Arrive at any time. There are no planned activities today until the evening welcome meeting, so check out the strip or get tickets to a show for this evening.
Depart for the sandstone slot canyons of Zion, Utah's oldest national park, where monumental cliffs of cream, pink, and red pierce the sky. In the afternoon we get our first glimpse of the park as we hike along The Watchman Trail. This unpaved trail climbs 368 ft (112 m) to a magnificent viewpoint of the Watchman, Temples and Towers, lower Zion Canyon, and the Town of Springdale.
Set out on an unforgettable guided hike to the famed Narrows. Splash, wade, and swim in the cool water of the river that cuts through this stunning slot canyon. Soak up the beauty of the high plateaus, towers, temples, mesas, and some of the planet's tallest sheer sandstone walls. The canyon is narrow, and the river covers the bottom in many places, which means you will have to wade or swim to proceed. Prepare to get wet but the cool water makes this hike particularly pleasant during the hot summer months. During the cooler months, there are available gear rentals including Gore-Tex dry pants, canyon shoes, and neoprene socks. Hiking poles are available for rent year-round.
Hiking is not permitted when the river is high from runoff or flash flooding. Runoff mostly occurs in April and early May. Late summer thunderstorms can occasionally produce flooding. If the hike is not possible due to weather, it will be replaced with another activity.
This morning, hike through Bryce Canyon National Park, famed for its maze of multi-coloured rock pinnacles called hoodoo. Keep your camera at the ready to snap shots of these spectacular natural towers that cover the canyon floor. Continue on to Page, Arizona, the gateway to Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and the beautiful Lake Powell.
Join a local Navajo guide for a thrilling exploration of Antelope Canyon, a stunning natural sandstone cathedral located on Navajo land and accessible only with an authorized guide. Later, go on a short hike to Horseshoe Bend, and stand on steep vermillion cliffs overlooking a spectacular natural bend in the Colorado River. Enjoy lunch at a family-owned Navajo food truck, a G Adventures–supported project, before continuing on to the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon. Marvel as the Grand Canyon unfolds before you but don't get too close. The land drops almost straight down for more than 1,000m (3,280 ft) into the serpentine canyons below! The gorge is filled with rocky buttes, sheer limestone cliffs, and deep canyons all arrayed in a rainbow of colors. Words defy. This is truly one of the most magnificent sights on earth.
Spend the day exploring this ancient gorge with an expert from the Grand Canyon Conservancy Field Institute. Set out on foot along the South Rim and gain insights on the unique geology and botany of this geological phenomenon, as well as the local human history. After, view iconic park structures at the Historic Village District, then descend below the canyon rim along the Bright Angel Trail to see 2,000-year-old rock art and 250-million-year-old fossils.
This morning, visit Lowell Observatory for a tour of the giant telescopes and to learn about the study of astronomy, and enjoy a lecture. Continue back to Las Vegas, but not before getting your kicks on Route 66 in Seligman, Arizona ?? the birthplace of this famed highway.
Enjoy a scenic drive through the desert to Death Valley National Park??the lowest, hottest, and driest place in North America. Experience the extremes of this landscape as you pass through the multi-hued badlands of Twenty Mule Team Canyon and descend into Badwater Basin, cradled 282 feet below sea level. Cap off the day at Zabriskie Point as the sun sets over the distinctive Furnace Creek formation. Drive through the spectacular landscape of Death Valley. Take in the views of diverse geological features as far as the eye can see. Drive through Twenty Mule Team Canyon to see the different shades of the badlands. Then descend into Badwater Basin, the lowest, hottest, driest point in North America that sits 282 feet below sea level.
Continue to the Furnace Creek Visitor Center to get out of the sun for a further look into this unique park. Once the heat of the day has passed, head to the most photographed spot in the park, Zabriskie Point for sunset.
Begin the day searching for animal tracks amid the otherworldly landscape of Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, where shifting sands soar up to 100 feet high. Then discover Father Crowley Vista Point, where an easy hike offers an epic payoff: a sweeping view over Rainbow Canyon and Panamint Valley. Keep an eye out for fighter jets practicing between the cliffs. Continue around the Sierra Nevada mountains to California's Sequoia National Park.
Enjoy a full day to explore the legendary trees of Sequoia National Park. Walk in the shadow of its formidable giants??including General Sherman, the planet's largest known living single-stem tree??alongside a naturalist from Sequoia Parks Conservancy. On an afternoon hike along Big Tree Trail, hear how, in 1916, National Geographic deeded tracts of giant trees here to the National Parks Service for safekeeping. This evening, return to the park for an evening of stargazing with a local expert; or, if skies are cloudy, set out on a nighttime walk to witness nocturnal life.
Embark on a spectacular drive, watching as the scenery changes from towering sequoias to one of the deepest canyons in the United States. On a journey from Grant Grove to Cedar Grove, be awed by the glacially carved Kings Canyon, and keep an eye out for the endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep and other majestic wildlife.
Head north through the Sierras to the south entrance of Yosemite National Park, a natural wonderland of picturesque valleys and ancient granite formations. We recommend viewing the documentary Free Solo prior to your trip or downloading this film on your devices to watch during today's drive. This National Geographic film follows the incredible world-first free solo (without ropes or safety features) of Yosemite's iconic El Capitan climbing wall. Watch as free climber Alex Honnold grapples with the route, his body and his mind to conquer this rock face that is about 3,000 feet high.
This morning, join a Yosemite Conservancy naturalist on a guided excursion around the park, gaining an insider's perspective on the human, natural, and geological history of the region. Hike through the heart of Yosemite while hearing about its flora and fauna, and learn how this rugged backcountry became the U.S.'s first protected state park in 1864??and, with the help of John Muir, a national park in 1890. Enjoy the rest of the day on your own; choose your own adventure amid majestic waterfalls, crystal-clear lakes, lush meadows, and pristine groves. Keep an eye out for glacial erratics, rock climbers, and a diversity of wildlife. Opt to visit the Ansel Adams Studio or relax by the river with Half Dome as the backdrop. Carved by glaciers, Yosemite National Park became the first protected state park in the US in 1864. It took until 1890 to gain National Park status, with the work of John Muir. Though 95% of the park is backcountry, there is still plenty to explore via hikes or the shuttle system. Spend the day hiking amongst Giant Sequoias, granite cliffs, and rushing waterfalls and understand why around 4 million people come to the park each year.
Pass through the Central Valley of California, stopping at a local farm stand to sample some of the region's best produce. Drive over the Bay Bridge on the way into one of America's most vibrant cities, San Francisco, where your CEO-led guided driving tour of the city begins. Make a visit to Haight-Ashbury, Golden Gate Park, walk across a portion of the spectacular Golden Gate Bridge, Continue past the Palace of Fine Arts and Union Square en route to our hotel. This evening, consider joining an optional sunset sail in the San Francisco Bay, departing from Fisherman's Wharf to glide past notorious Alcatraz Island and underneath the spectacular Golden Gate Bridge.