“Our only two week holiday camping, walking and wildlife watching in three of the USA’s greatest national parks, guided and travelling in a small group. ”
Salt Lake City | Walking in Rocky Mountains | Jackson Hole | Grand Teton National Park | Jackson Lake | Yellowstone National Park | Wolf tracking | Glacier National Park | Seattle
Description of Rocky Mountains wildlife holiday, USA
This Rocky Mountains wildlife and walking holiday starts in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA because it is the gateway city to five of the country’s most magnificent national parks. Sometimes called the Mighty Five. On this two week holiday we will visit three of the mightiest, starting in Grand Teton National Park, in Wyoming, which is home to the major peaks of the American Rocky Mountains. En route to the park, we will walk in the nearby Jackson Hole, a steep valley with wonderful lookout points to the surrounding Rocky wonders.
When we get to Grand Teton NP, we will take a guided hike with a national park mountain leader with a choice of routes through this stunning landscape boasting omnipresent rocky spires, more than ten of them surpassing 3,500m. With forested slopes and deep valleys, this park is home to black and grizzly bear, elk, bison and bighorn sheep and is certainly a mighty start to this holiday.
From Teton to the other great national park of Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, considered by many to be the greatest of all because it was the USA’s first national park. We spend four nights here and pass by the magnificent Jackson Lake en route, which reflects the Grand Teton range perfectly. In Yellowstone, the landscape is very different, due to its volcanic activity over the years which has not just created its iconic thermal geysers but also a flattened lunar like landscape. We hike here with a geology expert but also with a wildlife one who takes us tracking for wolves, one of the park’s most important residents, along with equally impressive bears and bison.
Moving much further north into Montana, our final national park nirvana is Glacier National Park, which although far north is really is worth the journey, particularly because it is the least visited national park and so you have vast swathes of wondrous wilderness to yourself. Walk through ancient forests that have bedecked these great slopes forever, hike up to remote mountain lakes, and go in search of one of the parks waterfalls or the gorgeous Grinnell Glacier, an aquamarine iceberg lake.
This trip ends in Seattle in Washington State, passing Mount Rainier en route, the state’s highest volcano at 4,392m, for your last fix of elevated landscapes at their most exquisite. Although this trip is very outdoorsy, with nine nights out of eleven spent camping and with plenty of walking, it is still categorised as a leisurely to moderate activity level, with no massive treks. Just plenty of wilderness. And mountains.
Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.
We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!
Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.
Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.
Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.
“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.
“The accommodation will be basic” Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.
“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.
“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson
Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando
Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.
Responsible tourism: Rocky Mountains wildlife holiday, USA
UK office It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies in place, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
Leaders & local suppliers We have an excellent long-term relationship with the local operator who employ and train all leaders. We provide refresher training with a focus on Responsible Tourism, so our local leaders can educate our clients locally on helping to preserve the way of life in their area.
When hiking we stick to marked trails to reduce our impact on the local environment and we camp in the designated grounds regulated by each National Park. At campgrounds (and throughout the trip) we employ a ‘leave no trace’ policy in regard to litter - everything taken into the park is taken out to preserve the local environment. We recycle wherever possible on the trip and all leaders are trained in responsible tourism to enable them to follow best practice and enforce our ‘leave no trace’ policy. Local shuttle services are used for transportation within the parks.
We also support conservation of the wilderness areas visited by employing specialist local guides in the fields of geology, wilderness and wildlife to accompany us at different stages of the trek. This channels money back into the local economy and at the same time increases our understanding of the environment that we are visiting and its local flora and fauna.
Group size We operate small group tours that have a low impact on the communities we visit and we always ensure our operations do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. This allows us to stay in unique and characterful accommodation that would not have benefitted from tourism due to their limited size. The maximum group size on this trip is restricted to 12 in order to reduce the environmental impacts of visiting remote areas.
Activity Few holidays have as little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as a walking trip. It is a quiet, low impact activity requiring comparatively little resources to support. Erosion on and adjacent to popular paths is a growing problem and our trip leaders encourage clients not to stray from paths to minimise this.