Autumn in Yosemite Valley, USA

National Parks and Lodges

15 days
from
£4,899
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Culture
Suitable for:
Age 16+
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Trip code: 
GNL
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Culture
Group size:
6–13
Min age:
16

Visit incredible USA national parks and stay in upgraded properties along the way.

This unique USA national park tour explores the crown jewels of America's national parks system, whilst enjoying the comfort of its historic and unique lodges and hotels. Yosemite, Yellowstone, Death Valley and the Grand Canyon showcase some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes in the US and their expansive vistas and abundant wildlife have been attracting visitors for over 100 years. That's not to forget the lesser known but equally stunning USA national parks including Zion and Arches. Some lodges that were built at the turn of the century to cater to this early wave of tourists are still operational in all their former glory - and today they're more than just places to stay, they're pieces of history!

Highlights

  • Stay in historic national park lodges and hotels
  • Navajo guided backroads tour of Monument Valley 
  • Salt Lake City tour guided by local Mormon
  • Six USA National Parks; Yosemite, Death Valley, Zion, Grand Canyon, Arches & Yellowstone
  • Wine and cheese ‘Sundowner’ in an area of natural beauty

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 16 yrs
  • 2 hotel nights and 12 lodge nights included
  • Countries visited: USA

What's included

  • All accommodation
  • 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 private group 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

San Francisco
to
Bozeman
  • 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 explore by foot, or make use of the infamous cable car network. A welcome meeting will be held at 18:00 hrs in your hotel.

    We recommend you book an extra night in our hotel the night before the tour starts if you want to spend some time discovering San Francisco - Alcatraz is a must see, you can reserve a ticket online in advance with Alcatraz Cruises.

    Accommodation: Hotel Kabuki (or similar)

  • Days 2-3

    Yosemite National Park

    After departing San Francisco, you head east through California's historic gold country then high into the Sierra Nevada Mountains to magnificent Yosemite National Park. We begin with an easy trail walk to the Giant Sequoia Trees before our two night stay at the Yosemite lodge.

    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 Yosemite Valley beckons, where you can bicycle, take a dip in the Merced River or wander the lush meadows.

    Hiking in Yosemite is pretty special and anyone who visits the park must hit one of the many trails. The famous sites situated along these trails include Yosemite Falls, Nevada Falls, Vernal Falls, Mirror Lake and Half Dome. 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 minds. There are trails to suit all abilities and your leader will recommend the best for you. In the evening, you return to the historic lodge where you can relax with a cocktail. 

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

    Accommodation: Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite (or similar) 

  • Day 4

    Death Valley National Park

    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. We cover a long distance today and see some fascinating and contrasting scenery on the journey.

    Accommodation: The Inn at Death Valley (or similar)

  • Day 5

    Zion National Park

    We cross into Utah and on towards the soaring red and white cliffs of Zion, one of the most spectacular destinations in the USA national park system. 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 the desert terrain of Southwest USA can be found here, in and around the fertile Virgin River as it meanders below massive, cathedral-like sandstone walls. Upon arriving we can enjoy a hike along the narrows of the Virgin River. 

    Optional Activities:

    Western horseback riding US$45-$90

    Accommodation: Zion Lodge (or similar)

  • Day 6

    Zion National Park

    With an early morning rise, the park's most challenging hiking option awaits those who are feeling ambitious. After ascending 2,500 ft. you'll experience unbeatable panoramic views from the top of Angels Landing. The beautiful but strenuous hike along the knife-edge ridgeline rewards with one of the most breathtaking and powerful panoramas ever experienced. There are other trails available in Zion National Park if you prefer, and your leader will recommend the best options. 

    Accommodation: Zion Lodge (or similar)

  • Days 7-8

    Grand Canyon (North Rim)

    Today we head to the Grand Canyon for the ultimate desert showstopper! This incredible spectacle is difficult to comprehend. Stretching for almost 300 miles and plunging to depths of over 6,000ft., there's plenty of rock to go around. Aside from the views, we'll discover plenty of opportunities to get active with hiking trails. Snaking through the canyon floor is the mighty Colorado River, which runs 1,450 miles (2,330km) through seven US states and two Mexican states.

    It is a fact that only 5% of all travellers who visit the Grand Canyon hike beneath the rim trails. If you are able, it gives you a very different perspective and idea of its vastness when you hit the snaking trails into the belly of the canyon. One thing you won't want to miss is sunset or sunrise as the canyon colours change dramatically. We have the lucky privilege of spending two nights on the Grand Canyon North Rim in a historic lodge.

    Accommodation: Grand Canyon Lodge - North Rim (or similar)

  • Day 9

    Monument Valley

    In the heart of the Navajo Nation in Arizona, Monument Valley is sacred land to those who call it home. The red sandstone monoliths and spectacular sunsets and sunrises have been the backdrop to countless Westerns and the best way to experience this special place is on a Navajo guided backroads tour, where we are taken to parts of the park that can only be reach by jeep. Listen to traditional stories and learn more about the history of the Navajo Nation. As we come across geological wonders, petroglyph drawings of animals and pottery crafted by local people, you'll soon realise why this place is so special to all who visit. There's also ample time to relax and view the valley's surreal sunset.

    Accommodation: Goulding's Lodge (or similar)

  • Days 10-11

    Moab - Arches National Park

    Today we'll encounter yet more spectacular scenery amid Arches National Park. Dramatic red sandstone arches were created over millions of years by the whipping wind down the west slope of the Rocky Mountains. We can hike to get a closer view of these incredible arches, some of which have names, such as Landscape Arch and the famous Delicate Arch, the latter being the most iconic and most photographed in the park. Alternatively, why not tackle the terrain high above on a guided 'hummer' tour or take a float trip down the Colorado River. Arches National Park is a photographer's playground with many a sandstone edifice providing the foreground against a clear blue or flame red sky. With hardly any light pollution there's plenty to see after dark too. Our base will be in Moab, the perfect place for restaurants and activity providers and our home for the next two nights. 

    Optional Activities:

    Hummer Tour (your leader will confirm the price)Mountain biking US$60Float trip on the Colorado River US$60

    Accommodation: Sorrel River Ranch Lodge (or similar)

  • Day 12

    Salt Lake City

    Our next destination is the capital of Utah, Salt Lake City. With a city population of 186,000 and a metropolitan population of 1.13 million, it's the largest city in the state. Founded in 1847 by Brigham Young and his Mormon (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) followers. Salt Lake City is still the base for the religion although less than half the population in the city today are Mormons. The city is nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and overlooks the largest inland lake in the Western USA. It is a paradise for outdoor adventure lovers, due to its enviable position close to five national parks and mountains that have 'the greatest snow on Earth'. It also has a buzzing cultural centre, with an exciting craft brewery and distilling culture. Today we enjoy a city tour with a local Mormon guide and see the city from a local's perspective.

    Optional Activities: 

    Drive-in Movie US$9

    Accommodation: Little America Hotel (or similar)

  • Days 13-14

    Yellowstone National Park

    Arrive in Yellowstone National Park, the world's first national park and home to a large variety of wildlife including Grizzly bear, wolves, bison and elk. This park is so large that its boundaries cross into three states. Most of the park sits in Wyoming, but parts of the reserve extend into Idaho and Montana. Yellowstone has one of the highest concentrations of geothermal activity on the planet. Herds of bison roam amongst the erupting geysers and steam rises from the various rivers running through the park. A fire in the 1980s destroyed much of the park, but it has recovered to the extent that it is now a living monument to nature's power of regeneration. From lush mountain meadows and vast freshwater lakes to sensuous pine forests and flower strewn hillsides, lovers of infinite wilderness will be in their absolute element in Yellowstone National Park. Our time at Yellowstone will be spent discovering the best trails and viewpoints, and getting up close to see the geysers and other geological featurs that make this such a special part of the world. 

    Accommodation: Chico Hot Springs (or similar)

  • Day 15

    Bozeman

    Our tour ends at our gateway hotel in Bozeman at approximately 17:00 hrs. We can book you post-tour accommodation at our gateway hotel if required. If you are planning to fly tonight, please do not book a flight that departs before 21:00 hrs. 

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 on our USA visas page.

Vaccinations

United States

There are no mandatory vaccinations required for this trip.

Eating and Drinking

All meals are paid locally on this trip.

We 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 trip is graded 2: Leisurely/Moderate.

There are a range of walks available at each national park, each of varying length and difficulty giving you the flexibility to choose what suits you. 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.


This tour offers a balance of outdoor discovery and comfortable accommodation, and 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, the 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 private group 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

Hotels

Hotel 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 for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group 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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