Duration: 15 Days
Breathtaking scenery, spectacular wildlife, and incomparable photo opportunities await you on this national parks tour through the West’s best-known national and state parks. Tour highlights include your overnight stay inside Grand Canyon National Park, where you can witness the stunning scenery at sunset and sunrise. In Yellowstone National Park, stand in awe as you hear the roar of the water and view the glorious falls at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Witness Old Faithful as it erupts and admire the herds of bison, elk, and other wildlife as you explore the park. Mount Rushmore offers the astounding monument of four U.S. presidents as well as spectacular scenery and wildlife, including mule deer and mountain goats. Also visit Crazy Horse Memorial, carved out of the mountain in honour of the Sioux Indian chief, and enjoy a scenic drive in Custer State Park, with its spectacular landscape and abundant wildlife.
Have your camera ready for the bright red, yellow, and pink pillars called "hoodoos" in Bryce Canyon National Park, and marvel at the sculptured canyons and soaring cliffs in Zion National Park. But that’s not all…visit Monument Valley, one of the world’s most photographed places with its red-rock canyons, mesas, iconic buttes, and windblown sand. See the massive formations during your 4-wheel-drive tour with a knowledgeable Navajo guide. All of this—and much more—are included on this national parks tour designed for savvy, value-minded travellers.
Welcome to exciting Las Vegas, also known as "Sin City!" Your Tour Director is on hand late this afternoon to answer any questions.
Depart the glittering lights of Las Vegas for one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Grand Canyon National Park. Journey across the old Mojave gold-strike country, passing through Williams on historic Route 66, and Kaibab National Forest. Arrive at the Grand Canyon by mid- afternoon and marvel at the breathtaking views. Accommodations this evening are inside the National Park.
If you miss the sunset over the canyon, sunrise is just as impressive! You may want to join an exciting helicopter flight over the canyon for incomparable views of flame-coloured walls plunging 6,093 feet into the Colorado River. Continue across Arizona and into the Navajo Nation. Situated on the Arizona/Utah border, Monument Valley's scenic desert vistas and iconic buttes have appeared in countless classic Western films. See the massive formations on a memorable 4- wheel-drive tour. Your knowledgeable Navajo guide will show you some of the valley's most incredible scenery and share with you local legends and lore. This evening, join the optional Navajo cookout for dinner surrounded by the red-rock canyons of Monument Valley.
We head north for Moab. Visit the magnificent Arches National Park, where you'll discover a landscape of contrasting colours, landforms, and textures unlike anything else in the world. This red-rock wonderland will amaze you. A late arrival into Grand Junction, surrounded by awe-inspiring natural beauty and the dramatic red-rock landscape of the Colorado National Monument.
This morning, visit Colorado National Monument. Towering monoliths exist within a vast plateau and canyon panorama. Experience sheer-walled, red-rock canyons along the twists and turns of Rim Rock Drive, where you may spy bighorn sheep and soaring eagles. We then journey east across the Rocky Mountains to the "Mile High City" of Denver.
Today, travel across the windswept landscape of Wyoming and into the Black Hills of South Dakota. Spend the next two nights in Custer, in the heart of the Black Hills National Forest, and gateway to Custer State Park, Crazy Horse Memorial, and Mount Rushmore.
At Custer State Park, enjoy a scenic drive along Wildlife Loop Road with spectacular terrain and an abundance of wildlife, like the herd of 1,300 bison that roam freely throughout the park. Afterward, visit Mount Rushmore National Memorial, which stands as a shrine to democracy. See the stunning granite faces of Mount Rushmore, a giant monument to four great American presidents: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt. Then, visit the Crazy Horse Memorial, a monument carved out of a mountain to honour the great Native American hero, Chief Crazy Horse. (CB)
This morning, head through high country, where open-range cattle kings made war on the homesteaders in the 1890s. Next, make a photo stop at Devils Tower National Monument, established as America's first national monument by Teddy Roosevelt in 1906. Overnight in Buffalo Bill's Western town of Cody. (CB)
This morning, join the optional outing and visit the Buffalo Bill centre of the West, which celebrates the spirit of the American West. This afternoon make your way into America's first national park, Yellowstone National Park. Spend the next two nights inside the park.
NOTES: Accommodations used by Cosmos in Yellowstone National Park are typically open from late May through mid-September. Departures before or after these opening dates will stay in West Yellowstone. Routing and areas visited in Yellowstone National Park are always subject to favourable weather, gate access, and road conditions; therefore, routings may be adjusted.
Spend the day exploring all the wonders of Yellowstone National Park, established in 1872 as the world's first national park. See world-famous Old Faithful Geyser, Mammoth Hot Springs, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, and Fountain Paint Pots. Keep a lookout for some of the park's wildlife that can include moose, bison, elk, deer, bighorn sheep, wolf, bear, fox, coyote, and beaver.
Head south into magnificent Grand Teton National Park, one of America's last preserves of wild solitude. Its 13,770-foot- high ridges are crested with snow most of the year. Stroll along the shores of beautiful glacier-fed Jenny Lake before arriving in the Wild West town of Jackson with its wooden sidewalks and swinging-door saloons. Overnight in Alpine located on the banks of the Snake River.
Travel to Salt Lake City, Utah's vibrant capital. Set on the edge of Great Salt Lake Desert, this centre of the Mormon religion is where Brigham Young declared to his followers, "This is the place." An orientation tour offers a glimpse of Temple Square, the Capitol Building, and the downtown area. (B)
Today's highlight is a visit to unique Bryce Canyon National Park with its 20 miles of sandstone cliffs and ever-changing colours. See some of Earth's most brilliant shades of rock, sculpted by nature into pillars called "hoodoos." (B)
First stop today is Zion National Park with its landscape carved over millions of years by rushing streams. Steep canyons, stone towers, and verdant vegetation form the scenery of Zion. See fantastic rock structures and some unbelievable scenic beauty. We then return to Las Vegas and your downtown hotel. (B)
Your holiday ends this morning. You can extend your holiday with extra nights and explore Las Vegas further.