|San Francisco, California, United States
||Los Angeles, California, USA
As the gateway to America's great west, San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge has attracted widespread admiration. Not least from chief engineer, Joseph P. Strauss, who marked the completion of the bridge in 1937 with a poem entitled The Mighty Task is Done. "At last the mighty task is done; Resplendent in the western sun," it begins. A faultless tribute to this engineering marvel.
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)
- Your 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.
- You'll travel east through California’s historic gold country and check into your hotel at the scenic Yosemite National Park region – your ‘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.
- Visit to see the amazing giant sequoia trees.
- In Yosemite Valley you 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 you 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 in your minds.
Day 3: Death Valley
- Today you'll continue west, to Death Valley. You will cover great distances and see the fascinating transformation from mountain to desert terrain on today’s road trip.
- Death Valley National Park includes a wealth of geological phenomena: large sand dune formations, sculpted rocks, isolated valleys and volcanic craters. The canyon and mountain walls change colour with the changing sunlight. Elevations fluctuate from 85 m below sea level near Badwater Point (the lowest point in the United States) to 3756 m above sea level at Telescope Peak. Stop at the visitor centre and, heat permitting, take a walk on the stunning salt flats.
Day 4: Zion National Park
Travel time: approx. 2½ hours (220 km or 140 miles)
- You will make your way to Utah and your 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, you will have plenty of time to explore.
Day 5: Zion National Park
Accommodation: Pioneer Lodge Zion or similar, Zion NP
- You'll 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.
- Warm up your legs by taking a short hike from the valley floor to view the magical Emerald Pools.
- You 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 you'll climb 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 you 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.
- You will enjoy a 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.
- You will 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 you will 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, you will catch your 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)
Accommodation: Alexis Park or similar, Las Vegas
- You will 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 you will enjoy a city tour that will unveil some of the quirky things that epitomise this city, you'll also learn about some of its colourful history.
- There is time for some last-minute bargain shopping and a relax by a pool before a night out on the town amidst the bright lights, casinos and world-class shows.
Day 13: Los Angeles
Travel time: approx. 5½-6 hours (430 km or 270 miles)
- On your final day, you'll return to California and drive across the great Mojave Desert to the city of Los Angeles.
- Your tour concludes upon arrival at approximately 5pm. Optional post-tour accommodation is available at the 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 9pm (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
Some 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. Please talk to your doctor about the up-to-date information for this region. We're travel experts, not doctors and defer to the medicos when it comes to inoculations.
Visas and Permits
Please ensure that you have all required visas for your trip – this is your responsibility. 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. Your leader will also help steer you though the complexities of local cultural norms.
Pre Departure Information
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!
7 November 2013
General Contact Details
Web: Visit Peregrine