US: Western Parks

Come, explore the dramatic landscapes and colourful history of the South Western USA as you travel through the states of California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona with a touch of Colorado.

"This scenic wonderland has the greatest concentration of spectacular scenery that I have ever encountered. I have revisited many times and each time I am in awe of its endless variety and dramatic beauty." Fay Schaw

Perfect for day walkers and lovers of the Great Outdoors!

Hike in the Sierra Nevada mountains amidst the autumn colours of the Aspen, explore historic ghost towns, ride a Rocky Mountain railroad, walk over the Golden Gate bridge and enjoy a short break in glitzy Las Vegas. There's so much to see and so much to do, but for most travellers, the highlight will be the region's unbelievably spectacular National Parks: experience the mighty grandeur of Zion, the filigree-like beauty of Bryce, the majesty of Yosemite and the sheer magnitude of Grand Canyon. But let’s not forget, the giant Sequoias at Mariposa Grove and the Death Valley, Arches and Mesa Verde National Parks,  Monument Valley and Antelope Canyon,  as each and every location will be a highlight!

You are bound to just love the Western Parks, they are truly awesome!

Highlights and Features
  • The trip is timed for late summer, with its more moderate temperatures and the bonus of the autumn colours.

  • National Parks will include: Yosemite, Zion, Bryce, Capital Reef, Arches, Mesa Verde, Death Valley and Grand Canyon.

  • Other scenic and historic highlights:  The Pacific Coast Highway, Hearst Castle, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and kayaking with the sea otters,  Bodie - a silver mining ghost town, the Hoover Dam, Goosenecks State Park and the Durango-Silverton Historic Railway.  Monument Valley of movie fame, Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell, Antelope Canyon and the Palm Springs Mt. San  Jacinto Aerial Tramway.  

  • San Francisco Day: walk the Golden Gate Bridge and visit Alcatraz Island. Later in the trip enjoy two nights in exciting Las Vegas, the city that never sleeps!

  • Day Walks are graded to suit:   Choose your activity level on the day; a moderate 1/2 day or a more strenuous full day walk, a short walk or just “tiki” tour with the bus. You don't need to be a keen walker to enjoy this trip, just a lover of the great outdoors!   Our leaders will accompany some of the groups on any one day.

Draft Itinerary outline: 

Day 1: Flight to Los Angeles -  depart early evening.

Day 2: Arrive in Los Angeles in the mid-afternoon.

Day 3: Monterey -  drive up the Pacific Coast Highway to Monterey,  enroute visiting the magnificent Hearst Castle at San Simeon.

Day 4: Monterey - walk the Golden Gate Bridge, explore the prison island of Alcatraz, Pier 39 and other iconic sights of this colourful city.

Day 5: Monterey - visit the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, take a coastal walk and for those who wish, go sea kayaking with the sea otters.

Day 6: Yosemite National Park - Travel east across productive farmlands into the beautiful Sierra Nevada foothills. Visit the giant Sequoias at Mariposa Grove.

Day 7: Yosemite National Park - a day in the Park, long hikes, short hikes, cycle or ride the shuttle transport from viewpoint to viewpoint.

Day 8: Bishop - drive over the Tioga pass (3,013m) to visit fascinating Mono Lake and the silver mining ghost town of Bodie.

Day 9: Bishop - a day out in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, walks to suit, autumn colours and stunning scenery.

Day 10: Las Vegas - drive across the intriguing landscape of Death Valley to Las Vegas, enjoy the sights and sounds of "the Strip" or take in a show, perhaps.

Day 11: Las Vegas - a morning trip to Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam, later free time in Las Vegas

Day 12: Zion National Park - drive into a dramatic landscape of towering cliffs and narrow Canyons.

Day 13: Zion National Park - all day to explore the majestic landscape of Zion National Park – fantastic walking or use the viewpoint shuttle service.

Day 14: Bryce National Park - a scenic drive to Bryce Canyon followed by an afternoon of exploring its stunning hoodoo landscape.

Day 15: Moab - a spectacular drive via Capitol Reef National Park to Moab, this is Butch Cassidy Country.

Day 16: Moab - walking / sightseeing in Arches National Park, famous for its amazing array of natural arches and rock windows.

Day 17: Durango - visit the Mesa Verde National Park, in earlier times the homeland of the Pueblo Cliff dwellers.

Day 18: Durango - ride the historic Durango/Silverton railroad to the old Mining town of Silverton, Colorado.

Day 19: Monument Valley - a spectacular landscape of mesas and spires, made famous as the film location of many Western Movies.

Day 20: Page - a morning visit to Monument Valley,  accompanied by local Indian guides,

Day 21: Page - explore the amazing Antelope slot canyons and enjoy Lake Powell.

Day 22: Grand Canyon - a gigantic eroded landscape carved by the Colorado river, the vastness of the scene always impresses.

Day 23: Grand Canyon - explore the massive canyon by hiking the trail down into the canyon, or walk and shuttle the Rim for incomparable views.

Day 24: Palm Springs - an oasis in the desert, hot springs and cool mountains.

Day 25: Flight departs mid-evening - visit the Palm Springs Mt. San Jacinto Aerial Tramway before heading towards the airport

Day 26: Arrive Auckland - early morning.

 

 

Trip Format

Transport: a large comfortable tour bus.

Stay two nights in all but four locations,  taking time to delve and absorb - this is definitely not your usual bus tour! 

Accommodation: Traveller’s Hotels/Motels/Lodges - Twin share/double rooms the norm. Single room requests will incur a supplement payment and may not be available at all locations.  

Luggage: A wheelie bag works well, but please keep baggage as light as possible (15kg) for ease of handling. Take a day pack for day walks and sightseeing.

Team Rosters to share in the preparation and serving of the lunches and catered dinners. Apart from the odd BBQ, no actual cooking required, just making salads etc, serving. Everyone does their own dishes. 

Meals: 

  • Breakfasts - most will be included;  Lunches - provided most days, but not on days when it makes better use of your time to eat out. Our picnic-styled lunches will include breads/salad fillings/meat/fish/cheese and fruit, also hot and cold drinks;  Dinners – 6 to 8 simple picnic dinners will be provided. Exact number of included meals will be confirmed prior to departure. 

  • Pre Dinner Social Time – chips and dips provided.

  • Deck chairs - one per person to provide comfortable seating for picnics etc. 

FACT FILE

Trip Code:  UWP 181

Date: 30 August 2018

Duration: 26

Party:  22 to 28 + 3 leaders 

Basic Price:  $13,000 

Current Status: Closed for Departure

  

A Special Note: This is our 9th repeat of this popular itinerary and sadly it must be our last.