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Visit our country’s greatest natural treasures on this excellently paced and in-depth National Parks tour. Vantage travelers have raved about this classic trip for more than 30 years — and one of the points they heartily agree upon is that it’s impossible to duplicate the vast open spaces of the American West!
Discover the U.S.’s wonderful national parks in the Continental Divide as you journey from the jagged peaks, verdant forests, and cascading waterfalls of Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons to the unmatched splendor of the Grand Canyon and the red-rock formations at Bryce Canyon. Along the way, our Cultural Discoveries will unveil Native American history and take you inside Sacajawea’s history with Lewis & Clark with a special talk by Old West expert and author Ken Thomasma. Join us for a comprehensive American West experience that’s not to be missed!
Fly to Bozeman, Montana
Your adventure through the American West and its national parks begins in Big Sky Country, with a Welcome Reception and trip briefing.
Begin exploring magnificent Yellowstone National Park
The world’s first national park is a wilderness of craggy peaks, alpine lakes, magnificent canyons, and a huge variety of wildlife. Upon arriving in the park, you’ll take a tour to view many of this national park’s highlights, including the terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs, Dragon Mouth Springs, and the Brink of the Falls, where the river plunges 300 feet into Yellowstone Canyon. You’ll explore even more of the park on Day 3!
Delve deeper into Yellowstone at Old Faithful and more iconic sites
Yellowstone’s geothermal wonders are the focus of the morning tour today, as you view Firehole Canyon, Fountain Paint Pots, and Middle Geyser Basin. The highlight, of course, is Old Faithful, which never fails to inspire awe with its roaring plume of steam and boiling water. After enjoying lunch in the Old Faithful area, you’ll have the afternoon and evening free to explore the grandeur of Yellowstone.
Discover Jackson Hole and hear a talk about Sacajawea and Lewis & Clark
You’ll love the drive from the high plateau of Yellowstone to the valley of Jackson Hole, where the Grand Tetons soar above glacial lakes. We’ll follow Lewis Canyon out of Yellowstone, then tour Grand Teton National Park, with a stop at the Mt. Moran Lookout and a drive on the Jenny Lake Loop.
Following lunch, you’ll scout for more wildlife like moose and pronghorn on the way to meet Ken Thomasma, a notable Old West expert and author. Ken will discuss Sacajawea and her journey with Lewis & Clark. On some departures, Ken’s son Dan Thomasma, a musician and historian of the music of the Old West, will meet the group instead to share songs and stories from pioneer days. Tonight, you may choose to see the famous Jackson “shootout” in the town square (seasonal) or perhaps stop in the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.
Embark on your scenic drive to Salt Lake City
Take one last morning stroll through lovely Jackson Hole before embarking on your scenic drive to Salt Lake City, with lunch en route. Your introduction to the city will be a panoramic city tour. Tonight, gather with your group for a Welcome Dinner.
Experience all that Salt Lake City has to offer
Begin today with a performance by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, a unique organization made up of hundreds of volunteers. Following the performance, you’ll stop at Temple Square for a guided walking tour led by a Mormon missionary. You’ll then have the afternoon and evening to enjoy Salt Lake City at your leisure.
Visit rustic Moab, Utah, and explore your family tree
Following breakfast this morning, you’ll enjoy a demonstration on researching your family tree at the renowned Family Search Center of the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-Day Saints. Then, you’ll set off for Moab through Red Rock country, stopping along the way for lunch. This evening is yours to enjoy at leisure.
Explore Arches National Park
As you tour lovely Arches National Park, you’ll marvel at such geological phenomena as Balanced Rock and Parade of Elephants Arch. After an included lunch, continue on a scenic drive through Utah to the heart of Monument Valley, where you’ll spend the evening and enjoy an included dinner. While here, you’ll stay right in Monument Valley at the Goulding’s Lodge — a true highlight for the Navajo experience. What’s more, you’ll enjoy an east-facing room with a balcony, allowing you to watch the stunning sunrise from the comfort of your own room.
Discover Monument Valley with a Navajo storyteller
Experience the classic western landscape of Monument Valley on a morning mini-coach tour led by a Navajo guide and storyteller. See the mesas and soaring buttes familiar from film and TV westerns, followed by an included barbecue lunch. During your free time this evening, you may want to take part in the national park’s many events!
Uncover the natural majesty of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim
Wake up early today to witness one of nature’s greatest spectacles — sunrise over the Grand Canyon, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Then, enjoy a full day at this famed landmark’s South Rim. Free shuttle service and U.S. National Park Service programs make exploring at your own pace easy and rewarding.
Lunch in Lake Powell and visit Glen Canyon
Transfer this morning to the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Encompassing over 1.25 million acres, Glen Canyon offers unparalleled opportunities for sightseeing and backcountry recreation. The area stretches for hundreds of miles from Lees Ferry in Arizona to the Orange Cliffs of southern Utah, containing scenic vistas, geologic wonders, and a vast panorama of human history. On a visit to the Carl Hayden Visitor Center, you’ll be able to look out over Glen Canyon Dam and see to the end of Lake Powell — the scenic site of our lunch today!
Experience the fascinating hoodoos of Bryce Canyon
Today you’ll explore Bryce Canyon National Park, renowned for eerie, wind-carved red-rock formations known as hoodoos. On a scenic highlights tour, experience the breathtaking views of Rainbow Point, Fairyland, and Natural Bridge; then, enjoy the rest of the day at leisure, taking in the splendor of the national park’s unique rock formations.
Tour Zion National Park; then visit another kind of U.S. park: Las Vegas
Enjoy a morning drive through vivid desert landscapes, including a stop at Red Rock Canyon. You’ll then continue on to Zion National Park, traveling through the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel en route. Upon arrival at the park, enjoy free time to explore on your own, followed by an included lunch. Afterward, we’ll depart Zion for Las Vegas, making our way through the picturesque scenery of Utah and Nevada. After a short panoramic drive down the glittering Las Vegas Strip, we’ll check in to our hotel. This evening, gather with fellow travelers for a Farewell Dinner at the hotel.
Your discovery of the great National Parks of the American West comes to an end today. Following breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight home.
Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Adventure Leader or local representatives at the destination.
Please Note: The hotels listed are preliminary and subject to change. Although we contract our hotels a year in advance, unforeseen situations do occasionally occur. Should it be necessary to change a hotel, one of equal quality and value will be substituted. You will receive verified hotel information with your final itinerary.
Note: That hotel ratings are based on the hotel and a leading travel industry authority on hotels throughout the world.