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Wild Western USA

11 days with Intrepid Travel   Rating: Budget

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  • Save 20% when you book a group of 11 or more people on the same trip. Other savings amounts are available for groups of nine or more. Click here for eligible departures.

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Itinerary
Click for Dates and Prices Day 1 Los Angeles
Welcome to the USA! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting in the lobby today at 6 pm. If you do arrive early, perhaps take a stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame, or spend some time learning about the lives of the rich and famous on a celebrity homes tour. After the welcome meeting, we’ll head beachside and visit Venice and Santa Monica beach for a stroll and some people watching. Day 1 is all about introductions, so why not spend some time getting to know your fellow travellers with an optional group dinner.

Day 2 Joshua Tree National Park
Today, you’ll head away from the coast and drive to Joshua Tree National Park. Sitting between the Mojave and Colorado Deserts, the park is famous for its spectacular desert plants – including the park’s namesake Joshua trees – along with cacti and Mojave yuccas. The area is also home to striking rock formations and mountain ranges, so you might like to head out on a scenic hike around the park or take a refreshing dip in the Colorado River. You’ll head to Lake Havasu City later on to your accommodation for the night, and check out London Bridge: a 280-metre structure rebuilt in Arizona in 1971 after being transported, piece by piece, from the banks of the Thames in London.

Day 3 Grand Canyon National Park
Drive for 6 hours to Grand Canyon National Park, along a section of the famous Route 66, stopping in at the eccentric town of Seligman. Once we arrive at the Grand Canyon National Park, be ready to visually delight in the natural beauty for hours. This stunning gorge is 1.5 kilometres deep, formed by over six million years of erosion from the Colorado River. You'll spend two nights here, and you’ll need it, to allow for a full day of exploration tomorrow.

Day 4 Grand Canyon National Park
Today is a free day to explore the Grand Canyon, one of the largest canyon systems in the world. Stroll along the meandering South Rim Trail or hike your way down to Plateau Point. With eagles soaring overhead and chasms extending as far as the eye can see, it’s so important for you to experience its vast gorges from multiple viewpoints. If you're feeling adventurous, you can choose to take a scenic helicopter flight over the area (for an extra cost). In the early evening, relax at the canyon's edge and enjoy a spectacular sunset over one of the world's natural wonders.

Day 5 Las Vegas
Today drive across the border into Nevada and back to Las Vegas. Hit the shops, feel your stomach drop on a rooftop roller coaster or simply stroll along the Strip, soaking up the glitz and gaudiness. The arrival time depends on each group, and some fellow travellers may bid you farewell today. If you are staying in town for the evening, perhaps check out one of the many stage shows on offer or party the night away in a Vegas nightclub.

Day 6 Las Vegas
Today is as clear as the blue skies in the deserts of Nevada. There are no planned activities until another meeting in the hotel lobby today at 6 pm, where you may meet some new travellers on your wild west adventure. After your briefing, why not go check out one of the all-you-can-eat buffets on offer with your new and updated crew.

Day 7 Sierra Nevada / Keough Hot Springs
Leave the bright lights of Vegas behind and drive into the Eastern Sierra Nevada toward the quaint town of Bishop. On arrival, check out the town or perhaps treat yourself to the crispy cookies or ‘bear claws’ at Erick Schat’s German bakery. Later this afternoon, join the group for a soothing soak in a natural hot spring – perfect for those wanting to relax before an action-packed few days in Yosemite. Tonight, you’ll camp under the stars in Bishop.

Day 8 Yosemite National Park
Prepare for some spectacular mountain scenery as you depart from Bishop and head west to Yosemite National Park. This morning, stop at crystal clear lakes – including Mono and Tenaya – before continuing through the Tioga Pass (snow levels permitting) into the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Stop by Olmstead Point to marvel at Yosemite’s natural wonder, Half Dome, before arriving at one of the most famous parks in the USA. Yosemite's colossal granite cliffs, cascading waterfalls (depending on the season) and redwood forests attract visitors from all over the world. You'll spend three nights in the park, meaning you have two full days to explore. The total driving time today is approximately 5 hours.

Day 9 Yosemite National Park
Start today with an orientation tour of the village before heading out for a free day of exploration. There are plenty of hikes available, each varying in steepness and difficulty. Hike The Mist Trail to Nevada Falls (2–5 hours) or to the serene Mirror Lake (45 minutes). Keep an eye out for squirrels and perhaps even a bear along the way. You might prefer to hire a bike and explore Yosemite Valley, visiting the park's museum, photo gallery, shops and restaurants along the way. In the heat of summer, a relaxing float down the Merced River followed by a few drinks at the park's cafe is just the trick.

Day 10 Yosemite National Park
Today there’s a chance to explore a different side of the park as you join your leader on a guided hike to Hetch Hetchy Valley. Tucked away in the northwest corner of Yosemite, Hetch Hetchy is a wilderness of cascading waterfalls, towering cliff faces and beautiful wildflowers. Boasting one of the longest hiking seasons in the park, the ecologically diverse valley attracts a fraction of the visitors in comparison to other more well-known hiking spots in Yosemite – which means it’s an ideal area for those who have extra time to explore the park in depth.

Day 11 San Francisco
Leave Yosemite behind today and drive west to San Francisco (approximately 4 hours). The 'City by the Bay' has a beautiful setting and a vibrant, multicultural heart. You might like to check out the vintage stores along funky Haight Street, catch the tram down to the waterfront or take an Adventure Cat Bay Cruise. The trip finishes on arrival into San Francisco after a stop to check out the Golden Gate Bridge, and no accommodation is provided tonight. As there's a great deal to do in San Francisco, we recommend you stay a couple of extra days to make the most of the city. If you do wish to spend extra time in San Francisco, we'll be happy to help you book additional accommodation (subject to availability).
Map
All This Included
Get a dose of a classic USA on this 11-day wild western Lonely Planet Experience, powered by Intrepid. Stroll among the bizarre flora of Joshua Tree National Park, peer over the edge of the Grand Canyon and people-watch on the sandy boardwalks of Santa Monica. Trek and explore Yosemite, marvel at the size of Half Dome, and then head on to the coast as you move through constantly changing scenery through to the City by the Bay, San Francisco. For those who just want to hit the wide open road and see the natural wonder of USA’s west, this extensive LA to San Fran adventure is just the ticket.
  • Meals - 1 breakfast
  • Transport - Private vehicle
  • Joshua Tree National Park - Entrance Fee
  • Grand Canyon National Park - Entrance Fee
  • Yosemite National Park - Entrance Fee
  • Visit to Mono Lake
Highlights
  • Hike through beautiful Joshua Tree National Park among the park's desert cactus gardens and unusual rock formations, before hitting the road to Seligman on Route 66.
  • Fly like an eagle and treat yourself to an optional scenic helicopter flight over the winding gorges of the Grand Canyon – an experience you’ll never forget.
  • Discover another side to Yosemite’s Towering granite cliffs, redwood forests and epic night skies by hiking one of its best, lesser-known trails – Hetch Hetchy – with your expert guide.
  • Soak up the scenery on a relaxing visit to a natural hot spring near Bishop, the perfect way to relax before an action-packed few days!
  • Where better to end your adventure than in San Francisco, the eclectic and multicultural 'City by the Bay'.
Accommodations
Camping (with facilities) (6 nights)
Hotel (3 nights)
Hostel (1 night)
Notes
  • Ages: Min 15
  • Group size: Min 1, Max 13
  • This is a participatory trip. That’s a fancy way of saying you’re not just along for the ride – you’re part of a team! You know the phrase ‘the more you put in, the more you get out’. Well that’s extra true on this trip. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and help out with camp activities like food prep and washing up. It’s all about giving your new travel mates a hand – everyone knows there’s nothing worse than trying to put up a tent on your own!
  • That teamwork also extends to our optional food kitty of approximately USD 10 per day, run to cover the cost of meals. This kitty saves you worrying about stuff like where to get food or what exactly sales tax is, and actually helps keep your costs down. Instead of paying individually as you go, it means we can bulk purchase items and cook our own food – though there’s always the chance to use it for the occasional pizza night! The kitty is optional and for your convenience, so if you've got specific dietary requirements you can opt out and purchase (and cook) your own food.
  • The USA is a big country. Travel times between some destinations can be long. You'll be spending a fair amount of time in a van with other travellers, so conditions may feel a little cramped. On the third day of the trip, for example, the total driving time to and then through Joshua Tree National Park is about seven hours. This allows you to see some stunning scenery and is all part of the adventure - you might even make some long-term friends.
  • Traffic in and out of LA can be hectic, especially during holiday periods. There may be delays, so be prepared to take part in car games to keep yourself entertained.
  • Temperatures in Grand Canyon National Park can be high, especially when hiking in the summer. Make sure that you wear sturdy walking shoes, use sun protection and drink plenty of water.
  • From the steep hiking trails of Yosemite to the towering hills of San Francisco, this trip can involve a lot of walking. Please ensure you bring sturdy walking shoes and comfortable clothes. To make the most of the trip, it's best if you have at least a moderate level of fitness.
  • A single supplement is available on this trip.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
For Intrepid Travel terms and conditions, please click here.

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.