Vegas to LA: Grand National Parks

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4.6 . Excellent
94%
Travel Style: Array Mixed
Physical Level: Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment. Easy
Lodging Level: 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Comfort (4*)
10 days
From: $ 4,605 $ 461 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights (Bullets)

  • From flashy Las Vegas to the arid desert of Zion National Park and the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon, you will discover a range of American landscapes at your own pace.
  • Admire the oasis of Emerald Pools during a hike past waterfalls and lush vegetation in Utah’s Zion National Park.
  • Ride a jeep through Utah's iconic Monument Valley, and then share stories and a meal by the campfire with members of Navajo Nation.
  • Be amazed by the size and beauty of the Colorado River’s Horseshoe Bend, then travel to the Grand Canyon where you’ll be left gobsmacked by its steep red-rock escarpments and gorges.
  • Explore a city that’s home to dreamers, fortune seekers, and celebrities in the City of Angels: Los Angeles.

Short Description

From the glitz and glam of Las Vegas to the peacefulness of Zion, this trip journeys from Sin City to the City of Angels through some of the best national parks in the USA. Walk amid the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park, gaze in awe at the Grand Canyon, sit by a Navajo campfire in Monument Valley and see the unique vegetation of Joshua Tree National Park. Finish this desert adventure with a day and night in Los Angeles, for a dose of sea, sand and celebrity. This 10-day Vegas to LA tour takes you deep into the Utah and Arizona desert, and to the bright lights of the city, all in one.

Style Small group tour
Off the beaten track trips will stretch your comfort zone. They don't always feature tourist highlights, but dive deeper into local life and culture.
Itinerary Focus Off the Beaten Path
3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Lodging Level Comfort (4*)
Flight & Transport Inclusions All internal ground transport
Start City Las Vegas
End City Santa Monica

Destinations

United States

Activities & Interests

Culture Historic sightseeing

Age Requirement

15

No single supplement
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Itinerary

Day 1 Las Vegas

Welcome to Las Vegas, Nevada. From a western outpost in the desert, Las Vegas is now a gambling and entertainment metropolis. It’s a city of larger-than-life characters, but beyond the glitz, Vegas is home to diverse urban neighbourhoods and a thriving arts scene. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting in the hotel lobby at 6 pm. As there's a great deal to do in Las Vegas, we recommend you arrive a day or two early to make the most of this city. Try your luck on the casino floors, hit up Fremont Street, soak up the gaudiness of the strip or catch one of the many shows on offer.

Day 2 Zion National Park

Today, leave behind the neon and nightclubs behind, and travel to Zion National Park (approximately 3 hours). Warm up with a leader-led orientation or the park, and gentle walk to the lower end of the Emerald Pools, passing the sparkling waterfalls and streams along the way. Continue on a more difficult trail to the upper section, checking out another waterfall on the way to Zion's 'beach'. After a picnic lunch, enjoy some free time this afternoon to explore more of the park's hiking trails. If you're feeling ambitious, perhaps enjoy the strenuous hike to Scout Lookout.

Day 3 Zion National Park

Enjoy some free time in Zion National Park. This is a great opportunity to tackle any trails you may not have yesterday. The Narrows is a good choice, as it is probably the most popular hike in the park, and one of the best slot canyon hikes on Earth. Trek through a gorge surrounded by cliff faces 300 metres high, and after a while, cool off in a river along the way. The Narrows hike can be tailored to suit various levels of skill and experience, so there’s a trek for everyone!

Day 4 Bryce Canyon

In the morning, drive to Bryce Canyon. Millions of years of wind and water erosion have formed the park's distinctive hoodoos – uniquely shaped rock spires rising out of the desert. You will have heaps of time to explore the park's selection of hikes, from the easy Rim Trail, to the moderate Queen's Garden Trail or the strenuous Peek-a-boo Loop. Wherever you walk, you'll encounter the canyon’s colourful landscapes. The group leader will join you on a hike and for lunch in the Canyon. The accommodation tonight is not too far away, so you’ll be able to enjoy scenic views over the canyon into the night.

Day 5 Monument Valley / Page

Today you’ll make the 6-hour drive to the spectacular Monument Valley, passing through the little city of Page, set on the shores of Lake Powell. If you’ve never been to Monument Valley before, you’ll surely still recognise it. The iconic landscape of red-toned spires, buttes and mesas has been the set of countless, films, TV shows and photographs – and the real deal is even more impressive than what’s seen on screen. Once you’ve arrived to Monument Valley, you’ll have the chance to explore the giant sandstone formations scattered across the desert as far as the eye can see. In the evening, travel by jeep through the valley with a Navajo guide. Join the locals for an authentic Navajo dinner around a campfire and settle in for an evening of traditional songs and stories.

Day 6 Grand Canyon National Park

In the morning, pay a visit to Horseshoe Bend, named for its loop of water surrounding an enormous sandstone escarpment. After some time to admire this famous sight, make the 3.5-hour drive to the Grand Canyon, one of the largest canyon systems in the world. Photos really don't do this massive network of gorges, rivers and cliffs justice. This a real highlight of the trip, and you'll be spending two nights here in order to take it all in. After a picnic lunch, you may like to take a stroll along the South Rim Trail, offering up epic views over the park. Ask the group leader for advice on which trails are right for you and your fitness level.

Day 7 Grand Canyon National Park

Today is as clear as an Arizona sky in summer. Explore at your own pace, but remember to always have a supply of water and high-energy snacks handy. Touch base with the group leader about optional activities available today – recommended is a helicopter flight over the gorges, providing a chance to see the entire park. If you'd rather get the bird’s eye view without leaving the ground, you can choose to watch a documentary on the canyon at the local IMAX theatre. Of course, there are myriad trails and treks to keep the active occupied. Bright Angel has wonderful views all along the trail and Ooh-Aah Point is a favourite shorter hike on the South Kaibab Trail, offering another viewpoint to the park. In the evening, sit back and enjoy the sunset behind the red peaks.

Day 8 Joshua Tree National Park

In the morning, take the drive to Joshua Tree National Park (approximately 7 hours). You’ll spend some time driving the famous Route 66 and have a quick stop by the eccentric community of Seligman. Sitting between the Mojave and Colorado Deserts, Joshua Tree is home to striking rock formations, many species of cacti and varied desert wildlife such as coyotes, lizards and bighorn sheep. Joshua Tree provides a considerable contrast to the wildlife and natural scenery you have seen recently.

Day 9 Los Angeles

There may be time to squeeze in a sunrise hike at Joshua Tree before making the approximately 3-hour journey to Los Angeles. Spend an afternoon at Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach for a bit of people watching and the chance to pick up some lunch. Then you’re free to discover LA at your own pace. Stroll Rodeo Drive, amp up the culture with a trip to the Getty Centre or take a tour around the Beverly Hills mansions. You will have no problem finding a spot for dinner this evening – the cultural mishmash of LA provides excellent food wherever you are.

Day 10 Los Angeles

There are no more activities planned today.  If you're planning to stay in LA for a little while longer, we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).

Availability

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Price From $ 4,605
Price Per Day: $ 461 per day
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3,899 Intrepid Travel Travel Reviews & Ratings

94%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 2,919
Great 646
Average 129
Disappointing 64
Terrible 141
Value
4.6
Guide
4.6
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.6
Transportation
4.6
Meals
4.6

Vegas to LA: Grand National Parks

I have had an absolutely amazing trip

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
My wife and I have had an absolutely amazing trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles via Napa Valley, Yosemite, Death Valley, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree then Los Angeles. Amazing guide, wonderful sights, great group, new friends ,dream holiday. Would recomend
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An absolutely amazing experience,

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
An absolutely amazing experience, would highly recommend to anyone. Parks were beautiful, our guide was awesome and I would gladly do it all over again.
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The Vegas to LA trip is amazing.

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
The Vegas to LA trip is amazing. Excellent and diverse range of trip experiences. Wonderful and breathtaking locations of the Canyons with opportunities to explore by hiking or walking around the rim. The Ranch resort was fabulous and the Monument Valley was a step back to the Wild West. Loved this trip!
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Company Reviews

Logistical nightmare and boring stories

1.0
Details
Value1.0
Guide1.0
Activities1.0
Lodging1.0
Transportation1.0
Meals1.0
Turkey Encompassed tour, 2022.
I rarely bother with writing bad reviews because I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. But this is one of the worst purchase experiences in my 40 year life, so I hope this information can be helpful to you and keep you from a regretful purchase.

For a little context, we had 5 people on this tour. Two in their late 20s, one in their 30s and two in their 40s. The tour-mates made the tour bearable, but the tour itself was a disaster.

Let me list the ways this tour not only fell below expectations, but ruined an otherwise wonderful stay in a country full of warm people.

1. Hotels are below grade. They booked us in $25 a night (for two) hotels that smell like cigarette smoke, when we paid $250 a night (for two) for this tour. There were 3 nights like this out of 14. We know because we checked prices on some of these hotel rooms. Yes we know that our rate includes the bus, the guide and some of the entrance fees. By the way the tour did not include food. Taking into account the company’s margins it should still leave at least $150 a night to book us a decent room. So instead of enjoying a good night’s sleep I was taking allergy pills and wearing masks to get through the night. This is not ok.

2. We did not have a tour leader. Most tours have a tour leader who manages the logistics and a local guide who walk you through the sites. This tour tries to save money by making one person do both. This means the logistics was a nightmare, and no one took care of the tour people. Let me elaborate.

3. Time estimates are all over the place. We stopped at Troy and he said we will be there for 45 min. He started telling us historical facts in a boring way for 30 min, then we finally took a walk together and we didn’t exit until 1.5 hours later, that’s 2x the predicted time. This happened again at Ephesus, with an estimate of 3 hours without no bathroom access, in the raw 40C heat with no shade, and then it became 4 hours with such conditions. Keep in mind that the guide has been to this site at least 100 times already. To be this far off is appalling. Lunch times are unpredictable, so one day it’s at noon and the next day it’s at 3pm. And there’s no warning, so luckily we did not have diabetics on the tour. We were only 5 in the group, and it’s already chaos. I can’t imagine if it’s 10 or 12 people. I’ve never seen a tour managed so poorly.

4. The guide did not care about the health of the group. I understand the the guide is not the tour doctor, but it’s really basic human decency to check in, especially as a leader. Every person had tummy problems once or more during the trip. And people will say so out loud too, and obviously looked unwell at meals. But he never asked about it, or checked in on anyone afterwards. For all the talk of “hospitality” in the Turkish culture, I am amazed at this lack of care.

5. The stories are boring, we Google’d the info instead. When you get only one local guide for two weeks and you get a great one, awesome. But if you get a bad one, prepared to be bored out of your mind. This guy had credentials. Graduated four years from guiding school in Turkey and 15 years of actual guiding experience. But man, the stories, if you can even call them that, are boring. Lists of dates and facts is not a story. A 2 min story takes 30 minutes to tell. You might as well watch a YouTube video instead and learn more. An interesting aside, when the tour started, we had a kick-off meeting at the hotel. The travel company’s branch manager was there along with the guide to observe the kick-off meeting. The manager told us this tour guide is “one of their best.” Oh my. If this is the best they have then you have no hope of getting a good tour guide with this company my friend. Stay away.

6. You get no information, logistically speaking. This is the kicker. We booked a tour so we didn’t have to research what’s around the corner. The point of a guide is to guide you. To give you heads-up about where we’re visiting, how long it’ll be, where the good picture spot is, on-site conditions so you can be prepared for rough terrain, heat etc. you get the idea. But no. Nothing. In fact, I had to ask every-single-day for even the basic itinerary the next day. There was one day in Cappadokia when the guide took us for a one hour walk near the rock formations. The “walk” turned out to be a real bush-wacking experience, scaling slippery gravel, dropping into dry river beds between small canyon rocks, and exposed to bare sun in 100F heat for the entire “walk”. I would at least call that a hike and tell people to put on hiking shoes. I actually had hiking shoes that stayed useless in my suitcase while I scaled the steep gravel in unsuitable footwear. Luckily nobody got hurt. But this tour is rated for any age, as in a 65 year old can join, and I don’t know what could’ve happened then. It was a one-way walk so there was no turning back either
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I traveled with Intrepid on a 2-week…

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I traveled with Intrepid on a 2-week trip to Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenian. The trip leader, Kesenia, escorted us to all the highlights these countries had to offer. We were met along the way by local guides who explained the history of the places we were visiting. Everyday was an adventure where we enjoyed great food, breathtaking scenery, and meeting local people. Spring is a great time to go and see mountains still covered in snow and trees starting to bloom.
All dedicated travelers should go to the Caucuses.
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I am a fairly experienced traveler: the worst trip ever

1.0
Details
Value1.0
Guide1.0
Activities1.0
Lodging1.0
Transportation1.0
Meals1.0
I am a fairly experienced traveler and have used several travel companies similar to Intrepid and consistently had great experiences. As a single mother, I wanted to give a memorable summer vacation to my 14-year old daughter, so based on the descriptions of the company’s Alaska Summer Family Vacation tour, I decided to pay close to $5,000 for both of us for this tour plus more than $2,000 for the air fare to do so.
I don’t even know where to begin. The guide was very short with me, rude to my daughter (several times he completely ignored her questions and attempt to having conversations with him) throughout the trip.

The native heritage center we were scheduled to visit on the first full day was closed (the business hours are CLEARLY stated on their website), so the guide took us to the Anchorage museum and just left us there for 4 hours - thank goodness I brought some snacks with us! When I asked the guide if there was any cafe at the museum, he, without a pause, immediately said “it’s closed”. As we walked through the museum, there it was, a nice cafe selling food. Finally, after 4 hours of killing time there, he took us to a lunch place PAST 3. Then the rest of the day was free. Basically it went on like this for the entire course of the tour, aside from a 6-hour cruise to glaciers (provided by a third party). In Seward, we had a lot of free time and we wanted to try and hike up the very popular Mount Marathon (we are both experienced hikers), so I asked him if the trail was open. He never got back to me until the last day, and he said it would take full 4 hours (a lie - only 2 hours per it’s website) to do the hike and it’s very, very steep (true), so we decided not to do it when we got some time in the afternoon. We were so upset when we found out it would take only 2 hours - we would certainly have done this popular trail but thanks to him who clearly couldn’t be bothered to provide accurate information, we missed this opportunity.

I was beginning to be concerned towards the end about how uneventful, literally lame and inactive this tour had been and how unhelpful the guide had been. My daughter started to complain about how incredibly “un-Alaskan” its been. Not a single hike contrary to the tour descriptions. Its been very wet, but that’s why we were all told to bring rain gear and be ready and we were ready. But nothing happened and our precious and very expensive time kept on flying by.

The worst came when we were driving back from Seward to Anchorage. The guide told us we could hike to see the Portage Glacier but “weather permitting”. Once we got to the information center, he outright told us “we have 2 options: 1. we hang out at the information center due to rain (?!?); or 2. we keep on going to Anchorage”. See, hiking was not an option we were given! There was another family with us and we all went to the visitor center to “hang out”, only viewing the glacier fr the distance. At this point, it was simply ridiculous and asked the guide why hiking was not an option. He very sharply, and intensely dismissively responded “it’s raining and it’s all about safety”. ???? I told him then why the trail was open and people have been going on the trail. He repeated it’s a matter of safety. He told us we could hang out at the center and watch a 20-minute “movie”. I asked the other family in the tour and one of them said she invested more than $400 for rain gear and its been completely wasted, and they were thinking also how underwhelming the tour had been. Then the heritage center we arrived. He told us we had 4 hours there. 4 HOURS in such a small, very compact place!!! My daughter and I essentially went around and around and around to kill 4 hours of our precious time. At that point, I realized my $5,000 I saved up was completely wasted, and asked the guide this was not worth the money, he could not keep doing this. You know what he said after a while? He said he’s been in touch with Intrepid about me complaining!!! I was super polite, never, ever complained up to this point, and he threatened me for “complaining”???? Looking back, I never once saw him wearing a rain jacket, not once. He just did not want to get wet!! I later called the office of the Portage glacier office on the same day and asked if the rain in the morning posed ANY danger. The person on the phone was very confused about why the rain could possibly be considered dangerous, and said “ well the trail has been open”. When I emailed BEFORE the trip was over to Intrepid about how the trip went and his incredibly bad behaviors, the email said I should have brought the concerns to the guide. When asked where $5,000 was spent for, complete silence. Stay away from this company. As soon as I brought up the financial worth, they just went silent. All the glorious “mission” of the company they put out, I guess the quality of the tour is not their interest. Money is.
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Details

Flight & Transport Inclusions

All internal ground transport Private vehicle

Group Size

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 12

Accommodations

Hotel (9 nights)

Guides

All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you are interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip. NORTH AMERICAN LEADERS Our leaders in the US and Canada are also responsible for driving the van and navigating across the country. The allowable driving times for drivers is strictly controlled in North America. This ensures our drivers are well rested and are not over-tired from too many hours on the roads. It's strictly forbidden for non-qualified rangers to present any information about some National Parks in North America, therefore we adopt a system (as requested by the park rangers) where our leader will encourage travellers to visit the information centres in the National Parks for details about the site.

Age Notes :

Min. Age: 15

Additional Information

Finish point

  • The Georgian Hotel
  • 1415 Ocean Ave
  • Santa Monica
  • 90401
  • UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Trip ID#:

intrepid-SSKH

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