Map of San Fran to Vegas:  Parks, Canyons, Valleys including United States Of America

Explore the wild west coast on this nine-day adventure through California and Nevada.

Fall in love with the rugged and diverse American West on this nine-day adventure, from the granite peaks and pine forests of Yosemite National Park to the sun-baked dunes and canyons of Death Valley. This itinerary packs in the highlights of the wild west coast and will see you kayaking the clear waters of Lake Tahoe, traversing the wilderness of Hetch Hetchy Valley and strolling neon-lit boulevards in Las Vegas.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
San Francisco, United States
Finish
Las Vegas, United States
Destination
United States
Style
Comfort
Theme
Explorer
Code
SSKG
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Beginning in the eccentric city of San Francisco, explore the sights of the bay on a sunset catamaran cruise, sailing around the infamous Alcatraz Island and beneath the legendary Golden Gate Bridge.

  • From shimmering blue waters in summer to snow-dusted pine forest in winter – enjoy a full day of optional activities to suit every adventurer, in every season, during your 2-night stay in Lake Tahoe.

  • 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.

  • With undulating sand dunes, water-sculpted canyons, extinct volcanic craters and fields of wildflowers that blossom in the spring: Death Valley is a geological paradise.

  • Wrap up your west coast adventure on the glitzy Strip of Las Vegas – hit the town for a dose of bright lights and the chance to win big!

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.

  • 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 Yosemite 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.

  • 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.

  • If you wish to spend more time in San Francisco or Las Vegas, we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2023 to 31 Dec 2023.
View the 2020 itinerary
Welcome to San Francisco, a city with a storied history and plenty of eccentric characters. Your adventure begins at 3pm with an important welcome meeting at your accommodation, where you’ll meet your local leader and fellow travellers. After your meeting, get to know San Francisco Bay on a sunset catamaran cruise. Sail around the infamous Alcatraz Island and beneath the emblematic Golden Gate Bridge while keeping an eye out for the dolphins, pelicans, sea lions and occasional whale that can be found in these waters. Take in incredible views of the city’s skyline as you make your return – you’ll definitely be leaving your heart in San Francisco! The evening is free for your own discoveries – perhaps head to Chinatown and get your hands on some dim sum!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • San Francisco - Sunset catamaran cruise
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.

As there's very little time spent in San Francisco on this trip, we recommend you arrive a few days early to see the sights. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). Consider doing our one-day sightseeing tours of San Francisco: urbanadventures.com.

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).
This morning, take in some of San Fran’s most famous sights during a scenic driving tour. Pass by the painted ladies, a row of grandiose Victorian houses, and get your camera ready as you gaze upon the Golden Gate Bridge from the best viewpoint in the city. In the afternoon, make the drive to Lake Tahoe, the USA’s second-deepest lake and home to 116 km (72 miles) of scenic shoreline. This evening, we’ll enjoy a delicious group dinner at a local restaurant in Lake Tahoe.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • San Francisco - Driving tour & Golden Gate Bridge
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Today, you’ll get a chance to take to the water in Lake Tahoe with a stand-up paddle board experience or kayak. Skim along the glassy water as you take in the views of the surrounding wilderness from a whole new perspective. Once back on dry land, the rest of the day is yours to enjoy at leisure. This natural adventure park has plenty going on year-round which means there’ll be a plethora of activities for you to choose from, depending on the season. In summer, you can take a refreshing dip in the clear, blue waters of the lake, or 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Tahoe - Kayaking/watersports
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Yosemite National Park - Entrance Fee
  • Yosemite National Park - Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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. 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
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Yosemite - Pizza Picnic Dinner
  • Yosemite National Park - Leader-led hike
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 through the awe-inspiring Yosemite Valley. Strewn with dramatic waterfalls, gigantic granite outcrops and lush meadows, this is one of the most spectacular spots in the country. Learn about the ecologically diverse landscape as you explore with your leader, who will recommend independent walks in the area you can take on this afternoon.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (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 through the Sierras. 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.
Special Information
Today’s driving time is approximately 6 hours.

FALL & SPRING departures
During the months from November to June the Tioga Pass can sometimes be closed due to snow. During these months we will need to find an alternative route as the pass will be closed not allowing us to travel through the Eastern Sierras. The alternative route will be to go around the West Side of the mountains through Fresno visiting Death Valley on the way to Las Vegas.
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. Stop along the way at Zabriskie Point, Badwater Basin and the Mesquite Dunes, where you’ll have the chance to stretch your legs with some short walks. Arrive 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
With no activities planned today, your epic adventure comes to an end this morning. You may like to round off your trip with 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.
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

4 breakfasts, 2 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Hotel (5 nights), Lodge (3 nights)

Included activities

  • San Francisco - Sunset catamaran cruise
  • San Francisco - Driving tour & Golden Gate Bridge
  • Lake Tahoe - Kayaking/watersports
  • Yosemite National Park - Entrance Fee
  • Yosemite National Park - Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias
  • Yosemite - Pizza Picnic Dinner
  • Yosemite National Park - Leader-led hike
  • Death Valley National Park

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our San Fran to Vegas: Parks, Canyons, Valleys trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

Travellers on Intrepid trips that start on or before 31 December 2022 are required to produce proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. Learn more about Intrepid’s COVID-19 policy.

1. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 3:00 PM on Day 1 in San Francisco. This trip ends on the morning of Day 9 in Las Vegas.
2. Please note that the legal drinking age in the US is 21 and in some parts of Canada it's 19.
3. During the months from November to June the Tioga Pass can sometimes be closed due to snow. During these months we will need to find an alternative route of the pass is closed which means we will be unable to pass through the Eastern Sierras. The alternative route will be to go around the West Side of the mountains through Fresno visiting Death Valley on the way to Las Vegas.

Essential trip information

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.

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