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Desert National Parks of California

Trafalgar
4.5 . Great
90%
Travel Style: N/A
Physical Level: N/A
  • N/A
  • Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value (3*)
    7 days
    From: $ 2,907 $ 415 / day
    Checking price

    Overview

    Highlights (Bullets)

    • See the High Roller, Devil's Golf Course, and Artists Palette
    • View Badwater Basin, Dante's View, Roy's Motel and Cafe Sign, Skull Rock and Arch Rock
    • Visit Twenty Mule Team Canyon, Zabriskie Point, Furnace Creek, Ubehebe Crater, Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Mojave National Preserve, Kelso Ghost Town, Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center
    • Dive Into Culture
    • MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®
    • Dive Into Culture
    • Stays With Stories
    • Stays With Stories

    Short Description

    Discover the stark beauty of the desert on this small-group California tour with maximum 17 travelers delivering an in-depth experience with Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Park unlike any other. You’ll journey from Las Vegas to Palm Springs when its cooler and quiet, exploring landscapes found nowhere else on earth and some of the most beautiful places in California, while traveling in a luxury Mercedes-Benz® sprinter vehicle.

    Style N/A
    Array
    Itinerary Focus N/A
    Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
    Lodging Level Value (3*)
    Flight & Transport Inclusions N/A
    Start City Las Vegas (NV)
    End City Palm Springs

    Theme

    N/A

    Destinations

    United States

    Attractions & Cities Visited

    California Death Valley Las Vegas

    Activities & Interests

    N/A

    N/A
    See more

    Itinerary

    Day 1: Welcome to Las Vegas

    Welcome to Las Vegas! You’ll begin your small group tour – Desert National Parks of California, in the glitzy oasis of Nevada. It’s the city that never sleeps and you’ll be tempted to keep up with its 24/7 pace whether you choose to watch a show, tame Lady Luck or relax at the pool after your travels. This evening, meet your Travel Director and fellow companions to kickstart your California tour from Las Vegas to Palm Springs. You’ll board the 520-foot giant Ferris wheel that dominates the Las Vegas skyline, watching the city lights of this entertainment capital glimmer and anticipating all the most beautiful places in California you’re about to see.

    Day 2: Immerse yourself in the desert

    Music lovers will adore the Dive Into Culture experience this morning at Amargosa Opera House, a labor of love in the most unlikely of destinations, Death Valley Junction. You’ll learn how Marta Becket stumbled on this desolate space decades ago and how the facility still strives to bring the arts and music to this remote place. You’ll leave knowing your visit has helped them achieve their mission for generations to come. Next, make your way to Dante’s View to admire the incredible panoramic views of Death Valley - a land of extremes and one of the must-see places in California. You’ve timed your Death Valley tour from Las Vegas well and the cooler weather this time of year will inspire you to lace up your boots for a short hike to Twenty Mule Team Canyon, stopping at Zabriskie Point where you’ll see the colored contrasts in the rocky landscape at its best. You’ll want to fuel up after your adventure and we’ll make our way back to Furnace Creek for lunch then pass Devil’s Gold Course bound for Badwater Basin, the lowest point in the USA at 282 feet below sea level. You’ll end the day tracing Artist’s Drive picking out the vibrant pink, aqua and purple colors that emerge from the sloping mountainside. Tonight’s Stays With Stories delivers a taste of the Wild West and you’ll stay overnight at The Ranch at Death Valley, a former working ranch and the perfect spot to explore all those Death Valley must-see attractions with ease.

    Day 3: Explore Death Valley

    There’s much more to see in Death Valley and today’s active tour and hike will deliver beyond your wildest expectations. This morning incredible views of the caldera await, and we’ll walk to Ubehebe Crater, a stunning volcano crater formed by the power of an explosion pit in the heart of Death Valley. It’s an extraordinary sight, but one of many that will be a highlight on today’s walk, including your next stop, the popular Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, one of the most photo-worthy spots in Death Valley National Park a favorite for adventurers who love to sled down the silky dunes. After a day of adventure, you’ll be thrilled with a well-deserved break to spend the afternoon on your terms, whether you choose to spend it at the pool, grabbing a beer at the local saloon, or perhaps opt for another exploration, this time on horseback. As the sun sets, the sky reveals a show unlike any other and you’ll gaze up watching the constellations burn bright above this Gold Tier Dark Sky National Park. It’s a magical end to this California desert tour and one you’ll want to share with new friends.

    Day 4: Journey to Desert Towns

    Heading south, we’ll enjoy a quick coffee stop in the old railroad town of Baker, distinct for being the gateway to Death Valley National Park and a popular stop for drivers travelling from California to Las Vegas. This is one road trip so many have followed over the years, and you’ll tread in their footsteps when you visit Mojave National Preserve with its towering dunes, Joshua tree forest and cinder cone volcano landscapes. Beyond the remarkable canyons, mountains and mesas you’ll find in this massive park, the third-largest in the contiguous US is a fascinating history that views of long-abandoned mines, homesteads and rock-walled military outposts can only hint at. It’s an unusual stop on any California desert tour, but one you will remember forever as you explore highlights like the ghost town of Kelso, so named after a railroad worker whose name got drawn out of a hat when it was time to switch the settlement’s name from its original name, Sliding 16. We’ll stop in the Route 66 town of Amboy in the Mojave Desert. Today this little town is famous for two things: being home to just four people and Roy’s Motel and Café; its only remnants being its famous sign that stands as a testament to the Mother Road. Our last stop today is Twentynine Palms, a High Desert community that sits at 3,300 feet elevation at one of the entry points of Joshua Tree National Park. Renowned for its beautiful art, pristine air and stunning desert views, Twentynine Palms delivers a first-hand perspective on what it is like to live in the California Outback and your unforgettable Stays With Stories, Campbell House, is the perfect combination of desert oasis and fairytale romance as you’ll come to discover when you learn how the Campbell couple came to settle here after World War I. Gaze up at the clear night skies and count the stars as the anticipation builds for tomorrow’s visit to Joshua Tree National Park, one of the many highlights of our California national parks tour.

    Day 5: Visit Joshua Tree National Park

    Prepare for your exploration of one of the most beautiful places in California this morning during your visit to the Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center which is the gateway to the park. You’ll stop at the Cholla Cactus Garden, keeping a keen eye out for the fluffy teddy bear cactus that is so characteristic of this place. Resist the urge to touch it as you hike up to the unique rounded rock formations – Skull Rock and Arch Rock, which deliver the most incredible views. The area is best explored on foot, and your stroll along the Hidden Valley Nature Trail will take you past giant rock formations, Joshua trees and incredible panoramic views you’ll want to capture on camera. As you go deep into this desert oasis, you’ll discover how two distinct desert ecosystems combine to create a captivating sanctuary for a rich array of plant and animal species. Revel in the stark beauty of this vast wilderness, admiring the surreal geological features and rich cultural history. Enjoying a desert picnic is one of the most memorable things to do in Joshua Tree National Park and it will be well deserved, so sit back and take in the natural beauty of this place while you enjoy lunch with the group. Next up is our stop at Keys View, perched on the crest of the Little San Bernardino Mountains and arguably the highlight of the day offering the most dramatic view in the park over the Coachella Valley. Leaving this extraordinary natural landscape behind, we head to one of America’s favorite desert vacation hotspots, Palm Springs to enjoy the evening on your own terms exploring its vibrant entertainment and food scene.

    Day 6: Palm Springs Sightseeing

    Imagine what life is like in this stylish southern Californian hotspot when you embark on a sightseeing tour led by your Travel Director this morning. You’ll Dive Into Culture and explore the city’s mid-century modern architecture, popular with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Marilyn Monroe. You’ll feel like you’ve taken a step back in time as you explore this Sonoran Desert oasis then head to the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm for a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience featuring a private behind-the-scenes tour of the windmills that dominate the landscape and provide power to this desert community. You’ll Connect With Locals and gain a deep understanding of what affordable and clean energy is all about, learning how this is one of the windiest spots in the United States, making it the ideal location for the 3,218 windmills on site. You’ll have the afternoon to relax or embark on an optional visit to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway which will take you through five life zones up 6,000 feet for incredible views. If you’re feeling energetic, tackle one of the trails for more epic views of your stunning surrounds, often clad in snow depending on when you’re visiting. After your unforgettable trip through this desert landscape, you’ll join your travel companions for a Farewell Dinner at a local downtown Palm Springs restaurant and toast to happy memories.

    Day 7: Farewell Palm Springs

    Your journey through the Desert National Parks of the United States has come to an end. A complimentary transfer will be provided to Palm Springs International Airport. You can choose your own arrival time to the airport.

    Availability

    Checking price
    Price From $ 2,907
    Price Per Day: $ 415 per day
    Checking price
    Start DateFinish DateBase PriceAvailability 
    Dec-24-2022Dec-30-2022$ 2,984Available Reserve

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    Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

    10,956 Trafalgar Travel Reviews & Ratings

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    Desert National Parks of California

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    Company Reviews

    I consider myself seasoned traveler

    2.0
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    I consider myself seasoned traveler, with visits to 75 countries so far. I travelled with all major travel companies either by car, bus, or boat/ship on river/ocean cruises. I travelled with Trafalgar many times in the past. I do a lot of research before deciding which travel company I shell spend my money with. Itinerary is THE most important point in my decision making. Many travel companies promise heaven and deliver hell! Here is my experience with Trafalgar promises and advertisements:
    Let’s start with pre-departure info and requirements. Israel entry form, Jordan declaration form, Canada ArriveCAN and Mandatory health insurance WERE NOT REQUIRED NOR NEEDED!

    After we met Trafalgar car/shuttle driver in Tel Aviv, he took off, started walking faaast... and we schlepped our luggage behind him…. even in Africa or India, drivers ALWAYS HELPED WITH LUGGAGE! Not this one!! Welcome to Tel Aviv and meet your Travel Director welcome reception was delayed more than two hours, because travel guide was late. We were given “smokers room” which reeked/smelled like a pig stay/bar. Change was not possible; hotel was fully booked. I requested at least the air freshener, deodorizer, they promised, never delivered! Originally, we requested 2 beds, however, one queen bed was provided! To add an insult to injury, when I complained in the morning about that horrible night, hotel manager offered a “free glass of orange juice for my trouble??!
    Bus for Journey to Sea of Galilee didn’t have WIFI because it was not set up! Later we spent an hour in front of Jaffa Whale, trying to get whispers working, exchanging batteries, headphones, microphone. Guide didn’t bother to test/prepare equipment beforehand! Driver sold drinking water for 1$ and after I question it, guide explained that water is free and 1$ was the tip for driver!? Sail on the Sea of Galilee was the most embarrassing, pathetic experience. Boat sailed for about ten minutes into the sea and then captain started to sing, kept singing for more than hour, ship was not moving, sun was blasting. After more than an hour of his horrible singing, one traveler plucked up the courage and asked him to start sailing the bloody boat, instead of singing. He obliged and took us immediately back to shore!

    Next day the bus WIFI didn’t work again, and promises were made to have it fixed tomorrow... yada, yada...we
    We didn’t get to see Dome of the Rock up close because gates to Dome of the Rock were to close at 2pm and we wasted our time strolling thru market. Guide spent more time talking with bus driver than narrating history, sightseeing etc.
    Allenby Bridge to Jordan Crossing was a total disaster. We started early morning and after arriving at the border, guide couldn’t locate her Jordanian counterpart, our bus kept cruising back and forth in front of border crossing, we were told that we shall have to shlepp all our luggage by hand!… finally, we arrived at the passport/visa/fee payment building... nobody knew what to do... how to verify the passports. There were many lines for passport verification, visa payment, crossing fee... thanks god there were very few other travelers... so, after couple of hours of mayhem, we were cleared, and learnt that our luggage was actually transferred to Jordanian bus, but bus was too small for 23 people and unable to stove all luggage into the compartment hold of the bus, so some luggage was loaded into the bus itself!
    Intriguing problem was the repeated situation with drinking water not being included with quite amazing, sumptuous dinners. Guide explained that it was the confusion of hotel personnel with her requests?!
    I inquired three days before end of our trip about airport transfer and was told it was too early... then day before departure I was told that I was not on transfer list! Later I was told that I should join travelers leaving at 5am for their 9 am flights, but my flight was at 12:05pm!! After frantic e-mails to Trafalgar, I was assured that all should be ok. And it was. But I found it very unprofessional and petty to throw me under bus! Then the guide inquired about TIP!? OMG!
    Well, this trip was an adventure and exercise in stupidity, amateurism, and lack of professionalism! AC worked on and off, after repeated requests, driver obviously hated AC. His window was opened all the time. He was speeding and passing other traffic over speed bumps, run red lights, sneezed, coughed without covering his mouth and was quite annoyed when travelers begged to stop for washroom stop!
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    NOT A "GREAT" EXPERIENCE!!

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    Meals2.0
    We were with a group of primarily older couples guided by a much younger marathon runner tour guide for our Exploring London Tour. 1. Daily activities schedules were not provided to members of the group but were posted only in the hotel lobby. Guide provided updates once by email at 11:27 p.m. while most were sleeping. 2. No rating of difficulty for daily excursions whether included or paid additional excursions was provided. Our guide was much too fast making the excursioins either moderate or difficult at best. 3. Much too long on busses with inadequate convenience stops for older people. Parking was an issue at many venues where significant distances had to be covered just to get to the area that was of interest. Routes were changed with little or no notice and one venue on a paid excursion was closed. 4. No effort to provide transportation to closed venue the next day nor was any refund offered, however, on other days the bus was re-routed to accommodate drop-offs of others near venues not included in our tour. 5. One older gentleman was left behind because our guide did NOT count those on the bus prior to telling the driver to go ahead and depart. Gentleman had to take a cab back to our hotel. 6. Hotel accommodations were much less than expected. Tower Hotel, located near the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge, is very dated with bath tubs that were literally unsafe for seniors. No air conditioning or heating control available in individual rooms. Rooms were much too warm to sleep well at night. Hotel offered a fan which we accepted but no fan ever showed up at our room.

    Expected a much better and well prepared overall tour package from a tour company as old and experienced as Trafalgar.
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    I used Trafalgar for the Contrasts of…

    5.0
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    Value5.0
    Guide5.0
    Activities5.0
    Lodging5.0
    Transportation5.0
    Meals5.0
    I used Trafalgar for the Contrasts of Italy and it was an amazing experience. I travel host was wonderful and had no issues with Trafalgar. This was my first time using them and I can say it was the absolute best time of my life! I am planning another trip with them for next year.
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    I along-with my wife took a trafalgar’s…

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    I along-with my wife took a trafalgar’s tours - capitals of scandinavia.. i would like to share that though trafalgar charges a good amount of money for the tour, the rooms provided by trafalgar were like dormitories / hostel rooms. Very small with sagging mattresses. Not even air cooled.. very uncomfortable. And no redressal even after repeated observations by travelling passengers.

    I raised up the issue. My review has not been put up on their website despite my repeated requests.. Thats why writing here now.. Reply recd after one month and that too is very diplomatic and unreasonable.

    I was told very good abt them by makemytrip.com when i was booking my trip but unfortunately, had a bad taste.. guys be aware..
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    A despicable and terrible experience

    1.0
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    A despicable and terrible experience. I booked their Best of Israel tour and paid $4,000 up front. Four days before departure my mother was rushed to the hospital and had emergency surgery. She is now in critical condition with a second surgery scheduled for the day the tour was to start, and I cannot leave home at this time. I contacted Trafalgar to tell them I needed to reschedule the trip due to these circumstances, and I would happily take the trip later. Trafalgar told me they "cannot reschedule the trip" but only cancel it; refund me 10%; and KEEP 90% OF THE MONEY AS A CANCELLATION FEE! They want to keep $3,600 for DOING NOTHING!!! These people are complete pigs. I travel two or three times a year and this was my first -- and last -- experience with this company. There is zero justification for a policy like this. Trafalgar brags about how it's been around for a hundred years and gives tours all over the world, and maybe their tours are good. I'll never know. The Best of Israel trip looked good, but this kind of despicable business practice amounts to thievery and I personally will not tolerate it. Yes, I can and will put in an insurance claim for the money but I'm going to sue them anyway. Please do not patronize a company that treats people like this. If we don't insist on an end to these kinds of predatory business practices, they will only get worse. I mean think of it: would you do this to a customer in my situation? Only a depraved company would act this way.
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    It is very very doubtful that I will…

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    It is very very doubtful that I will ever travel with Trafalgar again. I took my first trip with Trafalgar last month (Aug 2022).
    Many of the overnight stops could be provided in hotels that are closer to the centre of the cities/towns. I did not see some cities that were on the agenda.
    The chosen outer suburb hotels were not near any shops or noted historical sights. Nor were there any nice views from the hotel windows. And the 'added extras' were too expensive.
    I have done tours with other agencies and had plenty of time to walk around and view the central areas of the visited cities.
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    Details

    Accommodations

    • Palm Mountain Resort and Spa

    Additional Information

    • All hotel tips, charges and local taxes
    • All porterage and restaurant gratuities
    • An expert Travel Director and professional Driver
    • Audio headsets for flexible sightseeing
    • Breakfast daily and up to half of your evening meals
    • Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted
    • Luxury air-conditioned coach with Wi-Fi in most countries or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys)
    • Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras
    • Optional Experiences and free time

    Trip ID#:

    trafalgar-JVCADJN17

    Meals Included

    • 1 Welcome Reception
    • 6 Breakfast
    • 1 Be My Guest Dinner
    • 1 Lunch
    • 1 Farewell Dinner
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