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Hike the Great National Parks of the Western USA

Explore all the greatest hits of the Wild West on this stunning stomp through the iconic wildernesses of Utah, Arizona and California

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Trip Ref #10771

Hike the Great National Parks of the Western USA

Explore all the greatest hits of the Wild West on this stunning stomp through the iconic wildernesses of Utah, Arizona and California

DURATION
10 nights
LOCATION
United States
ANNUAL LEAVE
8 days off work
SEASON
May-Oct
GROUP SIZE
Up to 12 people
MEETING POINT
Las Vegas International Airport
ACCOMMODATION
Classic

Hotel · Campsite

OVERALL RATING

0.0

This trip is brand new
DIFFICULTY
Moderate

Suitable for anyone who is happy to hike for 4-5 hours a day, comfortable in wild spaces and prepared to sleep under canvas most nights

Hike through technicolour landscapes in Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, and meander beneath the majestic redwoods of Sequoia National Park

Explore the geological masterpiece that is the Grand Canyon, take in the epic vistas at Horseshoe Bend and clamber through Antelope Canyon

Hit the trails of the incomparable Yosemite National Park to gaze upon Half Dome, El Capitan and Vernal Falls

Travel along Route 66, sleep out under big skies and tuck into campfire dinners on this quintessential American road trip from Las Vegas to San Francisco

Day 1

Viva Las Vegas!

Las Vegas, USA
https://www.canva.com/photos/MAEENsE9xic-las-vegas/

Touch down in Las Vegas, the indulgent oasis in the middle of the Mojave Desert. Rendezvous with your fellow adventurers and host at the hotel downtown in the early evening for a chat through the adventure to come. If you're keen to hit the notorious nightlife of Vegas, maybe plan on arriving a couple of days before the adventure start date as you'll be setting off first thing tomorrow morning.

Day 2

Zion National Park

Zion National Park, USA
Getty: 689453452

Driving

5hrs · 260 miles

Hiking

2hrs · 6km · 350m up · 350m down

Ditch the city lights and hit the road for your first taste of a classic American adventure. Cross the border from Nevada into Utah en route to your first hike amongst the huge sandstone cliffs of Zion National Park. Weave through lush riparian woodland, catching glimpses of cascading falls, before tackling a climb up to an epic viewpoint across the canyon. Back in the van, you'll drive the final stretch to your first campsite of the trip – just outside of Bryce Canyon National Park. Get to grips with setting up camp, then settle in for dinner and stories around the campfire in the great American outdoors – the first of many such nights to come.

Day 3

Bryce Canyon National Park

Hiker in Bryce canyon National park in Utah, USA
Getty: 960260968

Hiking

3-4hrs · 11km · 300m up

Wake up early to catch the sunrise and its dazzling display over Bryce Canyon's multi-hued landscape. Today, you'll venture deeper into Bryce Canyon National Park along a series of trails, through a myriad of colours and rock formations. The park is a showcase of some of the youngest sedimentary layers along the Grand Staircase, a unique region of canyons, arches, plateaus and cliffs. Your hike will see you descend below the rim into this otherworldly realm, connecting the Peekaboo, Navajo Loop, and Queen's Garden trails.

Day 4

Hike Horseshoe Bend & Antelope Canyon

A male hiker is standing on steep cliffs enjoying the beautiful view of Colorado river flowing at famous Horseshoe Bend overlook in beautiful post sunset twilight on a summer evening, Arizona, USA

Getty: 683652564

Hiking

2hrs · 5km · 250m up · 250m down

Pack down camp and bid farewell to Utah, hopping in the van for the drive to Page, Arizona. Head out for a short hike at Horseshoe Bend, the iconic lookout spot above the winding Colorado River. Next up is Antelope Canyon, a narrow slot canyon formed by millions of years of water and wind erosion. Accessible only with a specialist local guide, the tour begins with a jeep ride to the entrance of Antelope Canyon, then you'll navigate this surreal formation on foot. Rain and flooding still carve out the canyon, leaving behind ever-changing edifices which resemble brush strokes along a rock canvas, leading up narrow walls to glimpses of the light above. Back on the road again, you'll head towards the big one: eyes peeled for your first views of the Grand Canyon, before an evening arrival at camp.

Day 5

Hiking the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon, USA
Getty: 639133152

Hiking

4-5hrs · 13km · 350m up · 350m down

Explore one of the USA's most famous sights today. The Grand Canyon, sculpted over millennia by the Colorado River, exposes some two billion years of the Earth's history. Spend the day appreciating the mesmerising verandas along various trails. Tour leaders are not permitted to guide inside Grand Canyon National Park, so the hikes today are self-guided – but your guide will tell you the best paths to follow, and provide full details before you hit the trails. You'll find them easy to navigate together as a group. Back at camp, tuck into dinner beneath the stars after an epic day. The road trip continues tomorrow...

Day 6

Road trip along Route 66

Famous Seligman town of Route 66, Arizona
Shutterstock: 718975954

Driving

6hrs · 375 miles

A journey through America's western states is jam-packed with famous sights and iconic places, and Route 66 is the ultimate road trip. Known as 'The Mother Road', it is recognised as a National Monument in its entirety from Chicago to LA, representing generations of stories stemming from the complex history of the United States' western expansion. The small town of Seligman, Arizona has been instrumental in preserving its legacy, so you'll stop here for a dose of Americana and Route 66 flavour. Later, you'll stop at the nearly ghost town of Oatman, Arizona, which offers up more insight into the history of human pursuits westward. True to the American-style road trip, you'll rest your head at a roadside hotel this evening.

Day 7

Sequoia National Park

Sequoias National Park, USA
Getty: 1320271562

Driving

4hrs · 225 miles

Hiking

1.5hrs · 5km · 185m up · 185m down

Finish up this portion of the road trip with a resupply stop and the final stretch of road to eat into, crossing into California and continuing on as the mountains of the Sierra Nevada come into view. Eventually, you'll begin to roll past the great forests of Sequoia National Park – one of the oldest protected natural areas in the world, and host to the largest living organism by volume on the planet, the General Sherman Tree. Many of the ancient sequoia trees that reside here have watched over the forest for thousands of years. Stretch your legs after all the driving with a hike up to Moro Rock, offering a brilliant view over the San Joaquin Valley via an ascent up 350 stairs to the top of the granite dome. You'll set up camp tonight in the foothills outside the park.

Day 8

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

Standing in a grove of Sequoias in Sequoia National Park
Getty: 1452911237

Hiking

4-5hrs · 15km · 400m up · 400m down

Enjoy a full day to explore and hike in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park, with a plethora of trails through sequoia groves, past cascading falls, granite domes and valley overlooks. You have the option to hit a longer route in Sequoia National Park, or to join your guide on a drive between both parks to have a chance to navigate multiple shorter trails. A UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve, this diverse ecosystem is teeming with wildlife including black bears, wolves, coyotes and beavers.

Day 9

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Falls, USA
Getty: 1366454203

Driving

3hrs · 170 miles

Hiking

1.5hrs · 3km · 50m up · 50m down

Arguably, the best is saved for last on this trip. Yosemite National Park is the jewel in the crown of America's great wilderness landscapes, with sheer granite walls that rise more than 3000ft above the glacially sculpted valley floor. Regal waterfalls, hundreds of feet tall, attempt to steal the scene while rocky domes and peaks impose their will across the skyline. Take in your first impressions of Yosemite and get your bearings of the valley on a hike to see the impressive Yosemite Falls, before setting up your final camp spot of the trip near the western entrance to the park.

Day 10

Hiking in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park, USA
Shutterstock: 754753498

Hiking

4-5hrs · 15km · 250m up · 800m down

Head back into Yosemite National Park early, for a full day to explore the best trails. The Yosemite Valley shuttle system facilitates trail access around the Valley Loop, so you'll hop on the shuttles to reach trailheads which lead to some of the most epic parts of the park, including Vernal Falls and Mirror Lake. The sense of adventure is ever-present in Yosemite – from John Muir's exploits in the 1870s (which led to the creation of the National Park), through to modern-day feats by the likes of Alex Honnold (who in 2017 climbed El Capitan solo, without a rope). Yosemite oozes adventure and the great American outdoors from its every pore.

Day 11

Final road trip to San Francisco

Aerial view of traffic moving on Golden Gate Bridge during sunset, San Francisco, California, USA.
Getty: 1571494714

Driving

3.5hrs · 190 miles

Bid farewell to Yosemite this morning with a final breakfast at camp before hopping in the van for the drive to San Francisco. Reaching the city in the early afternoon, enjoy lunch and embrace the city's extraordinary setting along the San Francisco Bay, with views of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. The trip comes to an end in central San Francisco where you are free to head to the airport for an onward flights departing from 16:00 onwards. Alternatively, if you are staying on longer in the States you can bid farewell to your guide and fellow adventures after lunch in the city, and head to your accommodation.

Included

Guides

Expert, local, English-speaking guides

Accommodation

8 nights camping, 2 nights in hotels

Meals

8 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 5 dinners

Transfers

All transfers throughout the trip from Vegas to San Francisco

Equipment

Tents and sleeping mats

Permits

All national park permits and entry fees

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Tips for your guides

Some meals as described

Visas where required

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2 – Day 3

Campsite · Twin tent

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 4

Campsite · Twin tent

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Campsite · Twin tent

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 6

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 7

Campsite · Twin tent

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 8 – Day 9

Campsite · Twin tent

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 10

Campsite · Twin tent

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 11

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Cooking at Campground

Whilst camping, your guide will rustle up nutritious and varied meals. As it is participatory camping, your help washing up afterwards will be appreciated by the guide! Breakfasts are served buffet-style each day with varying items, allowing for a quick start before getting out on the trails, and typically include hot drinks, fruit juice, bread, croissants, cereal, granola, yoghurt and fruit. Lunches will be cold picnics, prepared earlier so that you can carry them with you and stop somewhere during the hikes. These usually involve wraps, sandwiches, salads, cereal bars and fruit. For dinners, the guide will plan a starter, main and dessert. The main dish is typically meat or fish with sides of rice or potatoes and vegetables. Some nights they may make a pasta or curry dish.

Vegetarian diets can be catered for – please request this in advance on your passenger info form. However, catering for vegan and other dietary requirements cannot be guaranteed and would require a surcharge for sourcing extra ingredients – therefore, any specific dietary requests should be checked prior to booking.

Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for – please just request on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?

Las Vegas

Your first night of the trip is spent in Las Vegas at The Strat Hotel, Casino & Tower. The hotel boasts two swimming pools, multiple dining options and a casino, and is a great launchpad from which to explore the city. There are also hot tubs, cabanas, a café bar, bar and a fitness centre. You'll stay in twin-share rooms with ensuite bathrooms.

Camping, USA. Photo: Host/Windigo
Campsites

You'll stay in organised, permanent, 'front-country' campgrounds, each with shared toilet blocks and showers. The group will have their own area for camping, cooking and enjoying meals together at the camp. The campgrounds you'll stay at in each place are as follows:

Bryce Canyon National Park: Ruby's Inn RV Park & Campground
Grand Canyon National Park: Mather Campground
Sequoia National Park: Three Rivers Hideaway Campground
Yosemite National Park: Indian Flat Campgrounds

This is participatory camping, so you'll be expected to pitch in and get your own tent set up, although your guide will be on hand to help out! Tents are allocated on a twin-share basis, but you have the option to upgrade to a sole occupancy tent should you wish – see the Optional Extras section. You'll use the campsites as basecamps from which to go off and do day hikes in nearby locations.

Barstow

True to the American-style road trip, on Day 6 you'll rest your head at a roadside hotel to break up your journey from the Grand Canyon to Sequoia National Park. The California Inn in Barstow has comfortable twin-share rooms with ensuite bathrooms, and an outdoor swimming pool if you fancy a dip.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room and tent can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Las Vegas accommodation

Any time on Day 1

Ends

San Francisco city centre

15:00 on Day 11

Transfers

On Day 1 you're free to make your way to The Strat hotel anytime to rendezvous with your guide and fellow adventurers. There'll be a briefing in the evening to chat through the adventure to come ahead of hitting the road on the morning of day 2. Your trip ends on Day 11 in central San Francisco after the drive from Yosemite and a group lunch to finish the trip. You are free to head on to your next accommodation if staying on longer in the USA, or head to the airport in a taxi. We recommend that you don't book any flights departing before late afternoon on this day.

Travel options

Las Vegas and San Francisco are major international airports servicing all the major hubs across North America and Europe, as well as Asia and Australasia.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • Camping gear: twin-share tent, self-inflating mattress, all cooking equipment

What's available to hire?

  • Sleeping bags (please request upon booking - $40 payment taken locally, in cash [USD])

What do I need to bring?

BAGS

  • Soft overnight duffel bag or rucksack (main luggage)
  • Daypack for hiking with (20-30 litres)
  • Waterproof liner or drybags for kitbag/rucksack

CLOTHES

  • Lightweight waterproof jacket
  • Lightweight waterproof trousers
  • Fleece jacket or similar, for evenings
  • Buff or neckscarf
  • Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear and socks
  • Swimwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Something to sleep in
  • Hiking boots (worn-in)
  • Sandals

SLEEPING

  • Cotton or silk sleeping bag liner
  • Sleeping bag (3-season, with a comfort rating of 0ºC to –7ºC)
  • Travel pillow or pillowcase

OTHER

  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Ear plugs
  • Insect repellent
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Headtorch or torch
  • Reusable water bottle x2 litre
  • Energy bars and snacks - read our article on Best Hiking Snacks
*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Optional Private Room & Tent Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room & Tent Upgrade

This trip is brand new

We’re still waiting to collect any reviews from other travellers on this trip. However, all our hosts go through an extensive vetting process to ensure that your adventure is awesome.

We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 159kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity, ensuring the protection of the reserve and its wildlife.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

A good general level of fitness is recommended, as you'll be spending up to five hours per day walking on mountain trails – some of which involve moderate elevation gains. You'll be hiking for consecutive days, though there are sizeable road trips to tackle as well, which break things up. The hikes are all non-technical, with no previous trekking experience required. The selected trails are 'there and back' day hikes, meaning that there is often the flexibility to shorten your hike, sit out a section, or even stay back at the campsite, should you want a rest.

Sure can! Over 70% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

It is customary in the United States to tip service workers such as taxi drivers and waiters at around 15-20%, depending on the quality of the service you receive. A good rule of thumb for any visits to bars is to tip $1 per drink.

Tipping is also considered a customary part of your adventure, to show your gratitude towards your guide. Of course, the amount you tip is at your personal preference depending on the level of service you feel you received on the trip. As a guideline, we suggest budgeting $10-15 US dollars a day. You are free to tip more if you feel your guide did an outstanding job.

Tipping culture in the US can be a little intimidating to anyone without previous experience of travelling or living there – however, your host will be happy to help you through the process anytime it comes up on the trip.

Tap water in the United States is safe to drink. There will be refill points at each of the campgrounds that you'll stay at, so make sure to bring a water bottle or two to carry enough water on each of the hikes.

Summers in the deserts and sierras of the west of the USA are warm and mostly dry, though there can be the odd thunderstorm to bring some rain to proceedings. Zion and the Grand Canyon are the hottest spots on this trip: in June the highs range from 27-38°C (80-100°F) and lows from 7-18°C (45-65°F) with things hotting up further in July and August, getting up to 40°C at the peak of the day. In Bryce, Sequoia and Yosemite in June you can expect daytime ranges of 21-32°C (70-90°F) and nighttime temperatures from 4-10°C (40-50°F), while July and August highs can reach 27-32°C (80-90°F) and nighttime temperatures between 10-15°C (50-60°F).

Note that evenings will be cold at the campgrounds in Bryce and Grand Canyon due to the higher altitudes at these spots, so be sure to bring suitable warm clothing and a season 3 sleeping bag for these nights - see kitlist for further guidance.

No. As this adventure starts in Las Vegas and ends nearly 1000km away in San Francisco, there is no option to store your luggage at the start of the trip. Your luggage will be transferred for you throughout the trip and safely stored in the group vehicle.

We recommend checking out the country specific information and also talking to a travel nurse.

The weather in the national parks can be pretty unpredictable, with rain, wind and extreme temperatures possible at any time of the year. The best you can do is to be prepared for anything and come equipped with layers of clothing, sunscreen and waterproofs. Your host will be monitoring the weather conditions during the course of the trip and will suggest alternative, safer hiking routes or activities should the weather get particularly bad.

No. You'll need to have a larger bag suitable for all your belongings which will be transported for you, and then a small daypack in which to carry personal items during each day of hiking.

You'll have one tour leader and hiking guide throughout the trip. An additional specialist local guide joins the group for the trip to Antelope Canyon in Zion National Park.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.

Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last-minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're always in good company on one of our adventures.

Our trips are typically made up of a mixture of solo travellers and small groups of 2 or 3 friends, with most in their 30s-50s.

Our sociable adventures are solo-friendly by design and naturally attract outdoorsy people with a shared mindset; a love for adventure, a desire to push themselves and meet awesome, like-minded people along the way.

It’s this camaraderie that has so often turned a great adventure into a life-changing one.

Don't just take our word for it:

  • 95% of people rate the group dynamics on our trips 5/5
  • 90% of people recommend joining a trip to make new friends
  • 75% of people have met people on our trips that they would now consider friends

See here for more info about the Much Better Adventures tribe.

Interested in a more exclusive experience? Opt for a 'Private Group' through the dates and prices tab to book this adventure for just you and your chosen companions.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

TRIP DEPARTURE DATES

May 2024

Sunday • 12th May 2024

to Wednesday • 22nd May 2024
3 Booked • 9 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 9th June 2024

to Wednesday • 19th June 2024
2 Booked • 10 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 23rd June 2024

to Wednesday • 3rd July 2024
1 Booked • 11 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 25th August 2024

to Wednesday • 4th September 2024
2 Booked • 10 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 8th September 2024

to Wednesday • 18th September 2024
2 Booked • 10 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 6th October 2024

to Wednesday • 16th October 2024
12 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 11th May 2025

to Wednesday • 21st May 2025
12 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 25th May 2025

to Wednesday • 4th June 2025
12 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 8th June 2025

to Wednesday • 18th June 2025
12 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 22nd June 2025

to Wednesday • 2nd July 2025
12 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 24th August 2025

to Wednesday • 3rd September 2025
12 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 7th September 2025

to Wednesday • 17th September 2025
1 Booked • 11 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 21st September 2025

to Wednesday • 1st October 2025
12 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 5th October 2025

to Wednesday • 15th October 2025
12 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Pay In Installments

You can choose to pay for this trip in as many installments as you like, with no interest or fees.

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