The desert-strewn wilderness of USA's wild west on full show
The United States may be known for the glamour of the big cities, but what about everything in between? Take a 12-day Lonely Planet Experience through the best of California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah, experiencing rugged desert landscapes, learning about first nation’s culture, and diving deep into some of its acclaimed national parks. See the bizarre flora of Joshua Tree, plummeting ridges of the Grand Canyon, hidden gardens of Zion, inspired desert scenery of Moab and majestic spires of Bryce Canyon with a likeminded group of adventurers. Setting off from Los Angeles and taking in the lights of Las Vegas, this jam-packed road trip is just the way to get straight into the action of a USA worth exploring.
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Hike through beautiful Joshua Tree National Park among the park's desert cactus gardens and unusual rock formations, before hitting the road on Route 66.
The Grand Canyon National Park takes time to discover – you'll spend two nights in the park, unlike on most trips, so there's a full day to explore properly and see the mighty canyon up close.
As well as the famous must-see attractions on this trip, visit some lesser-known but no less spectacular points, such as Capitol Reef and Arches national parks.
Camp beneath rock formations and sleep under the starry night sky in Zion National Park.
Learn about Navajo culture and history during an included Jeep tour of Monument Valley, where the landscape is as surreal as it is beautiful, before spending a night in a traditional hogan hut.
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 involves either a partial or full camping experience, giving you access to more remote destinations at close proximity, and the joy of camping under the night skies and beside a campfire. This is a participatory trip – a fancy way of saying you’re not just along for the ride, but you are part of a team! 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, and 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 USD 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 USA is a big country. Travel times between some destinations can be long. You'll be spending a fair amount of time in a van with other travellers, so conditions may feel a little cramped. On the third day of the trip, for example, the total driving time to and then through Joshua Tree National Park is about seven hours. This allows you to see some stunning scenery and is all part of the adventure - you might even make some long-term friends.
Traffic in and out of LA can be hectic, especially during holiday periods. There may be delays, so be prepared to take part in car games to keep yourself entertained.
The desert areas of California, Arizona and Utah can be very hot and dry, especially in summer. 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.
You'll be travelling in a van with a group of travellers, so conditions may feel a little cramped. This is all part of the adventure, however, and you might even make some long-term friends.
Trip departures are unavailable.
There are currently no scheduled departures on our LA to Vegas & Utah Parks trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.
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.View Essential Trip Information