National Parks of the American West

National Geographic Journeys, Las Vegas to San Francisco

Image by G Adventures

Tour description provided by G Adventures

Spend two weeks in the American West, discovering the beauty of many of its most iconic national parks. Encounter the crimson-striped cliffs of the Grand Canyon and hear the thundering surf at Big Sur. Stroll among the giants of Sequoia National Park and step behind the scenes at the Monterey Bay Aquarium on a tour designed for National Geographic Journeys. From Yosemite to Death Valley, escape to some of the greatest natural wonders anywhere.

What’s included

  • Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Grand Canyon Exclusive, Grand Canyon National Park Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Lowell Observatory Experience, Flagstaff Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Sequoia NP Hike, Sequoia National Park Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Sequoia Parks Conservancy Stargazing, Sequoia National Park Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Monterey Aquarium Exclusive, Monterey Your G for Good Moment: Native Grill Food Truck Lunch Your Discover Moment: Las Vegas
  • All national park fees
  • Zion NP visit and guided hike
  • Bryce Canyon NP visit
  • Antelope Canyon guided visit
  • Death Valley NP visit
  • Yosemite NP excursion
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Highlights

  • Visit utah's oldest park
  • Check out the multi-coloured rock pinnacles ay bryce canyon np
  • Explore the scenic antelope canyon with a local navajo guide
  • Try your luck in sin city
  • Take in an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the monterey bay aquarium

Itinerary

Day 1 Las Vegas There are no planned activities today until the evening welcome meeting, so check out the strip or get tickets to a show for this evening. Included Activities: Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Las Vegas/Zion National Park (1B) Depart early for Zion, Utah's oldest national park, and observe some of the most beautiful canyon country scenes in the United States. Catch the shuttle into the park with our CEO and hike to the Emerald Pools and hanging gardens. Included Activities: Zion National Park Visit Transport: Private Vehicle (2.50-3.00 hours, 270km)
Day 3 Zion National Park (1B, 1L) The canyon is narrow, and the river covers the bottom in many places, which means you will have to wade or swim to proceed. Prepare to get wet but the cool water makes this hike particularly pleasant during the hot summer months. Hiking is not permitted when the river is high from runoff or flash flooding. Runoff mostly occurs in April and early May. Late summer thunderstorms can occasionally produce flooding. If the hike is not possible due to weather, it will be replaced with another activity. Additional Notes: This is a moderate level hike of 4 to 5 hours, during which you are wading through water which could be ankle or waist deep, depending on local conditions. As well, the terrain is often rocky and uneven. We recommend bringing water shoes with a hiking tread. Should you choose to not do the hike, you can stay and relax at the lodge or discuss with your CEO other optional activities that may be available (at additional cost). Included Activities: Narrows Hike Transport: Private Vehicle
Day 4 Zion National Park/Page (1B) This morning, hike through Bryce Canyon National Park, famed for its multi-coloured rock pinnacles called 'hoodoo'. Be sure to have your camera ready to snap shots of these spectacular, natural towers that cover the canyon floor. Continue on to Page, Arizona, home to Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and the beautiful Lake Powell. Included Activities: Bryce Canyon National Park Visit Transport: Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s), 140km) Private Vehicle (3.00-3.50 hours, 250km)
Day 5 Page/Grand Canyon National Park (1B, 1L) Marvel as the Grand Canyon unfolds before you but don't get too close. The land drops almost straight down for more than 1,000m (3,280 ft) into the serpentine canyons below! The gorge is filled with rocky buttes, sheer limestone cliffs, and deep canyons all arrayed in a rainbow of colors. Words defy. This is truly one of the most magnificent sights on earth. Included Activities: Antelope Canyon Tour Horseshoe Bend Hike Native Grill Food Truck Lunch Transport: Private Vehicle (3.00-4.00 hours, 220km)
Day 6 Grand Canyon National Park (1B) Spend the day exploring the Canyon with an expert from the Grand Canyon Conservancy Field Institute. Enjoy a walk along the South Rim discussing the unique geology and botany of the Canyon, as well as human history here. After, visit the Historic Village District viewing iconic park structures then continue down the Bright Angel Trail below the canyon rim and view two-thousand-year-old rock art and 250-million-year-old fossils. Also visit the historic Kolb Studio, home to photography pioneers Emery and Ellsworth Kolb, who shared with the world the first pictures of the epic Canyon. Included Activities: Grand Canyon Exclusive
Day 7 Grand Canyon National Park/Las Vegas (1B) This morning, visit Lowell Observatory for a tour of the giant telescopes and to learn about the study of astronomy, as well as a lecture on Mars. Continue back to Las Vegas, but not before getting your kicks on Route 66 in Seligman, Arizona — the birthplace of this famed highway. Included Activities: Lowell Observatory Experience Seligman (Route 66) Visit Transport: Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s), 150km) Private Vehicle (5.00-6.00 hours, 400km)
Day 8 Las Vegas (1B) Enjoy a full free day to explore Las Vegas. Wander the Strip, do some shopping, and refuel at one of the many bars or restaurants. Opt to take in a glitzy Las Vegas show, try your luck at the gaming tables, or head out on a day trip to the Hoover Dam.
Day 9 Las Vegas/Death Valley National Park (1B) Drive through the spectacular landscape of Death Valley. Stop at Zabriskie Point and hike the short distance to the vista, one of the most photographed spots in the park. Take in the views of diverse geological features as far as the eye can see. Next, descend into Badwater Basin, the lowest, hottest, driest point in North America that sits 282 feet below sea level. Continue to the Furnace Creek Visitor Center for a further look into this unique park. Marvel at the 18-hole golf course adjacent to our hotel inside the park, an oasis in the middle of the desert. Additional Notes: Expect high temperatures of 100°F to over 120°F (38°C to over 49°C). Drink plenty of water and carry extra supplies. Avoid hiking at mid-day. Included Activities: Death Valley National Park Visit Transport: Private Vehicle (2.50-3.00 hours, 230km)
Day 10 Death Valley National Park/Yosemite National Park (1B, 1D) Pass through Bishop, one of "America's Coolest Mountain Towns", surrounded by the peaks of the Sierra Nevadas which soar more than 14,000 ft (4,593m) in elevation. Pass Mono Lake and the Tufa Towers on the way to the entrance of Yosemite National Park. Travel Tioga Pass, descending into the valley, lined with alpine lakes, granite monoliths, and giant trees. Stop at Olmsted Point, named after the architect of the valley floor, for the first view of Half Dome. Travel through the valley past El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, Bridalveil Fall, and Tunnel View for some of the most picturesque features the US has to offer. Additional Notes: We intend on using the Tioga Pass (weather dependent), a scenic route through the Sierra Nevada mountain range that connects Bishop with Yosemite NP. The status of the road is monitored daily, and our travel plan for the area will be confirmed during the trip. Included Activities: Tioga Pass Drive Transport: Private Vehicle (8.00-10.00 hours)
Day 11 Yosemite National Park (1B) Carved by glaciers, Yosemite National Park became the first protected state park in the US in 1864. It took until 1890 to gain National Park status, with the work of John Muir. Though 95% of the park is backcountry, there is still plenty to explore via hikes or the shuttle system. Spend the day hiking amongst Giant Sequoias, granite cliffs, and rushing waterfalls and understand why around 4 million people come to the park each year. Included Activities: Yosemite National Park Visit Transport: Private Vehicle
Day 12 Yosemite National Park/Sequoia National Park (1B) Depart early and walk through California’s Sequoia National Park alongside a naturalist. Learn about these impressive giant trees and enjoy a picnic lunch on the trail. Drive to Big Tree Trail for an afternoon hike and learn about how National Geographic deeded tracts of giant trees in the heart of the park to the National Parks Service for safekeeping. This evening, we return to the park for an evening of stargazing with an expert from the Sequoia Parks Conservancy (SPC). Additional Notes: In cases where the night sky is cloudy, we will replace the star gazing activity with a nighttime nature walk in the National Park. Embark on a one-mile walk to experience the dramatic changes of the soundscapes and nocturnal biodiversity of the area. This engaging walk will awaken awareness and provide an in-depth experience of Sequoia’s nocturnal plants and animals. Included Activities: Sequoia NP Hike Sequoia Parks Conservancy Stargazing Transport: Private Vehicle (2.50-3.00 hours, 222km)
Day 13 Sequoia National Park/Monterey (1B, 1D) Depart the Sierra Nevadas and travel from one of California's mountain ranges to the other. Reaching the waters edge, stop to view elephant seals at Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery before driving north on the PCH, the famous Pacific Coast Highway. Stop along the way for lunch in a little seaside town. Marvel at the dramatic vistas as the waves crash into where the cliffs meet the shore. Continue through Big Sur, past famous bridges and lighthouses, get out and stretch and even opt to feel the sand between your toes. Enjoy the day soaking in part of the most beautiful coastline this National Scenic Byway has to offer en route to Monterey. Transport: Private Van with Wi-fi (10.00-12.00 hours)
Day 14 Monterey (1B) Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium on a tour specially arranged for National Geographic Journeys travellers. Get an inside look at the workings of this world-class organization and find out how the Aquarium’s mission aligns with that of National Geographic. After, enjoy a free afternoon. Opt to go whale watching, try the famous clam chowder, walk or bike the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail or wander historic Fisherman's Wharf and Cannery Row. Included Activities: Monterey Aquarium Exclusive
Day 15 Monterey/San Francisco (1B) Continue on a scenic coastal drive along the Pacific Coast Highway to San Francisco for our final evening. Catch a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge on the way into one of America's most popular cities. Opt to take a cable car ride over the steep hills, explore the city by bicycle, or embark on a boat ride into the setting sun. Included Activities: San Francisco City Tour Transport: Private Vehicle (3.50-4.00 hours, 227km)
Day 16 San Francisco (1B) Depart at any time. Included Activities: Departure Day
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