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The Ultimate Western USA - California, Arizona, Utah and Nevada

21 days from £2745 per person

Starting in glamorous Los Angeles and ending by the bay in beautiful San Francisco, pass through desert, mountain and forest – traversing four states in the process – on an epic overland exploration of the very best of the western United States. Leaving LA, and after stays in pretty Palm Springs and the Arizonan capital Phoenix, spend a memorable week exploring the outlandish red-rock landscapes and extraordinary geological formations of some of the west’s greatest national parks and scenic spaces including Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and Zion. After two nights in extravagant Las Vegas, re-enter California returning to San Francisco via Death Valley and fabulous Yosemite National Park.

Route: Los Angeles – Palm Springs – Phoenix – Sedona – Grand Canyon – Monument Valley – Lake Powell – Zion National Park – Las Vegas – Death Valley – Bakersfield – Yosemite – San Francisco

Itinerary Highlights

A city built on cowboys, cotton, cattle and copper with a deep rooted Native American heritage; enjoy exploring the cultural hub of the south-west, Phoenix.

Marvel at the breath-taking views of Lake Powell, a vast man-made reservoir that straddles Arizona and Utah and is surrounded by striking desert scenery.

With its deafening waterfalls, formidable granite peaks and abundant animal life, world-famous Yosemite is arguably the most picturesque national park on the West Coast.

Itinerary: The Ultimate Western USA - California, Arizona, Utah and Nevada

Depart the UK on your international flight to Los Angeles. On arrival collect your hire car and drive to your hotel for a two night stay. The second largest city in the US, Los Angeles is a city of contrasts that has something for everyone. Mingle with A-List stars or follow in their footsteps on Hollywood Boulevard, enjoy some of the best shopping in the US, eat fabulous street-food, contemplate some of the finest collections of art in the world or rediscover your youth at world-famous Disneyland. (N)
Accommodation in Los Angeles: Millennium Biltmore (or similar)
Today you are at leisure to explore Los Angeles. Head to Griffith Park, home of the 1930s Griffith Observatory, for magnificent views of the city and the acclaimed ‘Hollywood’ sign, enjoy world class art at LACMA and the Getty Centre or visit one of the city’s three excellent theme parks – Disneyland, Universal Studios and California Adventure. For those who enjoy the beach, spend an afternoon in upmarket Santa Monica or eccentric Venice Beach with its street performers, artists and Muscle Beach bodybuilders. For the best restaurants, the regenerated Downtown, Little Tokyo and Koreatown are difficult to beat. (N)
Accommodation in Los Angeles: Millennium Biltmore (or similar)
This morning leave Los Angeles and drive to the oasis city of Palm Springs for an overnight stay. With an enviable location, spectacular setting in the shadow of the San Jacinto Mountains and near-perfect climate, Palm Springs has long attracted the rich and famous. From the 1930s to the 1960s the city was a playground for Hollywood stars and many fine examples of ‘Desert Modernism’ architecture remain from this period. This afternoon you may wish to take the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to the summit of San Jacinto Peak. Climbing to an altitude of 8,500 feet, the journey takes 10 minutes and the views are spectacular. (N)
Accommodation in Palm Springs: Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa (or similar)
Leaving Palm Springs continue east, skirting Joshua Tree National Park and crossing the state line, to enter Arizona and, ultimately, the city of Phoenix. Much as its name suggests, Phoenix rises from the Sonoran Desert – a city built on cowboys, cotton, cattle and copper and the fifth largest in the US. The cultural hub of the south-west, there is plenty to see and do. Visit the celebrated Heard Museum to learn about the region’s Native American heritage or the Phoenix Art Museum, explore the excellent Desert Botanical Garden or head to upmarket Scottsdale for the best shopping, restaurants and bars. (N)
Accommodation in Phoenix: The Scott Resort and Spa (or similar)
Driving north, travel from Phoenix to Sedona where you will stay overnight. Best known for its remarkable rock formations and first-rate hiking, the wider region has also, for generations of Native Americans, been regarded as a sacred location of healing and rejuvenation. The striking geological features, wind-sculpted ochre sandstone formations and vivid red rocks create an almost otherworldly atmosphere with the colours transforming throughout the day with the changing light. (N)
Accommodation in Sedona: Amara Resort and Spa (or similar)
Climbing away from Sedona’s rocky landscapes, wind your way through increasing altitude to reach the scented pine forests of Flagstaff. Break the journey in this pretty old-west hill town then continue to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park where you will stay for the next two nights. The celebrated Grand Canyon certainly exceeds expectations. Immense in scale and of a magnitude that almost defies comprehension, over the last six million years this mile-deep canyon has been chiselled by the mighty Colorado River. (N)
Accommodation at the Grand Canyon: Yavapai Lodge (or similar)
Today you are at leisure to fully explore the Grand Canyon National Park. With its plateaus and ridges, coloured rocks and peaks, there are plenty of exceptional vantage points accessible either on foot or by car. Maybe take the Desert View Drive following the canyon rim east or walk the easily accessible Rim Trail. For the more adventurous, hike part of a steep trail down into the canyon for a closer view of the Colorado or arrange a helicopter ride over the canyon – a once in a lifetime experience. (N)
Accommodation at the Grand Canyon: Yavapai Lodge (or similar)
Waking early for sunrise, after breakfast leave the Grand Canyon for a memorable drive north towards Monument Valley. Following the dead-straight highway, desert stretches to the horizon and the day starts, and ends, within the Navajo Nation Reservation. The landscape here is the epitome of American West and the deep copper and fiery red cliffs, bluffs and stacks of Monument Valley have featured in many a Hollywood western. Enjoy the panoramic views and visit the ancient Puebloan cliff dwellings of the Navajo National Monument. (N)
Accommodation in Monument Valley: Goulding’s Lodge (or similar)
This morning leave Monument Valley re-tracing your steps part of the way before heading back towards the Utah border and Lake Powell where you will stay overnight. A vast man-made reservoir, this deep-blue body of water straddles Arizona and Utah and is surrounded by striking desert scenery. Later you may wish to take a boat trip on the lake to explore the different canyons and creeks. (N)
Accommodation at Lake Powell – Lake Powell Resort
Crossing the state line in to Utah, drive on to Zion National Park where you will stay for the next two nights. One of the great parks of the south-west, Zion is dramatic and wild, it’s extraordinary geology typified in the epic scenery of Zion Canyon. With an elevation range of over 5,000 feet, the variation in topography, climate and habitat is remarkable and reflected not only in the outstanding diversity of flora, fauna and birdlife but also a human history that archaeologists believe dates back over 9,000 years. (N)
Accommodation in Zion National Park – Cable Mountain Lodge (or similar)
Today you are at leisure to explore the dramatic landscapes of Zion National Park. With fantastic hiking, nature walks, wildlife viewing and world-class rock climbing and canyoning there are numerous different activities for all ages and abilities. Another highlight, and an excellent way to see the best of the park, is the six mile Scenic Drive which bisects Zion Canyon. (N)
Accommodation in Zion National Park – Cable Mountain Lodge (or similar)
This morning leave Zion National Park and continue your way west towards Las Vegas possibly stopping on the way to visit the charming town of St George. On arrival in Las Vegas continue to your hotel where you will stay for the next two nights. The self-billed ‘Entertainment Capital of the World’, the eccentric city of Las Vegas is a bewildering blend of neon lights, all-day shopping, luxurious hotels, dazzling casinos, world-class entertainment and some of the best dining on offer in the US. (N)
Accommodation in Las Vegas: Luxor Hotel (or similar)
Today experience the city and all it has to offer. Take a photograph of the world-famous ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada’ sign then explore the strip and the mesmerising casinos that line it. Don’t forget to ride the rollercoaster at New York New York, visit the Venetian, complete with replica Grand Canal, witness the fountain water show at the Bellagio and to take in one of the many excellent shows. (N)
Accommodation in Las Vegas: Luxor Hotel (or similar)
Leaving Las Vegas, this morning travel through the barren landscapes of western Nevada back to California and Death Valley National Park. Not only the hottest place in the US and home to its lowest point, Death Valley is also one of the nation’s most inhospitable regions – a harsh but exceptionally beautiful environment of sun-bleached canyons, colossal sand dunes, weather-beaten mountains and bountiful oases. This afternoon explore the park, a highlight of which is Badwater Basin the lowermost point of the North American continent. (N)
Accommodation in Death Valley: Furnace Creek Ranch (or similar)
Today leave the desert behind, crossing the southern inclines of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and arriving in California’s Central Valley in the afternoon. Sitting in the heart of one of the state’s major agricultural regions, Bakersfield was first settled by early pioneers during the 1860s. The city was also the birthplace of the country music Bakersfield Sound. (N)
Accommodation in Bakersfield: Hampton Inn & Suites Bakersfield (or similar)
This morning drive north towards Yosemite National Park. On the way you will pass Sequoia National Park which is well worth visiting as it is home to the General Sherman Tree – one of the largest and oldest living trees on the planet. Continuing on to Yosemite, stay here for the next two nights. With its deafening waterfalls, formidable granite peaks and abundant animal life, world-famous Yosemite is arguably the most picturesque national park on the West Coast. It is also one of its most rewarding, with fabulous trekking and outdoor activities and excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing. (N)
Accommodation in Yosemite National Park: Yosemite View Lodge (or similar)
Today explore Yosemite National Park. Gaze at monumental El Capitan, its rock-face speckled with climbers, and iconic Half Dome, trek to Mirror Lake or see the awesome Yosemite, Vernal and Bridaveil Falls. You may also wish to arrange to join a ranger-led tour which is one of the best ways to experience the diversity of Yosemite’s wildlife which includes black bear, mule deer, Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep, over 250 bird species and the elusive mountain lion. (N)
Accommodation in Yosemite National Park: Yosemite View Lodge (or similar)
After breakfast leave Yosemite and drive to San Francisco where you will stay for the next two nights. Multi-coloured Victorian homes, bustling wharves, resident sea lions, excellent museums and art galleries, the infamous island prison of Alcatraz and iconic Golden Gate Bridge – San Francisco is the ultimate Californian city. Founded by Spanish settlers and built with Californian gold, famed for its fog and colourful 1960s hippie counter-culture, spend the afternoon exploring this fabulous city. (N)
Accommodation in San Francisco: Hotel Serrano (or similar)
Today enjoy San Francisco under your own arrangements. A city of very distinct districts, there is plenty to see and do. Start the morning at Pier 33 and take the ferry to Alcatraz then visit the crab shacks at Fisherman’s Wharf or ride one of the historic streetcars to the Ferry Building. Despite its hills San Francisco is a walking city but take one of the famous rickety hill-top cable cars. If you can, remember to stop at Lombard Street, ‘the most crooked street in the world’, Coit Tower for stunning bay views and Haight-Ashbury – enclave of the 60s hippie movement. (N)
Accommodation in San Francisco: Hotel Serrano (or similar)
After a morning at leisure make your own way to San Francisco International Airport in good time to catch your return flight to the UK.
Arrive back into the UK in the morning. (N)
**KEY: N = No meals, B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

What To Do Next?

We design unique, tailor-made holiday itineraries to suit you, by combining your ideas with our knowledge and experience. Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, or if you require some advice, please call us or complete the enquiry form online for a quotation.

What's included

  • International flights from the UK
  • Hotel accommodation and taxes
  • Car hire as specified

What's not included

  • Cost of visas
  • Travel Insurance
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Meals unless specified

Guide to Price

The above price is based on two people travelling together and sharing accommodation in low season. The price is only a guide and can vary according to selected airlines, hotels and date of travel. If you wish to travel with your family, friends or on your own we will be very happy to assist you with your arrangements.

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