Angeles to stylish San Francisco. Experience the wonderful wilds of Joshua Tree, Zion and Yosemite national parks, explore Monumental Valley, Death Valley and the Grand Canyon, and join the high rollers and hard livers of illustrious Las Vegas. With exceptional outdoor excursions, some spectacular stretches of coastline and sensational city scenes, this is the ultimate round-up of the western USA's highlights.

Start
Los Angeles, United States
Finish
San Francisco, United States
Countries
United States
Themes
Explorer
Code
SSRSC
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 13
Carbon offset
970kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Take a strut down Hollywood's famed boulevards
  • Suss out San Diego's Old Town
  • Wander among the boulders of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Look out in awe over the Grand Canyon
  • Spend a night under the stars in Monument Valley
  • Experience the heady glitz of Las Vegas

Itinerary

Arrive in Los Angeles, the 'City of Angels'. Perhaps touch down a few days earlier to get a feel for this sun-blessed city, soaking up the sights of Santa Monica or following the star-studded sidewalks of Hollywood all the way to Beverly Hills.
Take a leisurely drive South, to a city that's made a living off staying outdoors and enjoying the sunshine. Perhaps say hi to some of the locals at the famous San Diego zoo, explore the historic old town or grab a board and head for the beach.
Leave the coast behind and head for the Mojave Desert. Search for the famous Joshua Tree that lends its name to the renowned national park (and a U2 album). Marvel at the peculiar geology and Wild West feel of this alien landscape and be amazed by the giant boulder piles that litter the horizon.
This is it. The big ticket, the show stopper - the mighty Grand Canyon. Travel to the rim of the canyon and peer down to the valley floor, perhaps embarking on a hike among the canyon walls. With eagles soaring overhead and the giant chasm extending infinitely toward the horizon, this is an American experience not to be missed.
Discover Nevada's one and only 'Sin City' – Las Vegas. Soak up the sights and sounds of this fantasy land of brightly lit casinos, booty-shaking nightspots and all-you-can-eat buffets.
Blaze a trail through the gorges and canyons of Zion National Park, a spectacular collection of sandstone cliffs and rocky ridges that conceal hanging gardens and tranquil pools. With plenty of free time to seek out Zion's hidden treasures, strap on some hiking boots and get ready to explore.
Head deeper into central Utah and make a beeline for the spindly rock spires of Bryce Canyon National Park. Branch out on foot and follow the many hiking trails through this unique setting and watch as the park's stunning, sculpted rock formations – known as hoodoos – are gradually turned into a kaleidoscope of colours by the setting sun.
Journey through the craggy Moab mountains and Arches National Park where incredible rock structures and colourful landscapes await.
Be welcomed to one of the largest Native American reservations in the United States by the sandstone Goliath's of Monument Valley, and see why so many movie directors have chosen this lunar landscape as a stand-in for alien worlds. Spend some time learning about Navajo culture, watch as the sun paints the landscape with shades of gold and sleep under the vast desert sky.
With a dramatic backdrop of blood-red rock, Lake Powell's canyons and waterways are perfect for discovering idyllic hidden coves.
Make the final leg of the Utah Circuit by heading back to Las Vegas. Enjoy an optional limo ride or head out to explore the many delights of this bizarre desert city with new friends.
Brave the scolding desert heat of Death Valley and, after sweating it out a little, come to terms with one of the United States' most unique ecosystems. If the conditions are favourable, take a small walk onto the sand to see how life manages to survive among the inhospitable terrain.
It might be a little tough to pronounce at first, but Yosemite is arguably the United States' premier national park. From the giant granite domes to the gushing waterfalls that feed the stunning forests and lakes below, Yosemite will take your breath away at every turn. Enjoy free time in the park to tackle some of the hiking trails, hire bikes or just bliss out at the tranquil surrounds of Mirror Lake.
Be romanced by the incredible Bay Area, including its crown jewel – the progressive and popular city of San Francisco. Time-permitting, consider sticking around for a few days after the trip's end to check out some of this great city's other attractions.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
n/a
Transport
Private vehicle
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (13 nights), Hostel (1 night), Hotel (4 nights)
Included activities
  • Arches National Park
  • Bryce National Park
  • Dead Horse Point
  • Death Valley National Park
  • Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Joshua Tree National Park
  • Monument Valley National Tribal Park
  • Yosemite National Park
  • Zion National Park

Dates

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Important notes


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 Western USA Highlights trips score an average of 4.6 out of 5 based on 5 reviews in the last year.

Western USA Highlights , June 2015

Western USA Highlights , May 2015