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Western Explorer

from $4,479.00

Visit five breathtaking National Parks in the USA

  • Reviews 11 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Leisurely / Moderate
  • Group Size Small Group
    1 - 13
All about the Western Explorer.

A medley of man-made and natural wonders is on full display on this popular tour of Western USA. Yosemite Valley, the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas Strip, are rivalled only by the power and beauty of the Navajo’s sacred Monument Valley. Hike under the world’s largest sandstone cliffs at Zion Canyon, marvel at Antelope Slot Canyon, swim in the clear blue waters of Lake Powell and gaze upon the ever-changing colours of Bryce Canyon. Adventure awaits around every corner in the most geographically diverse region of the United States.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

* 9 hotel nights and 3 lodge nights included
* 3 breakfasts and 1 dinner
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout, group normally 6 to 13, plus leader. Min age 18 yrs

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • Airport arrival & departure transfers
  • Optional activities (pay locally)

Highlights

  • Five breathtaking national parks
  • Navajo tour in Monument Valley
  • The Grand Canyon
  • Zion’s sandstone cliffs and towering waterfall
  • Travel by private minibus
  • Variety of daywalks to suit all abilities
  • Some long journeys
  • Group normally 6 to 13, plus leader. Min age 18 yrs
  • 9 hotel nights and 3 lodge nights included
  1. Day 1 San Francisco is a city which the locals are fiercely proud of and for good reason.

    Welcome to the ’City by the Bay’ in sunny California. San Francisco is a city which the locals are fiercely proud of and for good reason. There’s plenty to keep you entertained but the best introduction is to jump on a hop-on-hop-off bus tour or book one of our Urban Adventures tours around the city. A welcome meeting will be held at 18:00 hrs in your hotel.No trip to San Francisco is complete without a visit to Alcatraz. We recommend you book an extra night in our hotel the night before the tour starts and reserve your ticket online in advance with Alcatraz Cruises.*Accommodation:* Kimpton Buchanan Hotel, San Francisco (or similar) * *

  2. Day 2 Yosemite National Park

    Depart San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge, heading east through California’s historic gold country, and make tracks for Yosemite. Here, everything is in gargantuan proportions, including some of North America’s tallest cliffs, waterfalls and trees. You’ll check into your lodge in the Yosemite region – your ’home’ for the next three nights.*Accommodation:* Yosemite View Lodge (or similar)

  3. Day 3-4 Walking in Yosemite N.P.

    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. As you explore the park keep your eyes peeled for varied wildlife such as deer, bobcats, marmots, pika and if you’re lucky, bear. After a visit to see the amazing Giant Sequoia trees, Yosemite Valley beckons, offering the chance to cycle, take a dip in the Merced River or wander the meadows. The views are breathtaking from every vantage point – the granite formations of Half Dome, El Capitan and Cathedral Rocks are sure to be forever etched on your mind.*Accommodation:* Yosemite View Lodge (or similar)

  4. Day 5 Drive across Tioga Pass and on to Death Valley N.P.

    One of the hottest, driest and lowest places on earth, Death Valley is blessed with some of the most extreme and beautiful landscapes. Sculpted by erosion, richly tinted mudstone hills and canyons await exploration, with sand dunes and salt pans making for some exceptional photos. You cover some great distances today but also see some fascinating and contrasting scenery on your road trip. Enjoy a wine and cheese evening with wonderful views.*Please note: It has occurred in the past that extreme temperatures, higher than those expected, have prevented us from entering Death Valley National Park. In the event this happens, we will notify you as soon as possible with a suitable replacement. This is a worst-case scenario and we will endeavour to run the programme as advertised.**Accommodation: *Stovepipe Wells Village Hotel (or similar)*** *

  5. Day 6 Make your way to Utah and your destination for today - Zion National Park.

    Make your way to Utah and your destination for today – Zion National Park. Like an oasis rising up from the desert floor, Zion’s multi-coloured cliffs and spring-fed hanging gardens are spectacular. 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 Southwest USA can be found here, in and around the fertile Virgin River Gorge. With an early arrival today and two nights in Zion, you’ll have plenty of time to explore.*Accommodation:* La Quinta Inn & Suites (or similar)

  6. Day 7 Walking options in Zion N.P. including Angel's Landing and The Narrows.

    Enjoy a full day to further explore the delights of Zion National Park. There are various hikes to choose from, ranging from easy to strenuous. Warm up your legs by taking a short hike from the valley floor to view the Lower Emerald Pool then continue on to the sparkling Upper Emerald Pools, passing a stunning waterfall along the way to discover Zion’s `beach’. Cool off from the heat of the summer sun by exploring the Riverside Walk section of the Virgin River.If you’re feeling ambitious, enjoy the park’s more challenging option and ascend 2,500 ft. to experience unbeatable panoramic views from the top of Angels Landing. After a beautiful but strenuous hike along the knife-edge ridgeline you’ll be rewarded with one of the most breathtaking and powerful panoramas you’ve ever experienced. If weather conditions permit, you may choose to hike deep into the Zion Narrows, just be prepared to get a little wet.*Accommodation:* La Quinta Inn & Suites (or similar)

  7. Day 8 Bryce Canyon National Park

    Leaving Zion National Park, you climb in elevation to almost 8,300 ft. 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. Some may prefer to hike on the Queens Garden Trail or remain on the rim and photograph the ever-changing shadows and hues as the sun makes its way across the sky.*Accommodation:* Best Western Plus Ruby’s Inn (or similar) * *

  8. Day 9 Monument Valley

    Stop for a walk at Horseshoe Bend for an amazing view of the Colorado River before heading to the heart of the Navajo Nation. Monument Valley, a sacred land to those who call it home, is dotted with fabulous red sandstone monoliths. From here you’ll witness spectacular sunsets and sunrises. Having been the backdrop for countless westerns, you’ll half expect to see cowboys riding off into the sunset. You’ll explore the incredible array of rock formations on an included and guided 4×4 backroads tour, learning all about the magic and myths of the rich Native American culture. The Navajo Tribal Lands of Monument Valley are a true photographer’s paradise. For dinner, we have included a traditional meal, the Navajo taco, out in the valley with the Navajo themselves.*Accommodation:* Kayenta Monument Valley Inn (or similar)* *

  9. Day 10-11 This morning you’ll leave Monument Valley and drive towards the Grand Canyon National Park for the ultimate desert showstopper!

    This morning you’ll leave Monument Valley and drive towards the Grand Canyon National Park for the ultimate desert showstopper! Crossing the eastern entrance of the canyon, you’ll catch your first glimpse 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 km long, up to 29 km wide and over 1.6 km deep. Snaking through the canyon floor is the mighty Colorado River, which runs 2,330 km through seven US and two Mexican states.In your free time, we highly recommend a scenic flight over the canyon which offers a perspective that you cannot see by 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. Alternatively, stroll the meandering South Rim Trail, hike your way down the more challenging trail to Plateau Point, or simply relax at the canyon’s edge and enjoy a spectacular sunset over one of the world’s most incredible natural wonders.*Accommodation:* Red Feather Lodge (or Similar)* *

  10. Day 12 En route to Vegas you’ll travel a section of the original Route 66 and visit Seligman, a town full to the brim with Americana wares.

    En route to Vegas you’ll travel a section of the original Route 66 and visit Seligman, a town full to the brim with Americana wares. Continuing, you’ll make your way towards hedonistic ’Sin City’, which really has to be seen to be believed! Las Vegas is the fastest growing city in the United States and is renowned as the `tacky capital of the world’ – home to pirates and pyramids, weddings and water fountains! Upon arrival enjoy a driving tour down the famous Las Vegas Strip and see first-hand the resort hotels that make this desert city tick. Vegas really comes alive at night with resort hotels, shows and the Bellagio Fountain’s regular water displays. We recommend booking extra nights to explore the city because it’s not all clubs and resort hotels. There are numerous art galleries, shops and world-class restaurants for you to enjoy. If you want to enjoy a couple of extra nights, please advise your Americas Specialist when booking your trip.This tour ends at our gateway hotel at approximately 17:00 hrs. We recommend booking post-tour accommodation if time allows. If you are planning to fly tonight, please do not book a flight that departs before 21:00 hrs.*Accommodation:*

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Where you stay

Hotels & Lodges

9 hotel nights included in 3 star twin share accommodation and 3 lodge nights. Accommodation will be in clean, comfortable three star hotels or lodges with en suite bathroom facilities, chosen for their friendly atmosphere and proximity to the highlights of the region. You will be roomed with a fellow passenger of the same sex on a twin share basis (two people per room) unless you are travelling as a couple. In the event that you cannot be matched with another passenger there will not be a single supplement charge.

Eating and Drinking

3 breakfasts and 1 dinner is included on this trip

On hotel based tours, you will usually eat out in local restaurants. To help you budget for your meals on average hotel breakfasts cost from US$6-12, lunches from US$8-15 and dinners from US$13-30; this does not include alcoholic beverages. Wine costs approximately US$5 per glass and beer US$4 per bottle. Please also be aware that a tip of approximately 15%-20% is added to group meals in North American restaurants. Applicable taxes will also be added to all listed menu prices.

Your tour leader may offer your group the option to operate a ‘lunch only’ food kitty, this has proven to be a popular alternative to three daily restaurant meals. Leaders will explain this option while on your tour, and the whole group will have to agree for this system to run.

Please make sure we are aware of any special meal requirements before travelling. We will do all we can to accommodate for various dietary requirements but in certain parts of North America certain food types can be limited.

This trip is graded Leisurely/Moderate, but there are a range of walks available at each national park of varying length and difficulty that you can choose between. There are opportunities for optional activities during your tour. Your tour leader will organise these on your behalf and you will pay locally in cash. Walks, hikes and activities cater to everyone from beginner to expert, ranging in difficulty from easy to strenuous. You’ll find the main optional activities listed  under each itinerary day description, along with guideline prices. It may not be possible to do all optional activities listed on each tour.

The spectacular American West is home to an exciting mix of cultural and natural highlights. Experience them all on this active tour. Discover Yosemite, Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Grand Canyon National Parks and finish the tour in fabulous Las Vegas. A balance of outdoor discovery and comfortable accommodation, this trip is suitable for those looking to experience national parks and American culture.

Although each tour follows an itinerary, there is a certain amount of flexibility and from time to time your tour leader may suggest changes. This may be due to road conditions, weather or a visit to a special attraction or event that happens to be in progress. Flexibility is key and often a side diversion will be a highlight of the tour. Hikes and optional activities cannot be guaranteed and may vary depending on ability, group interest, local weather conditions and time of year.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

NATIONAL PARKS OF THE WEST

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Gosh, there were several! Yosemite is just so beautiful and idyllic - I had been before but I still found it stunning.I really hadn't been sure if I would be able to brace myself to make it to the top of Angel's Landing in Zion National Park, but I did, and the spectacular view at the top was a wonderful reward!Wading in the Narrows at Zion National Park was a very memorable experience - a beautiful setting and the water was lovely (after the initially quite bracing sensation of stepping into it!).Monument Valley is as amazing as you hope it will be, given what a familiar location it is from films and TV. The jeep tour followed by dinner with the Navajo is extremely enjoyable, inspiring and fun. How can you beat sitting outside under the stars eating dinner by a campfire in Monument Valley?!The Grand Canyon: even standing there in person, looking at it in the sunset, I still found it hard to truly get my head around the sheer scale and beauty of it. The true meaning of the adjective 'awesome' has been somewhat undermined as it used too lightly now, but in the case of The Grand Canyon, it truly is legitimate to describe it as 'awesome'. 
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Alex Yakshe was great fun, very organized, well informed and keen to ensure that we were all having the best-possible holiday experience. In a group you are always going to get varying tastes and interests, and he did everything that he could to accommodate different requests and/or suggestions.People on holiday tend to put their brains into a bit of a 'powered-down setting', and for my own part I appreciated that he seemed to be completely un-phased by having to explain things more than once (or twice, or three times...!).Alex has an infectious enthusiasm and energy, and I surprised myself by willingly waking very early to greet several sunrises. I'm not usually much of a morning person but it was undoubtedly worth it and in fact I would highly recommend it! It was pretty cool to get to attend a rodeo one evening, and also very educational.Importantly, he regularly emphasized safety considerations and taking the right kit with us, and we were well drilled in keeping ourselves properly hydrated - very important in the kinds of conditions that we were often hiking in.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take aqua shoes or water-proof sandals so that you do have the option to wade in the Narrows at Zion National Park. You couldn't do it without appropriate footwear and it is a lovely experience.Remember to take a spare camera battery or camera-battery charger, and a spare memory card (or a memory card with *a lot* of capacity) as you will want to take many, many photos! If you are considering whether or not to do this trip - DO IT!
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    One of the most amazing trips I have done. I left the USA feeling really very envious of their fabulous national parks, which are run and managed so well. I met some lovely people, had a lot of laughs, saw some amazing sights that I will never forget. It really doesn't get any better than this!

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

Incredible views, great food and wonderful memories!

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It's difficult to choose as there were many but sunrise at the Grand Canyon was very unique as you could watch the many ridges in the canyon gradually catch the light until the whole view was illuminated and then take an early morning hike!
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Lana did a terrific job - she was always full of energy and happy to answer questions! She strived to make sure we all had a great experience whilst on the trip and organised everything very well!
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you can, spend a day or two in San Francisco prior to the trip starting and if you plan on visiting Alcatraz be sure to book tickets as far in advance as you can. I'd also recommend hiring a bike and cycling over the Golden Gate bridge. Some days on the trip we started fairly early in the morning so be prepared for those.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
4/5

WESTERN EXPLORER

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Having avoided looking at pictures before going, the evening view from the rim of Bryce Canyon is unbelievable and unforgettable. Views stretch the equivalent of north London to the south coast!  We weren't planning on taking the helicopter ride at the Grand Canyon but the closure of the National Parks (this was the only one we missed) prompted us to take the plunge. Even flying over the canyon it is impossible to take in the scale and to realise the river is a mile below. The change in the vegetation coming from the Sierra Nevada to Mono Lake, with its tufa rocks and wildlife, was almost instantaneous and summed up the trip in terms of the ever changing scenery. The trip around Monument Valley with the Navajo guide was all that was expected from the films.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Rebecca was full of enthusiasm and sought to meet everyone's needs. She did a sterling job as driver (safe and comfortable), guide, luggage handler, hotel booker inner, lunch organiser etc., etc. 
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Very limited time in San Francisco so worth considering travelling a day or two beforehand. The National Park walks are at a fairly high altitude so be aware of this for both for breathing and temperature. 
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There is limited room in the tour minibus with a full party.

Reviewed On 20/09/2019
5/5

A wonderful trip!

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Perhaps meeting our inspirational Navajo guide in Monument Valley and learning about her childhood and culture. But lots to inspire both of us ....
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Joseph Spaid was an incredible leader. He was so knowledgable, approachable, engaging and fun. He was very interesting to chat to, and worked so hard to make sure everyone’s needs were met. We were quite a disparate crowd of 11, some very experienced hikers, others recovering from recent injury, but he found ways to embrace that - I wish I had his energy!
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a brolly as sun shade for Death Valley! And rehydration tabs/powder when it's really hot. We all used it and had no problem with overheating even in August. You get dusty walking so plenty of walking gear - it is a busy trip and there wasn’t much time for washing. I was pleased to have my poles in Zion and the Grand Canyon for long (albeit beautiful) uphill stretches. I would definitely advise a few days in San Francisco before joining the trip. It is an incredible city. Our flight from Heathrow was delayed by 28 hours, so we missed one of our three planned days, but we still were well able to meet up with the Group on Sunday. Las Vegas didn’t appeal to us, so we didn’t stay at the end, and we in time to fly out on the same night. The helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon was just extraordinary!
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    As an introduction to SW America, this trip takes some beating. It was fantastic. Thank you Exodus and Grand American Adventures!!

Reviewed On 20/09/2019
5/5

The National Parks

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to pick one particular moment or event. Perhaps the experience of Yosemite: view of the valley from Glacier Point, variety of hikes, and also appreciating the national park beyond the valley itself.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good. See above.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Some long days in the bus, but that doesn't have to be a problem- it can just mean that you see more.

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Package Confirmed Dates Trip Status Trip Status Price (PP) Excluding Flights Price (PP) Including Flights  
March 22, 2021
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$4,679.00
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April 17, 2021
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$4,649.00
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May 13, 2021
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$4,749.00
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June 8, 2021
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$5,149.00
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July 4, 2021
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$4,679.00
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July 30, 2021
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$4,479.00
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August 25, 2021
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$4,679.00
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September 20, 2021
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$4,479.00
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October 16, 2021
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$4,649.00
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November 11, 2021
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$4,649.00
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