Spend two weeks in the American West, discovering the beauty of many of its most iconic national parks. Encounter the crimson-striped cliffs of the Grand Canyon and hear the thundering surf at Big Sur. Stroll among the giants of Sequoia National Park and step behind the scenes at the Monterey Bay Aquarium on a tour designed for National Geographic Journeys. From Yosemite to Death Valley, escape to some of the greatest natural wonders anywhere.
There are no planned activities today until the evening welcome meeting, so check out the strip or get tickets to a show for this evening.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Depart early for Zion, Utah's oldest national park which offers some of the most scenic canyon country in the United States. Catch the shuttle into the park with our CEO and hike to the Emerald Pools and hanging gardens.
Zion National Park Visit
Private Vehicle (3.00-3.50 hours, 250km)
The canyon is narrow, and the river covers the bottom in many places, which means you will have to wade or swim to proceed. Prepare to get wet but the cool water makes this hike particularly pleasant during the hot summer months.
Hiking is not permitted when the river is high from runoff or flash flooding. Runoff mostly occurs in April and early May. Late summer thunderstorms can occasionally produce flooding. If the hike is not possible due to weather, it will be replaced with another activity.
This is a moderate level hike of 4 to 5 hours, during which you are wading through water which could be ankle or waist deep, depending on local conditions. As well, the terrain is often rocky and uneven. We recommend bringing water shoes with a hiking tread.
Should you choose to not do the hike, you can stay and relax at the lodge or discuss with your CEO other optional activities that may be available (at additional cost).
This morning, visit Bryce Canyon National Park for a hike. Famed for the multi-coloured rock pinnacles called 'Hoodoo' that cover the canyon floor – be sure to have your camera ready to snap shots of these spectacular, natural towers. Continue on to Page, Arizona.
Bryce Canyon National Park Visit
Private Vehicle (1.50-2.00 hours, 120km)
Private Vehicle (3.00-3.50 hours, 250km)
Marvel as the Grand Canyon unfolds before you but don't get too close. The land drops almost straight down for more than 1,000m (3,280 ft) into the serpentine canyons below! The gorge is filled with rocky buttes, sheer limestone cliffs, and deep canyons all arrayed in a rainbow of colors. Words defy. This is truly one of the most magnificent sights on earth.
Antelope Canyon Tour
Horseshoe Bend Hike
Private Vehicle (3.00-4.00 hours, 220km)
Spend the day exploring the Canyon with an expert from the Grand Canyon Association Field Institute. Enjoy a walk along the South Rim discussing the unique geology and botany of the Canyon, as well as human history here. After, visit the Historic Village District viewing iconic park structures then continue down the historic Bright Angel Trail below the canyon rim and view 2 thousand year-old rock art and 250 million year-old fossils. Also visit historic Kolb photography Studio, home to photo-pioneers Emery and Ellsworth Kolb, who shared with the world the first pictures of the epic Canyon.
Grand Canyon Exclusive
This morning, visit Lowell Observatory for a tour of the giant telescopes and to learn about the study of astronomy, as well as a lecture on Mars. Continue back to Las Vegas, but not before getting your kicks on Route 66 in Seligman, Arizona – the birthplace of this famed highway.
Lowell Observatory Experience
Seligman (Route 66) Visit
Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s), 150km)
Private Vehicle (5.00-6.00 hours, 400km)
Enjoy a full free day to explore Las Vegas. Wander the Strip, do some shopping, and refuel at one of the many bars or restaurants. Opt to take in a glitzy Las Vegas show, try your luck at the gaming tables, or head out on a day trip to the Hoover Dam.
Drive through the spectacular landscape of Death Valley. Visit Badwater Basin, the lowest, hottest, driest point in North America that sits 282 feet below sea level.
Expect high temperatures of 100°F to over 120°F (38°C to over 49°C). Drink plenty of water and carry extra supplies. Avoid hiking at mid-day.
Death Valley National Park Visit
Private Vehicle (2.50-3.00 hours, 230km)
Surrounded by peaks which soar more than 14,000 ft (4,593m) in elevation, Bishop, one of "America's Coolest Mountain Towns." Travel via the Tioga Pass viewing Mono Lake and the Tufa Towers on the way.
We intend on using the Tioga Pass (weather dependent), a scenic route through the Sierra Nevada mountain range that connects Bishop with Yosemite NP. The status of the road is monitored daily, and our travel plan for the area will be confirmed during the trip.
Tioga Pass Drive
Private Vehicle (8.00-10.00 hours)
With our CEO, explore stunning Yosemite National Park in the High Sierra. Explore on foot to view majestic waterfalls, crystal clear lakes, lush green meadows and walk amongst pristine groves in Yosemite.
Yosemite National Park Visit
Depart early and walk through California's Sequoia National Park alongside a naturalist. Learn about these impressive giant trees, enjoy a picnic lunch on the trail, and then drive to Big Tree Trail for an afternoon hike and learn about how National Geographic deeded tracts of giant trees in the heart of the park to the National Parks Service for safekeeping. This evening, we return to the park for an evening of stargazing with an expert from the Sequoia Parks Conservancy (SPC).
In cases where the night sky is cloudy, we will replace the star gazing activity with a nighttime nature walk in the National Park. Embark on a one-mile walk to experience the dramatic changes of the soundscapes and nocturnal biodiversity of the area. This engaging walk will awaken awareness and provide an in-depth experience of Sequoia's nocturnal plants and animals.
Sequoia NP Hike
Sequoia Parks Conservancy Stargazing
Private Vehicle (2.50-3.00 hours, 222km)
Time and conditions permitting, we will try to make a stop to view elephant seals at Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery.
Private Van with Wi-fi (10.00-12.00 hours)
Go behind the scenes at the Monterey Bay Aquarium on an experience customized for Journeys travellers. Get an inside look at the inner workings of the facility and learn about sea otters, kelp and all the marine life that call the Aquarium home. After, enjoy a free afternoon, opt to explore the Bay, or wander historic Fisherman's Wharf and Cannery Row.
Monterey Aquarium Exclusive
Continue on a scenic coastal drive along the Pacific Coast Highway to San Francisco for our final evening. Catch a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge on the way into one of America's most popular cities. Opt to catch a cable car ride over the steep hills, explore the city by bicycle or set sail into the setting sun.
Private Vehicle (3.50-4.00 hours, 227km)
Depart at any time.
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Trip Name: National Parks of the American West
Duration: 16 Days
From Price: 6463
Trip Code: 166151
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