Experience the contrasts of the West; from overflowing cities to wild deserts and forests
Explore all the natural and urban beauty that western US offers. Spend time in the big parks of the States – Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Zion, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon and more. Discover a new landscape around every corner: from huge sculpted cliffs and monster trees to alien deserts filled with strange rocks and massive sand dunes. Sip wine in Sonoma, spend time with a Native America tribe and giddy up on a horse ride through the Old West. Overload your senses in ‘Sin City’ Las Vegas and relax in the city of Angels.
While other trips breeze through spectacular Yosemite National Park in a day, on this adventure you'll spend two nights in the park, allowing for a full day of hiking and exploring. With its pine forests, skyscraper tall Sequoia trees, waterfalls and dramatic granite cliff faces, Yosemite feels like something out of 'The Land Before Time’
Don't let the name fool you. With its water-sculpted canyons, extinct volcanic craters, palm-shaded oases and salt flats, Death Valley is rich in natural beauty and endemic wildlife, and is often a highlight of the trip
Lake Tahoe is a stunning destination year-round. In summer it is all about water activities, and in winter, it's all about the snow. Head out for a snowshoe hike in winter or take a dip in the alpine blue lake waters during the summer months
Due to popular demand from past travellers, spend time in California's Joshua Tree National Park. The park's rugged desert scenery, natural cactus gardens and lush oases mark the meeting place of the Mojave and Sonora deserts
You'll spend two nights in the spectacular Grand Canyon so there's enough time to explore properly. See the canyon up close on a variety of hikes or take a helicopter flight overhead
Road tripping is the ultimate way to see the US, and scenic drives are a big part of this adventure’s focus. It's a very big country, so on a short trip expect to spend a lot of time driving in the van, rather than lots of time in each destination. Distances may be much longer than what you're used to (especially if coming from Europe). Long driving days though, while a little cramped, are perfect for soaking up the spectacular scenery, getting to know your fellow travellers, and breaking out that new book or album.
Los Angeles is one of the most car-heavy cities in the world and so, along with San Francisco, traffic can be hectic – especially during the holiday period. Take any delays in your stride and get your best car game ready to play.
Death Valley is extremely hot and dry (it's the hottest recorded place on Earth after all), so hiking at certain times of the year isn’t recommended.
Our vans do have air-conditioning, but it has to work pretty hard to keep a full group cool, so you may be hot. At other times of the year, it can be quite cold, especially at night. Be prepared for all weather conditions, especially outside of the July/August summer months. Pack warm clothes for the cold, sun protection and layers for the heat. It’s best to carefully consider the season and weather conditions to determine the best time to travel for you.
Some travellers have reported feeling unsafe in San Francisco due to the large number of homeless people. Unfortunately homelessness is a fact of life in San Francisco and the problem is widespread throughout the city. It is very likely that you will see homeless people on the street during your time in the city, and while it can appear intimidating, they are mostly harmless.
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There are currently no scheduled departures on our USA National Parks Explorer trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.
1. A single supplement is available on this trip.
Our USA National Parks Explorer trips score an average of 4.93 out of 5 based on 27 reviews in the last year.
This trip allows ample time to experience all the parks. More time in Joshua Tree would be great.
Review submitted 21 Feb 2018
If you've always wanted to visit the beautiful US National Parks, then this is the trip for you. Be immersed in the spectacular landscapes, take hikes, ride bikes (where available) or just choose to sit and take it all in. You will be amazed and inspired!
Review submitted 31 Dec 2017