National Parks of the Golden West Tour
Tour Starts: Las Vegas, NV
Tour Ends: Las Vegas, NV
Welcome to fabulous Las Vegas! Guests who book their air through YMT will be greeted by a YMT representative and transferred to their hotel. The night is yours to enjoy this city of plentiful entertainment. Just outside your hotels' doorstep neon lights, the famed Fremont Street Experience, gambling or glamorous shows await. The choice is yours!
✦ Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino or similar
Start your tour today with the grandest of all parks in the West — the Grand Canyon! Travel via I-40, crossing historic Route 66 in Kingman before you see the spectacular Grand Canyon. You will stop at the first viewpoints driving into the park before we end the day by the South Rim, where you will stay for the night inside the park. This is the place to be when it comes to a Grand Canyon visit. The park shuttle system and the Lodge's short proximity to the rim make it easy to take it all in at your own pace and allow you to witness sunset and sunrise if you choose-truly a "must see"! The evening and the sunset, making the canyon glow in many hues of red and purple, is yours to enjoy!
✦ Yavapai Lodge West or similar
Page/Lake Powell via Monument Valley
Rise early to witness an unforgettable sunrise over the canyon, either by walking to the rim on your own time or book an optional tour with sunrise breakfast at the famed El Tovar Lodge. Then, head to Monument Valley. Boasting natural sandstone masterpieces that tower at heights of 400 to 1,000 feet, this sacred valley is a National Park of sorts, owned and operated by the Navajo Nation. After an optional opportunity for a guided valley tour in open air vehicles here, we will continue to Page at Lake Powell for an overnight stay. Held by the Glen Canyon Dam, Lake Powell is a beautifully situated water reservoir on the Colorado River, surrounded by red rocks. The area draws many visitors per years for houseboat and watersports vacations.
✦ Super 8 Lake Powell or similar
Bryce Canyon via Zion National Park
Depart this morning with a brief stop at the Glen Canyon Dam, heading west to Zion National Park. The half-mile deep park floor is lush with foliage, as well as mule deer, wild turkeys, gray foxes and the occasional porcupine. After lunch, continue to Bryce Canyon. Despite its name, Bryce is not a canyon but a collection of giant natural amphitheaters. Its distinctive geological structures, called hoodoos, were formed by frost weathering and stream erosion from the river. Standing at the rim, you are offered spectacular views in red, orange and white that will surely be spellbinding.
✦ Best Western Plus Ruby’s Inn or similar
Day 5 & 6
Arches & Canyonlands
Traveling northeast you will first pass through Capitol Reef National Park, which was named for a line of white domes and cliffs, each of which looks somewhat like the United States Capitol building. Then head to Moab, the ideal gateway for a visit to both Arches and Canyonlands National Park. For the past 150 million years, the more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches of Arches National Park have been sculpted by the natural erosion of wind, water, sun, and frost — creating an unmistakably unique landscape. You will also explore Canyonlands National Park, an outdoor wonderland of enchanting vistas carved by the Colorado and Green rivers.
✦ Fairfield Inn Moab or similar
Salt Lake City
Relax during a day of leisurely driving through beautiful mountain ranges on your way to Salt Lake City, Utah’s capital and home of the spectacular Temple and Mormon Tabernacle. Upon arrival you will enjoy an included panoramic tour of the city.
✦ Red Lion downtown or similar
As you exit the city westbound, you will stop at the Great Salt Lake, the largest salt water lake in the Western Hemisphere. Interestingly, its size can vary dramatically by several thousand square miles per year based on weather conditions. The Bonneville Salt Flats await as you continue your journey farther west. Famous as a site for land speed records this barren white area is fascinating, especially when considering that it also was once a lake.
✦ Red Lion Elko or similar
Day 9 & 10
Lake Tahoe Area
This morning enter Humboldt County. You will stop in Winnemucca, a cowboy town that also has a rich Basque heritage, then continue to Reno. On Thursday, spend the day visiting majestic Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in the U.S. with 72 miles of pristine shoreline, and historic Virginia City. Known as the home of the Comstock Lode, Virginia City’s slogan invites you to “Step back in time”. Wander a bit on the trusty wooden sidewalks and see this real life “Bonanza” before returning to the hotel for a night at leisure.
✦ John Ascuaga’s Nugget or similar
Yosemite National Park
Entering California, you will spend most of the day visiting what is considered one of the crown jewels in the National Park system: Yosemite. This diverse land, with elevations ranging from 2,000 to over 13,000 feet, abounds with spectacular granite cliffs, giant water-falls, towering trees, clear running streams and wildlife including mule deer, bighorn sheep and golden eagles.
✦ Radisson Hotel Fresno downtown or similar
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park
Enjoy the panoramic vistas as you take the short drive south to explore the jointly managed sister parks of Kings Canyon and Sequoia National. See the ancient giant Sequoia redwood trees, the largest trees in the world — with heights above 300 feet and diameters of more than 20 feet! Overnight in Bakersfield.
✦ Four Points by Sheraton Bakersfield or similar
Day 13 & 14
Las Vegas via Death Valley/Depart Home
Heading back to Nevada you will drive through ever changing landscapes from farmlands of central California to desert landscapes of Nevada. If the temperature permits, your tour will head through Death Valley, the lowest point of elevation in North America and home to fantastic rock formations, a befitting end to the truly great collection of National Parks visited on this tour. On Monday, bid farewell to your newfound friends and depart for home.
✦ Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino or similar