Travel from LA to Vegas and see all the natural wonder in between.

The United States may be known for the glitz and glamour of the big cities, but what about everything in between? Take a 12-day overland adventure on America’s west coast, experiencing its natural wonder, learning about first nation’s culture, and seeing some of its most renowned national parks. Visit the bizarre flora of Joshua Tree, plummeting ridges of the Grand Canyon, hidden gardens of Zion, the inspired desert scenery of Moab and the majestic spires of Bryce Canyon. Setting off from Los Angeles and taking in the lights of Las Vegas, this action-packed adventure is just the way to hit the heart of the USA’s wild west.


Start
Los Angeles, United States
Finish
Las Vegas, United States
Destination
United States
Style
Basix
Theme
Explorer
Code
SSRSU
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 13

Why you'll love this trip

  • 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.

Is this trip right for you?

  • 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.

Itinerary

Welcome to the USA! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting in the lobby today at 6 pm. If you do arrive early, perhaps take a stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame, or spend some time learning about the lives of the rich and famous on a celebrity homes tour. After the welcome meeting, we’ll head beachside and visit Venice and Santa Monica beach for a stroll and some people watching. Day 1 is all about introductions, so why not spend some time getting to know your fellow travellers with an optional group dinner.

Accommodation
  • Hostel (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. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for your welcome meeting, 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).
Today, you’ll head away from the coast and drive to Joshua Tree National Park. Sitting between the Mojave and Colorado Deserts, the park is famous for its spectacular desert plants – including the park’s namesake Joshua trees – along with cacti and Mojave yuccas. The area is also home to striking rock formations and mountain ranges, so you might like to head out on a scenic hike around the park or take a refreshing dip in the Colorado River. You’ll head to Lake Havasu City later on to your accommodation for the night, and check out London Bridge: a 280-metre structure rebuilt in Arizona in 1971 after being transported, piece by piece, from the banks of the Thames in London.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Joshua Tree National Park - Entrance Fee
Optional Activities
  • Colorado River - Swimming - Free
  • Joshua Tree National Park - Hiking - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Drive for 6 hours to Grand Canyon National Park, along a section of the famous Route 66, stopping in at the eccentric town of Seligman. Once we arrive at the Grand Canyon National Park, be ready to visually delight in the natural beauty for hours. This stunning gorge is 1.5 kilometres deep, formed by over six million years of erosion from the Colorado River. You'll spend two nights here, and you’ll need it, to allow for a full day of exploration tomorrow.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Grand Canyon National Park - Entrance Fee
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is a free day to explore the Grand Canyon, one of the largest canyon systems in the world. Stroll along the meandering South Rim Trail or hike your way down to Plateau Point. With eagles soaring overhead and chasms extending as far as the eye can see, it’s so important for you to experience its vast gorges from multiple viewpoints. If you're feeling adventurous, you can choose to take a scenic helicopter flight over the area (for an extra cost). In the early evening, relax at the canyon's edge and enjoy a spectacular sunset over one of the world's natural wonders.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Grand Canyon - Helicopter flight (45 mins) - USD284
  • Grand Canyon - Hiking - Free
  • Grand Canyon - IMAX movie - USD10
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Head out of the Grand Canyon and cross the western deserts of Arizona to Las Vegas, which takes around 4 hours. 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. In 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. This evening, gather together for another meeting at 6 pm where you’ll welcome some new travellers on the next stage of your USA adventure.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
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.
Today, leave Nevada and drive for around 3 hours to Zion National Park. The park is home to stunning desert landscapes, sculpted sandstone formations, waterfalls and hanging gardens. There will be plenty of time on arrival to stretch your legs and have a good look around the park. The Emerald Pools trail, a 2-hour stroll past a lush stream, is a good option for those who don't want anything too strenuous. If you are feeling adventurous and have a decent level of fitness (plus aren't afraid of heights), you might want to tackle the famous Angels Landing trail. Taking around 6 hours and following a path with sheer drops on either side, this isn't for the faint of heart. However, the views from the top of the rock formation are spectacular. In the evening, set up camp for the night.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Zion National Park - Entrance Fee
Optional Activities
  • Zion National Park - Hiking - Free
  • Zion National Park - River tubing (seasonal) - USD24
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
You’ll have a full day to explore what you missed yesterday in Zion. It would be the ideal time to head on a longer hike, potentially to admire the beauty of the flowing streams along The Narrows, or a steep climb to an incredible view at Observation Point. The national park can also be discovered via shuttle or an optional float trip, giving your feet a well-deserved rest. At night, don’t forget to look up at the dazzling night skies while camping and enjoy and try your luck at stargazing – quite perfectly combined with some s’mores around the campfire.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Drive through southern Utah to Monument Valley, so-named for the giant sandstone formations scattered across the desert. Passing by stunning lookouts and by Forrest Gump’s desert running scene, make sure to also check out the Navajo roadside stalls for some authentic goods, and if you’re lucky, some fried bread. The backdrop for countless Westerns, the valley is part of a massive Navajo reservation, and there’s no better way than heading out on an incredible guided jeep tour. Get your camera out and snap some photos of the spectacular landscape, which changes colour with the setting of the sun. Take in the stunning night skies and spend the night in a hogan, a traditional Navajo hut made of logs and earth. Total driving time today is approximately 3 hours.
Accommodation
  • Hogan (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Monument Valley - Jeep tour & overnight experience
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Continue on your journey this morning through the impressive landscape of Utah. On the way north to Moab, you’re going to see some incredible landscapes, including Gooseneck’s State Park overlook, Muley Point and Moki Dugway. Moab is a small city in Utah that attracts hikers, mountain bikers and nature enthusiasts to the incredible Canyonlands and Arches National Parks. Arches National Park is punctuated with spectacularly eroded sandstone formations and contains the world's largest concentration of natural stone arches. In the evening, take a group hike at sunset to see famous sights such as Delicate Arch.
Accommodation
  • Cabin (multishare) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Delicate Arch sunset hike
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
During the busy summer months some of the more popular optional activities in Moab can sell out. We recommend you discuss your interest in these activities with your leader as soon as possible so they can assist in arranging bookings.
Experience Moab for a second day, filled with towering rock formations, winding trails and never-ending horizons. Hopefully there will be time to have a group hike in the Arches in the morning before the day gets too hot, however the afternoon is yours to explore. Perhaps book yourself into a raft float trip down the Colorado River, or try your balance at stand-up paddle boarding. If you need to give your weary muscles a rest, a Slickrock Hummer tour might be your thing – though keep in mind it’s not exactly a smooth journey. At nightfall it’s time to head into town and hit the local brewery.
Accommodation
  • Cabin (multishare) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Dead Horse Point State Park
  • Arches National Park
Optional Activities
  • Moab - Raft Float Trip on Colorado River - USD45
  • Moab - Slickrock Hummer tour - USD100
  • Arches National Park - Hiking - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Bryce Canyon National Park is next on the list. On the way, you’ll stop and admire the golden sandstone of Capitol Reef, and refuel at the unique Kiva Koffeehouse, which overlooks the expanse of the Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument. Once arrived, there is a chance to hike a section of Bryce Canyon: from the easy Rim Trail, to the moderate Queen's Garden Trail or the strenuous Peek-a-boo Loop. The canyon is famous for its 'hoodoos' – odd-shaped rock spires formed by centuries of erosion. Wherever you walk, there are unique landscapes and a kaleidoscope of desert colours, especially at sunset. If you're keen to live out a Wild West fantasy, chat to the group leader about a horse-riding optional activity.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Capitol Reef National Park
Optional Activities
  • Bryce Canyon National Park - Hiking - Free
  • Bryce Canyon - Horseback Riding - USD60
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today, drive across the border into Nevada and back to Las Vegas. If you haven’t already, hit the shops or stroll along the Strip and check out the Bellagio. No accommodation is provided for tonight, however, if you do wish to spend extra time in Las Vegas, we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
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 - Mob Museum - USD27
  • Las Vegas - Monorail - USD5
  • Las Vegas - Fremont Street Experience - Free
  • Las Vegas - Bellagio Fountains - Free
  • Las Vegas - Eiffel Tower - USD22
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
The arrival time into Las Vegas depends on each group, but if you decide to fly out on this day, please don't book a flight before 8 pm. This will give you enough time to catch a shuttle from the hotel to the airport and be there two hours before departure.

Meals

1 breakfast, 1 dinner

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (5 nights), Hostel (1 night), Hogan (1 night), Hotel (2 nights), Multishare cabin (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Joshua Tree National Park - Entrance Fee
  • Grand Canyon National Park - Entrance Fee
  • Zion National Park - Entrance Fee
  • Monument Valley - Jeep tour & overnight experience
  • Delicate Arch sunset hike
  • Dead Horse Point State Park
  • Arches National Park
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Capitol Reef National Park

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Essential trip information

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