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 the 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.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
San Francisco, United States
Finish
Las Vegas, United States
Country
United States
Style
Basix
Theme
Explorer
Code
SSOH
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 13

Why we love this trip

  • Experience some of the highlights of California and Nevada in a short period of time. Enjoy the freedom to discover cities and national parks at your own pace, while letting someone else drive you from A to B

  • Towering granite cliffs, cascading waterfalls, redwood forests and epic night skies - Yosemite National Park feels like utopia. While other tour groups breeze through in a day, you'll spend two nights in the park, allowing for a full day of hiking and exploring

  • For many, Death Valley conjures up images of a flat and barren wasteland. Be surprised by the park's 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 Las Vegas and celebrating your adventure with an optional limo tour of the Strip

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.

  • Death Valley in the summer is extremely hot and dry. It does hold the record as the hottest place on earth after all. Hiking at this time of year isn't recommended. Sometimes in mid-summer we may be unable to visit the Valley itself if we feel that the heat presents a safety risk. 

  • From the steep hiking trails of Yosemite to the towering hills of San Francisco, this trip can involve a lot of walking. 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.

  • 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 some long days of driving, so expect to spend a lot of time in the van. Conditions can feel a little cramped, but the passing scenery and your new travelling friends will keep you occupied.

Itinerary

Welcome to the USA! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting in the hotel lobby at 6pm on day 1. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, 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.

San Francisco is a chilled-out city with a vibrant, multicultural heart. You can catch a tram to visit the waterfront, feast like a king in Chinatown or peruse zany artwork in SoMa.

As there's no time spent in San Francisco on this trip, we recommend you arrive a few days early to see the sights. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). Consider doing our one-day sightseeing tour of San Francisco (see www.urbanadventures.com).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
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 sell out quickly and tickets are limited. 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.
Drive 300 km to the east, into the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Our destination is Yosemite National Park.

One of the most famous parks in the USA, Yosemite National Park's colossal granite cliffs, cascading waterfalls and redwood trees attract visitors from all over the world.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Please note that the campsites around Yosemite National Park are limited and receive mixed feedback. We tend to use different campsites depending on the time of the year. The campsites closest to the park can get overcrowded in summer and tend to have poorer facilities, whereas the nicer campsites are a little further away, requiring more driving time to enter the park each day. Your leader will book the site they believe best suits the needs of the group depending on the time of year and availability, however please note that there may be limited access to showers whilst at this location, or that you may be camping just outside of the park.
Today is a free day to get out and discover the park. There are plenty of hikes available, each varying in steepness and difficulty. Hike under the cooling breezes of Nevada Falls (4-5 hours) or to the serene Mirror Lake (45 minutes). Keep an eye out for squirrels and perhaps even a bear along the way. You might prefer to hire a bike and explore Yosemite Valley. Visit the park's photo gallery, shops and restaurants along the way. In the heat of summer, a relaxing float down the Merced River followed by a few drinks at the park's cafe is just the trick.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Yosemite National Park
Optional Activities
  • Yosemite National Park - Hiking - Free
  • Yosemite - Raft Rental (seasonal) - USD30
  • Yosemite - Cycling in Yosemite Valley - USD12
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Leave Yosemite behind and drive into the eastern Sierra Nevada. Spectacular mountain scenery, crystal clear lakes and breathtaking vistas are in store for us today. Total driving time is about 3-4 hours (170 km), depending on weather conditions and road access over Tioga Pass.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Travel east through Death Valley to Las Vegas (560 km, approx 6 hrs).

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).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Death Valley National Park
Optional Activities
  • Las Vegas - Big Apple Express roller coaster - USD15
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

No meals are included on this tour

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (3 nights), Hotel (1 night)

Included activities

  • Yosemite National Park
  • Death Valley National Park

Dates & availability

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There are currently no scheduled departures on our San Fran to Vegas trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Travel lightly with Intrepid. We’ve offset the main sources of carbon emissions from this tour on your behalf, including transport, accommodations and waste. Read more

Important notes

1. This trip finishes on arrival into Las Vegas in the afternoon on day 5.

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.