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Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Highlights

  • Driving through Oak Creek Canyon, one of Rand McNally’s top 5 scenic USA drives
  • Encountering Bryce Canyon’s mystical hoodoo spires which can rise 10-storey’s high
  • Traversing the vast wilderness of the Grand Escalante Staircase monument
  • Staying within minutes’ walking distance from the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
  • Visiting Yosemite National Park, Scottish-born John Muir’s profound legacy
  • Discovering a hidden micro-climate in Zion National Park
  • Journeying deep into the rich ecosystems of the Grand Canyon

On this drive & hike adventure from the Grand Canyon to San Francisco you will experience the very best that the American West has to offer. See Sedona in all its red rock glory, the Grand Canyon at sunset, Bryce Canyon’s mystical hoodoo spires, Zion’s heavenly stone monuments, the stark landscapes of Death Valley and the magnificence of Yosemite.

Your tour finishes in San Francisco so you also have the opportunity to explore this incredible city, perhaps strolling across the Golden Gate Bridge, visiting Chinatown for excellent Asian cuisine and taking a ferry to see the remains of the prison at Alcatraz. You will also spend a night in Las Vegas where you can soak in the sights, lights and sounds of the famous strip!

Begin with a walk in Sedona and Oak Creek and with a drive that showcases the incredible diversity of Arizona. The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long and up to 18 miles wide and was originally carved out by the Colorado River and it is here you will walk the South Kaibab Trail for 360 degree views. Follow trails deep into the intricately carved landscapes of Bryce Canyon, before marvelling at the vast wilderness of the Grand Escalante Staircase Monument.

Continue on to Zion National Park, named by early Mormon settlers and discover a micro-climate, trickling waterfalls and towering walls rising thousands of feet above you. Death Valley, considered the hottest place on earth provides great photographic opportunities. You will also spend time in Yosemite which offers a plethora of stunning and majestic landscapes and is a “must-see” for all walking and outdoor enthusiasts with its sheer walls, towering trees, domes, peaks and grassy meadows.

Your self-guided drive and hike tour in the American West includes 13 nights in hotels, resorts, lodges and a tented cabin, 1 breakfast, a welcome orientation meeting, driving directions and maps, walking route notes and trail maps and a comprehensive information pack.

DAY 1: Arrive Phoenix

Upon arrival at Phoenix Airport pick up your rental car (optional supplement) and take a short drive to Carefree Resort. Depending on your time of arrival you may wish to take a scenic warm-up walk which begins at the Gateway Trailhead and takes you through the beautiful desert of Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve. As you walk you will enjoy views of the city and the preserve’s diverse desert flora and fauna, including the famed Giant Saguaro Cactus.


Overnight: Carefree Resort, Carefree


This is resort is located just north of Phoenix with great views of the Continental Mountains. All the comfortable rooms are spacious and you can relax by the pool or in the fitness centre.  


Walk: Optional 4.4 miles, elevation gain +/- 640 ft


Driving distance and time: From Phoenix Airport to Carefree, 30 mins. To Trailhead, 10 mins.


DAY 2: Oak Creek Trail

An early departure from your hotel takes you north through the Sonoran desert and into the high elevation plateaus of Northern Arizona. On today’s drive you traverse four distinct biomes showcasing the incredible diversity Arizona has to offer, from Sonoran desert to Ponderosa Pine Forest. About an hour into your drive you will come to Sedona then wind your way through Oak Creek Canyon. This route has been named one of Rand McNally’s top 5 scenic drives in America.


Continue on to the Grand Canyon National Park, where you will get your first glimpse of this magnificent abyss.


Overnight: Yavapai Lodge, Grand Canyon


This property is located within the Grand Canyon National Park and has 198 rooms. They are all decorated in a modern style and have air-conditioning, ceiling fans and coffee-making facilities.


Walk: 6 miles, elevation gain +/- 300 ft


Driving distance and time: From Carefree to Sedona & Oak Creek Trailhead, 1.5 hours. From here to South Rim, 4 hour and 220 miles


DAY 3: South Kaibab Trail

After breakfast and a short ride on the park’s convenient shuttle you will be at the trailhead for the South Kaibab Trail. This scenic trail is unique in the Grand Canyon as it traverses along a ridgeline instead of descending a side canyon, allowing for unobstructed views and excellent photography opportunities.


After your hike, drive to Lake Powell to begin another stage of your journey.


Overnight: Courtyard Page at Lake Powell, Lake Powell


The hotel has 153 deluxe Southwestern-style guest rooms near Lake Powell, featuring free HBO, complimentary wireless high-speed internet access, and luxurious Marriot bedding. The Southwestern-themed hotel, surrounded by Lake Powell National Golf Course, is located within minutes of Glen Canyon Dam, Antelope Canyon, Wahweap and Antelope Point marinas. 


Walk: 3 miles, elevation gain +/- 1140 ft


Driving Distance and time: 3. 5 hours and 134 miles to Lake Powell from the East Park Gate (Grand Canyon South Rim).


DAY 4: Bryce Canyon Classic Trail

Today’s journey takes you deeper into the intricately-carved landscape of the Colorado Plateau. Towards the end of Long Valley you will cross over the Sevier River as you make your way onto Utah’s Scenic Highway 12 leading you to breath-taking Bryce Canyon National Park and your home for the next two nights.


Located in the high desert of southern Utah, the Bryce Canyon landscape is a mysterious wonderland of distinctive rock formations known as hoodoos.  Enjoy your walk today through this unusual and spectacular scenery.


Overnight: Ruby’s Lodge, Bryce Canyon


This lodge is located only 1 mile from Bryce Canyon National Park and
offers comfortable, airy rooms, and an on-site general store. 


Walk: 3 miles, elevation gain +/- 400 ft


Driving distance and time: 2.5 hours and 155 miles from Lake Powell to Bryce Canyon.


DAY 5: Calf Creek Falls Trail

Continue deep into Utah’s outback on Scenic Highway 12, the only paved road traversing the Grand Staircase National Monument. Rolling pastoral farmland is contrasted against towering buttes, domes and peaks on your way to the trailhead for Lower Calf Creek.


The Grand Staircase National Monument is a vast and intricate wilderness and one way to really appreciate it is to walk along the meandering trail that leads to Calf Creek Falls .This trail is exquisitely beautiful and en route you will also see the native tribal rock art and pictographs.


Overnight: Ruby’s Lodge, Bryce Canyon


Walk: 6 miles, elevation gain +/- 100 ft


Driving Distance and time: 2. 5 hours and 127 miles


DAY 6: Zion National Park

Make your way to Zion National Park, often called “Yosemite dressed in red” due to its towering sandstone cliffs sculpted and carved from an ancient desert by the force of flood waters and time. Zion was named by early Mormon settlers, meaning a ‘place of refuge,’; you’re sure to see why they found comfort within these walls.


Take the park shuttle to begin today’s suggested walk where you will discover a hidden “micro-climate” surrounding three serene ponds.


Overnight: Pioneer Lodge, Springdale


This historic pioneer lodge built in 1882 has  simple, yet comfortable rooms and there is an outdoor pool, full-service restaurant and an internet café.


Walk: 8 miles, elevation +/- 400 ft


Driving distance and time: 1.5 hours and 127 miles.


DAY 7: Angel’s Landing Walk

Your day begins with a summit to Angel’s Landing. Drive 30 minutes to the trailhead at the grotto and when you have completed the hike you can spend the afternoon wading in the waters of the Virgin River or stop for a picnic under the shade of an enormous Cottonwood tree outside the Zion Park Lodge. Check your route book for tips on discovering some of the many hidden secrets of the park that few visitors will ever see.


Overnight: Pioneer Lodge, Springdale


Walk: 5 miles, elevation +/- 1700 ft


Driving distance and time: 1 hour to and from the trailhead.


DAY 8: Zion National Park.

Celebrate your final morning in Zion National Park by walking the shoulders of the Watchman Spire to a stunning lookout over Zion Canyon. The rising sun splashes the walls in crimson red as you take in the sights and sounds of the valley one last time.


After the walk wave farewell to the Zion as soon you will be entering the bright lights of Nevada’s famous Las Vegas Strip! This evening explore the nightlife, casino’s, sights and sounds of this famous city.  


Overnight: New York, New York Hotel, Las Vegas


All of the rooms at this hotel, situated at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana, have flat screen tv’s, marble bathrooms, internet access and luxurious linens.


Walk: 3.5 miles, elevation +/- 368 ft


Driving distance and time: 2.5 hours and 165 miles


DAY 9: Death Valley Trail

Death Valley is the largest national park in the contiguous United States, boasting close to four million acres of protected land. Most of this wilderness is accessible only by rugged dirt roads and backcountry trails.


Today you will drive a little  way to Stovepipe Wells (or take a short but rewarding detour to Badwater Basin – the lowest point in North America at 286 ft below sea level). Pass some wonderful sightseeing opportunities such as Zabriskey Point, Devil’s Cornfield and Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.


Overnight: Stovepipe Wells Village Hotel, Death Valley


This 83-room hotel boasts authentic western comforts and breath-taking views. All rooms are comfortable and offer standard amenities.


Walk: 2 and 2.5 miles, elevation +/- 450 ft


Driving distance and time: 2.5 hours and 142-175 miles


DAY 10: Eastern Sierra Range

Today’s drive is broken up with stops to enjoy the changing scenery. Keep your camera handy as you traverse from one iconic location to another; Death Valley to the Eastern Sierra Mountains. Two great walks bookend the day with a lovely stop in Bishop, California at Erick Schat’s Bakery. Take some time to walk the main street in Bishop and enjoy the quaint, small town vibe of the Eastern Sierra. Your morning hike is in Death Valley park to one of the only watering holes, and then the afternoon takes you up to wonderful and gorgeous alpine lakes


Tonight will be spent in the charming town of Mammoth Lakes that started as a gold rush mining settlement in 1878.


Overnight: Alpenhof Lodge, Mammoth Lakes


This lodge-hotel has an outstanding location in beautiful Mammoth Lakes. Relax in the outdoor pool, the sauna, or in the on-site bistro or pub.


Walk: 2/2.5 miles, elevation gain, +/- 275/375 ft


Driving distance and time: 3.5 hours, 277 miles


DAY 11: Hoffmann Peak

If it wasn’t tor Scottish-born naturalist John Muir, an early advocate of the preservation of US wilderness, Yosemite National Park might not exist as it does today. Take in the sites at Mono Lake and its otherworldly tufa towers before heading west on the Tioga Pass road. Entering Yosemite via Tioga Pass and heading into the Sierra’s high country provides a certain solitude which you will enjoy on today’s hike to Hoffman Peak, the geographic centre of Yosemite National Park.


Overnight: Curry Village Tent Cabins, Yosemite


Tucked right in the heart of Yosemite, below the towering majesty of Half Dome and Glacier Point, the Curry Village Tent Cabins offer you a unique, clean and comfortable place to stay. Please note that the bathroom facilities here are not ensuite at this location.


Walk: 6 miles, elevation +/- 2100 ft


Driving distance and time: 2.5 hours and 104 miles


DAY 12: Yosemite Mist Trail

Enjoy a full day in Yosemite today. If you are an  early riser be sure to take a stroll from beyond the pine-forested tent camp to watch the morning light pour into the valley, bringing the sheer walls, towering trees, and grassy meadows to life.


Today’s hike will thrill and excite and will also give views of the canyon walls, domes, peaks and waterfalls. For your final night in Yosemite you may want to treat yourself to a celebratory dinner at the Ahwahnee Hotel restaurant, the crown jewel of Yosemite dining.


Overnight: Curry Village Tent Cabins, Yosemite


Walk: 6.5 miles, elevation +/- 1900 ft


DAY 13: Drive to San Francisco.

Take one last look at the mighty El Capitan which presides over the Valley. Today’s drive passes through Big Oak Flat before descending sharply down the Priest Grade, giving way to rolling foothills and on to fruit and almond orchards and small agricultural towns. Tonight you will stay in the sweet little neighbourhood of Cow Hollow near the San Francisco marina and which has great dining and nightlife and is also within walking distance of the famed Golden Gate Bridge.  


Overnight: Hotel del Sol, San Francisco


This typical 1950’s motor lodge has been transformed into a boutique hotel and is only a few minutes’ walk from the Golden Gate Bridge. The 57 cheery and colourful rooms are spacious and have walk-in wardrobes/closets.


Driving distance and time: 3 hours and 200 miles


DAY 14: Onward Travel

After breakfast you can either make your way to San Francisco Airport (it may take an hour or more depending on the traffic) or perhaps you would like to add an extra night to your stay in San Francisco. Macs Adventure can make this arrangement for you. Either book on-line on the Macs Adventure website or speak to one of our Destination Specialists.


Accommodation

Your trip includes 13 nights in hotels, resorts, lodges and a tented cabin.


Alternate Accommodation

During the high season you might be booked into alternative accommodations which are not listed in the description. However they will be of the same or better standard that those listed.


Solo Walkers and Single Rooms

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. This holiday is available for solo walkers and a supplement applies.


Meals

Breakfast at the last hotel only is included. You can eat your breakfasts enjoy breakfasts and dinners at your hotels or in local diners/restaurants (payable locally). You can buy sandwiches, etc for lunch (payable locally) in local shops, grocery stores or cafés. The walks are mostly in remote areas so it is better to take a packed lunch with you.

Time of Year

The American West has a primarily warm season from March through to November. The deserts are very hot in high summer, but the mountains and canyons are cool. Peak visitors arrive between June and September. Ideal months to travel are April, May, June or October.  


Baggage Transfer

As you will have your own car the bags will be transferred from accommodation to accommodation by yourself.  


Car Rental

As this is a drive & hike programme you can either rent a car through Macs Adventure or independently.


Navigation

Included in your tour is a welcome and orientation meeting with one of our team who will familiarize you with the driving directions and trail route notes for each day of hiking. Additionally maps of the local trails and maps for the driving will also be supplied. There are many different options for trails each day, but we provide information for the walks which we think are the best options. You will also be provided with information about the sites, suggested restaurants and things to do in all the local areas.


Grade & Fitness

Although some of the suggested walks have significant elevation gains and losses, there are lots of choices on offer which provide easier walking, so we have graded this trip as easy to moderate which is perfect for regular walkers. A good level of fitness is definitely required in order to enjoy this tour to the maximum. The terrain will be varied with some rough and rugged footpaths.


Equipment

Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes and a day pack.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, waterproof clothes, and lightweight clothing for the summer, and a day pack.


Getting to Phoenix

The most convenient airport is Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which is served by many different airlines, including British Airways, American Airlines, US Airways and Virgin Altantic. From here you can pick up your rental car and it is an approximate 30 min drive to your first hotel.


Getting from San Francisco

Since the hotel we will be using in San Francisco has free parking you can park your rental car here for the night and then drop it at the airport when you fly home. There are many airlines that serve San Francisco Airport such as US Airways, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. The journey by car can take over an hour depending on the traffic.

Getting to Phoenix

The most convenient airport is Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which is served by many different airlines, including British Airways, American Airlines, US Airways and Virgin Altantic. From here you can pick up your rental car and it is an approximate 30 min drive to your first hotel.


Getting from San Francisco

Since the hotel we will be using in San Francisco has free parking you can park your rental car here for the night and then drop it at the airport when you fly home. There are many airlines that serve San Francisco Airport such as US Airways, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. The journey by car can take over an hour depending on the traffic.


Included

  • 13 Nights in hotels, resorts, lodges and a tented cabin
  • 1 Breakfast
  • Orientation and welcome briefing with one of our team
  • Driving directions and maps, trail directions and maps, information about the surrounding areas and a comprehensive information pack
  • Emergency telephone support from our US colleagues and our UK Macs Adventure office

Excluded

  • Travel to Phoenix and from San Francisco
  • Breakfasts (with the exception of the final breakfast on Day 14)
  • Dinners, lunches, snacks & drinks
  • Car Rental
  • Petrol/Gas & parking Fees
  • National Park Pass (around $80)
  • Travel Insurance

Extras

  • Single room or solo supplement(s) if applicable
  • Additional night(s)
  • Car Rental

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the region is extremely popular. However we will always try our best to accommodate your plans.

How fit do I need to be?

Although some of the suggested walks have significant elevation gains and losses, there are lots of choices on offer which provide easier walking, so we have graded this trip as easy to moderate which is perfect for regular walkers. A good level of fitness is definitely required in order to enjoy this tour to the maximum. The terrain will be varied with some rough and rugged footpaths. 

What equipment do I need?

Your detailed information pack will be sent to you after you book. This has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, waterproof clothes and a day pack.

When is the best time of year?

The American West has a primarily warm season from March through to November. The deserts are very hot in high summer, but the mountains and canyons are cool. Peak visitors arrive between June and September. Ideal months to travel are April, May, June or October. 

Do I need to be able to read a map?

Included in your tour is a welcome and orientation meeting with one of our team who will familiarize you with the driving directions and trail route notes for each day of hiking. Additionally maps of the local trails and maps for the driving will also be supplied. There are many different options for trails each day, but we provide information for the walks which we think are the best options. You will also be provided with information about the sites, suggested restaurants and things to do in all the local areas.

 




 

 

 





Jaw - droppingly spectacular every day!

5

This was a fabulous holiday from the moment we arrived at our first hotel and saw the huge Saguaro Cactus silhouetted against the sunset sky. Every day was a revelation - new geologies, new vegetation and very varied accommodation - from luxury hotels, through clean and competent lodges to basic "tent-cabins" in Yosemite. We were very content with our rooms/beds and slept comfortably in all the locations provided. Worst thing for me was the reduced wifi availability in the remotest places - preventing me from uploading a daily stream of pictures to my avid audience! But this was totally overweighed by the stunning and often unique beauty and fascinating geology of the parks. It's impossible to pick real highlights as every day we were awed, but Bryce Canyon was probably the weirdest landscape we were treated to and from which we brought back the most photos. I was worried initially by the amount of driving involved - but the roads were not like the British roads and were mostly (except in cities) open, free of traffic and with no jams at all. In fact, the roads added to the daily spectacle with photo opportunities galore and we found ourselves often stopping more frequently than we ought to, and ended up missing moments like sunset in the Grand Canyon, as with the shorter days in October we had less time to get there before dark! (We caught the sunrise the next day though!) Going in October however, meant we benefitted from a cooler temperature in Death Valley - still pretty hot; glorious "Fall" colour among the trees at high levels and stupendous sights at the waterfalls in Yosemite as there had been snow and rainfall in the week before we arrived. The suggested walks (detailed in a book we were given) were perfect for our purposes since we also had to make distance most days. The short ones at the beginning enabled us to acclimatise and the later walks, being a bit longer allowed us to experience some utterly dramatic places - steep but good underfoot throughout

Flippsy n' partner

Bradford, West Yorkshire

true

A mind-blowing adventure! Highly recommended!

5

Hired a convertible - v worthwhile Started each day v early Treated programme flexibly Each day brought brilliant surprises Vast distances through a range of climate zones and landscapes. City traffic challenging - might have been better at the end to go straight to SF airport, dump the car and get a shuttle from there into the city. Parking difficult and expensive. Level of planning and support from Macs was perfect. Great route guides and hike details from local rep.

smudger

cornwall

true

The Grand Canyon to San Fransisco

5.0 2

100.0

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