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Desert National Parks of California

Trafalgar
4.5 . Great
91%
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 
    Nov-05-2022Nov-11-2022$ 2,953Available Reserve
    Dec-03-2022Dec-09-2022$ 2,907Available Reserve
    Dec-24-2022Dec-30-2022$ 2,984Available Reserve

    Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Trafalgar.

    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.

    10,946 Trafalgar Travel Reviews & Ratings

    91%
    4.5 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
    Excellent 6,747
    Great 3,159
    Average 740
    Disappointing 188
    Terrible 112
    Value
    4.5
    Guide
    4.5
    Activities
    4.5
    Lodging
    4.5
    Transportation
    4.5
    Meals
    4.5

    Desert National Parks of California

    No reviews yet for this trip. Be the first one to write a review

    Company Reviews

    Never again

    5.0
    Details
    Value5.0
    Guide5.0
    Activities5.0
    Lodging5.0
    Transportation5.0
    Meals5.0
    Should have read reviews before we traveled, have had same experience as many of the reviews, will never travel with Trafalgar or its other companies, they canceled a guaranteed departure ,then said they reimburse for expenses incurred with our having to rebook,absolute nightmare dealing with customer NO service. Trip was to Italy less than stellar, good but not great, go with anyone else.
    Hope this saves future headaches for fellow travelers.
    Read more

    Back from our trip with Trafalgar…

    1.0
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    Meals1.0
    Back from our trip with Trafalgar (Scotland's Highlands Islands and Cities. Our accommodations were maybe two star and not designed for individuals over 50 as most had no elevators. Rooms were very small and not really designed for two individuals.
    Our guide for the tour was very knowledgeable on the subject matter but was not responsive to individual requests. Our driver was excellent. On some days we spend a excessive time on the bus or ferries getting from one location to another. Tour description does not fully explain the amount and difficult in walking required for this tour.
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    Best not to used Trafalgar

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    Lodging1.0
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    Meals1.0
    Absolutely worst tour company

    On a recent trip to Portugal:

    I fell on the second day no report was given to me for my insurance company even when I asked for it. Wellness director was not worth her being on the tour

    Optionals were shoved down your throat and if you did not go the travel tour Director made it known to others that you weren’t going. And he made it bad for you on the tour. Optionals very expensive and the local tour guides were mediocre at best

    Food was pitiful especially at the locations where they said dinner was included

    Solo travelers were made to feel a second class citizens getting bad spots in restaurants and being asked to move so couples can sit together

    Never ever recommend Tralfagar to anyone single or a couple or friends
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    Abandoned with Covid

    1.0
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    Guide1.0
    Activities1.0
    Lodging1.0
    Transportation1.0
    Meals1.0
    I’m writing a review of what really happens on Trafalger tours. My husband and I were on a 14 day Trafalger tour of Ireland called “Amazing Ireland”. We were on a bus with a number of people who were coughing and were repeatedly assured that it was just allergies. On the 6th day, I fell ill and tested positive for Covid-19. In Ireland, testing positive means that you are supposed to self-isolate for 7 days. Trafalger then pretty much abandoned us. The hotel Trafalger had booked for us refused to keep us saying they were full, meanwhile advertising vacancies online. Trafalger would not go to bat to help us. Their so called Trafalger Guest Support first emailed a great sounding note confirming our hotel room number, offering to help find other accommodations, and suggesting that we get in touch with our insurer and the airline. When we spoke directly with the Trafalger guest support person, he said that he wasn’t familiar with the area and would just be looking online for places and that we could do that ourselves. Trafalger said we should get a cab on the down low and quietly transfer to another hotel. They did not help us relocate or find a hotel. They suggested not to speak to the other Trafalger guests, even others who had tested positive (with whom we might have been able to problem solve). The Trafalger trip director said he would tell the group the next day, that there was no need to upset them before then. Trafalger was very happy to accept the substantial payment for our trip of a lifetime, that ended after only 6 days, but ensured no refunds would be issued. So we are now abandoned by Trafalger, left to our own devices, isolating in a hotel room (that we had to find ourselves), on the opposite side of Ireland from our final destination. No arrangements were made by Trafalger to support us or help house, feed, or transport us. We have also not heard a further peep from the Trafalger Guest Support person, nor the Trip Director (since he replied to a text asking him to give the other Covid guests our phone number). We’re very disappointed in Trafalger, to say the least, and recommend never to sign up for a Trafalger tour. Trafalger simply wants your money, and don’t really care at all about supporting their guests.
    Trafalgar recently replied to my review on another site, stating that our concerns have been addressed. They haven’t!
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    Western Frontiers 5/10/22

    3.0
    Details
    Value3.0
    Guide3.0
    Activities3.0
    Lodging3.0
    Transportation3.0
    Meals3.0
    Western Frontiers 5/10/22 – 5/19-22

    Let me preface this by stating that this was the fourth time we traveled with Trafalgar but it will most certainly be the last. In 2019 we booked and paid for a trip to Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg for April 2020. Then the pandemic hit and we rescheduled our trip three more times before scheduling something in the states out of concern for quarantine measures. Had our money been refunded we most certainly would not have an issue with using Trafalgar in the future but now we will go elsewhere. After keeping our money for 2 and a half years we chose to go on their Western Frontiers trip. It was certainly not up to the standards that we had come to expect and Trafalgar offered nothing in return for keeping our money for so long. The least they could have done was honor pricing in effect at the time of our payment.


    Food

    Food was average at best. The “Welcome Reception” was at a decent looking restaurant in Las Vegas but consisted of about a half dozen different vegetarian appetizers, none that was fit to eat. The breakfast buffets each morning had a limited selection usually with scrambled eggs, potatoes, and bacon or sausage but little else.. It wasn’t until our last stay in Rapid City that you could have toast. These were feasts compared to the breakfast at Mountain Modern Motel (see below).



    Hotels

    The Mountain Modern Motel puts the Hole in Jackson Hole. It appears this motel caters more to skiers and climbers as the room is set up with hooks and areas marked “gear”. Rather than an actual bathroom sink it is equipped with a large kitchen style sink outside the actual bath area in somewhat of a kitchenette area. The floors squeak with every step you take and if you are unlucky enough to be on the first floor you can hear the floor squeak above you with every step they take. Apparently there is some remodeling going on at the motel as the restaurant was closed. As a result our breakfast consisted of an egg, a slice of cheese, and your choice of a slice of ham or sausage on a steamed hamburger bun and coffee. If we had been traveling on our own we would never have chosen to stay there. The remaining hotels were adequate but nothing to write home about.

    Stops

    The dinner show in Bryce Canyon was good as far as the entertainment was concerned but the dinner left a lot to be desired.

    The Buffalo Bill Center in Cody was a waste of three hours. I’m sure that the crew needed time to take care of logistics but when you take a trip of this nature you take it to experience the natural beauty and landscapes of the area you are in, not to spend three hours in a museum. You had the option of walking into town but it was a little bit of a hike and it looked like rain was on the way.
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    Postponements over and over

    1.0
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    Value1.0
    Guide1.0
    Activities1.0
    Lodging1.0
    Transportation1.0
    Meals1.0
    Postponements over and over. No help in refunds. Late payments to Air Carriers. No communication. Run away.

    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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