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San Fran to Vegas: Parks, Canyons, Valleys


Fall in love with the rugged and diverse American West on this nine-day adventure, from the granite peaks and pine forests of Yosemite National Park to the sun-baked dunes and canyons of Death Valley. This itinerary packs in the highlights of the wild west coast and will see you kayaking the clear waters of Lake Tahoe, traversing the wilderness of Hetch Hetchy Valley and strolling neon-lit boulevards in Las Vegas.

9 days, from

$4,626

per person

GROUP SIZE

12 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
Trip code: SSKG
Style: Comfort
Theme: Explorer
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Details

Countries Visited:  United States Of America
Accommodation: Hotel (8 nights)
Transportation: Private vehicle
Meals: 1 dinners, 4 breakfasts
Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Beginning in the eccentric city of San Francisco, explore the sights of the bay on a sunset catamaran cruise, sailing around the infamous Alcatraz Island and beneath the legendary Golden Gate Bridge.

  • From shimmering blue waters in summer to snow-dusted pine forest in winter – enjoy a full day of optional activities to suit every adventurer, in every season, during your 2-night stay in Lake Tahoe.

  • Featuring sequoia forests, granite cliff faces and cascading waterfalls – get the most out of your Yosemite experience by spending three nights in the park, meaning two full days of exploration.

  • With undulating sand dunes, water-sculpted canyons, extinct volcanic craters and fields of wildflowers that blossom in the spring: Death Valley is a geological paradise.

  • Wrap up your west coast adventure on the glitzy Strip of Las Vegas – hit the town for a dose of bright lights and the chance to win big!

Itinerary

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Day 1: San Francisco

Welcome to San Francisco, a city with a storied history and plenty of eccentric characters. Your adventure begins at 3pm with an important welcome meeting at your accommodation, where you’ll meet your local leader and fellow travellers. After your meeting, get to know San Francisco Bay on a sunset catamaran cruise. Sail around the infamous Alcatraz Island and beneath the emblematic Golden Gate Bridge while keeping an eye out for the dolphins, pelicans, sea lions and occasional whale that can be found in these waters. Take in incredible views of the city’s skyline as you make your return – you’ll definitely be leaving your heart in San Francisco! The evening is free for your own discoveries – perhaps head to Chinatown and get your hands on some dim sum!

Day 2: Lake Tahoe

This morning, take in some of San Fran’s most famous sights during a scenic driving tour. Pass by the painted ladies, a row of grandiose Victorian houses, and get your camera ready as you gaze upon the Golden Gate Bridge from the best viewpoint in the city. In the afternoon, make the drive to Lake Tahoe, the USA’s second-deepest lake and home to 116 km (72 miles) of scenic shoreline. This evening, take in views of Lake Tahoe from an unbeatable vantage point as you ride a gondola up Heavenly Mountain, which absolutely lives up to its name.

Day 3: Lake Tahoe

Enjoy a day of leisure in Lake Tahoe, this natural adventure park has plenty going on all year-round which means there’ll be plenty of activities for you to choose from depending on the season. In summer, you can paddle on the clear, blue waters of the lake in a kayak or take a refreshing dip, and for the hiking enthusiasts – the surrounding hillside is perfect for scenic walks during the warmer months. During winter the area becomes a snow-covered playground where you can choose to take a sleigh ride or try your hand at ice skating.

Day 4: Yosemite National Park

This morning, head south to the world-famous Yosemite National Park. Featuring colossal granite cliff faces, cascading waterfalls (depending on the season) and redwood forests, the scenery in Yosemite attracts travellers from all over the globe. On arrival, wander through the jaw-dropping Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias, home to two-dozen of the largest known trees on earth. These colossal, ancient wonders are adapted for survival. They’re resistant to disease, thanks to a large content of tannin (a type of natural chemical) in the wood – and their thick asbestos-like bark means that they can withstand the hottest of forest-fires, making them almost indestructible. The resilient beauty of these redwood beasts makes them a phenomenal must-see on any Yosemite itinerary.

Day 5: Yosemite National Park

Enjoy a guided walk around the spectacular scenery of Yosemite National Park followed by a free day to explore. The breathtaking landscapes have made Yosemite a favourite among hikers for generations, and there are plenty of trekking routes on offer with varying degrees of difficulty. If you feel like breaking a sweat, the 5-hour hike to the top of Nevada Falls features plenty of switchbacks, and depending on the season, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the cascading waterfall beneath the giant Half Dome. Feel like taking it easy? No problem, there are plenty of gentle trails on offer. Keep an eye out for squirrels (and watch for bears!) along the way. If you’d prefer, you can hire a bike and cycle around Yosemite Valley, stopping by the park's museum, photo gallery, shops and restaurants on the way. In the heat of summer, a nice option is a float down the Merced River on a raft followed by a few drinks at the local cafe. This evening, if the weather is right, join the group for an included pizza picnic in the park! Alternatively, warm up with a local meal in the cosy indoors.

Day 6: 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 through the awe-inspiring Yosemite Valley. Strewn with dramatic waterfalls, gigantic granite outcrops and lush meadows, this is one of the most spectacular spots in the country. Learn about the ecologically diverse landscape as you explore with your leader, who will recommend independent walks in the area you can take on this afternoon.

Day 7: Eastern Sierra/Lone Pine

This morning, stop and admire the glistening waters of Tenaya and Mono Lakes on the drive south to Death Valley (approximately 6 hours). On the way to Lone Pine, perhaps stop at Manzanar National Historic Site, a former military-style camp where more than 110,000 Japanese-American men, women and children were detained during WWII. Continue to Alabama Hills – where colourful undulating peaks roll in the foreground of the contrasting jagged, snowy Sierras – this beautiful landscape is just a stone’s throw away from where you’ll be spending the night in Lone Pine – not far from the entrance to Death Valley. On arrival, there's the option to visit the Museum of Western Film History, which celebrates the many movies that have been filmed in the area, such as Iron Man, Django Unchained, How the West Was Won, and True Grit.

Day 8: Death Valley / Las Vegas

This morning you'll explore the geologically rich Death Valley National Park. Don't let the name fool you, this park features huge sand dunes, canyons, sculpted rocks, valleys and volcanic craters. Death Valley is extremely hot and dry (the highest recorded temperature in the world was measured in local Furnace Creek at 56.6˚C in 1913) so remember to pack plenty of water and don't overexert yourself. Stop along the way at Zabriskie Point, Badwater Basin and the Mesquite Dunes, where you’ll have the chance to stretch your legs with some short walks. Arrive to the glitzy desert city of Las Vegas – it may be a gamblers paradise, but if the tables aren't your thing there's still plenty to discover! Maybe wander along the Strip past impersonators, billboards and hotels to the choreographed Bellagio Fountain show, or perhaps head to a rooftop amusement park, hit the chain stores or lose all sense of time exploring the gaudy interiors of hotels like The Venetian, Caesars Palace and New York-New York. In the evening, why not join your travel buddies for an optional dinner!

Day 9: Las Vegas

With no activities planned today, your adventure comes to an end after breakfast this morning. You may like to round off your trip with an unforgettable helicopter trip from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon – the trip includes champagne, beverages and a light snack, all served above the Colorado River.

9 days, from $4,626

to book call 1-844-205-6226


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