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Western Dream

12 days
from
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Culture
Suitable for:
Age 16+
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Trip code: 
PWD
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Culture
Group size:
1–13
Min age:
16

Travel through some of USA's most beautiful national parks

One of our most popular itineraries traverses the varied wilderness of the West Coast of America, experiencing nature's transformation from pristine alpine forests to expansive arid deserts. Marvel at Yosemite's granite cliffs and explore Zion and Bryce Canyon's winding trails. Also included are the hidden secrets of the Navajo nation on an included backroads tour of Monument Valley. The Western Dream walking tour will take you to some of the finest national parks in the USA, making this one amazing West Coast American holiday.

Highlights

  • A series of named hikes in national parks
  • Navajo tour in Monument Valley
  • Two full days in Yosemite National Park
  • Visit the desert playground of Death Valley National Park

Key information

  • Travel by private minibus
  • Some long journeys
  • Group normally 6 to 13, plus leader. Min age 18 yrs
  • 9 camping nights and 2 hotel nights included
  • All meals while camping included
  • Countries visited: United States

What's included

  • All accommodation
  • 3 breakfasts and 1 dinner
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • We can include flights from the UK.  Please contact us for a quote.

What's not included

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Arrival & departure transfers
  • Optional activities
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailor made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Las Vegas
to
San Francisco
  • Day 1

    Start Las Vegas.

    Enjoy a free day in the desert neon city of Las Vegas before your epic adventure begins. Take a stroll along The Strip to discover the resort hotels that make this desert city tick. A welcome meeting will be held at approximately 18:00 hrs in the evening with free time afterwards to explore the neon cityscape.

    Accommodation:  Ballys, Las Vegas (or similar)

     

     

  • Days 2-3

    Route 66 - Grand Canyon (South Rim)

    Leaving vibrant Las Vegas, make your way towards the Grand Canyon National Park stopping en route at the Route 66 town of Seligman, filled to the brim with pure Americana and echoing a time when it was the main highway across America.

    The Grand Canyon itself is difficult to comprehend, even as you stand at the rim or hike down into the canyon. Carved over several millennia, this incredible wonder of nature is 445 km long, up to 29 km wide and over 1.6 km deep. Snaking through the canyon floor is the Colorado River, which runs 2,330 km through seven US states and two Mexican states.

    In your free time, we highly recommend a scenic helicopter flight over the canyon, which offers perspectives that cannot be seen by foot. Also recommended is the film show at the IMAX Theater, which will give you a good overview of the area and how it developed. Alternatively, stroll the easy meandering South Rim Trail, hike your way down the more challenging Bright Angel Trail to Plateau Point, or simply relax at the canyon's edge and enjoy a spectacular sunset over one of the world's natural wonders.

    Please note: Due to park regulations, your leader is not able to hike with you at the Grand Canyon.

    TRAIL: GRAND CANYON RIM TRAILS

    There are number of different viewpoints along the trail which although differ in mileage and duration, remain stable with regards to altitude.

    TRAIL: BRIGHT ANGEL TRAIL TO PLATEAU POINT

    Mileage: 10.7 miles (17.21 kms)
    Altitude change: 3,195 feet
    Duration: 7-8 hours (with lunch stop at Plateau Point)

    Accommodation: Camping included

     

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Monument Valley

    Discover sacred land in the heart of the Navajo Nation, Monument Valley, on a 4X4 vehicle, before continuing on foot. The red sandstone monoliths have been the backdrop to countless Westerns featuring cowboys riding off into the sunset. Here you'll explore the incredible array of rock formations on an included guided backroads tour and learn the magic and myth of the rich Native American culture. Your camp is also on the Navajo Tribal Lands of Monument Valley and is a photographer's paradise, with ample time to relax and view the valley's surreal sunset. This is set to be one of the highlights of your American adventure.

    Walking: After disembarking the 4x4, you continue on foot primarily a long a flat desert surface. In total, you should be walking a maximum of 2.5 miles.

    Accommodation: Camping included

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Bryce Canyon National Park

    This morning you traverse a high plateau to Bryce Canyon National Park. 'Mysterious', `breathtaking' and `out of this world' are only a few of the descriptions offered by past visitors to describe this fascinating natural amphitheatre of pink, orange and white sandstone spires, known locally as hoodoos. There's a variety of scenic viewpoints and trails that range from easy to moderate in difficulty, but the group will hike the Peekaboo-Queens Garden Loop Trail. The 5.9-mile loop is a combination of three trails that offer the best of the park. There's a narrow canyon, arches and hoodoos galore but the toughest part of the hike is the ascent back to the top. You'll gain 582 feet when the hike is finished.

    TRAIL: PEEKABOO-QUEENS GARDEN LOOP TRAIL
    Mileage: 5.9 miles (9.4 kms)
    Altitude change: 1,660 ft.
    Duration: 3.5 hours

    Accommodation: Camping included (or similar)

     

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 6-7

    Travel to Zion N.P.

    Next up is Zion National Park with its incredible mountains and beautiful valleys stretching as far as the eye can see. Zion Canyon was named by the early Mormon settlers of Utah who thought of it as their 'promised land'. Some of the best hiking in this desert terrain of Southwest USA can be found in and around the fertile Virgin River as it meanders below massive, cathedral-like sandstone walls.

    Warm up your legs by taking a short hike from the valley floor to view the Lower Emerald Pools before continuing to the sparkling Upper Emerald Pools, passing waterfalls along the way to Zion's `beach'. On day 8 the group will enjoy one of the park’s more ambitious walks to Angels Landing, to experience unbeatable 360-degree panoramic views. After a beautiful but strenuous hike along the knife-edge ridgeline, you'll be rewarded with one of the most breathtaking and powerful panoramas you are ever likely to cast your eye upon. If weather conditions permit, you may choose to hike deep into the Zion Narrows for a completely new perspective.

    TRAIL: ANGELS LANDING

    Mileage: 4.4 miles (7.8 kms)
    Altitude change: 2073 ft.
    Duration: 3-4 hours

    This hike features a series of switchback trails and technical scramble for the last remaining portion. It is not suited to those who are not good with heights.

    Accommodation: Camping included

     

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Death Valley National Park

    Today you make your way to one of the hottest, driest and lowest places on earth: Death Valley. Located in Eastern California's Mojave Desert, this arid area has only 5cm of rainfall each year and offers some incredible vistas and natural formations. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley, but with temperatures regularly topping 40 degrees plus, you'll be glad your hotel has air conditioning!

    Accommodation: Hotel included

     

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Days 9-10

    Yosemite National Park

    Yosemite National Park sits nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of Northern California. Here, green forest meets granite walls measuring several thousand feet in height. Climbers come from all over the world to scale the rocks whilst hikers get to walk to the base of some of the largest waterfalls in the world. The famous sites situated along these trails include Yosemite Falls, Nevada Falls, Vernal Falls and Mirror Lake. Views are breathtaking from every vantage point and the granite formations of Half Dome, El Capitan and Cathedral Rocks are sure to be forever etched on your mind as some of the most beautiful scenery you've ever seen.

    On day 10, you’ll walk the Mist Trail, arguably one of the most outstanding day hikes from Yosemite Valley. The Mist Trail has some superb views as you walk across picturesque bridges up towards Vernal Falls, where the spray from the falls will cool you down on a hot summer's day, creating striking rainbows along the trail. Continue walking and you reach another beautiful waterfall, Nevada Falls. With no barriers, it really feels like you are well and truly in the California wilderness. Return via the John Muir Trail for the perfect afternoon views and if you're lucky you may even spot Black Bear and coyotes that roam the surrounding areas. There's never a dull moment in Yosemite.

     

    TRAIL: MIST TRAIL

    Distance: 5.4 mi (8.7 km) round trip (via Mist Trail)
    Elevation gain: 2000 ft. (610 m)
    Difficulty: Strenuous
    Time: 5-6 hours

    After a visit to see the amazing Giant Sequoia trees, Yosemite Valley beckons. Here you can cycle, take a dip in the Merced River or wander the lush meadows.

     

    TRAIL: TUOLUMNE GROVE OF GIANT SEQUOIAS

    Mileage: 2.5 miles (4 kms)
    Altitude change: 400 ft.
    Duration: 1.5-2.5 hrs

    National Park, you climb in elevation to almost 8,300 ft. and traverse a high plateau to Bryce Canyon National Park. Bryce Canyon is a fascinating natural amphitheatre of pink, orange and white sandstone spires, known locally as hoodoos. There are a variety of scenic overlooks and trails that range from easy to moderate in difficulty. The Navajo or Peek-A-Boo Loop Trails will enable you to hike right in amongst these unique rock formations. Some may prefer to hike on the Queens Garden Trail or remain on the rim and photograph the ever-changing shadows and hues as the sun makes its way across the sky.

    Accommodation: Camping included

     

     

    Meals included: Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Yosemite National Park - San Francisco

    Leaving Yosemite's towering Giant Sequoias behind, make your way towards the 'City by the Bay' where your tour ends. That's not before the chance to walk across Golden Gate Bridge, with views across Alcatraz and the bay. Completed in 1937, this iconic suspension bridge stretches for 2.7km and is one of the most photographed bridges in the world.

    Another 'must do' if you have extra time in San Francisco is the offshore prison of Alcatraz, where you can learn all about the infamous inmates and their failed escape attempts. To do this you'll need to book directly with Alcatraz Cruises in advance, for the day after your tour finishes.

    This tour ends at our gateway hotel at approximately 17:00 hrs. We recommend booking post tour accommodation if time allows. If you are planning to fly tonight, please do not book a flight that departs before 21:00 hrs.

     

     

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

United States

British, New Zealand, Swiss and most EU passport holders do not need a visa (and enter the country under the Visa Waiver Program), provided they are in possession of an onward air ticket when entering the USA. Visas for the USA are required by some nationalities and it is always best to check with the relevant embassies. All passengers travelling to and from the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) are required to hold a machine-readable passport (MRP). A MRP has the holder's personal details, e.g. name, date of birth, nationality and their passport number contained in two lines of text at the base of the photo page. This text may be read by machine. The US now charges $14 for the visa waiver program and must be paid by credit card. The US authorities have introduced a mandatory requirement for all passengers travelling under the Visa Waiver Programme to register for an Electronic Travel Authority. As of 21 January 2016, any person who has travelled to Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, or Yemen since March 2011, or have dual nationalities of these countries, may no longer qualify for the VWP. For additional specifics about the VWP please consult the VWP information on the U.S. Embassy London website. More information and all necessary Internet links can be found at www.exodus.co.uk/Usvisa

Vaccinations

United States

There are no mandatory vaccinations required for this trip.

Eating and Drinking

9 breakfasts, 11 lunches and 9 dinners are included whilst camping.

On all camping tours, most of the meals are included whilst camping. Your tour leader will coordinate local shopping and assist the group in preparing healthy, hearty breakfasts, picnic lunches and delicious dinners.

Occasionally, you will eat out in local restaurants. To help you budget for these meals on average hotel breakfasts cost from US$6-$12, lunches from US$8-$15 and dinners from US$13-$30; this does not include alcoholic beverages. Wine costs approximately US$5 per glass and beer US$4 per bottle. Please be aware that a tip of approximately 17%-20% is added to group meals in North American restaurants. Applicable taxes will also be added to all listed menu prices. Please make sure we are aware of any special meal requirements before travelling.

 

Weather

The West is known for its very dry spring, summer and autumn weather and outstanding blue, sunny skies. Being as far south as southern Europe and Northern Africa, temperatures are normally much warmer than in northern Europe. However, temperatures vary greatly depending on the elevation you are at. Generally, the higher the elevation, the cooler the temperature. Spring and autumn will offer perfect hiking days in the deserts and cooler days at higher elevations. In summer, Yosemite, Bryce and the Grand Canyon offer pleasant temperatures ideal for hiking whereas some of the deserts might experience hotter temperatures. On warmer days, the leader will opt for early morning and late afternoon walks, leaving time for mid-day rest. Please note the hottest time of day in the deserts is actually 15:00 hrs. Most nights will be mild to warm. In the summer months you should be prepared for afternoon thunderstorms. Spring offers stunning displays of desert wildflowers, Summer offers mountain wildflowers and in Autumn the tree colours are beautiful.

San Francisco

San Francisco

Is this trip for you?

This tour is operated in partnership with our sister company Grand American Adventures. As such the departures are not exclusive to Exodus and groups may be a mixture of Exodus, Grand American Adventures, and other clients. This trip is booked through Exodus and you will receive the same award winning customer service that you would expect. Grand American Adventures operate with the same core principles used by Exodus and champion the benefits of small group travel.

This trip is graded Leisurely/Moderate, but there are a range of walks available at each national park of varying length and difficulty that you can choose between. There are opportunities for optional activities during your tour. Your tour leader will organise these on your behalf and you will pay locally in cash. Walks, hikes and activities cater to everyone from beginner to expert, ranging in difficulty from easy to strenuous. You’ll find the main optional activities listed  under each itinerary day description, along with guideline prices. It may not be possible to do all optional activities listed on each tour.

The spectacular American West is home to an exciting mix of cultural and natural highlights. Experience them all on this active tour. Discover Yosemite, Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Grand Canyon National Parks and finish the tour in fabulous Las Vegas. A balance of outdoor discovery and comfortable accommodation, this trip is suitable for those looking to experience national parks and American culture.

Although each tour follows an itinerary, there is a certain amount of flexibility and from time to time your tour leader may suggest changes. This may be due to road conditions, weather or a visit to a special attraction or event that happens to be in progress. Flexibility is key and often a side diversion will be a highlight of the tour. Hikes and optional activities cannot be guaranteed and may vary depending on ability, group interest, local weather conditions and time of year.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as not suitable for full wheelchair users, but it may be suitable for other persons of reduced mobility. Please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailor made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Camping

Grand American Adventures camping tours use national and state park campsites and also a wide assortment of private campgrounds. These will not always be within the national park boundaries we select the best from those available. Most will have flush toilets and hot showers however, some may charge an additional fee of $1-$3 for showers. You will sleep in high quality, tents which single travellers share with one other passenger of the same sex. Our camping equipment also includes field kitchens, inflatable sleeping pads, food storage and camp lanterns and chairs. Most campsites have a quiet time from 22:00 hrs to 07:00 hrs. Please respect your fellow campers who are there to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of camping.

Grand American Adventures camping tours use national and state park campsites and also a wide assortment of private campgrounds. These will not always be within the national park boundaries we select the best from those available. Most will have flush toilets and hot showers however, some may charge an additional fee of $1-$3 for showers. You will sleep in high quality, tents which single travellers share with one other passenger of the same sex. Our camping equipment also includes field kitchens, inflatable sleeping pads, food storage and camp lanterns and chairs. Most campsites have a quiet time from 22:00 hrs to 07:00 hrs. Please respect your fellow campers who are there to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of camping.

The accommodation on our tours is based on twin-share, so if you’re travelling on your own, you’ll share a room or tent with a fellow passenger of the same sex. However, if you would prefer your own space we offer a Solo Sleeper option where you can have your own tent for an additional fee. Please note the solo sleeper excludes campsites in Jasper National Park, Banff National Park and the Mclaren Lodge on any Canada and Alaska itineraries.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailor made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Have you been on this adventure? Tell others what it’s like by writing a review.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros  Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros  Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros  Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

For anyone leaving from the UK we would be pleased to book your flight
in conjunction with your tour. Please contact us for competitive prices on
flights departing from most UK airports.
If you are booking your own flights, you are free to arrive at any time on day one but it is advisable that you arrive in plenty of time to reach your joining hotel and attend your welcome meeting. We also suggest that you book your return flight the day after your tour finishes. If you do have to return home on the day your tour finishes, please make sure that your flight does not depart before 21:00 hrs.
Please note that we cannot be held responsible for any delays, cancellations, changes to your flights, or any missed flights. We are unable to delay a tour, or finish a tour early due to your flight times.

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