Grand Hiking Tour of The American West
Tour the best of The Californian, Arizona and Nevada on this small group journey that starts and ends in Los Angeles. Visit some of America's most iconic cities and national parks at a pace which will allow for gentle hikes, picnics and plenty of time for independent exploration.
- Small group tour - maximum 20 guests
- Eco-friendly tour promoting sustainable tourism
- Light to moderate hiking planned on most days
- Visits to eight national parks
- A stay on the Las Vegas Strip
Arrival in Los Angeles. You will be met at the airport by a local guide. Enjoy an included welcome drink as you get to know your fellow travelers. You will get your travel kit including a reusable water bottle and an insulated bag that will come in handy during the planned picnics. .
Start the day with a guided tour of Los Angeles. Our first visit will be at Olvera Street, known as “the birthplace of Los Angeles.” Olvera Street is a Mexican Marketplace that recreates a romantic “Old Los Angeles” with a block-long narrow, tree-shaded, brick-lined market with old structures, painted stalls, street vendors, cafes, restaurants, and gift shops. Make a photo-stop at nearby Union Station and marvel at it’s Art Deco architecture. Continue to Hollywood home to the legendary Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Take a walk along the Hollywood Walk of Fame and search for your favorite celebrity’s star. Next, we venture on to the Los Angeles Farmer’s Market for lunch (not included). The LA Farmer’s Market is a foodie’s paradise featuring over 100 vendors serving something for everyone’s tastes. After lunch, you will discover Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive – one of the world’s most exclusive luxury destinations. This afternoon, we head to Santa Monica. Santa Monica is a blend of California beach town, Riviera-style romance and Hollywood glamour. Enjoy a scenic walk along the Pacific Ocean to Venice Beach (2,5 miles). Venice Beach is known for its canals, beaches and circus-like Ocean Front Walk, a two-and-a-half-mile pedestrian-only promenade that features performers, fortune-tellers, artists, and vendors. You will be given some time at leisure to watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean and enjoy dinner (not included) in Venice Beach. Return transfer to your hotel. Overnight.
Los Angeles – Las Vegas
This morning departure to Joshua Tree National Park. The park encompasses some of the most interesting geologic displays found in California’s deserts : rugged mountains of twisted rock and exposed granite monoliths testify to the tremendous geological forces that shaped and formed this land. The slow-growing Joshua tree, which graces much of the park's desert ecosystem, is probably the most famous resident of the park. Named by Mormon settlers who crossed the Mojave Desert in the mid-1800s, the tree's unusual shape reminded them of the Bible story in which Joshua reaches his hands up to the sky in prayer. Enjoy a walk along the scenic Hidden Valley trail (1 mile loop). Picnic lunch in the park (not included, a stop will be planned before arrival into the park for you to purchase picnic items). Afternoon drive to Las Vegas – the incredible man-made oasis in the dessert. Check in to your hotel.
Las Vegas - Grand Canyon
Head towards the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, superb geographical phenomenon. Stop in Seligman on the iconic Route 66. Lunch on your own, then discover one of the wonders of the world : the Grand Canyon. Located at 6971 feet above sea level the Grand Canyon is the spectacular result of millions of years of wind and water erosion. Surrounded by a magnificent forest, the canyon seems to be protected by a lush screen of greenery. This will certainly be one of the highlights of your trip. We suggest a 1.7 mile hike (1-2 hours) to Ooh Aah Point. Overnight in the Grand Canyon village.
Grand Canyon- Monument Valley
Depart the Grand Canyon by driving along the scenic Desert View Drive. Stop at the Desert View Watchtower. Modeled after ancient Puebloan watchtowers, the Watchtower at Desert View features murals by Hopi artist Frank Kabotie. Time permitting, you may have a chance to climb the stairs to the top for an outstanding view of the Canyon and the surrounding area. Continue on to Monument Valley, where you will find yourself surrounded by imposing, crimson monoliths. This 25 mile-long and 16-mile wide desert plain has served as the backdrop to numerous westerns including five John Ford classics. Enjoy an included lunch of Navajo specialties followed by a jeep tour of the valley with local a Navajo guide. Arrive in Page in the afternoon. Change at your hotel then enjoy a dip in Lake Powell weather permitting. Overnight in Page.
Page – Horseshoe Bend - Bryce
To start the day you will visit Horseshoe Bend (1.2 mi roundtrip hike): a geologic masterpiece sculpted by the Colorado River. Horseshoe Bend is an example of what happens when water takes the path of least resistance. With the help of gravity, the Colorado River began cutting through rock layers deep and fast. The result is the 270° bend in the river. Discovered by Mormons at the end of the 19th century, Bryce Canyon is considered one of the jewels of the National Parks system. The shapes, colors and shades of the stone and the famous Pink Cliffs are constantly changing from dawn to dusk. Hike down the canyon to get closer to the hoodoos (thin spires of rock)*. Picnic lunch in the park (not included, a stop will be planned before arrival into the park for you to purchase picnic items). Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure to explore the park at your own pace. Overnight in the region.
Bryce Canyon – Zion – Las Vegas
Departure for your visit of Zion National Park. Follow the paths where ancient native people and pioneers walked. Gaze up at massive sandstone cliffs of cream, pink, and red that soar into a brilliant blue sky. Experience wilderness in a narrow slot canyon. Zion’s unique array of plants and animals will enchant you as you absorb the rich history of the past and enjoy the excitement of present day adventures. Picnic lunch in the park (not included, a stop will be planned before arrival into the park for you to purchase picnic items).. This afternoon, we return to Las Vegas. Rest of the day at leisure to try your luck gambling, do some shopping, or enjoy on of the many world class entertainment options the city has to offer. Optional: join your guide on a visit of Las Vegas by night.Overnight
Las Vegas - Death Valley – Mammoth Lakes
Today you will drive through the Nevada Desert and cross the border to California where you will descend into famous Death Valley. At 282 feet below sea level, Death Valley is one of the hottest places on earth. The landscape is so deserted that the first cowboys to have crossed it said of it: "Not a stream to drink from, not a tree to hang on". You will discover Furnace Creek, and the sand dunes of Stovepipe Wells. Lunch on your own. This afternoon, we drive high into the Sierra Nevada range as we make our way to the resort town of Mammoth Lakes. Overnight. *If the Tioga Pass is closed, the groups will be relocated to Bakersfield
Mammoth Lakes – Yosemite – San Francisco
This morning we take a scenic drive on the Tioga pass as we enter Yosemite National Park. Yosemite will delight you with its Alpine landscape, with pine forests, waterfalls, and rivers, all dominated by the silhouette of great white monoliths. Marvel at the giant redwoods, Half Dome, Yosemite Valley, and a few famous waterfalls such as Bridalveil Falls and Yosemite Falls (often dry in the summer). Picnic on your own in the (not included, a stop will be planned before arrival into the park for you to purchase picnic items).. Continue towards San Francisco for a 3 night stay. Overnight.
Start the day with a guided tour of San Francisco, one of the most photographed, filmed, and documented cities in the world. The city is a a tantalizing mix of history, modern sophistication, and stunning natural beauty. Start with (weather permitting) a panoramic view from the top of Twin Peaks, you will have an unrivalled perspective of the city from the bay to the Golden Gate strait. Next you will discover Golden Gate Park. Continue your tour with a stop at Alamo Square, where you will see the best examples of San Francisco's iconic Victorian homes, the “Painted Ladies.” Make a stop at the world famous Golden Gate Bridge. Enjoy some time on your own for lunch at Fisherman’s Wharf. End the day with stops at Chinatown, Union Square and the Civic Centre, with its Beaux-Arts City Hall. Overnight.
Start the day with a short hike to Muir Beach. The Muir Beach Overlook provides expansive views of the Pacific Coast, including the Point Reyes Peninsula. Relax on the beach or explore the several historic base-end stations, observation posts that were part of the San Francisco Bay coastal defence system. Next you will visit Sausalito, famous for it’s waterfront cafés, art galleries, and charming house boats. Time at leisure to enjoy lunch on your own. Return to San Francisco by taking a scenic ferry ride across the bay. Afternoon at leisure to do some shopping, visit one of the city’s world-class museums, or perhaps rent a bike for a ride along the waterfront. Overnight.
San Francisco - Monterey - Carmel – Santa Maria
Leave for Monterey Peninsula. Tour of the town of Monterey, particularly the fishing port and Cannery Row, made famous by the writer John Steinbeck. Visit of nearby Carmel, one the most charming coastal towns of California, with prestine beaches and trendy boutiques. Enjoy some time for lunch on your own. You will then drive along the superb Big Sur coastline: the majestic Santa Lucia range gives way to dramatic cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Stops will be made along the way to snap some pictures and enjoy a few short hikes to soak up the scenery. Arrival in Santa Maria at the end of the day. Overnight
Santa Maria- Santa Barbara - Los Angeles
Morning drive to lovely Santa Barbara known for its golden beaches, palm-lined bay, red-tiled roofs and Spanish architecture. Visit the beautiful mission Santa Barbara, the largest Franciscan convent in California today, considered to be the queen of the California missions. Time for lunch on your own before continuing towards Los Angeles. Make a stop in luxurious Malibu for a visit of the Adamson House, a National Historic Site and California Historic Landmark. The Spanish Colonial Revival style home occupies one of the most idyllic oceanfront spots in all of Southern California. Situated near the Malibu Lagoon, the house boasts an exotic mix of Spanish and Moorish influences with dazzling displays of decorative tiles and one-of-a-kind craftsmanship including hand-carved doors, hand-painted frescoes, molded ceilings, distinctive cast ironwork and lead-framed bottle glass windows. Finally, we end the day with a stop at the Griffith Observatory to get some of the best views of Downtown Los Angeles as well as the famous Hollywood Sign, a landmark and American cultural icon.
Enjoy a day at leisure before transferring to the airport for your flight home.
- 13 nights hotel accommodation
- Services of an English speaking tour guide from days 2-13
- Transportation in an air-conditioned mini bus
- Daily American or Continental breakfast
- International flights from London (please ask if regional airports are required)
- Entrance fees to The Joshua Tree National Park, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley (with jeep tour and Navajo lunch), Horse Shoe Bend, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Death Valley, Yosemite, Ferry from San Francisco to Sausalito, Mission Santa Barbara, Adamsons House
- Taxes, service fees and resort fees and gratuities (except to tour leader and driver)