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USA - National Parks of the West
  Discover the world-famous national parks of the US West in a small group on a well balanced tour between California and the Grand Canyon.  The small bus allows access to many sights which larger tour groups cannot reach. Explore Yosemite, Bryce canyon, Zion, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Las Vegas and San Francisco. On this trip you will have time to explore the land on foot, by Jeep, raft, or horse.
Centrally-located, well-appointed accommodation is used inside the national parks or at their entrances, allowing more time in the parks and less on the road!

Holiday Length: 14 days
Start City: San Francisco or vv
End City:
Las Vegas or vv
2017 Departure Dates:
ex Las Vegas:07 May; 04 Jun; 15 Oct
ex San Francisco: 20 May; 30 Sep
Boutique Small Group Tour (4 - 14)
 



   
Day 1
  Las Vegas Arrival
    Arrival in Las Vegas, make your own way (own cost) from the airport to the La Quinta 3* or similar
              
   
Day 2
  Zion National Park: Drive time 250 km/3 hrs
    In the morning your tour leader will meet you in the hotel for the orientation meeting. Drive to the nearby Zion National Park with arrival around noon. Our hotel is centrally located in historic Springdale with good shopping and restaurants. In the afternoon, we survey Zion by tram and drive through the famous canyon.
Short walks bring us to different sights like the Narrows and Weeping Rock. Hotel Majestic View Lodge 3* or similar. (B,L)
     
Day 3
  Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks: Drive time 150 km/2 hrs
    In the morning, you will have time to explore the small town of Springdale. Depending on your interest the tour leader will organise a 2-3 hour hike to the Emerald Pools. In the afternoon, we drive approx. two hours to Bryce Canyon National Park. For many, Bryce is the most beautiful of the American national parks. Hiking paths wind through radiant red and pink towers of stone, which contrast beautifully with the blue sky and green pines. At sundown, be awed by an unforgettable sky at the edge of the amphitheatre, where the best sunset photos can be taken. Those interested can attend the local rodeo on this evening (optional in
summer only). Bryce View Lodge 3* or similar. (B,L)
     
Day 4
  Explore Bryce Canyon National Park: Drive time 300 km/3 hrs
    In the morning we visit the excellent Visitor's Center.  Those who wish to can take a horseback ride through Bryce's rock formations (optional, approximately US$40). Others can hike through these formations with the tour leader. In the afternoon, we drive to nearby Lake Powell. Quality Inn 3* or similar. (B,L)
     
Day 5
  Lake Powell
    Lake Powell was created through the damming of the Colorado River. Here, red sandstone walls are
reflected in deep blue water, offering unforgettable images. You have the entire day to explore this
enormous man-made lake. We recommend a Jeep tour to Antelope (optional Corkscrew Canyons, approx.  US$40), a splash-filled rafting tour on the Colorado River (optional, starting at US$70 for five hours), or a sunset boat trip to the narrow Antelope Canyon (optional, starting at US$40). Rose-coloured beaches invite you take a cool dip in the lake. (B,L)

     
Day 6
  Tour Monument Valley with Indians: Drive time 450 km/4.5 hrs
    It is a short drive to famous Monument Valley. Giant red towers of stone rise out of the valley and offer fantastic photographic motifs. For decades, this area has been used as a backdrop for the cameras of Hollywood. We recommend an unforgettable Jeep tour through the valley led by the local Navajo Indians (optional, starting at US$70), where secluded views of the panoramas of Ear of the Wind and Big Hogan await. In the afternoon, a two and a half hour trip returns us to the Grand Canyon via its eastern entrance. With luck, we arrive in time for a stunning sunset. Our hotel is at the entrance of the national park. Red Feather Lodge 3* or similar. (B,L)
     
Day 7
  The Grand Canyon
    We have all day to relax at the Grand Canyon! We explore the edge of the canyon, a dream location for photography. You can do a self-guided easy hike along the West Rim to the beautiful outlook Hermit's Rest. n We recommend an optional helicopter tour and/or the IMAX theatre as well as seeing the famous sunsets or renting bikes to explore the rim of this amazing sight. (B,L)
     
Day 8
  Route 66 and Las Vegas: Drive time 430 km/ 4-5 hrs
    In the early afternoon, we head back towards Las Vegas along famous Route 66 (drive time 4-5 hours). Our hotel is centrally located. Palace Station Casino 3* or similar. (B,L)
     
Day 9
  Death Valley: Drive time 530 km/ 6 hrs
    The environment of Death Valley stands in stark contrast to the red deserts of Utah and the green
mountains of Yosemite. Here in Death Valley, the temperatures and weather conditions are extreme. In the summer temperatures often exceeds 120°F. Death Valley is the lowest landmass in North America at 282 feet below sea level. We have time to explore its golden sand dunes, its myriad of brackish pools and springs as well as the fascinating rock erosion formations of Zabriskie Point. If the temperatures allow, we will even hike to the Badlands. Then we drive along the 14,000-foot ridge of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. Our hotel is located in the renowned ski resort of Mammoth Lakes. Sierra Lodge 3* or similar. (B,L)
     
Day 10
  Explore Mono Lake, Ghost Town of Bodie and Tuolumne Meadows: Drive time 280 km/ 5 hrs
    In the morning, we encounter Mono Lake, one of the oldest lakes on Earth, known for its bizarre white
limestone "tufa tower" formation. Then, we explore the ghost town of Bodie. Over the breathtaking Tioga Pass and the sheer cliffs of the Sierra Nevada ridge, we reach 10,000 ft. Depending on the weather, we will hike to Lembert Dome, where there is a spectacular overlook of the high Sierra. Our hotel is in the historic gold-mining town of Mariposa. Miner's Inn 3*, or similar (B,L)
Note:  Tours operating in May or October may have to detour via Sonora Pass as Tioga Pass is closed until Memorial Day or later and closes sometimes in October/November.
     
Day 11
  Explore Yosemite National Park
    Today we discover Yosemite National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Site. In the morning, we drive to stunning Mariposa Grove, a world-renowned forest of giant sequoia trees. Then, we explore Glacier Point, the most impressive viewpoint of the national park.  Big tour busses are not allowed to drive here, but our smaller van is allowed. From here we have a perfect view of the Half Dome. Whoever wants can take a selfguided walk to the valley. The tour leader can offer a shorter, simpler trek along the edge of the Yosemite Valley. We will wait for sunset, so that you can capture some unforgettable images and perhaps see a bear or two. (B,L)
     
Day 12
  Yosemite - San Francisco: Drive time 340 km/ 3-4 hrs
    We move on to San Francisco, the famous city on the Pacific Ocean. We travel over the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco. La Luna Inn 3* or similar. (B,L)
     
Day 13
  San Francisco exploration
    We explore the city by cable car and on foot, finding many hidden treasures throughout this fabulous
metropolis. You have the afternoon free to explore.  Among the many possibilities available are an optional boat tour of the harbor, which we recommend. (B,L)
     
Day 15
  San Francisco departure
    After breakfast make your own way (own expense) to the airport for your departure flight. (B)
Airport shuttle costs approximately US$15

NOTES
  additional bi-lingual departures available.  Contact Innovative Travel for details
minimum group size 4 - maximum group size 14
     
INCLUSIONS









  • Highly trained driver-guide that also conducts national park visits, hikes and city tour in SFO
• Transport in 15 passenger vans with or without trailer depending on group size, or any other vehicle
depending on group size
• Entrance fees to National Parks and Monument Valley
• Cable car pass San Francisco
• City tour of SFO
• 13 nights hotel accommodations in 3* hotels with private facilities
• breakfasts every morning – mostly continental (cold) breakfasts and some hot breakfasts
• 12 self made picnic lunches (breads, cold cuts, cheeses, trail mix, snacks, fruit) while travelling in the parks

     
EXCLUSIONS










  • All other meals
• Airport transfers
• Tips of USD$90-130 per person for the tour manager depending on his/her performance
• Alcoholic beverages
• Optional excursions
• Single supplement if single room is desired
• Porterage
• Half Dome hikes require a permit for this hike. These permits have to be reserved and cost approx
   US$15 pp. guides cannot reserve these hikes in advance.
• Not all optional activities are possible every day, the group may have to decide on which program
segments to compromise on


     

 

 

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