Winter West

tours / Adventure

Winter West information and booking

from
$2790
  • Duration
    15 days
    Days
  • Group size
    8-11
    Persons
  • Difficulty
    Adventure touring
Check prices & availability

Schedule Details

Summary
  • 15 day trip
  • 14 nights hotel/lodge
  • day walks
  • snow shoeing
Equipment Required
Specialist gear required include walking boots and day pack (a comprehensive gear list is provided in the pre-departure information provided on booking).

Highlights

  • San Francisco city tour
  • Yosemite National Park
  • Worlds biggest trees - Sequoias
  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Soaring Cliffs of Half Dome
  • Death Valley National Park
  • Monument Valley
  • Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks
  • Lake Powell and Antelope Canyon

Tour description provided by World Expeditions

We kick off our Winter West experience in the vibrant city of San Francisco. There are many interesting things to see and do such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, and numerous museums. From here we travel to the stunning Yosemite Valley, where sheer granite cliff faces soar above the snow covered valley floor. Snow shoe trails lead through thick groves of the world's tallest trees, the majestic Sequoia and beneath the massive cliffs of Half Dome. Death Valley, one of the driest places on earth, offers walks on sand dunes beneath endless blue sky, and scrambles through erosion carved slot canyons. Crossing into Utah we enter the fairyland of the Colorado Plateau, a massive sandstone plateau complete with a plethora of world famous national parks. The next few days we base our explorations from a luxurious mountain lodge, from where we walk and snowshoe Zion and Bryce Canyon. Finally we head into Arizona, to visit the area of Lake Powell, Monument Valley of the Navajo Indians, and last but not least we spend a blissful day in desert solitude at the impressive Grand Canyon where winter snows add another dimension to the landscape. Our journey concludes in Las Vegas, the city that never sleeps.

What's included

  • 13 breakfasts, 12 picnic lunches, 3 dinners (self catered)
  • 12 nights accommodation in 3 or 4 star hotels with private facilities, 2 nights private lodge in zion
  • Private transport
  • Services of an experienced driver-guide
  • National park entry fees & sightseeing as specified

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival in San Francisco
Upon arrival into San Francisco it is recommended that you clear customs and take the shuttle bus (approx US$15 per person) to the group hotel specified in your final tour voucher. You will meet with your group leader and other members of the group at 8am the following morning when the group briefing will take place. NB: If you wish to spend more time in San Francisco then we are able to book additional nights for you.
Day 2 In San Francisco
San Francisco is amongst one of the USA’s most cosmopolitan and atmospheric cities. Located on the bay its suburbs are linked by a series of expansive bridges, one of those being the famous Golden Gate Bridge. Trams run major routes along the foreshore and into the hilly heights in a city where quaint wooden houses contrast sharply with the sophistication of modern skyscrapers. In the morning we explore the city on foot (3-4 hours) and cable car, and explore its hidden wonders as well as all the famous sights, such as Union Square, Chinatown and Fisherman’s Wharf. Last but not least we enjoy amazing views from Coit Tower. You will be given a day pass for the cable car allowing you to explore the city in the afternoon on your own. In the afternoon we recommend a harbour cruise on the bay, a tour of Alcatraz or a ferry ride to Sausalito (optional).
Day 3 Morning at leisure, drive to Yosemite National Park
The last highlight of the visit to the city is a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. We then drive a half day to Yosemite National Park. Our accommodations are located in the historic mining town of Mariposa. (Drive time approx 4-5 hrs)
Day 4 Snow shoe in Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park which was established in 1890 in the Sierra Nevada, encompasses stunning mountain vistas and valleys housing meadows and forests (including groves of giant sequoias) surrounded by high cliffs and waterfalls. The forest of giant Sequoias, the world’s biggest trees and the soaring cliffs of Half Dome are just some of the highlights of the park. During our days in the park several options are offered. We have all day to snow shoe in the valley and enjoy the solitude. We await the soft late afternoon light, when photography is at its best.
Day 5 Sequoia National Park
Today we head to yet another jewel of the west, Sequoia National Park. Here we find the world’s biggest trees. A steep road takes us into the mountains, where we find impressive groves of these ice age giants. We will walk through the massive trees in utter solitude and enjoy the peace of the deep mountain forest. Our hotel is in the valley at Fresno. (approx. 5 hours total driving)
Day 6 Mojave Desert
A longer drive takes us into the hot interior, where we will find the opposite of snow…. Heat and cacti.We cross the fertile Central Valley going south and at Bakersfield head to the remote town of Pahrump, where we will be based for the next 2 days. En route we may enjoy a visit to Calico Ghost Town. (6 hours driving)
Day 7 To Death Valley National Park
This morning we drive to Death Valley National Park where more than 3.3 million acres of spectacular desert scenery, rare desert wildlife, complex geology, undisturbed wilderness and sites of historical interest abound. Its uniqueness is derived from the fact that it is the lowest, hottest & driest location in North America with a substantial area of the park lying below sea level. We spend all day exploring the park on foot. We walk the beautiful Golden Canyon, see the valley from Dante’s View, admiring Telescope Peak clad in snow, see the salt flats and of course the wander out to the sand dunes. (1 + 1 hour of driving)
Day 8 To Zion National Park
We cross the Mojave to ascend the dark red plateau of the Colorado Plateau Desert, a place with the most remarkable stone formations anywhere. Zion National Park is a wonderland of rock, dark red Navajo Sandstone faces rising 800m above the deep, narrow valley, that the Virgin River carved. At times we see the top capped in snow - a fantastic contrast. We spend some time exploring the valley, depending on snow, we may even walk to the Narrows at the end of the valley. We nestle into our large lodge at the interesting Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort. Complete with kitchen and cosy living room, we prepare our own meals on this portion of our trip.(drive time 3-4 hours)
Day 9 In Zion National Park
We return to Zion to explore this remarkable valley for an entire day. Depending on snow conditions, we may hike up towards Angels’ Landing or Observation Point, or if the conditions are too icy, we may stay low and walk the wonderful valley trails.
Day 10 Bryce Canyon National Park
A day trip takes us to elevation, to visit the most stunning of the desert parks, Bryce Canyon. Here rain and frost erosion has created a true wonderland of rocks among the spires of red sandstone. Bryce is a giant maze of brilliant red, pink and purple stone towers. We spend all day winding our way though this wonderland of rocks. Because of its elevation, this is the coldest place in the south west, and snow conditions vary from year to year. We may be walking on icy trails with step on crampons or use our snow shoes to access the many sights.
Day 11 Page Arizona
Our next stop is Page, Lake Powell. Here the mighty Colorado River was dammed to a lake with a 3000 km shoreline. Dark red sandstone towers rise out of the blue waters, a true feast for the eyes. The afternoon is at leisure, we recommend an optional jeep tour to the twisted Antelope Canyon, one of the most picturesque slot canyons. Overnight Page (3 hours driving)
Day 12 Monument Valley
A short drive takes us to Monument Valley, the fabulous valley of the Navajo, popular with Hollywood movies. There is a chance to do an optional jeep tour with Navajos through the fanstastic valley. Then we continue to our hotel at the Grand Canyon. (drive 2 - 3 hours).
Day 13 All day Grand Canyon
We have all day to spend at this amazing site. The Grand Canyon is one of the great wonders of the world We have all day at this amazing canyon. Today all hikes are self guided due to permit regulations. You can choose to walk along the beautiful West Rim or descend into the canyon to see the amazing scenery unfold.
Day 14 To Las Vegas
In the morning there is the option of a helicopter ride (optional), then we head along Route 66 to Las Vegas. Our accommodation is in the Golden Nugget Casino, in down town Las Vegas. Evening is at leisure and tour arrangements conclude at 5pm.
Day 15 In Las Vegas, trip concludes
There is a courtesy transfer from the hotel to the airport every hour for those wishing to go to the airport.