Autumn in Yosemite Valley, USA

Western Explorer

13 days
from
3 645 €
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Traveller ratings
4.9 / 5 from 19 reviews >
Trip code: 
AFL
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Natural Wonders
Min age:
16
Group size:
1–13

Visit five breathtaking national parks

A medley of man-made and natural wonders are on full display on this popular tour of Western USA. Yosemite Valley, the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas Strip, are rivalled only by the power and beauty of the Navajo's sacred Monument Valley. Hike under the world's largest sandstone cliffs at Zion Canyon, marvel at Antelope Slot Canyon, swim in the clear blue waters of Lake Powell and gaze upon the ever-changing colours of Bryce Canyon. Adventure awaits around every corner in the most geographically diverse region of the United States.

Highlights

  • Five breathtaking national parks
  • Navajo tour in Monument Valley
  • The Grand Canyon
  • Zion's sandstone cliffs and towering waterfall

Key information

  • Travel by private minibus
  • Variety of daywalks to suit all abilities
  • Some long journeys
  • Group normally 6 to 13, plus leader. Min age 18 yrs
  • 9 hotel nights and 3 lodge nights included

What's included

  • All accommodation
  • 1 dinner
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Arrival & departure transfers
  • Meals (apart from 1 dinner)
  • Optional activities
Call for general departures:
+91 531 40 28
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

San Francisco
to
Las Vegas
  • Day 1

    Start San Francisco.

    Welcome to the 'City by the Bay' in sunny California. San Francisco is a city which the locals are fiercely proud of and for good reason. There's plenty to keep you entertained but the best introduction is to jump on a hop-on-hop-off bus tour around the city. A welcome meeting will be held at 6:00pm in your hotel.

    Please note: The hotel hosts a one-of-a-kind evening of wine and sake hour from 17:00-18:00 hrs daily.

    No trip to San Francisco is complete without a visit to Alcatraz. We recommend you book an extra night in our hotel the night before the tour starts and book your ticket online in advance with Alcatraz Cruises.

    Optional Activities:
    • Alcatraz Prison (must be booked in advance with Alcatraz Cruises) US$33-$40
    • Hop-on-hop-off bus US$50
    • Baseball game From US$20
    • Bike Rental US$8 per hour/$32 per day
    • Cable car ride US$5-$13
    • Sunset sailboat cruise US$45

    Standard Hotel

  • Day 2

    To Yosemite N.P.

    Depart San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge, heading east through California's historic gold country, and make tracks for Yosemite. Here, everything is in gargantuan proportions, including some of North America's tallest cliffs, waterfalls and trees. You'll check into your lodge in the Yosemite region - your 'home' for the next three nights.

    Standard Lodge

  • Day 3

    Walking in Yosemite N.P.

    Yosemite National Park sits nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range of northern California. Here green forest meets granite walls measuring several thousand feet in height. Rock climbers come from all over the world to scale the rocks whilst hikers get to walk to the base of some of the largest waterfalls in the world. As you explore the park keep your eyes peeled for varied wildlife such as deer, bobcats, marmots, pika and if you're lucky, bear. After a visit to see the amazing Giant Sequoia trees, Yosemite Valley beckons, offering the chance to cycle, take a dip in the Merced River or wander the meadows. The views are breathtaking from every vantage point - the granite formations of Half Dome, El Capitan and Cathedral Rocks are sure to be forever etched on your mind.

    Optional Activities:
    • Bike rental in Yosemite US$12-$34
    • Float trip on the Merced River in Yosemite US$31

    Standard Lodge

  • Day 4

    Another day exploring Yosemite.

    Second day exploring Yosemite.

    Standard Lodge

  • Day 5

    Drive across Tioga Pass and on to Death Valley N.P.

    One of the hottest, driest and lowest places on earth, Death Valley is blessed with some of the most extreme and beautiful landscapes. Sculpted by erosion, richly tinted mudstone hills and canyons await exploration, with sand dunes and salt pans making for some exceptional photos. You cover some great distances today but also see some fascinating and contrasting scenery on your road trip. Enjoy a wine and cheese evening with wonderful views.

    Please note, during extremely high temperatures we may need to alter the itinerary to avoid the Death Valley.

    Standard Hotel

  • Day 6

    Travel to Zion N.P.

    Make your way to Utah and your destination for today - Zion National Park. Like an oasis rising up from the desert floor, Zion's multi-coloured cliffs and spring-fed hanging gardens are spectacular. Zion Canyon was named by the early Mormon settlers of Utah who thought of it as their 'promised land'. Some of the best hiking in Southwest USA can be found here, in and around the fertile Virgin River Gorge. With an early arrival today and two nights in Zion, you'll have plenty of time to explore.

    Standard Hotel

  • Day 7

    Walking options in Zion N.P. including Angel's Landing and The Narrows.

    Enjoy a full day to further explore the delights of Zion National Park. There are various hikes to choose from, ranging from easy to strenuous. Warm up your legs by taking a short hike from the valley floor to view the Lower Emerald Pool then continue on to the sparkling Upper Emerald Pools, passing a stunning waterfall along the way to discover Zion's `beach'. Cool off from the heat of the summer sun by exploring the Riverside Walk section of the Virgin River.

    If you're feeling ambitious, enjoy the park's more challenging option and ascend 2,500 ft. to experience unbeatable panoramic views from the top of Angels Landing. After a beautiful but strenuous hike along the knife-edge ridgeline you'll be rewarded with one of the most breathtaking and powerful panoramas you've ever experienced. If weather conditions permit, you may choose to hike deep into the Zion Narrows, just be prepared to get a little wet.

    Standard Hotel

  • Day 8

    To Bryce N.P.; walk the Queen's Garden Trail.

    Leaving Zion National Park, you climb in elevation to almost 8,300 ft. and traverse a high plateau to Bryce Canyon National Park. Bryce Canyon is a fascinating natural amphitheatre of pink, orange and white sandstone spires, known locally as hoodoos. There are a variety of scenic overlooks and trails that range from easy to moderate in difficulty. The Navajo or Peek-A-Boo Loop Trails will enable you to hike right in amongst these unique rock formations. Some may prefer to hike on the Queens Garden Trail or remain on the rim and photograph the ever-changing shadows and hues as the sun makes its way across the sky.

    Optional Activities:
    • Western horseback riding at Bryce US$65-$90

    Standard Hotel

  • Day 9

    To Lake Powell; visit to Antelope Canyon.

    Returning south along Scenic Highway 89, you descend from the high plateau to the arid plains and past the Vermillion Cliffs en route to Antelope Canyon. A Navajo guided visit is included to the stunning Antelope Slot Canyon, which in Navajo language means 'the place where water runs through rocks'. Your guide will show you how flash floods have carved and sculpted this beautiful area. In the late afternoon there may be time to swim in Lake Powell depending on timings on the actual day and what time we finish with Antelope Canyon. Located on the border of Utah and Arizona, Lake Powell has a shoreline that stretches longer than the western coast of the USA!

    Standard Hotel

  • Day 10

    Jeep excursion with Navajo guide in Monument Valley.

    Stop for a walk at Horseshoe Bend for an amazing view of the Colorado River before heading to the heart of the Navajo Nation. Monument Valley, a sacred land to those who call it home, is dotted with fabulous red sandstone monoliths and from here you'll witness spectacular sunsets and sunrises. Having been the backdrop for countless Westerns, you'll half expect to see cowboys riding off into the sunset. You'll explore the incredible array of rock formations on an included and guided 4x4 backroads tour, learning all about the magic and myths of the rich Native American culture. The Navajo Tribal Lands of Monument Valley are a true photographer's paradise. For your evening meal, try a Navajo taco, a local speciality dish.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 11

    To Grand Canyon N.P.

    This morning you leave Monument Valley and drive towards Grand Canyon National Park for the ultimate desert showstopper! Crossing the eastern entrance of the canyon, you'll catch your first glimpse at Desert View. This incredible spectacle is difficult to comprehend, even as you stand at the rim or hike down into the canyon. Carved over several millennia, this massive wonder of nature is 445 km long, up to 29 km wide and over 1.6 km deep. Snaking through the canyon floor is the mighty Colorado River, which runs 2,330 km through seven US states and two Mexican states.

    In your free time, we highly recommend a scenic flight over the canyon which offers a perspective that you cannot see by visiting on foot. Also recommended is the film show at the IMAX Theater, which will give you a good overview of the area and how it developed. Alternatively, stroll the meandering South Rim Trail, hike your way down the more challenging trail to Plateau Point, or simply relax at the canyon's edge and enjoy a spectacular sunset over one of the world's most incredible natural wonders.

    Optional Activities:
    • Grand Canyon helicopter flight US$254-$284
    • Grand Canyon IMAX theater US$15

    Standard Hotel

  • Day 12

    Another day exploring the Grand Canyon.

    Another day exploring the Grand Canyon.

    Standard Hotel

  • Day 13

    To Las Vegas via Seligman on Route 66; end.

    En route to Vegas you travel a section of the original Route 66 and visit Seligman, a town full to the brim with Americana wares. Continuing on, you make your way towards hedonistic `Sin City', which really has to be seen to be believed! Las Vegas is the fastest growing city in the United States and is renowned as the `tacky capital of the world' - home to pirates and pyramids, weddings and water fountains! Upon arrival enjoy a driving tour down the famous Las Vegas Strip and see first-hand the resort hotels that make this desert city tick. Vegas really comes alive at night with resort hotels, shows and the Bellagio Fountain's regular water displays. We recommend booking extra nights to explore the city because it's not all clubs and resort hotels. There are numerous art galleries, shops and world-class restaurants for you to enjoy. If you want to enjoy a couple of extra nights, please advise your Americas Specialist when booking your trip.

    This tour ends at our gateway hotel in Las Vegas at approximately 17:00 hrs. We can book your post-tour accommodation if required. If you are planning to fly tonight, please do not book a flight that departs before 17:00 hrs.

    Optional Activities:
    • Las Vegas helicopter flight: US$124

Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

United States

British, New Zealand, Swiss and most EU passport holders do not need a visa (and enter the country under the Visa Waiver Program), provided they are in possession of an onward air ticket when entering the USA. Visas for the USA are required by some nationalities and it is always best to check with the relevant embassies. All passengers travelling to and from the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) are required to hold a machine-readable passport (MRP). A MRP has the holder's personal details, e.g. name, date of birth, nationality and their passport number contained in two lines of text at the base of the photo page. This text may be read by machine. The US now charges $14 for the visa waiver program and must be paid by credit card. The US authorities have introduced a mandatory requirement for all passengers travelling under the Visa Waiver Programme to register for an Electronic Travel Authority. As of 21 January 2016, any person who has travelled to Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria since March 2011, or have dual nationalities of these countries, may no longer qualify for the VWP. For additional specifics about the VWP please consult the VWP information on the U.S. Embassy London website. More information and all necessary Internet links can be found at www.exodus.co.uk/Usvisa

Vaccinations

United States

There are no mandatory vaccinations required for this trip.

Eating and Drinking

1 dinner is included on this trip

On hotel based tours, you will usually eat out in local restaurants. To help you budget for your meals on average hotel breakfasts cost from US$6-12, lunches from US$8-15 and dinners from US$13-30; this does not include alcoholic beverages. Wine costs approximately US$5 per glass and beer US$4 per bottle. Please also be aware that a tip of approximately 15%-20% is added to group meals in North American restaurants. Applicable taxes will also be added to all listed menu prices.

Your tour leader may offer your group the option to operate a ‘lunch only’ food kitty, this has proven to be a popular alternative to three daily restaurant meals. Leaders will explain this option while on your tour, and the whole group will have to agree for this system to run.

Please make sure we are aware of any special meal requirements before travelling. We will do all we can to accommodate for various dietary requirements but in certain parts of North America certain food types can be limited.

 

Weather

The West is known for its very dry spring, summer and autumn weather and outstanding blue, sunny skies. Being as far south as southern Europe and Northern Africa, temperatures are normally much warmer than in northern Europe. However, temperatures vary greatly depending on the elevation you are at. Generally, the higher the elevation, the cooler the temperature. Spring and autumn will offer perfect hiking days in the deserts and cooler days at higher elevations. In summer, Yosemite, Bryce and the Grand Canyon offer pleasant temperatures ideal for hiking whereas some of the deserts might experience hotter temperatures. On warmer days, the leader will opt for early morning and late afternoon walks, leaving time for mid-day rest. Please note the hottest time of day in the deserts is actually 15:00 hrs. Most nights will be mild to warm. In the summer months you should be prepared for afternoon thunderstorms. Spring offers stunning displays of desert wildflowers, Summer offers mountain wildflowers and in Autumn the tree colours are beautiful.

San Francisco

San Francisco

Is this trip for you?

This tour is operated in partnership with our sister company Grand American Adventures. As such the departures are not exclusive to Exodus and groups may be a mixture of Exodus, Grand American Adventures, and other clients. This trip is booked through Exodus and you will receive the same award winning customer service that you would expect. Grand American Adventures operate with the same core principles used by Exodus and champion the benefits of small group travel.

This trip is graded Leisurely/Moderate, but there are a range of walks available at each national park of varying length and difficulty that you can choose between. There are opportunities for optional activities during your tour. Your tour leader will organise these on your behalf and you will pay locally in cash. Walks, hikes and activities cater to everyone from beginner to expert, ranging in difficulty from easy to strenuous. You’ll find the main optional activities listed  under each itinerary day description, along with guideline prices. It may not be possible to do all optional activities listed on each tour.

The spectacular American West is home to an exciting mix of cultural and natural highlights. Experience them all on this active tour. Discover Yosemite, Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Grand Canyon National Parks and finish the tour in fabulous Las Vegas. A balance of outdoor discovery and comfortable accommodation, this trip is suitable for those looking to experience national parks and American culture.

Although each tour follows an itinerary, there is a certain amount of flexibility and from time to time your tour leader may suggest changes. This may be due to road conditions, weather or a visit to a special attraction or event that happens to be in progress. Flexibility is key and often a side diversion will be a highlight of the tour. Hikes and optional activities cannot be guaranteed and may vary depending on ability, group interest, local weather conditions and time of year.

Call for general departures:
+91 531 40 28
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

9 hotel nights included in 3 star twin share accommodation and 3 lodge nights. Accommodation will be in clean, comfortable three star hotels or lodges with en suite bathroom facilities, chosen for their friendly atmosphere and proximity to the highlights of the region. You will be roomed with a fellow passenger of the same sex on a twin share basis (two people per room) unless you are travelling as a couple. In the event that you cannot be matched with another passenger there will not be a single supplement charge.

Call for general departures:
+91 531 40 28
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Take an alphabetical journey through the world on two feet, covering some of the finest, most famous, and underrated

  • Reviewed October 2017
    Catherine .

    Incredibly impressed

    As a family we have done many trips with Exodus in Africa (various countries), Canada and most recently my parents attended the Western Explorers trip in America to see Yosemite, Bryce Canyon and The Grand Canyon which Exodus arrange in partnership with Grand American Adventures. We have always found Exodus trips to be incredibly well planned and organised, ensuring that you see the very best parts of the areas you are visiting in the timescales available. The trips are ideal because there is no hassle involved for the traveller and you are guaranteed to meet like-minded people of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy the experiences with. This particular trip was no exception. I write this review however to say a huge thanks to both Exodus and Grand American Adventures as they were absolutely fantastic to my parents and the family back home in England when my father suffered a serious and unexpected illness and had to be rushed to hospital. With specific mentions to Bethany, Monica and the tour guide Charlie, who all went out of their ways to ensure that lines of communication between us, the insurance company and the hospital were clear and effective, to provide my parents with support and to give the family back home piece of mind at what was a very difficult time for us. We will be forever grateful. There is absolutely no doubt that you will be in safe hands with this team.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    .

    What did you think of your group leader?

    .

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    .

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    .
  • Reviewed May 2017
    Ruth Foreman

    Western Explorer depart 30 April

    Overall an excellent trip. There are a couple of full days driving but this is necessary to cover the number of locations in the itinery

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The waterfalls in Yosemite

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Before booking, consider travelling a couple of days early so you have time to explore San Fransisco - my flight arrived mid afternoon which left no time for that. Similarly, as there is not an overnight stay in Las Vegas at the end, you may want to consider staying on as my departure flight left only a couple of hours mid afternoon in the city.
  • Reviewed January 2017
    Vernon Deymos

    Mr

    If you love seeing spectacular natural wonders and also see some amazing cities, this trip is for you.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Driving on Xmas Day in the heavy snow and blue skies from Zion to Bryce Canyon. The amazing views got even better in the snow! It was my first white Xmas as well.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was kind, friendly, courteous and professional.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The tour does not leave much time to explore San Francisco and Las Vegas. I recommend arriving a few days before and/or staying a few days after the tour ends for city sightseeing.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    In winter Mono Lake is not included on the itinerary as the road is closed.
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Graham Wright

    Western Explorer USA

    A remarkable experience giving tasters of 5 quite unique National Parks. The group is small enough to give freedom to explore each area according to ability and fitness levels by oneself or in small subgroups. A lot of travelling but the views are worth it. Accommodation excellent although the facilities were not always used due to a packed timetable. People need to be aware of early morning starts to make the most of the day if walking as we experienced unusually high temperatures at the end of the season with no rain. There was sufficient freedom to choose whether to eat in the evenings with other members or in subgroups. The included activities added to the experience and were well worth it. Optional activities were available and wide ranging.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Each area was so unique and an unexpected contrast with each other. Yosemite was spectacular and Death Valley at -282ft below sea level with a temperature of 110F was impressive compared to 3 days later in Bryce Canyon at 8300ft with the onset of ice on the upper trail. Bryce itself was so mystical and fantastic to walk through the Hoodoos. Zion was so superb especially in the evening sun and the views from Angels Landing are something to behold if one has no fear of heights. Monument Valley- conjures up all the old westerns and other films that have used the setting for backdrops and just to immerse yourself in the Grand Canyon is all that needs to be said as words can not do it justification. Fortunately, the stays in cities were short for me as I am not a city person, but one feels compelled to just wander down the Las Vegas boulevard for a complete contrast- the loudness and brashness could not be so far removed from ones previous experiences the days preceding.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ron Prince was consummately friendly, courteous, professional and full of good advice, information on what to see and where to go. He was well informed on historical and cultural issues. He was available when needed to offer any assistance but was also able to protect himself and have free time so as he could pace himself for a very packed two weeks.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for early starts. Be sensible about your walking/hiking abilities in areas that are far greater and higher than what most people are used to and especially be aware of the dry heat that builds up throughout the day. We were fortunate with the weather but it can change very quickly and flash floods have been known to occur in some of the areas visited.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Better arrangements need to be made for the breakfast in the hotel in San Francisco as they were not prepared for a group of this size with such an early start (7.30)- they open for breakfast at 7am. Exodus need to send all the necessary information re insurance, emergency numbers, that we have provided on our booking forms, to Grand American Adventures so as the individuals do not have to duplicate this information once there. It would be helpful to know exactly what 'cooking ' facilities and utensils are in each accommodation used if one wishes to make their own breakfast or evening meal. The American 'tip/service charge' needs to be recognised as to the extent this adds to one budgeting.
  • Reviewed June 2016
    Paul Gofton

    Western Explorer

    A wonderful trip with each day having numerous wow moments.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Difficult to pick just one but the most unexpected was the walk down Antelope slot canyon and photographing the spectacular colours and shades on the rock that the sunlight cast. Also the 4x4 drive in Monument valley with the Navajo tribe a place I have always wanted to visit.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Erin was excellent. She had a couple of long days driving but still had loads of energy. She had a good knowledge of the places we visited, had plenty of suggestions for our free days and tried to vary the places we ate at.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you are planning on spending extra time in San Francisco at the start then there is no need to visit the Golden Gate bridge. On the first actual day of the trip the minibus deposits you at the bridge and allows you time to walk across before collecting you from the other side. Don't expect any time to visit / see Hoover dam, due to security restrictions meaning all our bags would have had to be searched we did not stop. Although we did visit Glen Canyon dam which is a similar structure and size earlier on the trip There are a couple of long days travelling one of which is around 7 hours, however there are numerous stops and videos to watch also the time seems to pass quickly when looking at the scenery. The earliest we set off in the morning was 7. All the accommodation was good with the 2 nights at Zion particularly good

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I have been on 8 trips booked through Exodus this was the best of the lot
  • Reviewed October 2015
    Derek Gott

    Western Explorer

    There are some long drives but the scenery is awesome and we were fortunate getting day after day of warm sunshine.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were several. Seeing El Capitan and Half Dome again after 33 years. Climbing to Angels Landing in Zion NP. Seeing the Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon. The Navajo experience at Monument Valley and descending to Plateau Point in the incomparable Grand Canyon.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had a different leader each week. Both of them were very good.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for some long days travelling and carry plenty of water. Eating out is a great pleasure but allow for the 18%tips.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No
  • Reviewed July 2015
    Anonymous

    The Wide Wild West by Mike Giles

    When we started serious travel over 20 years ago the USA was never near the top of our agenda, to be honest it was never on our original list of must see places at all. However with the developing world reasonably well covered our time had come to visit our cousins across the pond. We started our holiday with a couple of added days in San Francisco. Highly recommended. It is a city easily negotiated with local transport and there are sights not to be missed. You can reach the Golden Gate Bridge from the city centre using local buses, ask for a transfer and, if a senior, accept a substantial discount and proffered seat. A return walk across the 1.7 mile span of the bridge is invigorating and gives magnificent views of the harbour. Have care for the trendy cyclists who, head down, pedal the pathway looking only to knock seconds off a previous best. Cable Cars are a nostalgic way of getting to and around downtown, the boardwalks and Chinatown. The Californian line, which is the least crowded, ends close to the Holiday Inn where day passes can be purchased. With stops every couple of blocks you can hop on and hold on as the locals always did but expect to queue in the most popular spots. The National Parks visited on the tour are magnificent and each very different with a range of walks and activities to be savoured individually depending upon fitness and ability. We cannot, as others, tell of the elation of reaching Angels Landing, wallowing waist deep in the Zion Narrows or descending perilous tracks into deep canyons. However we can recount we had some wonderful peaceful hikes in breath-taking locations at our own pace and distance. Free shuttle buses are operated by park authorities which make it possible to link easy-going and moderate hiking routes to viewpoints and to otherwise enjoy full days in the park. Monument Valley, Death Valley, Lakes, Dams and the sheer magnificence of scenery just kept rolling out ahead of us as we journeyed on through what is really just a small part of the west of this immense country. We are not hedonistic travellers, preferring natural wonders and historic edifices of an ancient world than modernity, so Las Vegas held little lure for us but we were to be dumfounded by its temples devoted to Lady Luck. Based in a prestigious central hotel we were well placed to explore every other luxurious resort on The Strip. We went to Paris, Venice, Rome and Egypt all in the course of one day and two evenings. Each vista faithfully reconstructed with no expense spared, such are the profits of the relentless gaming which epitomises this city. Unbelievable! We just loved it! The final day was a drive across desert to Los Angeles where this particular trip ended at Custom Hotel LAX with an immediate evening flight for UK participants. Again we added to the schedule, pre-booked two nights there and once more made use of local transport. We joined the old hippies and young things at Santa Monica Pier, the end of Route 66, and also chilled out on Venice Beach and Boardwalk. 'They playing our song Gal?' 'Yea Man!'

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Monument Valley is truly inspirational but the Grand Canyon however must be our highlight, it is after all, well, much grander than the others. Awesome! You will hear this said a lot on your travels but this is really what the word is all about. You may feel the helicopter trip is a very expensive option but we took it, really enjoyed it and have no doubts whatsoever as to money well spent.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    On these trips driver and courier are one, not an easy role with many long day's driving followed by checking in and admin procedures. Ron Prince was a safe and patient driver and organised the days well. He periodically stopped at (super)markets so that we could buy breakfast foods, drinks etc. whilst he shopped with the luncheon kitty. This made a great difference to the economies of the trip and the daily picnics he planned became a feature of each journey.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If there are two things we UK travellers cannot get our heads round its bargaining and tipping. The good news is you don't bargain in the West except perhaps at a local Trading Post, but then why just hit on the indigenous people? However tipping is a part of a culture you must quickly embrace especially in the leisure industry, where staff who provide services essential to your trip are poorly paid. Simply put, it is the anticipation of a generous tip which elicits the high standard of service which exists and conversely it is deserved. Not to adequately tip your waiter, maid, driver etc. on the basis of personal economy is both unfair and insulting. Unless of course you have had poor service in which case it is customary to say why you think this is so.
  • Reviewed May 2015
    Sandra Smith

    Western Explorer

    This was an amazing trip. The scenery was outstanding and became unbelievably more so on each successive day. The unexpected snow both in Yosemite and at Grand Canyon added to our excitement rather than dampen our spirits and although we were disappointed not to fly over the Canyon due to weather conditions, it was still a wonderful holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The fantastic shapes of the hoodoos in Bryce Canyon. were so out-of-this-world and Monument Valley brought back lovely memories fo the old Westerns we used to watch as kids.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader did everything to make our trip as good as it was. She was a great driver and organizer as well as being knowledgable about the places we passed through. She was also caring and fun.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take layers because the weather is unpredictable especially in the mountains, whatever the season.
  • Reviewed August 2014
    Stephen Low

    Incredible views, great food and wonderful memories!

    This was an incredible trip which exceeded my expectations! The National Parks on the itinerary were all places I'd wanted to visit for a long, long time but actually visiting them was much more impressive than I had imagined. Often this was due to the scale of these natural wonders which you just can't get a sense of in photographs or it was due to the varying colours of the rocks such as in Zion or the Grand Canyon which made the views all the more enjoyable. Unfortunately when we visited Yosemite there were forest fires nearby and the smoke spoiled some of the views but luckily the park itself remained open! Yes there are some long drives but the varying landscapes, regular stops for photos or snacks, WiFi, good conversation and a wide range of music available on the tour leader's iPhone all made them pass fairly quickly. It's a fairly busy itinerary but I did feel it provided enough time in each place to really get a 'feel' for them! The vast majority of restaurants I ate in were terrific (be prepared for large potions), the standard of hotels was very high and it was a great group of people to be on holiday with!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It's difficult to choose as there were many but sunrise at the Grand Canyon was very unique as you could watch the many ridges in the canyon gradually catch the light until the whole view was illuminated and then take an early morning hike!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lana did a terrific job - she was always full of energy and happy to answer questions! She strived to make sure we all had a great experience whilst on the trip and organised everything very well!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you can, spend a day or two in San Francisco prior to the trip starting and if you plan on visiting Alcatraz be sure to book tickets as far in advance as you can. I'd also recommend hiring a bike and cycling over the Golden Gate bridge. Some days on the trip we started fairly early in the morning so be prepared for those.
  • Reviewed July 2014
    Jonathan Fryer

    Western Explorer

    A taste of many things! A time to walk alone and travel together. What a great way to discover Western USA. From walking the Golden Gate Bridge with clear blue skies to the 'awesome' view from Angel's Landing in Zion Valley. From the unforgettable moment you reach the rim of Bryce Canyon to the madness of Las Vegas. As a sworn-in Ranger (a very rigorous assessment) I feel qualified to recommend this trip to those who love variety and do not want to sit on a beach and roast. Fantastic.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Looking over the edge of Bryce Canyon was wonderful OR the precarious climb up to Angel's Landing and then just looking...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Devon was very informative and patient. He had a great sense of humour and was passionate about his country. He even tried to teach me the rules and tactics of baseball - what a sport (him, that is). He adjusted the schedule to allow us see a few extra sites. He even even had a word with an obliging barman who slid a glass cold turkey down the bar for me to catch. He was my 'dad'. Devon deserves a pay rise.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Packing and unpacking frequently does not suit all travellers and many hours on the road can be uncomfortable. It terms of money, is important to allow for tips. The cost of tips took some of us by surprise. Top up with water whenever you can (our guide was excellent at reminding us). When you've taken the trouble to save up, book and travel, do everything.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The optional trip to Antelope Canyon was money well spent. The colours and images were lovely. Likewise, the helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon was memorable. In Zion NP, DO make the effort to walk up the 'scary' extra bit from Scout's Landing to Angel's Landing. I stayed up there for 45 minutes. Very rewarding. The tackiness of Las Vegas was worth experiencing once. The blue skies over the indoors Venetian Grand Canal, the atmosphere of the casinos, the lights and sounds and the enormous breakfast at the Paris Hotel - all need to be seen, experienced, heard and savoured...at least once in a lifetime.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

For anyone leaving from the UK we would be pleased to book your flight
in conjunction with your tour. Please contact us for competitive prices on
flights departing from most UK airports.
If you are booking your own flights, you are free to arrive at any time on day one but it is advisable that you arrive in plenty of time to reach your joining hotel and attend your welcome meeting. We also suggest that you book your return flight the day after your tour finishes. If you do have to return home on the day your tour finishes, please make sure that your flight does not depart before 21:00 hrs.
Please note that we cannot be held responsible for any delays, cancellations, changes to your flights, or any missed flights. We are unable to delay a tour, or finish a tour early due to your flight times.

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