|San Francisco, California, United States
||Los Angeles, California, USA
If you like your travel eclectic, this could be for you. The trip through America's West from San Francisco to LA stops off at all the spectacular national parks along the way, and some spectacular man-made sights too.
Why we love it:
- This tour covers all the highlights of the southwest while staying in comfortable hotel accommodation
- Travel from the bayside jewel that is San Francisco to the bright lights of Las Vegas and from the stunning sights of Yosemite National Park to the famous Grand Canyon
- Along the way we also stop by Zion National Park, traverse the Nevada Desert, explore Bryce Canyon and spend time with the Navajo people in Monument Valley
- This is the ultimate journey of discovery of both the land and its people
Day to Day Itinerary
Day 1: San Francisco - Yosemite National Park
Travel time: approx. 4 hours (320 km or 200 miles)
Accommodation: Holiday Inn Golden Gateway or similar, San Francisco
- Our tour starts at 7:30 am at the Holiday Inn Golden Gateway in San Francisco. As this is an early start we recommend that you book a night's pre-tour accommodation at this hotel, which can be booked at the same time you book this tour.
- We travel east through California’s historic gold country and check into our hotel at the scenic Yosemite National Park region – our ‘home’ for the next two nights.
Day 2: Yosemite National Park
Accommodation: Yosemite View Lodge or similar, Yosemite NP
- 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.
- We take a visit to see the amazing giant sequoia trees.
- In Yosemite Valley we can hire a bicycle for a ride, take a dip in the Merced River or wander the meadows.
- Hiking options include one of the many trails that enable us to leave the crowds behind. 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 be etched on our minds.
Day 3: Nevada Desert
Travel time: approx. 9 hours (720 km or 450 miles)
Accommodation: Yosemite View Lodge or similar, Yosemite NP
- Leaving Yosemite’s towering sequoias behind, we make our way from west to east across the State of Nevada on our way to Utah. We continue through the Sierra Nevada and overnight in a hotel located in the high desert in Nevada.
- The Great Basin Desert actually extends right across to California, Oregon, Idaho and Utah. We cover some great distances today, but also get to see some fascinating and contrasting scenery on our road trip.
- The exact location of our overnight stop can vary from trip to trip as it will depend on the road conditions and certain passes being open which will determine how much progress we make on the road today.
Day 4: Zion National Park
Travel time: approx. 2½ hours (220 km or 140 miles)
Accommodation: Great Basin Hotel or similar, Nevada Desert
- We make our way to Utah and our destination - Zion National Park. 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 here in and around the fertile Virgin River Gorge.
- With an early arrival today and two nights here, we will have plenty of time to explore.
Day 5: Zion National Park
Accommodation: Pioneer Lodge Zion or similar, Zion NP
- We have a full day to further explore the delights of Zion National Park. There are various hikes to chose from, ranging from easy to strenuous.
- We warm up our legs by taking a short hike from the valley floor to view the magical Emerald Pools.
- We can also cool off from the summer sun by exploring the Riverside Walk.
- The challenging option is to ascend 760 metres (2500 feet) to experience unbeatable panoramic views from the top of Angels Landing.
- If weather conditions permit, you may choose to hike deep into the Zion Narrows.
- There is also a chance to partake in some horse riding.
Day 6: Bryce Canyon National Park
Travel time: approx. 2 hours (160 km or 100 miles)
Accommodation: BW Bryce Grand or similar, Bryce Canyon NP
- Leaving Zion National Park we climb in elevation to almost 2438 metres (8000 feet) 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 us to hike right in amongst these unique rock formations.
- Remain on the rim and photograph the ever-changing shadows and hues as the sun makes its way across the wide-open sky.
Day 7: Lake Powell
Travel time: approx. 3 hours (240 km or 150 miles)
Accommodation: Lake Powell Hotel or similar, Lake Powell
- Located on the border of Utah and Arizona and created by the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River, Lake Powell has a shoreline that stretches longer than the western coast of the USA!
- Many say that Glen Canyon was even more spectacular than the Grand Canyon before the dam was built. Now the lake is a haven for watersports or just relaxing in one of the many sandstone coves.
- We enjoy our day of fun in the sun and stay overnight in a hotel near this beautiful lake.
Day 8: Monument Valley
Travel time: approx. 2½ hours (210 km or 130 miles)
Meals included: 1 dinner
Accommodation: Kayenta Mon Val Inn or similar, Monument Valley
- In the heart of the Navajo Nation, Monument Valley is sacred land to those who call it home. The red sandstone monoliths have been the backdrop to countless ‘westerns’ featuring cowboys riding off into the sunset.
- We explore the incredible array of rock formations on an included guided 4WD tour and learn the magic and myth of the rich Native American culture. The Navajo Tribal Lands of Monument Valley are a true photographer’s paradise.
- In the evening we get to enjoy an included dinner by dining out on the famous Navajo tacos.
Day 9-10: Grand Canyon National Park
Travel time: approx. 3 hours (280 km or 180 miles)
Accommodation: Canyon Plaza Grand Canyon or similar, Grand Canyon NP
- There is time to view a surreal sunrise at Monument Valley.
- Traversing the eastern entrance of the Grand Canyon, we catch our first glimpse of the canyon 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 kilometres (277 miles) long, up to 29 kilometres (18 miles) wide and over 1.6 kilometres (1 mile) deep. Snaking through the canyon floor is the mighty Colorado River, which runs 2330 kilometres (1450 miles) through seven US states and two Mexican states.
- In your free time, we highly recommend a scenic flight over the canyon, which offer perspectives that you cannot see by just 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.
- There are many walks that you can enjoy ranging from easy to moderate walks.
- The Cameron Trading Post is a good place to browse and shop for local jewellery, crafts and cultural souvenirs.
Day 11-12: Las Vegas
Travel time: approx. 5½-6 hours (450 km or 280 miles)
Meals included: 1 dinner
Accommodation: Alexis Park or similar, Las Vegas
- We leave nature behind and head into Las Vegas and all of its neon splendour. Las Vegas is renowned as the ‘tacky capital of the world’ - home to pirates and pyramids, weddings and waterfalls. If it is gambling you want, you have come to the right place as nowhere else in the world will you find so many casinos. But if you really want to look at something different, stop by one of its countless wedding chapels.
- In Las Vegas we enjoy a city tour that takes us to some of the quirky things that epitomises this city, as well as learn about some of its colourful history.
- There is time for some last-minute bargain shopping and relax by a pool before nights out on the town amidst the bright lights, casinos and world-class shows.
- We also enjoy an included buffet dinner at one of Las Vegas’ famous all-you-can-eat dining places.
Day 13: Los Angeles
Travel time: approx. 5½-6 hours (430 km or 270 miles)
- On our final day we return to California and drive across the great Mojave Desert to the city of Los Angeles.
- Our tour concludes upon arrival at approximately 5 pm. Optional post-tour accommodation is available at our Los Angeles hotel - please inquire when booking your tour. If you are planning to fly out of Los Angeles tonight, please do not book a flight that departs before 9 pm (21:00 hrs).
- The services of a professional tour leader
- Included sightseeing: San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Lake Powell, Navajo guided tour of Monument Valley, Grand Canyon National Park and Las Vegas
- Transport in a customised vehicle
- Navajo taco dinner
- Las Vegas buffet dinner
Most meals are included on your trip (except for North America trips - please refer to your day-to-day itinerary). However, sometimes we think you'll benefit from getting out and discovering the local cuisine. So when a meal is not included, it's a great opportunity to try something new. For group trips, ask your leader for tips on where to get the best meal, or you might decide to dine out as a group and experience the fun together.
- International flights
- Airport transfers
- Airport departure taxes
- Any optional tours and activities
- Items of a personal nature
- Daily budget
We have chosen some great optional activities to enhance your travel experience. You will need to cover any additional costs yourself. For group trips, speak to your leader if you are interested in any of the following:
- Bryce River Canyon - Western horseback riding
- Grand Canyon IMAX Theater
- Grand Canyon scenic flight
US$234 (25 min) or US$264 (40 min)
- Las Vegas clubs and casinos
- Mountain biking
What to know
Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Talk to your doctor about the up-to-date information for this region.
Visas and Permits
It is your responsibility to ensure you have all required visas for your trip. Rules and regulations governing the issuance of visas are constantly changing, and vary for different nationalities and you should check visa requirements with your travel agent or relevant consular authority well before travel.
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables nationals of certain countries, including Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa, if certain requirements are met. Under the VWP, time spent in Canada, Mexico and adjacent islands counts towards the maximum of 90 days stay allowed under the program. You will be required to complete an online visa waiver prior to travelling (at a cost of US$14). This can be done at: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/
For all other nationalities please reconfirm your visa requirements with your travel agent.
You are required to have travel insurance before heading off on a Peregrine trip. Insurance can be organised by your Peregrine representative or your travel agent.
Our Responsible Travel ethos is at the heart of everything we do, from getting the basics right like respecting local cultures and the environment, to initiating projects that make positive contributions to communities, to our staff’s fundraising efforts and offsetting our carbon emissions.
Customs and Culture
Please visit our Responsible Travel (http://www.peregrineadventures.com/rt) page for more information.
Our Pre Departure Information or Travel Dossier (provided upon booking a trip) provides tips on how you can show respect for the local customs and culture in the country you are travelling in.
The information listed above is a brief description of some things you may need to consider when booking a trip. Once a tour is booked you will be provided with a link to your Travel Dossier which will contain detailed Pre Departure information.
The Air-Conditioned Nightmare (1945) - Henry Miller
Coast to Coast (1956) - Jan Morris
On the Road (1957) - Jack Kerouac
Travels with Charley (1962) - John Steinbeck
Blue Highways (1982) - William Least Heat-Moon
On the Rez (2000) - Ian Frazer
The Great Gatsby (1925) - F.Scott Fitzgerald
The Grapes of Wrath (1939) - John Steinbeck
The Catcher in the Rye (1951) - J.D.Salinger
The Call of the Wild (1903) - Jack London
Peregrine Adventures and Grand American Adventures
This trip is operated by our partners, Grand American Adventures, a US based company with nearly 40 years experience in adventure travel. They also share our ethos for offering unique holiday adventures. As this is a code-shared departure you can expect there to be both Grand American Adventures and Peregrine travellers on your trip.
In the event of an emergency or if you wish to report a problem on tour please do not hesitate to call Grand American Adventures' toll free* 24-hour emergency contact number.
Toll-Free (*in the US): 1 (800) 345 - 8777
International: 001 (310) 719 - 9877
Possible Itinerary Amendments
Our routes have been carefully chosen to include the best night stops and highlights. However, as local and operational conditions may vary and unforeseen circumstances can arise, our stated itinerary should be used as a guideline. All travelling times quoted in the itinerary are also estimates only and can vary substantially due to unscheduled stops and traffic or weather conditions.
About this Information
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. The document was correct at time of printing, but you can check online for the most up to date version. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
2 April 2013