From Seattle to Las Vegas, see the best of the west.

Hit the hotspots of the Pacific Northwest and California before finishing up in Las Vegas, where the landscape has dried up but hopefully your luck won’t. Start in Seattle and make your way through Washington state, exploring its lush national parks, old-growth forests and glacier-capped mountains. Check out the hipster haven of Portland and indulge in microbrews and artisanal cheese as you head south through Oregon. Take a walk through California’s Redwood forests, home to some of the world’s oldest trees, hike through the climbing mecca of Yosemite, marvel at the infamous Death Valley and end up in, of course, Vegas baby.


Start
Seattle, United States
Finish
Las Vegas, United States
Destination
United States
Style
Comfort
Theme
Explorer
Code
SSKOV
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 13

Why you'll love this trip

  • Explore the incredible forests, mountains and rivers of Mount Rainier National Park, and head to the stunning Multonomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge.

  • Treat yourself to a world-class food and beer scene in the progressive city of Portland. Head to one of the many microbreweries and embark on a cycling adventure through its renowned food truck pods.

  • Walk among some of the world's oldest and tallest trees in the lush Redwood National Park in northern California.

  • Take a look at the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, and experience the diverse and multicultural city of San Francisco, with free time to go exploring at your own pace.

  • Featuring sequoia forests, granite cliff faces and cascading waterfalls – get the most out of your Yosemite experience by spending three nights in the park, meaning two full days of exploration.

Is this trip right for you?

  • 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 friends in the van will keep you occupied.

  • The regions visited on this trip can experience extremes in weather and temperature. Please be prepared for all weather conditions, especially if travelling outside of the July/August summer months. Bring layers of warm clothing and sun protection and ensure you drink plenty of water.

  • 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 friends in the van will keep you occupied.

  • Homelessness in the USA, particularly in greater San Francisco, is a widespread problem. Please note you will likely encounter some of San Francisco’s homeless community when travelling through the city. It is important, just like in any city, to stay alert and respectful of people around, especially at night.

  • Less time spent in a vehicle; more time to explore each destination. This trip has been carefully designed to give you the best experience of a region by reducing the number of one-night-only stops, giving you extra time in the places that matter.

  • This trip includes time spent travelling in a vehicle with your group. Extra space can be tight, and conditions may feel a little cramped. It’s all part of the adventure and a great way to get to know your fellow travellers. Please read the itinerary carefully for travel time estimates.

  • 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. Although our private vehicles do have air conditioning, it has to work pretty hard to keep a full group cool. Expect to feel hot during summer and cold at other times of the year, especially at night. Please consider the season and research the weather conditions to determine the best time to travel for you. Remember to come prepared with adequate clothing.

  • Some of the best scenery in this trip is found on hikes. So, while this trip doesn't require a high level of fitness, it’s essential to be at least moderately fit if you want to partake in all activities.

Itinerary

Welcome to Seattle! The Pacific Northwest is all about the outdoors, good food, better beer and all the arts and culture you could ever want. You'll meet your leader at 6 pm, but there's plenty to see if you happen to arrive early. Take a walk around the waterfront and the renowned Pike Place Market, which is nearby to the original Starbucks store. Otherwise, head to the popular Starbucks Reserve Roastery or go visit the towering Space Needle for views of the surrounding mountain ranges. After your important meeting, why not grab a feed and try a local beer at one of the many microbreweries in the city.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
This morning, head out to Mount Rainier National Park – home to the highest mountain in both Washington and the entire Cascade Ranges. Rainier was the fifth national park to be created in the US and is popular with hikers, alpinists, climbers and tourists thanks to its varied landscape, from its ice-capped volcano namesake to subalpine meadows filled with wildflowers. Stop in at the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Centre to check out the trails and work out what hikes you’d like to tackle. You’ll have time to do a small amount of walking. Afterwards, head to your accommodation for the evening.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mt Rainier National Park
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Leave Mount Rainier, and head to Columbia River Gorge. The Columbia River provides a natural border between the states of Washington and Oregon and is home to some stunning scenery of flowing rivers, verdant forests and cascading falls. Take some short walks in the surrounding countryside and then head to the Multonomah Falls – a beautiful cascading stream that can be viewed from below, or higher up on a pedestrian bridge lookout. Later in the afternoon, travel to the indisputable hipster capital of the west, Portland. You’ll take a late afternoon walking tour and get shown the ropes – from Pioneer Square to the renowned donut stores like Voodoo and Blue Star, and the absolute book-lover’s heaven at Powells, this progressive city has got you covered. Portland is yours to explore in the evening, so hit the breweries, check out the music and theatre scene or simply find a good spot to people-watch.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Walking tour of Portland
  • Columbia River Gorge visit
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Jump on the saddle and get pedalling, as you’re off on a Food Carts of Portland bike tour. Portland is known for its varied cuisine, and today, you’ll cycle past some of the 60 pods (food cart collections) of the city, filled with over 600 food stalls! The focus of your tour is on locally owned businesses with a great story, so meet the vendors, hear their stories and get the chance to taste the delicious food on offer. This will cover your lunch for the day. Later in the afternoon, have some time to explore Portland at your own pace. Depending on the time of year, there might be a local ice hockey or basketball game on at the Moda Center – best to book in advance if this interests you.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Portland - Food Carts of Portland bike tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Bid farewell to Portland and transfer to Silver Falls State Park. This park is home to the acclaimed South Falls, which has a direct plunge of 54 metres (177 feet) and is surrounded by plenty of walking trails to see this natural beauty from all angles, even from behind! It’s a sight to behold. Take some short hikes around the park before continuing on a drive through the Willamette Valley. Stop by a local vineyard for a tasting, then head to Newport on the Oregon coast. This evening, head to Rogue Brewery for an included dinner. You may have noticed a similar brewery in Portland; however, this is Rogue’s world headquarters, which looks out into Yaquina Bay.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Silver Falls State Park - Entrance Fee
  • Newport - Rogue Brewery dinner
  • Willamette Valley - wine tasting and vineyard visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
This morning, visit Yaquina Head Lighthouse – the tallest on the Oregon coast. Walk up the circular stairs to the top of the lighthouse for panoramic views over the Pacific Ocean. Continue your drive south to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, where you’ll have time to walk through the expansive dunes which stretch for over 64 kilometres (40 miles) along the coast from Florence to Coos Bay. Afterwards, head to Bandon – a small coastal town with some incredible ocean vistas. Visit the Face Rock Scenic Viewpoint, to see the rock formation of a head jutting out of the ocean, and if you’re lucky, view the Circles in the Sand art installation on the beach from above. Bandon is also part of the Wild Rivers Coast Food Trail that you’ll be enjoying over the next few days, so start that off with an included visit and cheese tasting at the Face Rock Creamery.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
  • Newport - Yaquina Head Lighthouse
  • Bandon - Face Rock Creamery visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you’ll head south into northern California, hugging the coastline on stretches of road and stopping at cranberry and blueberry fruit farms along the way. The Wild Coast Trail is a foodie gift that keeps on giving. Continue across the Oregon-California border and stop at Crescent Beach Overlook for a view of the Pacific, before ending the day with sunset on the beach and a night near the Redwood National Park. This area of the coast is home to some of the tallest and oldest trees in the world.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Take a full day to hike and explore the Redwood National and State Parks. Go looking for elk in Prairie Creek then walk through the incredible ridge-top redwoods at the Lady Bird Johnson Grove of Tall Trees. The scenes on Endor with the Ewoks in ‘Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi’ were filmed in this area, and you really will feel like you're on another planet. The brisk clean air, the filtered sunlight and the verdant tree canopies – this part of the world is truly a nature lover’s paradise.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Redwood National Park
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Rise and shine early and depart Crescent City for a morning stop in Arcata. This hippie college town has a laidback vibe and is a perfect place for a coffee and a walk around the downtown main square. Continue your drive south to Mendocino, just in time to get yourself some lunch. Afterwards, take a walk around the Mendocino Headlands and the downtown area. Later in the afternoon, head to the unique Glass Beach in Fort Bragg – a colourful shore made from years of people dumping waste on the beach in the early 20th century. In 1967, the North Coast Water Quality Board closed the area and many clean-up programs have taken place, and now what is left is different coloured glassy beads on the shores that make this beach an attraction. Tonight, head to North Coast Brewing for dinner.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mendocino Headlands walking tour
  • Fort Bragg - Glass Beach
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Make your way to the City by the Bay, San Francisco. With one of the most iconic bridges in the world, San Francisco is a photographer’s dream. Arrive in the late afternoon and stop by the Golden Gate for some photos and, depending on the season, understand what the fuss is about with the infamous San Francisco fog. In the evening, go out exploring the city with your group, and perhaps head into Chinatown for a meal. There are some great nightlife options in Union Hill and the Mission District, or better yet, book yourself in for a sunset cruise on the bay. There’s no shortage of things to do in this lively, eclectic city.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Adventure Cat Sunset Sail - USD50
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Spend a free morning exploring San Francisco. You might like to hire a bike and cycle your way along the bay towards the Golden Gate Bridge, or book yourself in for an Alcatraz experience – tickets for this usually sell out well in advance, so get in quick! In the afternoon, head to another meeting at 3 pm to meet some new travellers joining you on this stage of your west coast adventure, then head on an Urban Adventures tour through the hidden gems of Chinatown. Explore this renowned neighbourhood with a local who has all the insider knowledge on how its residents live, eat and drink, indulging in tea, treats and tastings.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • San Francisco - Chinatown Discovery Urban Adventure
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, the travellers in your group and your group leader are likely to change today. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary so please attend, and this is also a great chance to meet the new group. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

This trip doesn't allow time for a visit to Alcatraz, so you'll need to make your own arrangements if you want to see the island prison. Tickets must be booked in advance, as they sell out quickly and numbers are limited. You can make your reservations online at alcatrazcruises.com or by calling +1415 981 7625 between the hours of 8 am and 7 pm, Pacific Standard Time (USA). We recommend reserving your tickets for the morning of Day 11.
This morning, explore the architectural landmarks of San Fran with a guided visit to the Palace of Fine Arts and the iconic Ferry Building – a historical monument home to an array of food stalls and eateries, then get your camera ready as you gaze upon the Golden Gate Bridge from the best view point in the city. After your guided tour, head across to Sausalito and stop for lunch (own expense) in Placerville – an old mining town with a notorious past, before continuing your drive to Lake Tahoe – the USA’s second-deepest lake and home to 116 km (72 miles) of scenic shoreline. This evening, (depending on the season) set sail on a sunset cruise around the stunning Emerald Bay and watch the orange hues glisten on the surface of the calm, cobalt waters.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Tahoe - Emerald Bay sunset cruise (summer only)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Sunset Cruise will be replaced with snowshoeing activity throughout the winter months December to March. Snowshoeing activity will take place on day 3.
Enjoy a day of leisure in Lake Tahoe, this natural adventure park has plenty going on all year-round which means there’ll be plenty of activities for you to choose from depending on the season. In summer, you can paddle on the clear, blue waters of the lake in a kayak or take a refreshing dip, and for the hiking enthusiasts – the surrounding hillside is perfect for scenic walks during the warmer months. During winter the area becomes a snow-covered playground where you can choose to take a sleigh ride or try your hand at ice skating. If you didn’t get chance to cruise around Emerald Bay yesterday, then (season dependent) try your hand at snowshoeing! An amazing way to explore the powdery white surrounds.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Tahoe - Snowshoeing (winter only)
Optional Activities
  • Lake Tahoe - Kayaking/watersports - USD25
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning, head south to the world-famous Yosemite National Park. Featuring colossal granite cliff faces, cascading waterfalls (depending on the season) and redwood forests, the scenery in Yosemite attracts travellers from all over the globe. On arrival, wander through the jaw-dropping Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias, home to two-dozen of the largest known trees on earth. These colossal, ancient wonders are adapted for survival. They’re resistant to disease, thanks to a large content of tannin (a type of natural chemical) in the wood – and their thick asbestos-like bark means that they can withstand the hottest of forest-fires, making them almost indestructible. The resilient beauty of these redwood beasts makes them a phenomenal must-see on any Yosemite itinerary.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Yosemite National Park - Entrance Fee
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy a guided walk around the spectacular scenery of Yosemite National Park followed by a free day to explore. The breathtaking landscapes have made Yosemite a favourite among hikers for generations, and there are plenty of trekking routes on offer with varying degrees of difficulty. If you feel like breaking a sweat, the 5-hour hike to the top of Nevada Falls features plenty of switchbacks, and depending on the season, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the cascading waterfall beneath the giant Half Dome. Feel like taking it easy? No problem, there are plenty of gentle trails on offer, like the one-hour walk to the popular swimming spot, Mirror Lake, Keep an eye out for squirrels (and watch for bears!) along the way. If you’d prefer, you can hire a bike and cycle around Yosemite Valley, stopping by the park's museum, photo gallery, shops and restaurants on the way. In the heat of summer, a nice option is a float down the Merced River on a raft followed by a few drinks at the local cafe. This evening, if the weather is right, join the group for an included pizza picnic in the park! Alternatively, warm up with a local meal in the cosy indoors.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Yosemite - Pizza Picnic Dinner
Optional Activities
  • Yosemite - Cycling in Yosemite Valley - USD12
  • Yosemite National Park - Hiking - Free
  • Yosemite - Raft Rental (seasonal) - USD30
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Today there’s a chance to explore a different side of the park as you join your leader on a guided hike to Hetch Hetchy Valley. Tucked away in the northwest corner of Yosemite, Hetch Hetchy is a wilderness of cascading waterfalls, towering cliff faces and beautiful wildflowers. Boasting one of the longest hiking seasons in the park, the ecologically diverse valley attracts a fraction of the visitors in comparison to other more well-known hiking spots in Yosemite – which means it’s an ideal area for those who have extra time to explore the park in depth.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning, stop and admire the glistening waters of Tenaya and Mono Lakes on the drive south to Death Valley (approximately 6 hours). On the way to Lone Pine, perhaps stop at Manzanar National Historic Site, a former military-style camp where more than 110,000 Japanese-American men, women and children were detained during WWII. Continue to Alabama Hills – where colourful undulating peaks roll in the foreground of the contrasting jagged, snowy Sierras – this beautiful landscape is just a stone’s throw away from where you’ll be spending the night in Lone Pine – not far from the entrance to Death Valley. On arrival, there's the option to visit the Museum of Western Film History, which celebrates the many movies that have been filmed in the area, such as Iron Man, Django Unchained, How the West Was Won, and True Grit.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Lone Pine - Museum of Western Film History - USD5
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning you'll explore the geologically rich Death Valley National Park. Don't let the name fool you, this park features huge sand dunes, canyons, sculpted rocks, valleys and volcanic craters. Death Valley is extremely hot and dry (the highest recorded temperature in the world was measured in local Furnace Creek at 56.6˚C in 1913) so remember to pack plenty of water and don't overexert yourself. For expansive views of the valley, you can hike to Dante's View, or perhaps visit the puckered, volcanic Ubehebe Crater. Continue your drive through Nevada to the glitzy desert city of Las Vegas – it may be a gamblers paradise, but if the tables aren't your thing there's still plenty to discover! Maybe wander along the Strip past impersonators, billboards and hotels to the choreographed Bellagio Fountain show, or perhaps head to a rooftop amusement park, hit the chain stores or lose all sense of time exploring the gaudy interiors of hotels like The Venetian, Caesars Palace and New York-New York. In the evening, why not join your travel buddies for an optional dinner!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Death Valley National Park
Optional Activities
  • Death Valley National Park - Hiking (seasonal) - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
There are no activities planned after breakfast this morning – perhaps indulge in an unforgettable helicopter trip from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon – the trip includes champagne, beverages and a light snack, all served above the Colorado River. Or maybe you’d like to learn more about the history and evolution of gaming in Vegas on an Urban Adventure – join an expert local guide and get the lowdown on some of the most iconic casino games, pick up some insider tips and then learn how to play them yourself. From poker to pokies – you never know, you might hit big! Find out more at urbanadventures.com.
Optional Activities
  • Las Vegas - Helicopter Tour of The Strip - USD104
  • Las Vegas - Limo (per group) - USD300
  • Las Vegas - Big Apple Express roller coaster - USD15
  • Las Vegas - Eiffel Tower - USD22
  • Las Vegas - Neon Museum Tour - USD28
  • Las Vegas - Neon Museum - USD20
  • Las Vegas - Grand Canyon Helicopter flight from Las Vegas - USD529
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

7 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Hotel (18 nights)

Included activities

  • Mt Rainier National Park
  • Walking tour of Portland
  • Columbia River Gorge visit
  • Portland - Food Carts of Portland bike tour
  • Silver Falls State Park - Entrance Fee
  • Newport - Rogue Brewery dinner
  • Willamette Valley - wine tasting and vineyard visit
  • Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
  • Newport - Yaquina Head Lighthouse
  • Bandon - Face Rock Creamery visit
  • Redwood National Park
  • Mendocino Headlands walking tour
  • Fort Bragg - Glass Beach
  • San Francisco - Chinatown Discovery Urban Adventure
  • Lake Tahoe - Emerald Bay sunset cruise (summer only)
  • Lake Tahoe - Snowshoeing (winter only)
  • Yosemite National Park - Entrance Fee
  • Yosemite - Pizza Picnic Dinner
  • Death Valley National Park

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on this trip.

Essential trip information

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