From a mix of glamour and bohemian charms in San Francisco, to the lush landscapes of the Sierras, this unique trip takes you on an eclectic journey through the heart of America's West. A combination of our Enchanting Canyonlands and American Parks Trail trips, you'll experience everything from the mystical healing powers of Sedona, to the world famous Grand Canyon and the Japanese tea gardens of Golden Gate Park. You'll enhance your experience by staying at lodges within the National Parks themselves, allowing you to not only witness, but wake up to show stopping views.
• San Francisco: 2 nights
• Sonoma: 1 night
• Yosemite National Park: 1 night
• Monterey: 1 night
• Santa Barbara: 1 night
• Los Angeles: 2 nights
• Scottsdale: 1 night
• Grand Canyon: 1 night
• Lake Powell: 2 nights
• Zion National Park: 1 night
• Las Vegas: 1 night
• Salt Lake City: 1 night
• Grand Teton National Park: 1 night
• Yellowstone: 2 nights
• UCross: 1 night
• Spearfish Canyon: 1 night
• Custer State Park: 1 night
• Denver: 1 night
DAY 1 SAN FRANCISCO, THE CITY BY THE BAY
California here we come. A mix of modern glamour and bohemian charms, you’ve arrived in the Golden Gate City, a location famous for its rolling hills, colourful houses and eclectic architecture. You’ll be picked up at San Francisco International Airport and whisked straight to your centrally located hotel, the Westin St. Francis, situated in the vibrant heart of the city and the only one on Union Square. There you’ll be left to settle in or go for a quick wander, before joining your Travel Director and fellow travellers at 18:00 for a Welcome Dinner and wine.
Hotel: Westin St. Francis on Union Square, San Francisco
Meals: Dinner with Wine
DAY 2 EXPLORING SAN FRANCISCO
Get ready for a fun-filled day exploring the city. Experience the bustling activity of Union Square, famous for its shopping, theatre and dining options. Head to the iconic Golden Gate Park. Rich in culture, the park boasts 10 lakes and more than 1,000 acres of land. This striking landmark is modelled on New York City’s Central Park and includes a wide range of show stopping features. From a Japanese tea garden to its botanical garden and conservatory of flowers, you won’t be disappointed.
DAY 3 HAIGHT-ASHBURY AND A TASTE OF WINE COUNTRY
Delve into San Francisco’s flower power history and revisit the ‘Summer of Love’ with a former hippie, your Local Expert. Tour Haight-Ashbury, the original iconic hippie district, where you’ll find colour and charm aplenty. Move on to California wine country, where you’ll walk through one of the state’s lush vineyards and enjoy a private wine tasting. End your day with a Highlight Dinner served with a local wine.
Hotel: Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
DAY 4 YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE
Say goodbye to the city lights of Sonoma and embrace the mountainous scenery of Yosemite National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Travelling through California’s Gold Country, you’ll drive through the imposing Sierra Nevada mountains. Explore the valley floor with its spectacular waterfalls and striking rock formations of El Capitan and Half Dome. The park is abundant in wildlife, so look out for Mule deer, and if you’re really lucky you may catch a glimpse of a black bear. Rest up at Yosemite Valley Lodge, located inside the park and close to Yosemite Falls, North America’s highest waterfall.
Hotel: Yosemite Valley Lodge
DAY 5 MONTEREY, THE CRADLE OF HISTORY
Take in the lush landscapes of the Sierras before you are swept through the fertile San Joaquin Valley to Carmel-by-the-Sea. There you will have the opportunity to browse a range of art galleries, local shops and the chance to stock up on souvenirs. Enjoy a relaxing drive across the Monterey Peninsula and along 17-Mile Drive, where you can take in the stunning ocean views, Pebble Beach Golf Links and multi-million dollar mansions, before arriving in the city of Monterey. Enjoy a delightful Highlight Dinner this evening.
Hotel: InterContinental The Clement Monterey.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
DAY 6 HEARST CASTLE AND THE AMERICAN RIVIERA
Today you’ll move south to La Cuesta Encantada, otherwise known as 'The Enchanted Hill', which rests high above the ocean at San Simeon. Once there you’ll join a guided tour of Mediterranean-style Hearst Castle, the grandiose estate of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst. The residence was also the inspiration for the Xanadu mansion in the famous movie classic, Citizen Kane. Make your way to sunny Santa Barbara and check in to your idyllic beachfront hotel, ideal for making the most of your stay in the grand ‘American Riviera’. You’ll be presented with white buildings, terracotta rooves, beautiful weather and an array of bars and restaurants.
Hotel: Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort
DAY 7 SANTA MONICA AND THE CITY OF ANGELS
No trip to Santa Barbara would be complete without a visit to the iconic Mission Santa Barbara. Here you’ll learn about the chain of 21 missions along California's El Camino Real and explore its blooming grounds. Journey along the spectacular Santa Monica Bay, passing the hidden coves and coastal mountains of Malibu as you make your way to Santa Monica, L.A.’s exciting upscale counterpart. Continue on to your luxurious L.A. hotel, in the city's entertainment destination.
Hotel: JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE
DAY 8 THE GLITZ AND GLAM OF LA
Channel your inner movie star and join a Local Expert on a private tour of a historic theatre in Hollywood. You’ll then join your Travel Director for some more exploring. This includes Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, a movie palace where stars leave their shoeprints in cement. This is situated on the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame, where you can walk in the steps of icons including Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable. Feeling peckish? Head to the renowned historic L.A. Farmers Market on your own and delve into fresh local delicacies. End the day with a Highlight Dinner and wine at Café Pinot.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
DAY 9 ACROSS THE MOJAVE TO SCOTTSDALE
Experience the rugged charms of the Mojave Desert wilderness as you make your way to Scottsdale. Look out for the Joshua trees and wildlife found in the National Park, you might just spot a jackrabbit or coyote. Once in Scottsdale you can relax in the hotel after a long day and replenish for your upcoming adventures.
Hotel: Hotel Valley Ho, Scottsdale. Meals: Breakfast
DAY 10 SEDONA AND THE WONDERS OF THE MIGHTY GRAND CANYON
Journey north to the bohemian colony of Sedona. Attractive to healers, this spiritual town’s vortexes are rumoured to offer alternative medicines and practices. If retail therapy is more your thing, explore Sedona’s shops and galleries, or simply take in its natural rugged beauty, which makes it a hotspot for hikers, swimmers and eager campers. Journey on to Grand Canyon National Park, where you have the opportunity to take an optional, once-in-a-lifetime, flightseeing tour by helicopter or plane. Join a Local Expert for an informative presentation about the wonders of the Grand Canyon before ending your day with a tranquil night inside the park and an appetizing Highlight Dinner with wine in the inviting Thunderbird Room of your lodge. Located on the South Rim, this beautiful venue offers a wet-bar, barbeque and private balcony, so you can feast on hearty food while taking in the stunning views.
Hotel: National Park Lodges, Grand Canyon
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
DAY 11 MONUMENT VALLEY AND LAKE POWELL
Head through striking crimson landscapes to the historic Cameron Trading Post where you will find Native American arts and crafts. Journey on through the barren beauty of the desert to Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, where you will board all-terrain vehicles to explore the valley with your Navajo guide. Stop at the Glen Canyon Dam to learn about its impact on the Colorado River before arriving at your lakefront resort.
Hotel: Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas (Lake View or Marina View Rooms)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
DAY 12 LEISURELY LAKE POWELL
Start the day at leisure by enjoying your resort’s facilities. Later take a cruise through the narrow sandstone turns of Antelope Canyon, one of the top-rated highlights on the trip. End the day with a breathtaking sunset from your lake view or marina view room.
DAY 13 BRYCE CANYON AND ZION NATIONAL PARKS
Prepare for a day of Norse legend, as you head to the sandstone cliffs of Bryce Canyon National Park in Southern Utah. Here you will be met by pine trees, red rock pillars and Thor’s hammer. You’ll take a leisurely walk along Sunset Point to view the great amphitheatres of the odd-shaped monoliths, known as hoodoos, before travelling through more amazing scenery to the lush cliff-and-canyon landscape of Zion National Park. A day of sightseeing deserves some evening festivities. Join your Travel Director and new friends for a Highlight Dinner and wine to discuss your take on the ethereal characters of Utah’s famous canyon.
Hotel: Zion National Park Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
DAY 14 ZION TO LAS VEGAS, FROM NATURE TO NEON
Depart the tranquil ambiance of Zion National Park Lodge and board a private Zion Canyon Shuttle. Live commentary will take you through the scenic highlights of the park, followed by some downtime to explore on your own. Depart the natural beauty of the park to arrive in the bright lights and glamour of Las Vegas. With an array of shopping malls, live shows and dining opportunities, this dazzling destination is sure to entertain. And for those looking to hit the casinos, make sure you come with your poker face ready.
Hotel: ARIA Resort and Casino, Las Vegas
DAY 15 SALT LAKE CITY
Today you’ll travel to Utah’s capital, Salt Lake City, where you’ll spend the night. Lying between Wasatch Range and the Great Salt Lake, this mountainous city is perfect for outdoorsy types, with a strong focus on skiing and fishing. It is also the headquarters of the Mormon faith.
Hotel: Hilton Salt Lake City Center
DAY 16 JACKSON AND GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK
As you move on from Salt Lake City, take in iconic Temple Square and State Capitol building, before heading north across the Oregon Trail to historic Jackson. Have your cameras ready for the famous elk antlers that adorn the central square, and for eager shoppers there are a number of charming traditional boutiques to browse. Relax at Jackson Lake Lodge, where you’ll be presented with the stunning peaks of Grand Teton National Park.
Hotel: Jackson Lake Lodge
DAY 17 YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
Wake up to a mountainous view like no other and witness the striking Grand Tetons thrust skyward 6,562 feet (2,000 metres) from the valley floor. In keeping with today’s rustic country charm, you’ll enter Yellowstone, the world’s first National Park. Known for its unique geothermal activity, spectacular landscapes and abundant wildlife, you’ll experience Wyoming in all its glory. Keep an eye out for black bears or wolves. Tonight you’ll stay in the National Park Lodges, allowing you to experience the park after hours, in its natural glory.
Hotel: National Park Lodges, Yellowstone
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 18 RELAXED START GEYSERS AND COLOURFUL MUDPOTS AT YELLOWSTONE
Savour the surreal surroundings of Yellowstone with a relaxed start. Walk among the rainbow tinted hot springs and watch the erupting geysers as you take in the history of the park on an informative stroll with your Travel Director. Catch the renowned colourful bubbling mud pots and observe Old Faithful geyser shooting water over 120 feet (37 metres) into the air. You’ll behold the powerful roar of Lower Yellowstone Falls, before heading back to your Park Lodge rooms. The National Park is also famous for its wildlife, so keep an eye out for the Yellowstone ram, wolves, bears and elk.
Hotel: National Park Lodges, Yellowstone
DAY 19 THE RANCH AT UCROSS
Set off on your travels through the stark Shoshone Canyon and Absaroka Rocky Mountains to the Wild West Town of Cody. Channel your inner showman and learn more about America’s great Western legends at the Buffalo Bill Centre. End the day in Clearmont, Wyoming where you’ll check in to your abode for the night. Here you’ll enjoy a ranch style Highlight Dinner with wine.
Hotel: Ranch at UCross, Clearmont. Meals: Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
DAY 20 DEVILS TOWER INTO THE BLACK HILLS
Live the American frontier dream and begin your day with a scenic country horseback ride (waiver required). If playing cowboy isn’t your thing, perhaps go fishing or merely relax and take in your beautiful surroundings, the choice is yours. Make your way to Devils Tower, an astounding geological feature that protrudes out of the surrounding the Black Hills. This symbolic landmark is considered sacred to the Lakota and other tribes. Experience Spearfish Canyon, a favoured spot among wildlife enthusiasts and one famous for its elvish woodland beauty. The limestone palisades of this creek-carved gorge are more ancient than the Grand Canyon.
Hotel: Spearfish Canyon Lodge.
DAY 21 CUSTER AND THE WILD, WILD WEST
A day for those looking to explore the wild west, try to spot pronghorn antelope as you cross the great high plains to the Black Hills of South Dakota. Once in Deadwood, you’ll also get to speak to members of the Lakota tribe as they share a fascinating live narrative of the Great Sioux Nation. You’ll have the opportunity to join Kevin Costner’s Original Deadwood Tour, while a Local Expert will talk about the days of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, who made this once lawless town famous during the Gold Rush of the 1870s. Continue on to Custer State Park, renowned for its beautiful landscape and abundant wildlife.
Hotel: The State Game Lodge, Custer State Park
DAY 22 THE MOUNTAIN MONUMENTS OF THE BLACK HILLS OF SOUTH DAKOTA
What better way to spend your last full day than delving further into the history of this fascinating country? You’ll start by viewing Crazy Horse Memorial which is dedicated to all Native Americans, before moving on to the iconic Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Here, carvings of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt dominate the Black Hills. The rest of the day is yours to explore in Custer State Park. Join your Travel Director and newfound friends for a Celebration Dinner with wine, as you reflect on your adventure across the wide open spaces of America’s national parks.
Hotel: The State Game Lodge, Custer State Park. Meals: Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
DAY 23 DEPART DENVER
Travel south from Custer State Park where your tour ends on arrival in Denver. A transfer is available to Denver International Airport. Airport arrival in Denver will be at 16:30.
Good to know
San Francisco: Revisit the 'Summer of Love' with a Local Expert and former hippie at Haight-Ashbury, the iconic district where the hippie counterculture evolved.
Los Angeles: Join a Local Expert for a behind-the-scenes tour of a historic downtown theatre.
Grand Canyon: Join a Local Expert for an informative presentation and witness the burnt orange hues of the canyon walls.
Monument Valley: Join a Navajo guide in an open-air vehicle to explore the iconic vistas of this Navajo Tribal Park.
UCross: Spend your morning doing as the locals do, exploring your surroundings by horseback with a gentle ride (waiver required) led by a Local Expert.
Deadwood: Historical Wild West figures such as Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane called Deadwood home. Learn about the Gold Rush and the town’s notable residents aboard Kevin Costner’s Original Deadwood Tour with a Local Expert.
Deadwood: Enjoy an audience with Lakota tribe members as they share a live narrative of the Great Sioux Nation.
TOP RATED HIGHLIGHTS
San Francisco: See the iconic cable cars, Union Square and Golden Gate Bridge.
Sonoma: Browse the unique shops on the historic Sonoma Plaza.
Yosemite National Park: Experience the park's natural beauty and wildlife. See the El Capitan and Half Dome rock formations.
Carmel-by-the-Sea: Browse the art galleries and shops in this quaint beach city.
San Joaquin Valley: Stop at a historic fruit stand where seasonal delights are grown, farmed, and sold.
Scenic Drives: 17-Mile Drive past the Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Santa Barbara: Visit Mission Santa Barbara, a historic Spanish mission founded by the Franciscan order in 1786.
Los Angeles: Drive along Sunset Boulevard, see the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Grauman's Chinese Theatre.
Sedona: Visit this Red Rock Country artists' colony, set in Sedona's majestic red rock landscape.
Cameron: Stop at the historic Trading Post, established in the early 1900s as a place where Native American's traded wool and livestock.
Lake Powell: A testament to the power of water over rock, glide through the narrow sandstone turns of Antelope Canyon during your cruise.
Glen Canyon: Visit the dam that stands 710 feet or 216 meters high, and provides water and power to western communities.
Bryce Canyon National Park: Enjoy the rugged beauty with a leisurely walk along Sunset Point to view the hoodoos.
Zion National Park: The most relaxing and informative way to see the grandeur and natural features of the canyon is by a private shuttle that includes live commentary.
Grand Teton National Park: Take in panoramic views of the beautiful Jenny Lake, a glacial formation that dates back over 10,000 years.
Yellowstone: See Upper Geyser Basin, which boasts the highest concentration of spouting geysers, hot springs and steaming fumaroles in the world.
Cody: Explore the award-winning Buffalo Bill Center of the West, known for its excellent Western art collection and natural history.
Black Hills: Witness the huge Crazy Horse Memorial and the famous Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
Sonoma: Sample local wines at a private tasting at an eco-friendly vineyard.
Grand Canyon: Enjoy dinner with an incredible view at the Thunderbird Room, overlooking the South Rim.
UCross Ranch: Savour a hearty ranch style Highlight Dinner, prepared by your local hosts.
Custer: Toast to the finale of your trip at your Celebration Dinner served at your lodge within Custer State Park.
Accommodation on tour
San Francisco: Timeless yet modern, The Westin St. Francis on Union Square, San Francisco has a vibrant, directly located on Union Square, with cable cars stopping just outside the doors.
Sonoma: The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa is surrounded by lush vineyards and dotted with natural hot springs.
Yosemite National Park: Stay in the park and enjoy Yosemite after the crowds have left, just a short walk to Yosemite Falls.
Monterey: Located on Cannery Row, Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa is the most dramatic waterfront hotel in California.
Santa Barbara: Stay at the Double Tree Fess Parker in beautiful mission-style rooms, with views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains.
Los Angeles: Stay at JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE. situated in downtown L.A., within walking distance of the city's most noteworthy attractions.
Scottsdale: Wander the grounds of this desert oasis, leaving behind your hectic lifestyle at the McCormick Scottsdale to relax and renew.
Grand Canyon: Insight stays centrally located within the National Park. In these cases, the hotels are much more rustic and typical of the natural environment.
Lake Powell: Insight guarantee rooms with lake-views, picture-perfect vistas and breathtaking sunsets at Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas.
Zion National Park: Stay in rustic charming lodges, located right inside the National Park.
Las Vegas: Sleek modern decor and the luxurious furnishings make every guest feel like royalty at the ARIA Resort and Casino.
Salt Lake City: Centrally located downtown, the Hilton Salt Lake City Center offers views of the Salt Lake Valley and mountain peaks.
Grand Teton National Park: Stay right inside the National Park at the desirable Jackson Lake Lodge. One of the largest of all the eco-friendly resorts, with breathtaking views.
Yellowstone National Park: Insight stays centrally located within the National Park. In these cases, the hotels are much more rustic and typical of the natural environment.
UCross: Enjoy a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere during your stay at the Ranch at UCross with the natural scenic beauty of the surroundings.
Spearfish: Deep in the heart of beautiful canyons you will find Spearfish Canyon Lodge. Built and decorated in the style of the old lodges of the West.
Custer State Park: Insight stays centrally located within the State Park. In these cases, the hotels are much more rustic and typical of the natural environment.
Tours depart in Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug and Sep; please speak to a Personal Travel Expert for more details.
Included in price
• An expert Insight Tour Director, at the pinnacle of their career, will guide you on your journey. Serving as your 'travelling concierge', this skilled guide will act as consummate organiser and be your 'friend in a foreign land'
• Insight's luxury air-conditioned 40 seat coach with extended leg room and on-board restroom. It's business class comfort
• A personal radio headset gives you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating insights and commentaries
• Baggage handling everywhere, with seamless and prompt delivery to your door at every hotel.
• Hotel and restaurant tips included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency
• All taxes and porterage charges at hotels.Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi
• Insight Flourishes - from time to time, your Tour Director will enchant you with local tidbits, each representing authentic food or beverages unique to the destination
• Airport transfers on the first and last day of the tour
• 22 Breakfasts, 1 Dinner and 9 Dinners with wine.