Today is an arrival day to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Please make your own way to the hotel in the center of town. – Quality Inn 49er (3 star) or similar.
This morning we have an 8:00am introductory meeting (leave your packed bags in your room and meet your group after breakfast in the lobby). We enjoy the cowboy town of Jackson, which is nestled below the dramatic Grand Tetons, a steep and jagged mountain range on a slip-fault. Enjoy an invigorating walk along the base of Grand Teton along String and Leigh Lake with great views throughout. Next we continue to Yellowstone National Park. We stop to sightsee and to watch wildlife on our way to Tower Junction, a remote part of the park far away from the crowds. The area is known for its outstanding wildlife including a chance to spot wolves and bears. We drive through the park and onto Cooke City to our comfortable accommodation, which is a few miles outside of the park.
Hiking: 12km/7miles, 4-5 hrs of hiking, +/-200m, Drive time: 265km/166 miles, approx 3-4hrs
Yellowstone National Park is the world’s oldest National Park. It protects the world’s most impressive geothermal area, along with one of the densest collections of mega fauna outside of Africa which includes bison, wolf, elk, moose and, of course, bear. We hike to the top of Mount Washburn (3120m), where we often see wild goats, and then hike along the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone for amazing views along its rim. Hiking: 10-15 km/6-9miles, 5-6 hrs of hiking, +/-500m Drive time: 100km/40-60 miles, approx 2 hrs
We explore the area around Old Faithful where we walk through geothermal pools of multiple colours and hope to see herds of bison. We then explore the areas around Grand Prismatic Spring, Norris Geysir Basin, and Mammoth Hot Springs. In the evening we may go look for wolves in Lamar Valley near our hotel.
Hiking: 12-15 km/7-9miles, 5-6 hrs of hiking, +/-100m Drive time: approx. 350km/240 miles, 5 hrs
In the rain shadow of the Rockies we drive south into the heart of Colorado’s Rockies. We cross the vast expanse of the “Great American Desert” that challenged many pioneers heading west. We follow part of the old ‘Oregon Trail’ through the dry prairie, before we enter the green hills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. After a long day on the road, nestle into your cozy motel in historic Steamboat – a renowned ski town. There is time to soak in the local hot springs (small fee) if you'd like.
Drive time: approx. 500 miles/800 kms, 8 hours
In the morning you can hike along the Hot Springs Trail to the Strawberry Hot Springs (self-guided), where there is time to enjoy a soak in the amazing pools. After a picnic lunch in an idyllic forested environment we continue south towards Aspen for the next stage of our adventure. Our comfortable hotel is just outside of Aspen in Snowmass. There is a free shuttle to the town of Aspen and time for a first stroll through this famous resort town.
Hiking: Hot Springs Trail (self-guided) 3miles/5km, approx. 2 hrs, +/-200m; Driving: 160 miles/250 kms, approx. 3 hrs
Aspen must be one of the most picturesque towns in the USA. Started as a gold rush town, it is now home to some of the richest people in the country. The walking, though mostly unknown, is world class. We take a challenging loop walk on the Lost Man Loop over a steep pass (3900m), above treeline and through hanging lakes and deep forests. The beautiful Independence Lake adds to the dramatic scenery, while our local ranger regales us with plenty of interesting information about the flora and fauna. This must be one of Colorado’s best hikes!
Hiking: 15 km/9 miles, approx. 7 hrs of hiking, +450m/- 700m (This walk is guided by a local company to give your guide a day of rest)
The Maroon Bells grace many postcards and rightfully so. They are beautiful peaks reflected in tranquil alpine lakes. We hike towards these proud peaks through dense aspen forests. There are several trail options depending on the aspirations of the group on the day with the Buckskin Pass (3800m) being a popular choice for great views of Maroon Bells and Pyramid Peak. The hike is self-guided. The afternoon is free to enjoy Aspen. (Some options to choose are: visit the famous boutiques or take the gondola to the top of Aspen Peak for above-treeline views, at own expense).
Hiking: approx. 10 km/6 miles, 4 hrs of hiking, +/- 200m (self-guided)
Following spectacular mountain roads south through the Rockies to Mesa Verde. En route, we drive the famous ‘Million Dollar Highway’, considered by many to be one of the most scenic highways in North America. You have the opportunity to take the famous Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge railroad (approx. USD125 to be paid locally), voted among the world’s 10 best railroad journeys. We overnight at the entrance to Mesa Verde.
Drive time: 280 miles/450 kms (or less if taking the train), 5-6 hrs
Today we explore Mesa Verde, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We take a ranger led walk through 1000-year-old ruins, or hike the rims and mesas to impressive view points. Then we drive to Monument Valley where we have a chance to book an optional jeep tour through the valley at sunset (starting at approximately US$75pp). Tonight, we settle into our cliff-side accommodation by the San Juan River.
Drive time: approx. 200 miles/300km, 3-4 hrs
After breakfast, we leave Monument Valley and drive to the Grand Canyon. On our way we will pass the Lake Powell area and stop to walk the short trail to famous Horsesh Bend. After taking in the stunning views we continue to nearby Antelope Canyon, the highlight of the day. Antelope Canyon is known for its incredible rock formations, colours and lights and is one of the most photographed slot canyons in the world. A local guide will lead you through the canyon and you will have time to take photos of this natural wonder. In the afternoon we continue to the Grand Canyon and stay at a comfortable 3 star lodge.
Drive time: approx. 200 miles / 300km, 3 hrs
In the next two days we explore the Grand Canyon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although plenty of tourists visit the area, only few hit the trails. On our first day we enjoy a challenging hike to Plateau Point (guided). Great views open up in all directions! In the afternoon we return to our lodge in the Grand Canyon Village.
Plateau Point: 8-12 hrs, 20km, elevation difference +/- 1150
Today we enjoy another full day at the Grand Canyon which is at your own leisure. We recommend a leisurely hike along the West Rim of the canyon (self-guided due to wilderness regulations) where you can enjoy incredible views. There is also time for an optional helicopter flight over the canyon (cost starting at about US$200pp for 30 minutes).
West Rim: 4 hrs, 13km, elevation difference +/- 50
Along Route 66 we head towards Las Vegas and our hotel in the city. This evening is free to indulge yourself in Las Vegas and whether you love it or hate it, it is an astonishing city!
Drive time: approx. 200 miles / 320km, 3-4 hrs
The hotel offers a free airport shuttle for your onward flights.
NOTE: Drive times provided above are approximate and may vary according to weather, traffic and changes in road conditions.