National Parks holiday in America, Western explorer
Description of National Parks holiday in America, Western explorer
Starting in San Francisco and ending in Las Vegas, this national parks holiday really is the most superb adventure into some of the western states’ finest wilderness areas. Staying in hotels or local lodges along the way, our adventure begins in Yosemite National Park, where we have two days to take in the great Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. And what an introduction, taking hikes to splendid waterfalls, river swimming and exploring Yosemite Valley itself.
This outdoor theme is very much a feature of our holidays where, although we have a busy schedule, we make sure that the real experience is on the ground. In Zion National Park, for example, there are myriad hiking trails, one of the most exciting being the ascent up to Angels Landing with spectacular views of the park’s eponymous canyon. In beautiful Bryce Canyon National Park you can hike the Navajo or Peek-A-Boo Loop Trails which take you right into the heart of the park’s famous orange sandstone spires, known locally as hoodoos.
Monument Valley is another important stop on this national park holiday, although it isn’t a national park but the sacred lands of the Navajo Nation, called a Navajo Tribal Park and reservation. Here our local guide takes us through the history and sacred significance of this stunning landscape, one that is important not only in terms of natural but also cultural heritage.
Last but not least, we spend two days at Grand Canyon National Park, where you can choose from many trails, all of them stunning and a quick way to escape the coach tours which stick to the Rim Trail. If ever there was a breath-taking way to bring this trip to a close, this must be it. That and Route 66, great in a very different way but just the ticket for getting you back to Las Vegas for your journey home after enjoying this medley of magnificence that Western USA has to offer.
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PlanetWe are committed to offering low impact tours that benefit both the places and communities we visit as well as our travellers. It is important for us all to be aware of the delicate balance that exists in the variety of natural wonders you will visit. National Parks and monuments, archaeological sites and other sensitive areas should and must be treated with respect.
We have created a 'Travellers' Code of Conduct' to help prepare and inform our groups of the various positive or negative effects they could have on a destination. The code includes tips on everything from handling wildlife encounters to how you can help to conserve precious natural resources. Our tour leaders will explain this code of conduct during the first night’s orientation talk and encourage you to follow it throughout the tour.
This code includes following the ‘Leave No Trace’ ethic, this is an international campaign that is designed to help us minimise the impact on the National Parks and other wilderness areas that we visit. Some key guidelines we follow include keeping to existing trails, staying in official campgrounds and disposing of all waste responsibly and recycling whatever we can.
PeopleWe are proud supporters of Bay Area Wilderness Training (www.bawt.org) a charity based in Oakland California which works to connect disadvantaged children in the local urban area with the great outdoors. Their work helps to provide these young people with life changing experiences which they can
apply to everyday life. Everyone booking with Grand American Adventures has the option to donate £1/$1/€1 to support this well-deserved charity and we will match this donation.
Whenever possible, we use local accommodation and activity providers. We also shop locally for groceries, eat in small family-run restaurants and visit local shops whenever possible. This all brings economic benefit to the local communities that we visit.
When visiting desert areas it is important that we help to protect this fragile environment. The desert’s natural way to avoid sand erosion is by creating cryptobiotic soil which creates a living crust on the desert floor. This special soil helps the desert to protect itself from wind and rain erosion and promotes plant growth. All our tour leaders encourage our travellers to stick to the path to avoid damaging this special soil which can be hard to see.
In Monument Valley, we use a Navajo guide to show you their native lands. This gives you an opportunity to interact with and understand the community on an individual level; it also puts money back into the local economy to help sustain the future of their community.
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