GRAND AMERICAN PARKS - The Complete West

General information

DurationDestinationDeparture
16 days and 15 nights
United States (San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Mammoth Lakes, Las Vegas, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Salt Lake City, Yellowstone Park, Rock Springs, Arches National Park, Moab, Monument Valley (UT/AZ), Grand Canyon, Scottsdale, Los Angeles)
United States (San Francisco)

Description

Program Overview

Visit American’s most famous national parks: Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. Starting in San Francisco head east to Yosemite National Park * then across the Tioga Pass through Death Valley ** to Las Vegas. Visit the canyons of Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, and then continue to Salt Lake City.  Visit the Rocky Mountain parks of Yellowstone and Grand Teton before returning south to Utah and Arches National Park.  Stop at scenic Monument Valley before reaching the spectacular Grand Canyon. Drive through scenic Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona on the way to Scottsdale before ending in Los Angeles. 

Program

DAY 01 SATURDAY: SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Arrival for all programs – Public transportation or shuttle available from the airport.

The day is at leisure. San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities in the US. It’s a compact and
approachable place, where downtown streets rise on impossible gradients to reveal stunning views of the city, the bay and beyond. San Francisco is culturally vibrant and ethnically diverse; as a result, it has evolved into the urban jewel of California’s coast. Very typical for this city are the cable cars and rows of elaborate redwood Victorian-Style houses. Curiously, it contains the biggest China Town outside China.
Accommodations: Westin St. Francis or similar (2 nights)

DAY 02 SUNDAY: SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Breakfast. Participants should meet in the lobby of the Westin St. Francis at 08:00 Hrs, City tour departs at 08:30 Hrs.

Get to know this exiting city through this half-day tour which will include highlights such as the Civic Center, Japan Town, St. Mary’s Cathedral, the Twin Peaks and the Golden Gate Bridge. The tour will conclude at one of the area’s most popular destinations, Fisherman’s Wharf. The Wharf offers unobstructed views of infamous Alcatraz Island and consists of a long, coast-side row of seafood restaurants, street vendors and entertainers, souvenir stores, and beautiful ocean scenery. The rest of the day is yours to explore the city on your own, or join one of the optional excursions.

Optional Evening Excursion (Lombard Street and Sausalito)
Take a Cable Car ride to the top of Lombard Street, known as “the world’s crookedest street”. Walk down this street and once at the bottom, you will board the bus that will transport you across the bridge to Sausalito a historic town that dates back over 100 years. After some leisure time in Sausalito, a scenic ferry ride will bring you back to San Francisco

DAY 03 MONDAY: SAN FRANCISCO – YOSEMITE NP – MAMMOTH LAKES*, CA
Breakfast. A morning drive will bring the tour to the country’s most famous National Park, Yosemite. The formation of the area we call Yosemite began 500 million years ago when the Sierra Nevada region existed beneath an ancient sea. Yosemite is approximately the same size as the state of Rhode Island. Yosemite is visited by millions every year who want to experience the breathtaking views and natural variety. The scenery is spectacular, views of sheer granite walls, ice-sculptured domes, alpine peaks, glaciers, and flowered meadows. Beautiful postcard views from Tunnel View to Yosemite Valley then across the Tioga Pass to Mammoth Lakes*.
*Special routing: If the Tioga Pass Road has not opened for the season (possible in May and June) we will overnight in Bakersfield instead of Mammoth Lakes.
Accommodations: Sierra Nevada Lodge or similar (1 night)

DAY 04 TUESDAY: MAMMOTH LAKES – DEATH VALLEY NP** – LAS VEGAS, NV
Breakfast. Travel through Death Valley National Park** to Las Vegas. Death Valley contains a diverse desert environment of salt-flats, sand dunes, badlands, valleys, canyons, and mountains. Enjoy the city’s nightlife which is filled with fabulous shows by some of the world’s finest performers, fast paced casinos, dancing and so much more. Take a chance at the black jack table every day and night as all casinos are available for you to try your luck any time.
**When temperatures exceed 100° Fahrenheit, travel trough Death Valley will not be possible for safety
reasons and an alternate route will be taken to Las Vegas.
Accommodations: The LINQ Hotel & Casino or similar (1 night)

Optional Evening Excursion (Las Vegas Night Tour)
This tour takes you to Fremont Street with its aluminum barrel vault canopy covered with 12.5 million LED lights, multiple lasers, strobes and a state-of-the-art sound system that come alive several times a night during extravagant themed shows on the famous Las Vegas strip. This is an introductory tour of Las Vegas by night.

DAY 05 WEDNESDAY: LAS VEGAS – ZION NP – BRYCE, UT
Breakfast. Leaving Las Vegas behind the tour travels to Utah and Zion National Park. A million years of water flow has cut the red and white beds of Navajo sandstone that form the sheer walls of Zion; massive stone reaching to the heavens, and the North Fork of the Virgin River threading its way through the maze of rocks. In every direction, the views are awe-inspiring along the Zion Scenic Drive; the Great Arch of Zion, Court of the Patriarchs, Great White Throne and Angels Landing are just a few of these impressive sites. We continue to Bryce Canyon which includes some of Earth’s most colorful rocks, which have been sculpted by erosion into pillars called ‘hoodoos’ and other fantastic forms. Iron oxides give red, yellow and brown tints to the limestone, while manganese oxides lend a lavender hue. The most brilliant hues in the park come alive with the rising and setting of the sun. Traveling along the park’s scenic drive on the rim of Bryce Canyon we’ll stop to view nature’s fanciful stone sculptures below. We continue to Bryce for the night.
Accommodations: Best Western Ruby’s Inn or similar (1 night)

DAY 06 THURSDAY: BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK – SALT LAKE CITY - OGDEN, UT
Breakfast. Continuing North past Provo with a lunch stop along the way, the tour arrives in Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City was founded in July 1847 when the Mormon leader Brigham Young founded a farm in the valley of the Great Salt Lake in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Here is Temple Square, one of the most popular destinations in Utah. Part of its appeal lies in its accessibility: three blocks from downtown Salt Lake City, containing nearly 20 attractions related to Mormon pioneer history and genealogy, including the Salt Lake Temple, the Tabernacle, and the Family History Library. We continue to Ogden for the night.
Accommodations: Hampton Inn Layton or similar (1 night)

DAY 07 FRIDAY: OGDEN – YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, WY
Breakfast
This morning we go to Yellowstone National Park, America’s first National Park. We visit some the parks famous geothermal features, including hot springs, steam vents, mud pots and geysers, all of which are preserved in this area and are the evidence of this region’s volcanic past. We will visit the most favorite attraction of Yellowstone, “Old Faithful.” This Geyser is an all-natural phenomenon which tosses a scalding curtain of water anywhere from 20 to upwards of 75 feet into the air. Old Faithful generally erupts approximately every 30 minutes. We will stay inside the park for two nights.
Accommodations: Grant Village Lodge or similar (2 night)
In-park lodges offer basic accommodations in an amazing location (no tv, radio or wifi)

DAY 08 SATURDAY: YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
Breakfast
Yellowstone National Park encompasses an area of 3,468 square miles (8,983 km), comprising lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges. Traveling the loop road to visit Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Hayden Valley and Lake Yellowstone. In addition to superb scenery, the park is one of the world’s principle wildlife preserves. Yellowstone’s wildlife is as spectacular as the hydrothermal features. Because of the park’s remote location, and because of its large size, animals roam freely and are able to live in a natural way much as their kind has lived for centuries. Moose, elk and buffalo are among the most populous of inhabitants. The most famous residents of Yellowstone are the majestic bison, sometimes called buffalo. Bison have been living in the park for over a hundred years and facing the struggle of hunters and winter hunger.

DAY 09 SUNDAY: YELLOWSTONE - GRAND TETON NP - JACKSON - ROCK SPRINGS, WY
Breakfast
After a last look at Yellowstone we continue to Grand Teton National Park with spectacular views of the Teton mountain range. The highest peak and most important is the Grand Teton Mountains, with an imposing height of 13,770 meters from the valley floor. This is one of the most spectacular and breathtaking places in America. Occupying most of the valley of Jackson Hole, this national park is home to breathtaking mountains, huge lakes and rivers, and abundant wildlife. In the afternoon we head south to Jackson for a visit before continuing to Rock Springs for the night.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Rock Springs or similar (1 night)

DAY 10 MONDAY: ROCK SPRINGS - ARCHES NATIONAL PARK - MOAB, UT
Breakfast
This morning we will head across Utah to famous Arches National Park. Arches contains the world’s largest concentration of natural sandstone arches; over 2,000 arches are located within the park’s 76,518 acres. The park also contains an astounding variety of other geological formations. Colossal sandstone fins, massive balanced rocks, soaring pinnacles and spires dwarf visitors as they explore the park’s viewpoints and hiking trails. The most famous arch is the Delicate Arch. The best view of this awesome bow you get off the road by a footpath. Watch for bighorn sheep that walk there. These famous residents tend to blend with the landscape, power them is a special gift. Continue to Moab for the night.
Accommodations: Moab Downtown Hotel or similar (1 night)

DAY 11 TUESDAY: MOAB - MONUMENT VALLEY - PAGE, AZ
Breakfast
Today we will visit Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Monument Valley has been the scene of more Western movies than any other site in the United States. Unique sandstone formations punctuate the landscape rise in strange formations with names like the “Three Sisters” and “Thumb”. These pinnacles of rock are surrounded by miles of mesas and buttes, shrubs, trees and windblown sand, all comprising the magnificent colors of the valley. Continue to Page for the night.
Accommodations: Quality Inn Lake Powell or similar (1 night)

Optional Day Excursion - Monument Valley Tour
For a memorable experience, take the optional Monument Valley Tour with a local Indian guide. See the towering cliffs, mesas and the unique sandstone formations that punctuate the sometimes barren landscape. These aspires rise into strange formations that have inspired names such as “Three Sisters”, “The Thumb”, and the most famous of all “Totem Pole”.

DAY 12 WEDNESDAY: PAGE – GRAND CANYON, AZ
Breakfast
Today we make our way to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon stopping a trading post along the way. The Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world, its amazing landscape awes and inspires. It is a steep-sided gorge carved by the Colorado River over a six million year period. The Canyon offers spectacular vistas, majestic rock formations, and experiences to savor for a lifetime. The myriad colors and constantly changing features include exquisite waterfalls, pools, and the mighty Colorado River as well as the often-photographed rock formations.
Accommodations: Red Feather Lodge similar (1 night)

Optional Day Excursion - Antelope Canyon
An amazing sight waits at Upper Antelope Canyon, a spectacular and often photographed slot canyon. This 90 minute tour starts with a 4-wheel drive tour to the mouth of the canyon. You walk into the canyon, no climbing required. At certain times of the day and year, shafts of light come down into the canyon create an amazing sight. Much of the canyon is so narrow you can touch both walls at the same time. The beautiful Navajo sandstone walls were carved by Antelope Creek, heavy rains to the south can create a flash flood in the normally dry creek bed. Over time, the water has carved a series of narrow slot canyons through the red rock sandstone.

DAY 13 THURSDAY: GRAND CANYON – SEDONA – SCOTTSDALE, AZ
Breakfast. The journey continues through scenic Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona. Oak Creek Canyon is a spectacular 16-mile gorge with streams and waterfalls between sheer rock walls. Breathtaking in its red rock beauty, the Canyon with its clear perential stream provides a strong contrast to the Sedona’s red rocks. After lunch we continue to Scottsdale for a mid-afternoon arrival, to allow time to enjoy the pool at the resort.
Accommodations: Embassy Suites or similar (1 night)

DAY 14 FRIDAY: SCOTTSDALE – LOS ANGELES, CA
Breakfast
Today the tour heads west through scenic desert country towards Los Angeles.
Accommodations: Hilton Los Angeles Airport or similar (2 nights)

DAY 15 SATURDAY: LOS ANGELES, CA
Breakfast. Start the day with a half day tour of the Los Angeles area. Some of the highlights include Hollywood, famous for its vast film industry, the Walk of Fame , Grumman’s Chinese Theatre, Beverly Hills, home to the rich and famous and the world-famous shopper’s paradise Rodeo Drive!. Keep your eyes open and your cameras ready, here you may spot a celebrity around any corner. We will visit other famous landmarks such as Olvera Street and Century City. The tour ends at the hotel.

Optional Day Excursion - Beach Tour
Join us for an afternoon excursion to visit the famous beaches of Southern California. We first visit Santa Monica and its famous Pier, followed by Venice Beach also known as muscle beach. The tour concludes with a drive to Marina Del Rey, and it’s well known marina, where all the rich
and famous keep their boats.

DAY 16 SUNDAY: LOS ANGELES, CA
Breakfast. Transfer on own to Los Angeles International Airport via the free hotel shuttle.

Price includes

15 nights accommodations including applicable taxes in featured (or similar) accommodations
Porterage: San Francisco only
Meals: Daily Breakfast
Exclusively Italian speaking tour director for the duration of the program
Air conditioned transportation as per itinerary
Sightseeing: San Francisco, Yosemite*, Death Valley**, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Salt Lake City, Yellowstone, Grand
Teton, Arches,Monument Valley and Grand Canyon National Parks, Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Los Angeles
Admissions: National Parks and National Monuments as featured

Price does not include

Assistenza e trasferimenti
Facchinaggio
Spese di natura personale
Escursioni opzionali
Mance