Duration: 12 days
Trip Countries: United States
Trip Style: Active
Service Level: Camping
Physical Demands Rating: 4
HighlightsExplore four of the United States' national parks and monuments, mountain bike in Moab, raft the mighty Colorado River, go canyoneering in impressive Zion National Park
DescriptionAmerica’s national parks are a gift to the world. We wrapped up four of our favourites, mixed in some high-energy outdoor thrills and put a nice little Sin City bow on them, just for you. Here, you’ll hike among the hoodoos in Bryce Canyon, refresh yourself with a river swim in Zion, marvel at the sandstone formations of Arches NP, raft the Colorado River and gape at the awesome majesty of the Grand Canyon. Add in a little R&R (yeah, right) in Las Vegas to top it all off and you’ve got yourself the perfect mix of outdoor adrenaline and downtown glitz.
Day 1 Las Vegas: Arrive at any time.
Day 2 Zion National Park (1D): Transfer to Zion National Park with its variety of trails for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. This afternoon take a short introductory hike around Zion.
Day 3 Zion National Park (1B,1L,1D): Spend the day exploring the great outdoors on a guided canyoneering trip in Zion National Park.
Day 4 Bryce Canyon National Park (1B,1L,1D): Transfer to Bryce Canyon to explore the fascinating hoodoos and learn about the captivating history of the area.
Day 5 Moab/Arches National Park (1B,1L): Scenic drive through the Escalante Staircase area arriving in Arches National Park later in the afternoon for a hike.
Day 6 Moab/Arches National Park (1B,1L,1D): Spend today mountain biking in the world famous Moab area, cycling to various viewpoints and observing the red sandstone arches that highlight the area.
Day 7- 8 Cataract Canyon (2B,2L,2D): Overnight rafting trip starting from Moab and heading out through Cataract Canyon.
Day 9 Monument Valley (1B,1L,1D): Rafting expedition ends, continue on to Monument Valley.
Day 10 Grand Canyon National Park (1B,1L,1D): Morning transfer to Grand Canyon. Afternoon optional hike to the heart of Grand Canyon National Park.
Day 11 Grand Canyon/Las Vegas (1B): Morning hike around the Grand Canyon. Option to take a helicopter flight. Enjoy a night out among the bright lights of Vegas.
Day 12 Las Vegas: Depart at any time.
All national park entrance fees with hiking and walking excursions. Overnight whitewater rafting trip on Cataract Canyon (3-days). Guided mountain biking excursion in Moab.
Group Size Notes
Max 13, avg 8
9 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 8 dinners.
Air-conditioned private touring van, minibus, rafting
Participation camping (9 nts), hotels (2 nts).
My Own Room
Please note that if you have booked the "My Own Room" option for this tour, you will receive your own single room/tent for all night stops on tour.
This tour focuses on natural and cultural wonders and the great outdoors of the American Southwest, so be prepared for a fair bit of walking and hiking. While the hikes are not difficult, you can choose not to participate if you are so inclined. The pace of the hikes must be based on the fitness level of the entire group, however, if you are looking for more challenging hikes, this can be arranged on an optional basis with your CEO locally.
Please note that the legal drinking age in the United States is 21 and in Canada, 19 (with Alberta and Quebec at 18). Many bars and clubs will ask for ID at the door, therefore listening to live music in certain bars or spending a night out in Las Vegas or New Orleans is not possible when you are under the legal age, even if you don't plan on consuming alcohol. Drinking laws in both countries are strictly enforced and our CEOs are unable to help those under age obtain alcohol of any kind.
While this should not stop those under legal drinking age from booking a tour, it is important to note that if a traveller is under-age there are certain optional nighttime activities that they may not legally be able to participate in. When trying to book the right trip, we recommend that travellers under legal drinking age take this into consideration when booking a tour that visits several big cities.
Please call us for travel dates
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
Your Fellow Travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and are likely to be of a variety of ages too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Travelling with Discovery Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful foods and flavors that are available in the world. Some meals are included in the trip price in more remote regions or as a highlight where we can share a local specialty or cultural experience. In many places where there is a choice of eating options, we like to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each others company, but there is no obligation to do this. Your CEO will be able to suggest favorite restaurants during your trip. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
There are no local flights on this tour.
We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Stratosphere Hotel & Casino
2000 Las Vegas Boulevard South
+1 (702) 380-7777
Welcome to fabulous Las Vegas! When arriving at McCarran Airport don’t get tempted to play the many slot machines you already find at every corner; you still have a whole adventure waiting for you on tour! For transportation you have two options for the 5 mile (8km) trip: public taxi and a Shuttle service.
Taxis are available at Terminal 1 (Level 1) at the door exits 1-4 on the east side of the baggage claim (follow signs). Uniformed coordinators are there to help you if you have any questions. The fare will be approximately $18-$20. Most taxis accept credit cards as well but make sure you ask before you want to use it otherwise it’s easier with cash. Be in awe as you see Las Vegas, the city of lights for the first time close up!
All shuttle transportation is located at Terminal 1 (Level 1) on the west side of the baggage claim between door exits 7-13 (follow signs). It really doesn’t matter which one you choose, they all cost about $6-$8 (excluding tip) to all Strip Hotels, including the Joining Hotel.
Please note that day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned, though a brief departure meeting will be held in the hotel on the evening of day 1. The meeting will start at 6 PM local time and we will meet in front of the Starbucks Coffee Shop on the main casino floor. Please look for your CEO with a G Adventures shirt, Vegas is a busy place!
At the meeting you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. If you arrive late and miss the meeting, your CEO will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.
We don't expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call the G Adventures Local Representative. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures, please note that:
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Representative (San Francisco)
During office hours (Weekdays, 8:30am-5:30pm PST)
From outside the USA: +1 707-538-8395
From within the USA: 707 538 8395
After hours emergency number
From outside the USA: +1 707-495-9488 (Jessica)
From within the USA: 707-495-9488 (Jessica)
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local operator, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0844 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 01805 70 90 30 00
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
Finishing Point Instructions
From the hotel you can get to the airport via taxi (please ask the front desk to call).
What to Take
We suggest that you pack as lightly as possible as your are expected to carry your own luggage. As a rule we try not to have to walk more than 5-10 mintues with your bags which is why we recommend keeping the weight of your bags between 10-15kg/22-30lb. Medium size soft suitcases, rolling bag or backpack are recommended (no XXL ones please!). You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water, cameras and other electronics like ipods and mobile phones. It can be very warm in the summer, but nights can still be cool, so layering is suggested. We also recommend a raincoat or water resistant jacket and a comfortable pair of hiking shoes.
- Credit and/or debit card (see spending money)
- G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and trip details
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
- Camera and memory cards
- Charger for phone/camera/music device
- Reading/writing material
- Insect repellent (for North West and East Coast only)
- Head lamp with batteries
- Hand sanitizers/ antibacterial wipes
- Rain Cover or plastic bags for daypacks
- Small towel (pack towels are good) and swim wear
- Sun hat
- Toiletries (biodegradable)
- Water bottle (at least 2L capacity)
- Watch or alarm clock
- Sleeping bag : a down or synthetic sleeping bag (0° to +5°C) for the summer and warmer for spring and fall season (-15°C). You can purchase sleeping bags on the first day of the trip. An appropriate sleeping bag will cost from $40-$60USD. At the end of your journey, if you would like to donate your sleeping bag you can leave it with your CEO and we will donate it to a local charity.
- Sleeping bag liner (synthetic or silk - optional)
- Pillow (pack pillow recommended)
- First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band-Aids, anti-histamines, motion sickness remedy, after-bite salve and extra prescription drugs you may be taking).
Clothing and Footwear
- 3 or 4 lightweight shirts or T-shirts
- Windproof/waterproof jacket (rain gear)
- 2 pair of shorts
- 1 pairs of long trousers
- 2 pair hiking pants/track pants
- Comfort clothing for the night
- 3 to 5 pair of walking/hiking socks (synthetic or wool)
- Under garments
- Warm thermals/long underwear (fall and spring season only)
- Warm wool hat and gloves (fall and spring season only)
- Good hiking shoes or boots
- Sport sandals (suitable for water if you are planning on rafting)
- Extra comfortable slip-on sandal or shoes for the campsites
-Hiking poles, binoculars, Playing cards, games, frisbee, notebook, pens/pencils
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. IT'S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE THE CORRECT TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION.
Detailed Trip Notes
Southwest Utah and the canyons are known as Color Country; this ranges from hot, relatively low areas around Cedar City to forested mountains 10,000 ft (3,050 mt)high, and is characterized by the many shades of color and forms of the exposed rocks. Here is found the world-famous Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks, but there are many other variegated cliffs, canyons, domes and sand dunes that also deserve exploration.
The southeast of Utah is Canyon Country; the rocks also have a great variety of formations and colors, although they are more red in shade. The dominant features are large and small canyons, but there are many other erosional formations such as rock arches, as found in the Arches and Natural Bridges Parks. Most of the spectacular and unusual scenery is concentrated around the Green, San Juan and Colorado rivers and their tributaries, which have been steadily eroding the surrounding rock layers for millions of years. This area is part of the Colorado Plateau, a huge uplifted oval of land centered on the junction of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado which is locally known as the Four Corners region. The landscape has been altered more recently by the construction of Glen Canyon Dam across the Colorado River - this flooded a large area of desert, obliterating the scenic but little-known Glen Canyon and creating Lake Powell which has become one of the Southwest's major recreational attractions.
Usually hot and sunny during the summer months. It is difficult to plan activities around Death Valley and the Canyons at lunch time, as the heat is unbearable. We propose early morning visits and hikes and late afternoon activities.
English spoken and written. This is the United States!
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
The United States currency is the US Dollar (USD).
Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere in the US and can be used to purchase small and large items. When purchasing products or services with a foreign credit card in the USA, you may be charged additional fees by your credit card company for foreign purchases.
Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances but you must remember to bring your PIN number (be aware that many ATM machines only accept 4-digit PINs). Both Cirrus and Plus system cards are the most widely accepted debit cards. Both Visa and Master Cards are the most widely accepted credit cards. While ATMs are commonly available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work check with your bank before you travel. A visit to an ATM can be arranged on Day 1 and other days of the trip.
Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US Dollars as cash (preferably smaller bills, 5's, 10's and 20's), traveller’s cheques and credit cards is best. Currency exchange is best obtained prior to travel or at the airport, currency exchange is very difficult to find in the USA and most banks do not accommodate.
Always take more rather than less, as you don't want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
It is customary in the USA to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 15%, depending on the service. Tipping is expected - though not compulsory - and shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your CEO will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $2-$4 USD per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your Discovery Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.
All prices are per person, in USD amounts and are approximate and subject to change at any time.
Bryce Canyon Horse riding: $85 USD for 3 hour ride
Although you wont have much time for optional activities, you could take the extra day in Grand Canyon to partake in these adventures: (if there is availability)
Helicopter flight: from $234 USD
Antelope Canyon tour: $35 USD
Mule ride down the Canyon from $123 USD
Las Vegas activities
As there are so many things to do in Las Vegas we suggest you check the Las Vegas tourist information web site to give you all the rates for all shows and features.
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes, as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. For travelers over 70 years a completed Medical Form is required. Discovery Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.
We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety.
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Keeping in Touch
If you need to be contacted while travelling we recommend that you set up an email address that can be accessed on the road, rather than relying on postal mail. Email cafes are becoming increasingly commonplace and cheap throughout the regions we visit, and have quickly become the preferred way for our CEOs and travellers to stay in touch. If someone wishes to contact you in an emergency while you are on one of our trips we recommend that they contact your local booking agent, or refer to our Emergency Contact. We recommend that family and friends don't try to contact you through phoning hotels en route, as our hotels are subject to change, and our hotel receptions often don't have English speaking staff.