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USA National Parks Explorer

USA

USA National Parks Explorer

Hiking
·
Start: San Francisco
·
End: Los Angeles

Explore all the natural and urban beauty that western US offers.

Activity
Hiking
LocationUSA
Duration18 days
Start / EndSan Francisco / Los Angeles
Tour operatorIntrepid Travel

USA

USA National Parks Explorer

Hiking·
18 days·Intrepid Travel
Start: San Francisco
·
End: Los Angeles

Description

Explore all the natural and urban beauty that western US offers. Spend time in the big parks of the States – Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Zion, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon and more. Discover a new landscape around every corner: from huge sculpted cliffs and monster trees to alien deserts filled with strange rocks and massive sand dunes. Sip wine in Sonoma, spend time with a Native America tribe and...

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Itinerary

Day 1San Francisco
Welcome to the San Francisco, USA. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader. If you're going to be late, please inform hotel reception. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for today's welcome meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. This evening head out with the group on an Urban Adventures tour, which includes a guided walk through San Francisco's famous Little Italy and North Beach districts and dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 2Sonoma
This morning hit the road out of San Francisco and drive north to the beautiful Sonoma Valley wine region. The small town of Sonoma was the site of the rebellion, which paved the way for California's independence from Mexico. Enjoy lunch, a wine tasting and an optional winery tour at a local vineyard. Explore the historic buildings and scenic trails of nearby Jack London State Park - the area the famous writer and adventurer once called home. Spend the second night of the trip in Sonoma.
Day 3Yosemite National Park
Today is a long day of driving (approximately seven hours), as you head east to Yosemite National Park where you'll spend the next two nights. Featuring sequoia forests, granite cliff faces and waterfalls, the scenery in this World Heritage-listed park is amazing to explore.
Day 4Yosemite National Park
Enjoy a free day to explore Yosemite National Park. There are plenty of hikes to do, each varying in difficulty. Perhaps take a 4-5 hour hike to the top of Nevada Fall or a short and easy walk to the serene Mirror Lake. Keep an eye out for squirrels (and perhaps even a bear) along the way. You might like to hire a bike and cycle around Yosemite Valley, stopping by the park's museum, photo gallery, shops and restaurants on the way. In the heat of summer, float down the Merced River on a raft and enjoy a few drinks at the local cafe.
Day 5Lake Tahoe
Make the short drive to Lake Tahoe (approximately 2–3 hours). Enjoy free time for the rest of the day. If it's summer, perhaps using it to hike, swim, rent bikes or simply relax. An optional sunset sailing cruise on the lake is also available. In winter, your optional activities revolve around snow – strap on some snowshoes and go for a hike, take a sleigh ride, or try your hand at ice skating. In the evening, return to camp for dinner with the group.
Day 6Eastern Sierra / Lone Pine
Drive south to Death Valley (approximately 6 hours). On the way to Lone Pine perhaps stop at Manzanar National Historic Site, a former Japanese Internment Camp during WWII. Spend the night in the town of Lone Pine, not far from the entrance to Death Valley. Here there's the option to visit the Museum of Western Film History, which celebrates the many movies that have been filmed in the area, such as Iron Man, Django Unchained, How The West Was Won, and True Grit.
Day 7Death Valley
This morning we drive the short distance into Death Valley National Park. Death Valley National Park is a geologically rich area, featuring huge sand dunes, canyons, sculpted rocks, valleys and volcanic craters. Elevations fluctuate from 85 metres below sea level near Badwater Point (the lowest point in the USA) to 3756 metres above sea level at Telescope Peak. Death Valley is extremely hot and dry, so pack plenty of water. Perhaps hike up to Dante's View for amazing vistas over the valley. Check out Ubehebe Crater or find a shady trail through Golden Canyon. Set up camp in Death Valley National Park.
Day 8Las Vegas
It's a short three-hour drive through Nevada today, to the glitzy desert city of Las Vegas. This city may be the gambling capital of the world, but if this isn't your thing there's a lot more to do in town. Wander along the Strip past impersonators, billboards and hotels, checking out the Bellagio fountain show. Head to a rooftop amusement park, hit the chain stores or lose all sense of time exploring the gaudy interiors of The Venetian, Caesars Palace and New York-New York hotels. In the evening, join up with the group for an included buffet dinner, Vegas style. If you're up for it, see an after dinner show or hit up a nightclub.
Day 9Las Vegas
You'll have another day to further enjoy the delights of Las Vegas. Use the opportunity to find a swimming pool to relax by, have a crack at black jack, check out a show or just soak up the craziness that is Vegas. Hit the shops, feel your stomach drop on a rooftop roller coaster or simply stroll along the Strip, soaking up the glitz and gaudiness. In the evening, perhaps feast on an 'all you can eat' buffet, check out one of the many shows on offer or party the night away in a Vegas nightclub.
Day 10Zion National Park
Today, travel across the border into Utah and the spectacular landscapes of Zion National Park (approximately three hours). There's a variety of trails to choose from and you'll have plenty of opportunity to explore among the park's soaring cliffs and cascading waterfalls. Warm up with a gentle walk to the lower end of the Emerald Pools. Continue onto the upper end of the pools, passing a waterfall on the way to Zion's 'beach'. If you're feeling ambitious, perhaps enjoy the park's most famous challenge: Angels Landing. After a strenuous hike along the narrow ridge of the cliffs, you'll be rewarded with a panorama of the red landscape. Please be aware that this isn't for the faint-hearted and requires a moderate level of fitness.
Day 11Zion National Park
Enjoy a full day of free time in Zion National Park. This is a great opportunity to tackle any trails you may not have yesterday. The Narrows is a good choice, if you're not up for the more challenging Angel's Landing. The Narrows is probably the most popular hike in the park, and one of the best slot canyon hikes on Earth. It can also be tailored to suit various levels of skill and experience.
Day 12Bryce Canyon
In the morning, drive to Bryce Canyon. Millions of years of wind and water erosion have formed the park's distinctive hoodoos – uniquely shaped rock spires rising out of the red desert. You will have ample time to explore the park's extensive network of hiking trails, from the easy Rim Trail, to the moderate Queen's Garden Trail or the strenuous Peek-a-boo Loop. Wherever you walk, you'll encounter unique landscapes and a kaleidoscope of desert colours.
Day 13Monument Valley
In the morning make the six-hour drive to the spectacular Monument Valley. There may be time to visit the cliffs, canyons and domes of Capitol Reef National Park on the way. Monument Valley is part of the biggest Indian reservation in the USA, home to more than 200,000 enrolled members of the Navajo Tribe. Explore the giant sandstone formations scattered across the desert, witnessing the ever-changing colour of the landscape. In the evening, travel by jeep through the Monument Valley with a Navajo guide. Join the locals for an authentic Navajo dinner around a campfire and listen to their traditional songs and stories.
Day 14Grand Canyon National Park
In the morning, make the 3–4 hour drive to the Grand Canyon, one of the largest canyon systems in the world. This a real highlight of the trip, so you'll be spending two nights here. Perhaps take a stroll along the South Rim Trail or hike to Skeleton Point. There's plenty to see and do during your time here.
Day 15Grand Canyon National Park
Today is a free day to explore the Grand Canyon. There are plenty of optional activities to take part in - your leader will provide you with the details. Take a hike around the canyon or if you're feeling extra adventurous, opt for a helicopter flight over the area. In the evening, sit back and enjoy the sunset behind the red peaks.
Day 16Joshua Tree National Park
In the morning, take the long drive to Joshua Tree National Park (approximately 7-8 hours). Sitting between the Mojave and Colorado Deserts, the park is home to striking rock formations, many species of cacti and varied desert wildlife such as coyotes, lizards and bighorn sheep. Spend the night in a nearby hotel.
Day 17Los Angeles
After breakfast, take the short (approximately three hours) drive to Los Angeles. Grab some lunch at a local farmers market, then hit Santa Monica Pier for a dose of sea, sand and eccentric boardwalk characters. It can get really busy at the beach, so watch out for skaters, bikes and skateboarders speeding past.
Day 18Los Angeles
Your Las Vegas to Los Angeles adventure comes to an end this morning. There are no more activities planned and you're able to depart the accommodation at any time.

More info

Trip title

USA National Parks Explorer

Trip code

SSKPC

Validity

Validity: 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019

Introduction

Explore all the natural and urban beauty that western US offers. Spend time in the big parks of the States – Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Zion, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon and more. Discover a new landscape around every corner: from huge sculpted cliffs and monster trees to alien deserts filled with strange rocks and massive sand dunes. Sip wine in Sonoma, spend time with a Native America tribe and gi... Read more

Style

Comfort

Themes

Explorer

Transport

Private vehicle

Physical Rating

2

Physical preparation

We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the weeks before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trip to its fullest. Many of the National Parks that we visit have hiking opportunities where walks of up to 4 hours c... Read more

Joining point

La Luna Inn

Alternate Joining point

For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.

Alternate Joining point description

The Good Hotel is a hip San Francisco hotel that practices philanthropy and believes in doing good for the planet, located south of Market Street - in the SoMa district - one of San Francisco's youngest and most stylish areas. The eco-friendly hotel décor features reclaimed and recycled construction materials. Rooms include cable TV, coffee and tea-making facilities, personal safes, free WiFi and ... Read more

Alternate Joining point instructions

You can catch a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) by going to the International Terminal, Level 3 and taking the Pittsburgh / Bay Point train, disembarking at the Civic Center / UN Plaza stop. The trip from the airport will take approximately 30 minutes. Upon exiting the station, head up Market Street to 7th Street and take a right, then walk about ... Read more

Continuing point

Bally's Las Vegas Hotel & Casino

Continuing point instructions

Group shuttles are an economical way to get from the airport to most major hotel/resorts. While en route, group shuttles make multiple stops at locations along the way, so relax and enjoy the spectacular view. Terminal 1 group shuttles are available on the west side of baggage claim, outside door exits 7 - 13. Airport personnel are available to help queue the lines and provide assistance as neede... Read more

Alternate Continuing point

For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.

Alternate Continuing point instructions

From the airport you may catch a taxi for approximately US$20 (plus tip). There are also shared-ride shuttle services available for approximately US$9-12 (plus tip) per person. The trip takes approximately 5 minutes in a taxi (longer if in a shared van making many stops) and transport services operate 24 hours a day. PRE/POST TOUR ACCOMMODATION: If you have booked additional accommodation in con... Read more

Alternate Continuing point

For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.

Finish point

Fairfield Inn & Suites LAX

Finish point instructions

The Fairfield Inn & Suites is located less 10 minutes drive from LAX Airport. The hotel features a pool and free wifi and you can take advantage of their complimentary airport shuttle. For your convenience there are also a number of great restaurants within walking distance.

Important information

1. A single supplement is available on this trip.

Group leader

Your leader will provide basic information about the sights and cities you'll be visiting but please note that our leaders are not 'tour guides' in the traditional sense. They are adventure travel specialists and are there to organise your trip, arrange activities and help with questions or problems you may have while on your tour. Your leader will provide you with all the important information yo... Read more

Safety

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and upd... Read more

Communications

WIFI Our vans in the USA are equipped with free WiFi however a fair use policy applies. It is limited to 5 users at one time, and is suitable for updating your Facebook status or sending an email home - not for streaming video or radio. Please be considerate of your use so that there is enough to go around. Most hotels have WiFi access although on occasion you may need to pay extra for it. CHARGI... Read more

Visas

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with ... Read more

Why we love it

While other trips breeze through spectacular Yosemite National Park in a day, on this adventure you'll spend two nights in the park, allowing for a full day of hiking and exploring. With its pine forests, skyscraper tall Sequoia trees, waterfalls and dramatic granite cliff faces, Yosemite feels like something out of 'The Land Before Time’

Is this trip right for you

Road tripping is the ultimate way to see the US, and scenic drives are a big part of this adventure’s focus. It's a very big country, so on a short trip expect to spend a lot of time driving in the van, rather than lots of time in each destination. Distances may be much longer than what you're used to (especially if coming from Europe). Long driving days though, while a little cramped, are perfect... Read more

Health

All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/o... Read more

Food and dietary requirements

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat to... Read more

Money matters

It can be difficult to exchange money while on the road so we suggest that you bring some cash in US dollars, or exchange/withdraw money at the airport when you arrive, or at least before you start the trip. Your individual budget will depend on your personal plans. Think about how much you want to spend on souvenirs, shopping, entertainment, food, drinks, excursions and attractions that aren't i... Read more

What to take

LUGGAGE RESTRICTIONS: All luggage is carried in trailers or inside the vehicle so please don't bring more than one medium sized bag, backpack or suitcase (20kg maximum) per person. Your suitcase/rucksack may get some rough handling, so make sure it's a tough one. A small daypack and camera may also be carried inside the vehicle.

Climate and seasonal

NATIONAL HOLIDAYS: The following national holidays are observed in the US, which can affect our itinerary as traffic can be extreme, and shops, restaurants and attractions can be closed: - New Year's Day - Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. - Washington's Birthday - Memorial Day - Independence Day - Labor Day - Columbus Day - Veterans Day - Thanksgiving Day - Christmas Day

A couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol... Read more

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

Emergency contact

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential nega... Read more

Responsible travel

We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsible... Read more

The Intrepid Foundation

Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed mo... Read more

Accommodation notes

The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. Throughout the trip we request that our lodgings prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving... Read more

Transport notes

FLEET Our large fleet of vans are fully equipped with dual air-conditioning system, V8 engines and any camping or cooking equipment needed for your trip. Most have cloth-upholstered seats and carpeted interior with radio/tape or CD players. Your baggage is transported in a trailer which is towed behind the van. The vans are regularly serviced in our own maintenance facility and continuously check... Read more

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and th... Read more

Your fellow travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit... Read more

Itinerary disclaimer

ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weat... Read more

Accommodation

Hotel (13 nts),Motel (4 nts)
18days
€4,720per person
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Apr 14
San Francisco
May 1
Los Angeles
€4,720
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May 5
San Francisco
May 22
Los Angeles
€5,350
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May 19
San Francisco
Jun 5
Los Angeles
€5,245
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Jun 9
San Francisco
Jun 26
Los Angeles
€5,245
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