Grand Tour of the US Southwestern Parks
Grand Canyon's splendour to Las Vegas extravaganza
Hearing the words “Grand Canyon” and the “Far West”, one might think of the unforgettable scenery in classic Western Movies with cowboys galloping on the plains and conquering the wilderness. But the American West also includes conjures thoughts of other scenic gems within its numerous National Parks. Be amazed by the splendor of the Grand Canyon, the colors of the desert, the maple and poplar tree forests. See Zion’s numerous waterfalls and emeralds basins, and Bryce Canyon’s strange yet fascinating rose, white, and red colored rocks. Experience the Mesa Verde – or “green plateau” in Spanish –a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here, you’ll be able to peek into the lives of former Pueblo Natives who built their homes into the rocky landscapes, dating as far back as the 6th century.
Travelling through Utah, Arizona and Nevada, you will explore these wild places where the Navajo Natives still live today. Zion, Bryce, Canyonlands, Arches, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon… these names will evoke the myriad of amazing geological formations, where canyons, spurs, arches and Hoodoo’s rival in beauty. Our last stop, Las Vegas, is located in the heart of a desert with spectacular casinos, luxurious hotels, restaurants, art galleries, theatres, and shopping centers, all of which are brightly illuminated by millions of dancing lights. We’ll drive down “The Strip” at night for an incredible experience! Don’t forget to buy yourself some tickets to one of the many, internationally renowned shows!
You want more, no worries. We pictured a perfect extension tour.
6 more days to discover the other jewels of the West American.
The Death Valley, the famous Yosemite Park and the city of San Francisco bordered by the Pacific Ocean. Gorgeous !
- Marvel at the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, the finesse of Arches, and the colors of Bryce Canyon
- Meet the Navajo Indians in a guided Jeep excursion
- Sleep in one of the best stargazing sites in the USA
- Discover Mesa Verde's mysterious rock dwellings
- Be taken away by Las Vegas’ extravaganza
Arrive in Las Vegas and check into your hotel on the Strip. Trip presentation and dinner (not included), depending on flight times. Overnight in a hotel
Camping near the park
Day 01: 240 km, 3h drive
Meet your guide in the hotel lobby. Covering more than 60,000 hectares, the park comprises a wide range of altitudes between 1128m and 2660m above the sea level. The terrain changes from dessert to forest, including the spectacular “The Narrows” canyon. The weather and temperatures in this region are equally variable, reaching over 38°C (100°F) in summer while higher elevations are often covered in snow during the winter months. While the scenic roads provide fantastic points of view, hiking is the best way to see Zion National Park. There are many wonderful hikes available in this park, from short, easy walks to long, difficult, multiple day excursions. The Emerald Pools trail is one of the more popular, passing through forests of maple trees and Cottonwood oaks, passing by numerous waterfalls and picturesque emerald pools. Angel’s Landing, which takes a full day, is one of the more difficult hikes with a 500m elevation gain, though it offers a spectacular view over Zion Canyon. We’ll explore this park on foot and by the park shuttle. Two nights camping on the outskirts of the park. Meals: 1B, 2L, 2D
Camping near the park
140 km, 2h drive
Bryce Canyon is not a canyon in the traditional sense, but consists rather of a dozen of smaller ravines eroded into a ridge at the edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau in Southwestern Utah. The Canyon is named after Ebenezer Bryce, a Mormon farmer and the first modern-day settler in the region. Rain and melting snow flowing from the Pink Cliffs to the Paria River shaped these unique spires and peaks, collectively referred to as “Hoodoos.” Years of erosion has given the rocks their fragile and bizarre shapes tinted with colorful nuances of pink, white, yellow and red. Explore the park on foot in the heart of the Amphitheatre. Explore this park on foot. Set up camp near the outskirts of the park. Meals: B, L, D
Camping in Moab
430 km, 5h drive
Continue towards Moab. Stop along the way for a picnic, hike and visit Capitol Reef National Park. Enjoy the scenic drive through the Grand Staircase Escalante to Moab. Camp set up and overnight in Moab. Meals: B, L, D
Camping in Moab
160 km, 2h30 drive round trip
Arches National Park is famous for its red, sandstone arches found throughout the park. The road to Arches climbs in elevation for about 40km, passing Park Avenue and Courthouse Towers. These monoliths have been seen in several films over the years, including Thelma and Louise. The Windows Section has a large concentration of arches and other rocky formations such as Double Arch, Cove Arch, and Balanced Rock. Hike the park this morning.
In the afternoon, we leave Arches for Canyonlands National Park, covering a large portion of south eastern Utah. For millions of years, the Green and Colorado Rivers carved these sandstone layers into a variety of unique and colorful shapes. Within the 1350 km squared park we find a myriad of canyons, arches, spurs, hills, and other incredible forms. The Grand Canyon may be the largest, deepest, and most spectacular canyon in the West, but Canyonlands has such a great variety of geological forms that it offers and exceptional number of explorative possibilities. That, and its sheer isolation is unparalleled. We will explore the park by shuttle bus and on foot. Meals B, L, D
Camping near the park
220km, 3h drive
Morning departure for a spectacular hike outside the national parks along the Fisher Towers trail, with beautiful vistas of the Colorado River and the red rock towers bordering the Arches Park. Also possible optional activities from Moab are river rafting excursions on the Colorado River (family level), off-road excursions, and mountain biking. In the afternoon, drive to the Mesa Verde National Park and set up camp. Meals: B, L, D
Camping near the park
100km, 2h drive in the park
Mesa Verde, or "green table" in Spanish, offers spectacular views and a glimpse of the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people who built cliff dwellings from the 6th to the 13th century. This site, a World Heritage UNESCO Site, is one of the best preserved in the United States. A morning Ranger-guided tour will allow access to restricted sites, and to get close to the houses. In the afternoon, discover another area of the park on foot. Return to camp in the late afternoon. Meals: B, L, D
Camping near the city
450 km, 5h drive
Morning departure for the famed Monument Valley Park, located within the Navajo Indian Reservation between Utah and Arizona. Jeep tour led by our Navajo guide (included). Then, we drive to Lake Powell. At 300km long and 3057km around, it’s the second largest artificial lake in the United States, a real oasis in the middle of the desert. Set up camp and overnight near Page. Meals: B, L, D
Camping near the park
D10: 400 km, 4h30 drive
This morning, you could explore the famous Antelope Canyon, a favorite stop for photographers (entry optional). Then, we drive to the Grand Canyon.
The Grand Canyon is enormous. At more than 445km long and 20-30km wide, this breathtaking park will leave you in awe. The Canyon’s deepest area is 1.6km down, the Colorado River running its entire length. We descend into the canyon on our second day. Depending of the departure date:
06/08 - Camping for two nights in the outskirts of the park or in a nearby city, depending on availability.
01/09 – Day 10, camping for 1 night in the outskirts of the park or in a nearby city, according to the availability. Day 11, camping in a nearby city.
Optional activity: helicopter ride. Meals: 2B, 2L, 2D
460 km, 5h drive
We drive back early to Las Vegas. Enjoy some free time in the afternoon to explore the city. Driving past the spectacular casinos and hotels on the Strip is a fantastic experience! By night, this main street comes to life with miles of colorful neon signs and millions of flashing lights. Over a dozen giant themed casinos and hotels are located along the Strip, the “smallest” has 2,000 hotel rooms! Each and every one of them contains thousands of slot machines, hundreds of gaming tables, multiple restaurants, shops, and theaters featuring world renowned performances. Take advantage of all the action and be sure to attend one of the shows! (not included, optional). Overnight in a hotel. Meals: B
Wake up in your hotel room and end of tour. Depending on flight times, you still have a little time to enjoy the city that never sleeps.
If you have a crazy desire to continue, let see our extension.
Let's continue the pleasure. 6 more days to discover the other jewels of the West American.
The Death Valley, the famous Yosemite Park and the city of San Francisco bordered by the Pacific Ocean. Like a movie parading before your eyes, we move from desert landscapes to the ocean.
If this MUST DO trip seduces you, CONTACT US and we will be happy to embark you on the adventure.
Dates & prices
15 July 2018 2110 $US (USD) full
26 August 2018 2110 $US (USD) limited
- Accommodation: 2 nights in Standard 3* Hotel, 10 nights at serviced campgrounds
- Ground transportation by 12-passengers minibus with enclosed trailer for 8 passengers or more
- one bilingual driver-guide (French & English) for groups with 4-6 participants; For group with 10 or more, 1 driver + 1 bilingual guide
- Meals while camping: 10 breakfasts, 10 picnics, 10 diners
- Jeep Tour in Monument Valley (2,5hrs)
- Entrance fees to the national parks and Native Reserves
- All camping and cooking equipment
- All taxes
- Airport transfers
- Optional activities
- Meals in Las Vegas
- Flights and travel insurance
- Personal expenses
Participants may include people from various parts of the world, with different nationalities and backgrounds. Bilingual tours are given in both French and English.
For groups between 4 and 9 people, one bilingual (French & English) driver-guide who knows the area will lead the tour. For 10 people or more, one bilingual (French & English) guide and a driver will lead the tour. Please note that it is expected of you to actively participate in the daily chores, like the preparation of picnics, the loading and unloading luggage to and from the minibus, the set-up of camp, and to participate in suggested activities.
For all transfers, we use a 12-passenger minibus. The luggage will be transported inside the minibus or inside an enclosed cargo trailer, depending on the number of group members.
Information about activities and hikes
This tour ranges from easy to moderate hiking with an average of 2 to 6 hours of walking per day. Some trails are harder than others, most notably the trek in Hualapai Canyon with a 730m elevation gain. The hike are done in mostly desert climates, where the days are quite hot and dry, with chances of storms in the evening.
We suggest you have a healthy lifestyle and are in good physical shape to join this trip. You should be able to walk for 4 to 8 hours with an average 300 to 700m elevation gain. The hikes are at varying altitudes, from about 0 to 2200m.
Standard 3* hotel in Las Vegas and campgrounds for the other nights. We use campgrounds located inside the national parks or private campgrounds near the outskirts. It may be necessary to pay for shower use at certain campgrounds in the national parks. During your stay, you will be able to wash your laundry in laundromats (about $2 per washing load and $1.50 – $3.00 for drying).
D1 – Las Vegas – standard 2-3* hotel, double room
D2 & D3 – Zion National Park – camping on the outskirts
D4 – Bryce Canyon – camping on the outskirts
D5 & D6 – Moab – camping in the city
D7 & D8 – Mesa Verde – camping on the outskirts
D9 – Page – camping near the city
D10 & D11 – Grand Canyon – camping in the outskirts of the park or in a nearby city (depending on availability)
D13 – Las Vegas – standard 3* hotel, double room
On camping days, all meals are included and prepared by the guide. Picnics are generally prepared for lunch. In the morning, breakfasts are generally prepared buffet style, with a hot meal in the evening. All cooking equipment and cutlery are provided. Your help will be appreciated in the preparation of meals. Dinners are not included and are at your own expense. Your guide will suggest a restaurant every night for the group and will make all necessary arrangements. For meals not included, plan on about $15-20 USD for lunch, and $18-30 for dinner (tips and alcohol not included in prices)
The climate you will experience during your journey will mostly be dry and sunny. In summer, the day temperatures can be very hot (45-50°C). Some nights at higher altitudes can be cool, especially early and late in the season. The State of Arizona is known for its wide temperature variations, so you need to keep in mind that the mercury drops abruptly after sunset. Be aware that the heat can be extreme at noon and early afternoon. Our hikes will therefore take place early in the morning and in the evening. We will take breaks for lunch anywhere between 11:30 and 15:00, depending on the schedule. There are chances of storms in the summer, especially in Grand Canyon National Park. In September, the days are a somewhat milder with cooler nights.
(to be arranged locally by your guide)
- Horseback riding in Bryce Canyon: 1.5 hours – $ 65 USD per person, 3 hours – $ 85 USD per person
- Antelope Canyon: $ 40 USD per person
- IMAX: $ 14 per person
- Helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon: $ 299 USD (45-50 min) per person.
NOTICE: Prices subject to change without prior notice
Best of the West
- Marvel at the Grand Canyon, the colors of Bryce Canyon and the spectacular cliffs in Yosemite
- Get away from the crowds on hikes through desert, canyons, mountains, valleys and alpine prairies
- Go for a night walk in Bryce Canyon, one of the best star gazing site in the country
CANADIAN ROCKIES & YELLOWSTONE GEYSERS
- Travel through the heart of the Rocky Mountain chain, in Canada & USA
- Numerous wildlife observation opportunities: bisons, elks, mountain goats, grizzlies and more!
- Off the beaten track walks and hikes to explore Canada & USA wilderness
- Wildlife viewing, Hiking