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The Splendid West

12 days Guided Tours

Virgin Holidays' view

America delivers on all its descriptions. The Painted Desert really does look like a dye-splattered canvas. Monument Valley really does look like it’s stuffed with sculptures. Phoenix really does feel like it’s risen from the desert ashes. Mammoth really is mammoth. And the Grand Canyon really is, well, Grand.

Of course, some places have created a name for themselves, like Las Vegas. Gloriously gaudy and gratuitously glitzy, with its famous (often infamous) casinos, it’s a manmade attempt to rival the West’s larger-than-life natural showpieces.

To take in the best of the West, you need to experience its super-fast cities like LA and San Francisco, and its Hollywood starlet hangouts like Palm Springs and the OC. But those who just jet between LA, San Fran and Vegas miss the West’s real soul.

That’s only found in its bounty of deserts, canyons, lakes, and mountains: places like the Sonoran Desert, where you discover America’s most biologically diverse desert ecosystem; the vivid sculptural rocks of Sedona, Lake Powell, Bryce Canyon NP and Zion NP; the rim of the Grand Canyon, as you stare a mile down into its belly; the summit of Mammoth Mountain as you take breakfast with a view; and the foot of Yosemite’s rainbow-luring waterfalls.

Itinerary

Day 1: Los Angeles

Fly from the UK to Los Angeles. Arrive at Los Angeles International Airport where you will be met by an ATI representative and transferred by Supershuttle to your hotel. Once you’re all checked in and settled, your ATI Tour Director willmeet you this afternoon. In the evening,join your fellow travellers for a welcome reception. Accommodation stay – 1 night in Anaheim area.

Day 2: Los Angeles – Palm Springs – Phoenix 

Today your journey begins and takes you through Palm Springs, the winter playground for Hollywood royalty, with its lively downtown and immaculately kept golf courses at the base of the rugged San Jacinto Mountains. A sea of wind turbines mark the entrance to this desert oasis. Afterwards you will pass through Indio, home to the International Date Festival in the Coachella Valley. Accommodation stay – 1 night stay in Phoenix. Coach mileage: approximately 430 miles.

Day 3: Phoenix – Sedona – Grand Canyon

Travel through the Sonoran Desert, the richest, most biologically diverse desert ecosystem in the Americas. Continue to Sedona, a city situated in a unique geological area and encircled by distinctive red-rock monoliths with such names as Cathedral and Coffee Pot. Then drive through the breathtaking Oak Creek Canyon before arriving at Grand Canyon National Park. Majestic Grand Canyon National Park is one of the 7 great natural wonders of the world. Stop at the rim to fully experience this mile-deep colorful canyon’s plunging gorges, and rising spires formed by the mighty Colorado River. Accommodation stay – 1 night in the Grand Canyon.  Coach mileage: approximately 260 miles.

Day 4: Grand Canyon – Monument Valley – Page/Lake Powell

As you journey further today, you will enter the Navajo Indian Reservation, passing the trading post of Cameron. Continue through the Painted Desert to visit Monument Valley, an area that embodies perhaps the most iconic images of the American West. In the late afternoon, enter the town of Page, situated on a mesa above the Colorado River, and we welcome you to enjoy an evening at leisure. Accommodation stay – 1 night in Lake Powell. Coach mileage: approximately 360 miles.

Day 5: Page/Lake Powell - Kanab - Bryce Canyon

Visit the mighty Glen Canyon Dam, the second highest concrete-arch dam in America. From here you’ll enjoy views of stunning Lake Powell, where crystal blue water laps against towering red-rock canyon walls. Enter the Mormon state of Utah, pass through the town of Kanab before visiting spectacular Bryce Canyon, where a tour through a multi-colored world of sandstone spires and pinnacles will dazzle the eye. This evening, weather permitting, be sure to gaze upon the spectacular night sky filled with sparkling stars and brilliant constellations and take in the aroma of pinewood campfire. Accommodation stay – 1 night in Bryce Canyon. Coach mileage: approximately 145 miles.

Day 6: Bryce Canyon – Zion – Las Vegas 

Travel today to Zion National Park and see the massive rock formations carved by wind, time, and the Virgin River. This afternoon experience the contrast of Las Vegas, the dazzling 'Entertainment Capital of the World', where round-the-clock shopping, nightly shows, and of course gambling are available. Accommodation stay – 2 nights in Las Vegas. Coach mileage: approximately 300 miles.

Day 7: Las Vegas

Today is at leisure for you to enjoy the many attractions that Las Vegas has to offer. In addition to world-class shopping, bustling casinos, and Broadway-caliber shows, you might simply stroll the famous Strip taking in its amazing sights, or shop ‘til you drop at designer outlets.

Day 8: Las Vegas – Death Valley – Mammoth Lakes**

Your tour stops at the iconic Las Vegas Welcome Sign where you may wish to capture your photo memory of Las Vegas. Having enjoyed glamorous Las Vegas, it will be a sharp contrast this afternoon to enter the quiet and extreme environment of Death Valley. Stop at Zabriskie Point and Furnace Creek Ranch before continuing across the valley and ascending the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the alpine resort town of Mammoth Lakes**. The area gained prominence as the gold mining town in the 19th century and today is renowned for the superior skiing terrain and staggeringly beautiful mountain vistas. Accommodation stay – 1 night in Mammoth Lakes or Fresno area. Coach mileage: approximately 385 miles.

Day 9: Mammoth Lakes** – Yosemite

Arise with the morning sun and join us for an optional seasonal scenic gondola ride to the summit of Mammoth and enjoy a tasty breakfast as you survey a most stunning view of California from its desert floor to its lofty peaks. Next, your journey today brings you to the Tioga Pass** into the scenic wonderland of Yosemite National Park. Here, you will experience the valley floor and its splendors including the glacial-shaped granite formations of El Capitan, Half Dome, the magnificent Bridal Falls and Yosemite Falls. Overnight in nearby Modesto. Accommodation stay – 1 night in Yosemite. Coach mileage: approximately 77 miles.

Day 10: Yosemite – San Francisco

Depart early this morning to arrive in San Francisco, one of the most beloved cities in America. Enjoy a comprehensive sightseeing tour before arriving at your hotel. Accommodation stay – 1 night in San Francisco. Coach mileage: approximately 225 miles.

Day 11: Depart San Francisco

This afternoon transfer to San Francisco airport by Supershuttle in time for your overnight flight back to the UK. Arrive in the UK on Day 12.

*Denotes local charge – Optional trips and excursions listed on the itinerary are bookable and payable locally.

**Winter Routing - The Tioga Pass may be closed due to weather or road conditions, in which case you will overnight in Fresno or Visalia and a visit to Mammoth Lakes will not be possible (winter routing applies to all departures between October and May under normal snow conditions).

Hotels and locations are subject to change based on availability, final hotel list will be confirmed 10 days before departure.

Dates & prices

The table below shows our escorted tour departure dates.

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Prices are described as Guide prices on this website and may be higher or lower due to availability and date of departure.

Prices are for departure dates listed, ex-UK and are per adult based on two adults travelling and sharing a standard room and with return economy flights where stated. Single room and flight prices are available at a supplement.

Please note some tours are subject to minimum numbers, please call our travel experts or visit your local retail store for full details as well as our latest prices.

Tour information

Please click here to download a pdf of the itinerary and additional tour notes

Pre/Post Tour information

If you would like to extend your trip or make the tour part of a longer holiday, we can easily add on a pre or post night stays for you. Our Sales Team will work with you to arrange the best connecting flights and book any additional hotel stays. Simply tell us what you’d like and we can arrange it.

Time difference

GMT -8 hours

Hotel list

Final hotel list confirmed 10 days prior to travel.

Tour inclusions

  • Meet and greet at the airport
  • Pre-arranged (seat-in) airport transfers
  • Private air conditioned motorcoach transportation throughout
  • Accommodation and sightseeing as listed above
  • Service of an English-speaking guide

Tour exclusion

  • Flight upgrades and airport transfers in the UK
  • Insurance
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, tips & gratuities, video camera fees at monuments
  • The required ESTA application
  • Anything not detailed on the itinerary

Dining inclusions

Room Only.

Journey times

Please note due to long distances covered on some of the tours, there will be some days when the majority of the day will be spent on the coach, so just sit back and enjoy the view.

Group size

Maximum approximately 56 passengers (full coach).

Visa requirements

It's mandatory for everyone travelling to or transferring through the US, under the Visa Waiver Program, to obtain approval to travel no later than 72 hours prior to travel by completing an online process ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) scheme.

Failure to obtain an ESTA could result in the passenger being denied boarding by the airline.

The cost of an ESTA is currently approx $14 per person and can be obtained by visiting https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov. Once completed & approved, the ESTA application is valid for two years and allows multiple visits without the need to reapply – simply update your details on the same website. Travelers can apply for an ESTA even if they have no firm plans to travel to the US.

If you need any further information on the ESTA or you have any other visa queries, then try the Visit USA Website atwww.visitusa.org.uk where further information on the scheme and up to date fee can also be found.

The ESTA is very similar to the automated visa that you purchase to enter Australia and is completely paperless.