This tour takes you through the iconic landscapes of the American west. But not before enjoying some superb Canadian mountain scenery and outstanding hikes in Waterton National Park. We’ll touch nine of the great U.S. national parks, including Yellowstone, Zion, Bryce, Arches, Mesa Verde, Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Yosemite and Crater Lake. We’ll also see some of the most magical Cities of the US West: Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and San Francisco. There is plenty of travelling on this half camping-half hotel trip, but always through gorgeous scenery and with informed commentary.
Duration: 22 days, 21 nights
Departure City: Vancouver Ending city: Vancouver
Accommodations: camping (11 nights), hotels (10 nights)
Leaders: Tour leader, Bus driver/ass’t leader
Included meals: 11 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 11 dinners
Included Activities: All park fees, National park tours, Mesa Verde entrance fees, Monument Valley tour, Hoover Dam tour, Napa Valley wine tour
Day 1: Meet your tour leader and fellow adventurers this evening at the joining hotel in Vancouver. After your orientation, get to know them better at a local restaurant, of which there are many world-class options.
Day 2: Our first day of travel takes us to the South Okanagan and the town of Osoyoos, after crossing the magnificent Cascade Mountain range. This is a summer playground of beaches and water sports, but also wine country. Time to participate in only a few options.
Day 3: Today we travel across southern BC, taking in more splendid mountain vistas and finally exiting the Rocky Mountains. Our destination is Waterton Park that sits right on the edge of the Rockies and along the United States border. It will be a full, but scenic day of travel. Tonight we camp.
Day 4: You’ll want to stretch your legs after yesterday’s long day, and what better a place to do that than Waterton? Today is a full day to explore the park, with many hiking options for all levels of difficulty, and as varied as the majestic scenery in which they’re set.
Day 5: We turn south today, crossing immediately into the United States and traversing the large state of Montana. We arrive at Yellowstone Park about mid-afternoon, and will spend some time sight-seeing a corner of it before setting up camp for the night.
Day 6: Today is a full day to explore Yellowstone. Your tour driver will take you on a circuit of the park, stopping at numerous sites along the way, including the famous Yellowstone Lodge and at least one stop at the geyser, Old Faithful.
Day 7: We travel to Salt Lake City, best known for the Great Salt Lake and Salt Flats nearby, but also as the headquarters for the Mormon Church, an indigenous American religion. We’ll stop, as we pass to visit the churches headquarters and learn a little about their tortured history before moving on to our hotel for the night.
Day 8: Today we explore the renowned Zion National Park with its wind and water-shaped formations. You’ll want to spend some time hiking the incomparable Virgin River. We’ll camp tonight between Zion and Bryce National Parks.
Day 9: It’s time for Bryce National Park today. Although also shaped by wind and water, the formations of Bryce Canyon Park are completely different from those of Zion. And there will be plenty of time and options for hiking.
Day 10: We journey today to Moab, the adrenaline capital of the region, and also the jumping off point for two more great National Parks, Arches and Canyonlands. A tour of Arches national Park, including the iconic Delicate Arch, is part of the included itinerary.
Day 11: We have a full day to explore the area around Moab: by foot, by bicycle or by 4×4. The scenery just never stops! Some adrenaline inducing activity options include canyoneering, river rafting, mountain biking, zip-lining or rock-climbing.
Day 12: We visit two great American parks today. The first is Mesa Verde, where ancient nations carved out a village into the side of a canyon wall. Then we’ll travel to the iconic Monument Valley, where numerous Western movies have been shot.
Day 13: Today we make our way to the South rim of the Grand Canyon, with plenty of time to view this marvellous bucket list landscape. We’ll get to see it at sunset tonight. Hike, rent a bike, or a horse, to get the amazing views from different perspectives.
Day 14: We get a second great look of the canyon at sunrise and some more time this morning to explore the area. Then we head to Las Vegas, with detours to travel the famous Route 66 and take a tour of Hoover Dam. We’ll get to Vegas just as it’s heating up for the night.
Day 15: A full day to enjoy the sights and sounds of Las Vegas, and take in a show or two. Need we say more? You’re on your own in “the city that never sleeps.” Just be on time for our departure tomorrow morning.
Day 16: Today we travel through Death Valley, both the hottest, and lowest, place in the United States, with several unique stops. Then we’ll travel on to our campsite for the night, on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Day 17: A half day of travel takes us to Yosemite National Park via the spectacular Tioga Pass. There is so much to see at Yosemite: Half Dome, El Capitan, numerous waterfalls, and landscapes that you’d swear were lunar. There’s also the option of some short hikes.
Day 18: After cleaning up our camp, we travel to San Francisco and stay right in the heart of downtown. From there we have a day and a half to explore the many attractions: Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, Fisherman’s Wharf, and much more.
Day 19: A full day to relax or complete the activities you started yesterday. You may want to tour some of San Francisco’s iconic buildings or areas.
Day 20: We make our way north through the Napa Valley, where we’ll take in several wine tours before heading up through northern California. Shortly into Oregon we’ll turn toward the cobalt blue waters of Crater Lake where we’ll camp tonight.
Day 21: We’ll skirt the edge of Crater Lake before crossing into the interior for a totally different kind of scenery as we head steadily north. Midway through Washington State we turn back into the Coast Mountains and end our day in Leavenworth, a Bavarian-themed town.
Day 22: We make our way back to the interstate and head back north to Vancouver, arriving there approximately mid-afternoon.
Tour Add-on Packages (Optional Excursion Add-ons)
How to add optional tour packages
Some of our tours have optional add-on packages which secure those activities for you in advance, and may be less expensive and less hassle than booking them individually while on your trip. You can add on these packages at check out.
Add-on 1: Single Supplement
Our trip prices are based on two people sharing rooms and tents. Single travelers will be paired up with others of the same gender for room assignments. Subject to availability, travellers may upgrade to single rooms and tents by adding a single supplement to their tour. The single supplement for this trip is CA$1199.