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Western USARegional Journey
Duration: 23 days Visiting: United States
From a mix of glamour and bohemian charms in San Francisco, to the lush landscapes of the Sierras, this unique trip takes you on an eclectic journey through the heart of America's West. A combination of our Enchanting Canyonlands and American Parks Trail trips, you'll experience everything from the mystical healing powers of Sedona, to the world famous Grand Canyon and the Japanese tea gardens of Golden Gate Park. You'll enhance your experience by staying at lodges within the National Parks themselves, allowing you to not only witness, but wake up to show stopping views.
San Francisco, the City by the Bay.
California here we come. You'll be picked up at San Francisco International Airport and whisked straight to your upscale hotel. Join your Travel Director and fellow travellers at 18:00 for a Welcome Dinner with wine.
Exploring San Francisco.
Get ready for a fun-filled day exploring the city. Hop aboard an iconic cable car for a ride along the picturesque streets. Visit the Cable Car Museum in the Nob Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. Afterwards, take in the city with a few photo stops. Visit the Conservatory of Flowers and Golden Gate Park, before walking across the emblematic Golden Gate Bridge and travelling on to the city of Sausalito. A scenic ferry ride will bring you back to San Francisco, where the rest of your day is at leisure. Your Travel Director is on hand to make suggestions for making the most of your evening.
Yosemite National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Today you’ll witness the mountainous scenery of Yosemite National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Travelling through California's Gold Country, you'll drive through the imposing Sierra Nevada mountains. Explore spectacular waterfalls and striking rock formations of El Capitan and Half Dome on a private, ranger-led valley floor tour. Rest up on your free evening at your lodge, located inside the park and close to Yosemite Falls, North America's highest waterfall. On a clear evening you’ll be able to take in the sparkling night sky over the park.
Yosemite National Park to Monterey.
Leave Yosemite behind as you take in the Sierras before you are swept through the fertile San Joaquin Valley, also known as the “food basket of the world”. Stop at the Merced Fruit Barn which features its diverse produce. In Salinas, the heart of "The Salad Bowl of the World", enjoy a famer's agricultural tour of a local farm, known for heirloom artichokes. Once in Monterey you'll head to your hotel situated on the waterfront street Cannery Row.
Monterey, the Cradle of History.
Today you'll journey to Carmel-by-the-Sea, a quaint seaside community where you’ll have ample free time. As you travel along Pacific Coast Highway, stop at Big Sur and visit Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Enjoy a relaxing drive across the Monterey Peninsula and along 17-Mile Drive. Stop at Pebble Beach Visitor Center and its world-renowned links, as well as Lone Cypress and Seal and Bird Rocks for a glimpse of sunbathing seals and sea lions. A Dine-Around Evening awaits upon your return to Monterey, with your choice of three local restaurants.
The American Riviera.
Head on to sunny Santa Barbara. Along the way, experience a guided tour and wine tasting served at a Paso Robles winery. On arrival, Santa Barbara greets you with its white buildings, terracotta roofs, beautiful weather and an array of bars and restaurants. Walk along Santa Barbara's Historic State Street to Stearns Wharf. In the evening, dinner awaits at a local restaurant.
Santa Monica and the City of Angels.
Visit iconic Mission Santa Barbara, before making your way to Santa Monica and Venice. A Local Expert will take you on a walking tour of Venice Beach, Muscle Beach, the Canals and Walkways and explain Abbot Kinney's role in the development of the ‘Venice of America’. Continue on to your modern L.A. hotel, in the city's entertainment district.
The Glitz and Glam of L.A.
Channel your inner movie star and join a Local Expert on a private tour of a historic theatre in Hollywood. You’ll then join your Travel Director for some more exploring. This includes Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, a movie palace where stars leave their shoeprints in cement. This is situated on the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame, where you can walk in the steps of icons including Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable. Feeling peckish? Head to the renowned historic L.A. Farmers Market on your own and delve into fresh local delicacies. End the day with a Highlight Dinner and wine at Café Pinot.
Across the Mojave to Scottsdale.
Experience the rugged charms of the Mojave Desert wilderness as you make your way to Scottsdale. Look out for the Joshua trees and wildlife found in the National Park, you might just spot a jackrabbit or coyote. Once in Scottsdale you can relax in the hotel after a long day and replenish for your upcoming adventures.
Sedona and the Wonders of the Mighty Grand Canyon.
Journey north to the bohemian colony of Sedona. Attractive to healers, this spiritual town’s vortexes are rumoured to offer alternative medicines and practices. If retail therapy is more your thing, explore Sedona’s shops and galleries, or simply take in its natural rugged beauty, which makes it a hotspot for hikers, swimmers and eager campers. Journey on to Grand Canyon National Park, where you have the opportunity to take an optional, once-in-a-lifetime, flightseeing tour by helicopter or plane. Join a Local Expert for an informative talk about the wonders of the Grand Canyon before ending your day with a tranquil night inside the park and an appetizing Highlight Dinner with wine in the inviting Thunderbird Room of your lodge. Located on the South Rim, this beautiful venue offers a wet-bar, barbeque and private balcony, so you can feast on hearty food while taking in the stunning views.
Monument Valley and Lake Powell.
Head through striking crimson landscapes to the historic Cameron Trading Post where you can familiarize yourself Native American arts and crafts. Journey on through the barren beauty of the desert to Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, where you will board all-terrain vehicles with open sides(8) to explore the valley with your Navajo guide. Hear about Navajo heritage from your guide and more about life on their beautiful land. Later today, you’ll stop by the Glen Canyon Dam where you’ll learn about its history and impact on the Colorado River, before arriving at your lakefront resort. In the evening relax by your hotel’s swimming pool or simply take in the beautiful views across the lake from the comfort of the hotel’s bar and restaurant.
Leisurely Lake Powell.
Your morning is at leisure. Simply relax and enjoy the resort’s facilities or enjoy some extra time to catch up with your fellow travellers. Later today, a serene cruise through the narrow sandstone turns of Antelope Canyon awaits. End the day with a breathtaking sunset from your lake view or marina view room.
Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks.
Prepare for a day of Norse legend, as you head to the sandstone cliffs of Bryce Canyon National Park in Southern Utah. Here you will be met by pine trees, red rock pillars and Thor’s hammer. You’ll take a leisurely walk along Sunset Point to view the great amphitheatres of the odd-shaped monoliths, known as hoodoos, before travelling through more amazing scenery to the lush cliff-and-canyon landscape of Zion National Park. A day of sightseeing deserves some evening festivities. Join your Travel Director and new friends for a Highlight Dinner and wine to discuss your take on the ethereal characters of Utah’s famous canyon.
Zion to Las Vegas, From Nature to Neon.
Depart the tranquil ambiance of Zion National Park Lodge and board a private Zion Canyon Shuttle. Live commentary will take you through the scenic highlights of the park, followed by some downtime to explore on your own. Depart the natural beauty of the park to arrive in the bright lights and glamour of Las Vegas. With an array of shopping malls, live shows and dining opportunities, this dazzling destination is sure to entertain. And for those looking to hit the casinos, make sure you come with your poker face ready.
Salt Lake City.
Today you’ll travel to Utah’s capital, Salt Lake City, where you’ll spend the night. Lying between Wasatch Range and the Great Salt Lake, this mountainous city is perfect for outdoorsy types, with a strong focus on skiing and fishing. It is also the headquarters of the Mormon faith.
Jackson and Grand Teton National Park.
As you move on from Salt Lake City, take in iconic Temple Square and the State Capitol building, before heading north across the Oregon Trail to historic Jackson. Have your cameras ready for the famous elk antlers that adorn the central square, and for eager shoppers there are a number of charming traditional boutiques to browse. In the evening, relax at Jackson Lake Lodge, where you'll be presented with the stunning peaks of Grand Teton National Park. Staying in the park itself, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the grounds after hours.
Yellowstone National Park.
Wake up to a mountainous view like no other and witness the striking Grand Tetons thrust skyward 6,562 feet (2,000 metres) from the valley floor. In keeping with today’s rustic country charm, you’ll enter Yellowstone, the world’s first National Park. Known for its unique geothermal activity, spectacular landscapes and abundant wildlife, you’ll experience Wyoming in all its glory. Keep an eye out for black bears or wolves. Tonight you’ll stay in the National Park Lodges, allowing you to experience the park after hours, in its natural glory.
Geysers and Colourful Mudpots at Yellowstone.
Savour the surreal surroundings of Yellowstone with a relaxed start. Walk among the rainbow tinted hot springs and watch the erupting geysers as you take in the history of the park on an informative stroll with your Travel Director. Catch the renowned colourful bubbling mud pots and observe Old Faithful geyser shooting water over 120 feet (37 metres) into the air. You’ll behold the powerful roar of Lower Yellowstone Falls, before heading back to your Park Lodge rooms. The National Park is also famous for its wildlife, so keep an eye out for the Yellowstone ram, wolves, bears and elk.
The Ranch at Ucross.
Set off on your travels through the stark Shoshone Canyon and Absaroka Rocky Mountains to the Wild West Town of Cody. Learn more about America's great Western legends at the Buffalo Bill Centre, known for its Western art collection, firearms and natural history. End the day in Clearmont, Wyoming where you'll check in to your abode for the night. Here you'll enjoy an All-American ranch style Highlight Dinner with wine.
Devils Tower into the Black Hills.
Live the American frontier dream and begin your day with a scenic country horseback ride (8). If playing cowboy isn’t your thing, perhaps go fishing or merely relax and take in your beautiful surroundings, the choice is yours. Make your way to Devils Tower, an astounding geological feature that protrudes out of the surrounding the Black Hills. This symbolic landmark is considered sacred to the Lakota and other tribes. Experience Spearfish Canyon, a favoured spot among wildlife enthusiasts and one famous for its elvish woodland beauty. The limestone palisades of this creek-carved gorge are more ancient than the Grand Canyon.
Custer and the Wild, Wild West.
A day for those looking to explore the wild west, try to spot pronghorn antelope as you cross the great high plains to the Black Hills of South Dakota. Once in Deadwood, you'll also get to speak to members of the Lakota tribe as they share a fascinating live narrative of the Great Sioux Nation. You'll have the opportunity to join Kevin Costner's Original Deadwood Tour, while a Local Expert will talk about the days of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, who made this once lawless town famous during the Gold Rush of the 1870s. Continue on to Custer State Park, renowned for its beautiful landscape and abundant wildlife.
The Mountain Monuments of the Black Hills of South Dakota.
What better way to spend your last full day than delving further into the history of this fascinating country? The heart of the Black Hills offers spectacular representations of the nation’s past. You'll start by viewing Crazy Horse Memorial, which is dedicated to all Native Americans. An exclusive Insight Experience awaits as you are taken up to the 641 feet (195 metres) long and 563 feet (172 metres) tall sculpture to stand face to face with the world’s largest mountain carving. Afterwards, travel to iconic Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Here, carvings of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt overlook the landscape. The rest of the day is yours to explore in Custer State Park. Join your Travel Director and newfound friends for a Celebration Dinner with wine, as you reflect on your adventure across the wide-open spaces of America's national parks.
Travel south from Custer State Park where your trip ends on arrival in Denver. A transfer is available to Denver International Airport.
Airport arrival in Denver will be at 16:30.
Most Insight trips already include a host of bonus highlights and comprehensive sightseeing. There may also be an exciting array of Optional Experiences which will turn an already amazing experience into the trip of a lifetime! These are entirely optional and can be booked through your Travel Director/Local Representative at the commencement of your trip. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations.
Prices and availability of Optional Experiences are subject to change.
San Francisco (Traditional) - USA
Yosemite (Traditional) - USA
California - Monterey (Traditional) - Usa
Located on Cannery Row, InterContinental The Clement Monterey is a beautiful waterfront hotel in California, overlooking Monterey Bay.
Santa Barbara (Resort) - USA
Los Angeles (Contemporary) - USA
Scottsdale (Resort) - USA
Experience Hotel Valley Ho, a mid-century modern oasis in the heart of Downtown Scottsdale with plenty of amenities and nearby attractions.
Grand Canyon (Traditional) - USA
Lake Powell (Traditional) - USA
Zion (Traditional) - USA
The name “Zion” means a place of peace and refuge. As a sanctuary with over 146,000 acres of cliffs, canyons, diverse plant and animal life, and uninterrupted beauty, Zion is well-named. Its massive sandstone walls, some as high as 3,800 feet, offer an opportunity for serenity and reflection for all who visit - and Zion Lodge offers the only in-park lodging inside this hiker’s paradise. Enjoy a selection of comfortable and spacious accommodations, a year-round restaurant serving local favorites and a wide variety of ways to keep you entertained during your stay in Zion National Park.
Las Vegas (Central) - USA
The luxurious Caesars Palace on the iconic Vegas Strip offers restaurants, nightlife, relaxation, and entertainment. It's distinct style is a tribute to Rome's opulence.
Salt Lake City (Contemporary) - USA
Lake Lodge (Traditional) - USA
Yellowstone (Traditional) - USA
Ideally located within view of the world-famous Old Faithful Geyser, The Old Faithful Inn offers many highlights and advantages you won't find anywhere else. The grand lobby, known as the “Old House,” is one of the largest log structures in the world. It was completed in 1904, and has unique decorative features including etched glass panels, a large stone fireplace, and balcony porches overlooking the Old Faithful Geyser Basin. Timber columns, hickory furniture, and an antique, handcrafted clock add to the classic appeal of the Old Faithful Inn. Custom wood framing outside the lodge can also be found throughout the building. Log stairs and pine railings add to the Old Faithful Inn's rustic charm.
Clearmont (Traditional) - USA
Spearfish (Traditional) - USA
Deep in the heart of one of the most breathtaking, beautiful canyons in the world, nestled alongside lofty pines and spectacular cliffs, you will find Spearfish Canyon Lodge. Built and decorated in the style of the old lodges of the West, you can let nature take over and open your mind and the outside world is as near or far as you need it to be.
Custer State Park (Traditional) - USA