As a solo female traveller, this customer wanted to go on an adventure. She wanted the safety of a guide and the company of a small group of like-minded travelling companions. Not having been on a tour before, she was looking for something that was more of an authentic road-trip experience, rather than a traditional big bus tour with a very rigid itinerary.
This tour is organised by Grand American Adventures. They’re part of Trek America, whom I have used for my own tour around British Colombia in Canada. Ages of guests on a Grand American Adventures tour can vary from 30’s to 70’s; rather than age it’s about the mindset of the traveller. People who go on a Grand American Adventures trip are active and adventurous people looking for a real experience.
This tour from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon visits the best national parks and Native American lands that Southwest USA has to offer. Travel along the Grand Staircase taking in the towering red sandstone cliffs of Zion National Park and the supernatural hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park, before a two night stop at the breathtaking and awe-inspiring Grand Canyon, a truly unrivalled natural wonder. Enjoy a visit to the spiritual heart of the Navajo Nation – Monument Valley, where you’ll learn how the landscape shapes Native American myths and hear stories of Navajo legends with a local guide.
Welcome to the `Neon City’ in the Nevada desert, a place everyone should experience at least once in their life. The opportunities are endless here and you’ll have a full day to explore so why not try your luck on the tables, see one of the many world-class shows or sample an all-American buffet? Join us at 18:00 hrs for a welcome meeting with your group and tour leader. Afterwards you’re free to take in the cityscape at night; wander along the Strip and see the neon lights in all their colourful glory.
Zion effortlessly mixes peaceful beauty with powerful landscapes and the tree lined Virgin River supports fragile flora and fauna as it meanders below massive, cathedral-like sandstone walls. Zion Canyon was named by the early Mormon settlers of Utah who thought of it as their `promised land’ and it offers some of the best hiking in the Southwest USA.
You have a full day to further explore the delights of Zion National Park. There are various hikes to choose from, ranging from easy to strenuous. Of all the walks within the park, one you simply must do is the famous and challenging hike to Angels Landing. Once you’ve conquered this epic trail you’ll be greeted with the most breathtaking panoramas you’ve ever laid eyes on. For a less strenuous walk take one of the short hikes from the valley floor to view the Lower Emerald Pools then continue on to the sparkling Upper Emerald Pools, passing a waterfall along the way to discover Zion’s `beach’. Cool off from the summer sun by exploring the Riverside Walk section of the Virgin River. If weather conditions permit, you may choose to hike deep into the Zion Narrows. Dry feet is not an option as you wade through the Virgin River between towering walls. The cool waters and the shadow of the canyon can provide a much needed respite from the scorching sun.
Leaving Zion National Park you climb in elevation to almost 8,296 feet and traverse a high plateau to Bryce Canyon National Park. “Mysterious”, “breathtaking” and “out of this world” are only a few of the descriptions offered by past visitors to describe this 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. Wherever you walk, you’ll encounter a kaleidoscope of colours and a fantasy land of rock spires that’ll leave you mesmerised. For the photographers amongst you, you may prefer to remain on the rim and photograph the ever-changing shadows and hues as the sun makes its way across the wide-open sky. This is the picture perfect moments you’ve been waiting for.
Today you travel south-east along the border of Utah and Arizona and make a stop at the immense Glen Canyon Dam en route to Monument Valley in the heart of the Navajo Nation. This is sacred land to those who call it home and the red sandstone monoliths and spectacular sunsets and sunrises have been the backdrop to countless Westerns. Explore the incredible array of rock formations on an included guided back roads tour and learn the magic and myth of the rich Native American culture.
Continue south through the Navajo Reservation to the Cameron Trading Post to shop for local jewellery, crafts and cultural souvenirs. Traverse the eastern entrance of the mighty Grand Canyon where you’ll catch your first glimpse of it 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 277 miles (445km) long, up to 18 miles (29km) wide and over one mile (1.6km) deep. Snaking through the canyon floor is the mighty Colorado River, which runs 1450 miles (2330 km) through seven US states and two Mexican states.
Your tour includes a session at the IMAX Theater, which’ll give you a good overview of the area and how it developed over time. In your free time, we highly recommend a scenic helicopter flight over the canyon, offering perspectives you simply can’t see by just visiting on foot. Alternatively, stroll the easy 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 fantastic natural wonders.
From the epic Grand Canyon you’ll travel south to Williams and west to Seligman where you’ll stop for an optional lunch at the Snow Cap Diner along a section of the iconic Route 66. You’ll continue on, stopping for a view of the astounding Hoover Dam before you’re back in the land of the neon clad streets. Prepare to be dazzled all over again – Las Vegas sure does make for a memorable end to a fantastic eight days!
This tour ends at our gateway hotel at approximately 17:00 hrs.
Take the complimentary shuttle bus back to Las Vegas Airport.
Fly from Las Vegas direct to Manchester. Arrive back in Manchester the following day.