Yellowstone. Yosemite. The Rockies. Tick them all off on this ambitious American adventure.
Only in the great US of A can you be equally awestruck by the natural beauty of an ancient redwood forest as you can by the hand crafted wonder that is Mount Rushmore. Spot bears in Yosemite National Park, be awed by Niagara Falls, and camp by the Mississippi River on an epic American road trip from East to West, encompassing some of the country’s iconic cities and sprawling national parks.
Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and pine trees, Lake Tahoe is idyllic. Shake off the driving dust with a late afternoon dip in the alpine blue waters or relax on a sunset cruise.
Drive along the majestic Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous paved road in the States, and stare in awe at the sweeping views of Rocky Mountain National Park in all directions. Hike though outstanding landscapes and see elk, pikas, marmots, ptarmigans and bighorn sheep.
Spend an evening on the banks of the Mississippi, Huckleberry Finn style, and rent a canoe to paddle along the famous river
Spend two nights in Yellowstone and keep your eyes open for bison, bears and even rare grey wolves
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.
Road tripping is the ultimate way to see the USA. So on this trip you'll be spending a fair amount of time in a van with other travellers, so conditions may feel a little cramped. This is all part of the adventure, however, and you might even make some lifetime friends.
Some of the places visited on this trip are at high altitude, which mean they can be cold, even in summer. Mountains in summer also mean mosquitoes, so repellent is recommended.
This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information on this.
Traffic in and out of the larger cities can be hectic, especially during holiday periods. There may be delays, so be prepared to take part in car games to keep you entertained.
Many of the cities on this trip are best explored on foot. To get the most out of these, plus also the hikes within the national parks, it is best if you have a reasonable level of physical fitness and are able to walk moderate-to-long distances.
This trip only allows for limited time at some destinations, so you may have to move quickly, and may not be able to see everything on your to-do list
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 San Francisco to Chicago trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.
1. This trip finishes on arrival into Chicago in the afternoon on day 19.