Autumn in Yosemite Valley, USA

Western Explorer

13 days
from
£2,869
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Trip code: 
AFL8
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Natural Wonders
Min age:
16
Group size:
1–13

Visit five breathtaking national parks

A medley of man-made and natural wonders are on full display on this popular tour of Western USA. Yosemite Valley, the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas Strip, are rivalled only by the power and beauty of the Navajo's sacred Monument Valley. Hike under the world's largest sandstone cliffs at Zion Canyon, marvel at Antelope Slot Canyon, swim in the clear blue waters of Lake Powell and gaze upon the ever-changing colours of Bryce Canyon. Adventure awaits around every corner in the most geographically diverse region of the United States.

Highlights

  • Five breathtaking national parks
  • Navajo tour in Monument Valley
  • The Grand Canyon
  • Zion's sandstone cliffs and towering waterfall

Key information

  • Travel by private minibus
  • Variety of daywalks to suit all abilities
  • Some long journeys
  • Group normally 6 to 13, plus leader. Min age 18 yrs
  • 9 hotel nights and 3 lodge nights included

What's included

  • All accommodation
  • 1 dinner
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Arrival & departure transfers
  • Meals (apart from 1 dinner)
  • Optional activities
Call us on
0208 772 3936
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

San Francisco
to
Las Vegas
  • Day 1

    Start San Francisco.

    Welcome to the 'City by the Bay' in sunny California. San Francisco is a city which the locals are fiercely proud of and for good reason. There's plenty to keep you entertained but the best introduction is to jump on a hop-on-hop-off bus tour around the city. A welcome meeting will be held at 6:00pm in your hotel.

    Please note: The hotel hosts a one-of-a-kind evening of wine and sake hour from 17:00-18:00 hrs daily.

    No trip to San Francisco is complete without a visit to Alcatraz. We recommend you book an extra night in our hotel the night before the tour starts and book your ticket online in advance with Alcatraz Cruises.

    Optional Activities:
    • Alcatraz Prison (must be booked in advance with Alcatraz Cruises) US$33-$40
    • Hop-on-hop-off bus US$50
    • Baseball game From US$20
    • Bike Rental US$8 per hour/$32 per day
    • Cable car ride US$5-$13
    • Sunset sailboat cruise US$45

    Standard Hotel

  • Day 2

    To Yosemite N.P.

    Depart San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge, heading east through California's historic gold country, and make tracks for Yosemite. Here, everything is in gargantuan proportions, including some of North America's tallest cliffs, waterfalls and trees. You'll check into your lodge in the Yosemite region - your 'home' for the next three nights.

    Standard Lodge

  • Day 3

    Walking in Yosemite N.P.

    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. Rock 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. As you explore the park keep your eyes peeled for varied wildlife such as deer, bobcats, marmots, pika and if you're lucky, bear. After a visit to see the amazing Giant Sequoia trees, Yosemite Valley beckons, offering the chance to cycle, take a dip in the Merced River or wander the meadows. The views are breathtaking from every vantage point - the granite formations of Half Dome, El Capitan and Cathedral Rocks are sure to be forever etched on your mind.

    Optional Activities:
    • Bike rental in Yosemite US$12-$34
    • Float trip on the Merced River in Yosemite US$31

    Standard Lodge

  • Day 4

    Another day exploring Yosemite.

    Second day exploring Yosemite.

    Standard Lodge

  • Day 5

    Drive across Tioga Pass and on to Death Valley N.P.

    One of the hottest, driest and lowest places on earth, Death Valley is blessed with some of the most extreme and beautiful landscapes. Sculpted by erosion, richly tinted mudstone hills and canyons await exploration, with sand dunes and salt pans making for some exceptional photos. You cover some great distances today but also see some fascinating and contrasting scenery on your road trip. Enjoy a wine and cheese evening with wonderful views.

    Please note, during extremely high temperatures we may need to alter the itinerary to avoid the Death Valley.

    Standard Hotel

  • Day 6

    Travel to Zion N.P.

    Make your way to Utah and your destination for today - Zion National Park. Like an oasis rising up from the desert floor, Zion's multi-coloured cliffs and spring-fed hanging gardens are spectacular. 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 Southwest USA can be found here, in and around the fertile Virgin River Gorge. With an early arrival today and two nights in Zion, you'll have plenty of time to explore.

    Standard Hotel

  • Day 7

    Walking options in Zion N.P. including Angel's Landing and The Narrows.

    Enjoy a full day to further explore the delights of Zion National Park. There are various hikes to choose from, ranging from easy to strenuous. Warm up your legs by taking a short hike from the valley floor to view the Lower Emerald Pool then continue on to the sparkling Upper Emerald Pools, passing a stunning waterfall along the way to discover Zion's `beach'. Cool off from the heat of the summer sun by exploring the Riverside Walk section of the Virgin River.

    If you're feeling ambitious, enjoy the park's more challenging option and ascend 2,500 ft. to experience unbeatable panoramic views from the top of Angels Landing. 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've ever experienced. If weather conditions permit, you may choose to hike deep into the Zion Narrows, just be prepared to get a little wet.

    Standard Hotel

  • Day 8

    To Bryce N.P.; walk the Queen's Garden Trail.

    Leaving Zion 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.

    Optional Activities:
    • Western horseback riding at Bryce US$65-$90

    Standard Hotel

  • Day 9

    To Lake Powell; visit to Antelope Canyon.

    Returning south along Scenic Highway 89, you descend from the high plateau to the arid plains and past the Vermillion Cliffs en route to Antelope Canyon. A Navajo guided visit is included to the stunning Antelope Slot Canyon, which in Navajo language means 'the place where water runs through rocks'. Your guide will show you how flash floods have carved and sculpted this beautiful area. In the late afternoon there may be time to swim in Lake Powell depending on timings on the actual day and what time we finish with Antelope Canyon. Located on the border of Utah and Arizona, Lake Powell has a shoreline that stretches longer than the western coast of the USA!

    Standard Hotel

  • Day 10

    Jeep excursion with Navajo guide in Monument Valley.

    Stop for a walk at Horseshoe Bend for an amazing view of the Colorado River before heading to the heart of the Navajo Nation. Monument Valley, a sacred land to those who call it home, is dotted with fabulous red sandstone monoliths and from here you'll witness spectacular sunsets and sunrises. Having been the backdrop for countless Westerns, you'll half expect to see cowboys riding off into the sunset. You'll explore the incredible array of rock formations on an included and guided 4x4 backroads tour, learning all about the magic and myths of the rich Native American culture. The Navajo Tribal Lands of Monument Valley are a true photographer's paradise. For your evening meal, try a Navajo taco, a local speciality dish.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 11

    To Grand Canyon N.P.

    This morning you leave Monument Valley and drive towards Grand Canyon National Park for the ultimate desert showstopper! Crossing the eastern entrance of the canyon, you'll catch your first glimpse at Desert View. This incredible spectacle is difficult to comprehend, even as you stand at the rim or hike down into the canyon. Carved over several millennia, this massive 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 mighty Colorado River, which runs 2,330 km through seven US states and two Mexican states.

    In your free time, we highly recommend a scenic flight over the canyon which offers a perspective that you cannot see by visiting on 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 meandering South Rim Trail, hike your way down the more challenging trail to Plateau Point, or simply relax at the canyon's edge and enjoy a spectacular sunset over one of the world's most incredible natural wonders.

    Optional Activities:
    • Grand Canyon helicopter flight US$254-$284
    • Grand Canyon IMAX theater US$15

    Standard Hotel

  • Day 12

    Another day exploring the Grand Canyon.

    Another day exploring the Grand Canyon.

    Standard Hotel

  • Day 13

    To Las Vegas via Seligman on Route 66; end.

    En route to Vegas you travel a section of the original Route 66 and visit Seligman, a town full to the brim with Americana wares. Continuing on, you make your way towards hedonistic `Sin City', which really has to be seen to be believed! Las Vegas is the fastest growing city in the United States and is renowned as the `tacky capital of the world' - home to pirates and pyramids, weddings and water fountains! Upon arrival enjoy a driving tour down the famous Las Vegas Strip and see first-hand the resort hotels that make this desert city tick. Vegas really comes alive at night with resort hotels, shows and the Bellagio Fountain's regular water displays. We recommend booking extra nights to explore the city because it's not all clubs and resort hotels. There are numerous art galleries, shops and world-class restaurants for you to enjoy. If you want to enjoy a couple of extra nights, please advise your Americas Specialist when booking your trip.

    This tour ends at our gateway hotel in Las Vegas at approximately 17:00 hrs. We can book your post-tour accommodation if required. If you are planning to fly tonight, please do not book a flight that departs before 17:00 hrs.

    Optional Activities:
    • Las Vegas helicopter flight: US$124

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, or Syria 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

1 dinner is included on this trip

On hotel based tours, you will usually eat out in local restaurants. To help you budget for your 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 also be aware that a tip of approximately 15%-20% is added to group meals in North American restaurants. Applicable taxes will also be added to all listed menu prices.

Your tour leader may offer your group the option to operate a ‘lunch only’ food kitty, this has proven to be a popular alternative to three daily restaurant meals. Leaders will explain this option while on your tour, and the whole group will have to agree for this system to run.

Please make sure we are aware of any special meal requirements before travelling. We will do all we can to accommodate for various dietary requirements but in certain parts of North America certain food types can be limited.

 

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.

Call us on
0208 772 3936
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

9 hotel nights included in 3 star twin share accommodation and 3 lodge nights. Accommodation will be in clean, comfortable three star hotels or lodges with en suite bathroom facilities, chosen for their friendly atmosphere and proximity to the highlights of the region. You will be roomed with a fellow passenger of the same sex on a twin share basis (two people per room) unless you are travelling as a couple. In the event that you cannot be matched with another passenger there will not be a single supplement charge.

Call us on
0208 772 3936
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.

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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]

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