Tour leader: Katya Belykh
States: California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah
Dates: September 25th — October 10th, 2015
16 days, 15 nights
Las Vegas, Nevada — Havasupai Native American reservation — Grand Canyon — Death Valley — the Racetrack playa — Tecopa hot springs — Bryce Canyon — Zion Canyon.
A physically active tour with a lot of trekking and camping.
This trip will include trekking and camping in the Havasupai Native American reservation at the bottom of Grand Canyon, as well as lots of trekking and camping in wild and secluded places. The program will fit anybody who enjoys active recreation, wild nature and sleeping in a tent. No special physical training is needed. Although our route will lead through a desert, we will have many opportunities to swim in waterfalls, rivers and hot springs.
After a day in the entertainment capital of Las Vegas, we will head out into the American outback. A part of the way will be on the famous Route 66, the very first road that connected industrialized East with the Wild West. The road has long lost it’s economical importance, but still holds the appeal for tourism because of it’s beauty.
Our trek into the Grand Canyon will be on one of the most interesting and beautiful paths: the Havasupai Indian reservation. The canyon in which the natives reside is a side canyon, a tributary to the Grand Canyon and without doubt one of the most beautiful ones. The Havasu river is famous for its turquoise waters and numerous waterfalls and pools. Swimming here is really top-notch!
After trekking the Grand Canyon we will have a chance to relax and restore our energy at the Tecopa hot springs resort. Death Valley will be the next place of power we’ll explore in details. Nighttime hot spring bathing will be combined with daytime hikes around the park. Our last night in the Death Valley will be spent in a tent not far from a mystical moving rocks valley — the Racetrack Playa. As we’re leaving the valley we will stop by an amazing place — the China Ranch oasis. They are famous for their dates — best in South West region.
After this we will visit yet another magical place on the Grand Canyon’s edge: Toroweap Point. It is one of the most wild and unpopulated places in the national park, where an unusual volcanic landscape oddly intertwines with kilometer-high red rock cliffs.
At the end of our tour we will get acquainted with Zion and Bryce Parks — the landscapes and energy there are utterly different but just as amazing.
During our trip, we will be staying either in tents or in the small-town hotels of the Wild West. You will have an opportunity to become familiar with the culture, history and ways of life in corners of America that very rarely get busloads of tourists. When in national parks, not only will we be taking pictures on the scenic view sites, we will also be walking to all sorts of interesting, beautiful and remote spots where it will be just us and the nature.
September 25th, Friday. Group’s arrival to Los Angeles, CA. Travel from LA to Las Vegas, NV. Meet at the airport, drive to the hotel. Night in Las Vegas, 2-3* hotel.
September 26th, Saturday. Independent exploring of Las Vegas, its attractions and casinos. Those interested can go see one of the many shows (not included in the program). Night in Las vegas, 2-3* hotel.
September 27th, Sunday. Drive from Las Vegas to the Hualapai Indian reservation — 3.5 hours. Along the way, an excursion of the famous Hoover Dam built across Colorado River. Night at a small motel near the canyon trailhead. Orientation and packing in the evening
September 28th, Monday. Drive to the trailhead — 1 hour. Trekking to the Havasupai tribe village on the bottom of the canyon. The length of the hike is about 16 kilometers. Swimming in the waterfalls. Camping at the bottom of the canyon in the Havasupai reservation.
September 29th, Tuesday. Trekking the Grand Canyon, with an optional hike all the way to the Colorado River (21 kilometers altogether to the river and back). Alternative day plan is rest, swimming in waterfalls and short walks in the surrounding area. Camping at the bottom of the canyon in the Havasupai reservation.
September 30th, Wednesday. Free time in the reservation. Short hikes and swimming in the waterfalls located nearby. Camping at the bottom of the canyon in the Havasupai reservation.
October 1st, Thursday. Packing up the camp early in the morning and hiking out of the canyon — 16 kilometers. Drive to a hot springs resort near the Death Valley (Tecopa Hot Springs) — around 7 hours. Bathing in the hot springs, rest, sleep.
October 2nd, Friday. Morning: bathing in the hot springs, a late start. Death Valley. Exploring the lowest altitude point in the Western hemisphere, the Bad Water Basin — 87 meters below sea level. Trekking Zabriskie Point and Golden Canyon. Night at the hot springs resort in Tecopa.
October 3rd, Saturday. Early start. Morning at Dante’s View Point — a mountain range confining the Death Valley from the East. Exploring the mountains. A late breakfast and souvenir shopping in the Furnace Creek village visitor center. Trekking the Mosaic Canyon; giant dunes (Eureka Dunes) at sunset. Night at the hot springs resort in Tecopa.
October 4th, Sunday. Early start. Drive to the North part of the Death Valley — Titus Canyon. Wild towns of the Wild West, shopping for camping necessities. A Shoshone Natives’ place of power — the Ubehebe Crater, a dent left by a massive tectonic explosion that happened only 3000 years ago. The legendary Racetrack ( A valley of moving rocks ) — a dried-up lake in the mountains, a place where giant rocks mysteriously move, leaving tracks on the smooth surface. Camping near Racetrack.
October 5th, Monday. Packing up the camp and driving from the Racetrack to St George, Utah — about 6 hours. On the way we’ll stop by Tecopa for a last dip in the Hot Springs. An excursion of the China Ranch oasis; the history of land cultivation in the Death Valley and tasting fresh-picked date fruit straight off the date palms! Night at a 2-3* hotel in St. George.
October 6th, Tuesday. Food shopping for camping in the morning. Drive to Toroweap Point — Grand Canyon National Park — about 3 hours on an unpaved road. The Grand Canyon will be very different here. Hikes and camping.
October 7th, Wednesday. Exploring Toroweap in the morning. Trekking the surrounding area, with total distance being about 6 kilometers. Packing up the camp and leaving. Drive to Kanab, Utah, about 3 hours. Night at a Kanab, hotel, 2-3*.
October 8th, Thursday. A trip to the Bryce Canyon National Park. Trekking among giant hoodoos — according to the Native American legends they are the fossilated remains of ancient people. Night at a Kanab hotel, 2-3*.
October 9th, Friday. Morning trip to the Zion National Park. Trekking in the park, the route length and difficulty can be changed according to group’s desires. Drive to Las Vegas — 2.5 hours, night in Las Vegas, a 2-3* hotel.
October 10th, Saturday. Travel from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. Flying out of Los Angeles.
Included in the trip’s cost:
- guide and driver service
- breakfasts at some hotels
- national park entry tickets
- camping permits
- excursions listed in the trip itinerary
- food during camping and trekking in the Grand Canyon — hot breakfast and dinner, snacks during the day — dried meat, power bars, nuts, dried fruit
- shared camping gear: stoves, kettles, fuel, water filters
The cost does not include:
- international flights
- domestic flights
- USA entry visa and associated expenses<
- traveler’s insurance
- meals except the ones included
- personal expenses
- expenses for additional activities
The rental of tents and personal camping gear is not included in the cost! Participants will need to bring their own gear or buy all missing items while in Las Vegas.
During the trip we will visit places with varying climates, the hottest place being the Death Valley, where daytime temperatures can rise up to 30-35C, and fall to about 5-10C at night. The coldest place will be Toroweap Point, Grand Canyon where nighttime temperature can drop below 10C at the end of September. Rain is unlikely, but strong winds are very possible. Bryce Canyon might be chilly as well, being located at an altitude of 2800 meters. >
We’ll be staying until sunset or later in almost all of the parks we visit, so it is important that your clothes can be layered up and added or removed easily, due to the drastic temperature changes throughout the day. A good example would be a t-shirt, a fleece sweater and a windbreaker. In hot and sunny conditions, instead of a t-shirt and sunblock it is better to use a light, loose shirt with long sleeves. It protects your skin from sunburn and does not make you feel any hotter than while wearing a t-shirt and having the sun burn your skin. It’s also crucial to wear something on your head for sun protection.
- Light trekking shoes (mountain, winter and waterproof ones will be too hot) with a fixed ankle (Example:Merell Moab Ventilator)
- For trekking in Grand Canyon and swimming in the Havasu river — water shoes (Example:Teva Churn Shoes — Amphibious)
- Slippers — you’ll need them in the hot springs
- Small backpack for day trekking
- Trekking clothes — a windbreaker, a fleece sweater, comfortable pants, and the ability to be able to wear multiple layers (short and long sleeves, etc.)
- Hat and a sun hat
- Sunglasses and sunblock lotion
- Big towel or sarong — for the hot springs
- Good backpack for multiple-day trips with a 60-100 liter capacity
- Sleeping bag, preferably withstanding temperatures down to 0C or colder (It won’t get that cold, but it’s good for comfort)
- Sleeping mat
- Personal dishes — a cup, fork, spoon and a plate
- Lightweight backpacking tent
- If you are taking medication, bring a backup supply — one of them might get lost, wet, or spoiled.
All gear items can be purchased upon arriving in Las Vegas — your guide will help you.