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U.S. National Parks: The Grand Canyon to Yellowstone

12 days Nature & Wildlife
Follow in the footsteps of the explorers on this tour of North America’s national parks. Each day displays a new destination, and with it new landscapes and adventures. Explore the mysterious cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde, gaze into the depths of the Grand Canyon and stand in the shadow of the Grand Tetons. And, within the borders of the parks, discover the amazing cultural and geographic diversity of the American West.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Maximum tour group size: 35 travelers

Tour Pace: You will walk for about 2 hours daily across mostly flat terrain, including paved trails and dirt paths, with some hills and high altitudes.

Experience the Albuquerque Balloon Festival on a special fall departure of this tour.

See itinerary

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 11 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 4 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Expert Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Santa Fe, New Mexico 2 nights Hotel info

Day 1: Arrival in Albuquerque & transfer to Santa Fe

  Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to New Mexico! Arrive in Albuquerque and transfer to your hotel in Santa Fe. Then, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers at a welcome dinner.

Day 2: Sightseeing tour of Santa Fe

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of New Mexico’s capital city, settled by a Spanish conquistador nearly 400 years ago.

• See the Cross of the Martyrs and Saint Francis Cathedral

• Pass through the plaza in the heart of the city to view the State Capitol Building and Palace of the Governors

• Enter Loretto Chapel to view the miraculous staircase

Enjoy free time in the afternoon to explore the rest of the city on your own.

Mesa Verde, Colorado 1 night Hotel info

Day 3: Transfer to Mesa Verde National Park via Durango

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Cross the Colorado border, stopping in the Old West mining town of Durango, Colorado en route to Mesa Verde.

• Pass by Chimney Rock and Abiquiu Lake

• Take in the stunning landscapes that inspired the work of Georgia O’Keeffe

• Explore Durango to feel its frozen-in-time charm

Kayenta, Arizona 1 night Hotel info

Day 4: Mesa Verde National Park & transfer to Kayenta

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Take a guided tour of Mesa Verde National Park before transferring to Kayenta, Arizona through Monument Valley.

• View fascinating 800-year-old cliff dwellings that honeycomb the walls of the canyon

• Enjoy free time to visit either the gift shop or Spruce Tree House and Museum

• Pass by Monument Valley’s iconic “Mexican Hat,” a sombrero-shaped rock formation

The Grand Canyon 2 nights Hotel info

Day 5: Transfer to the Grand Canyon via the Cameron Trading Post

  Included meals: Breakfast

Stop at the Cameron Trading Post, then arrive at the Grand Canyon where you’ll take a scenic walk along the South Rim with your Tour Director. 

• Marvel at the rocky formations that reflect millions of years of geologic evolution

• View the Colorado River running one mile below

Day 6: The Grand Canyon

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day at the Grand Canyon exploring the rims and plateaus on your own or add excursions.

Optional Excursion - Grand Canyon Helicopter Ride $199pp* Details

Enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the Grand Canyon aboard a thrilling half-hour helicopter ride. Soar over the massive canyon, taking in a unique perspective on the striated terrain far below. From high above the Canyon rim, you can begin to fully appreciate the immense scale of this natural wonder. Please note: This excursion is weather dependent.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $209)

Optional Excursion - Grand Canyon Helicopter Ride (Extended Version) $289pp* Details

Allow yourself more time to admire this natural wonder on an extended ride which takes you flying over the eastern gorge of the Grand Canyon, the North Rim, the Dragon Corridor and the Little Colorado River’s confluence with the Colorado. Please note: This excursion is weather dependent.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $299)

Optional Excursion - Volunteer at Grand Canyon National Park $0pp* Details

Take a few hours to give back to the U.S. national parks and help sustain them for the next generation. You’ll make a difference as part of a group completing a small project to restore the natural beauty of the land, such as removing invasive plant species. Enjoy a nursery tour led by a U.S. national park representative to see where native plant seedlings are grown. Please note: you’ll need to sign medical and liability forms in order to participate as a volunteer.

Must be booked 20 days before departure

Zion, Utah 1 night Hotel info

Day 7: Transfer to Zion National Park

  Included meals: Breakfast

Pass by the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument before arriving in Zion National Park.

• Discover why 19th-century Mormon settlers named Zion after their heavenly city

• View the yellow and orange-hued, dramatically eroded sedimentary rocks

• Take in magnificent vistas on an open-air tram ride with commentary

Salt Lake City, Utah 1 night Hotel info

Day 8: Transfer to Salt Lake City via Bryce Canyon National Park

  Included meals: Breakfast

En route to Utah’s capital city, stop for a visit to Bryce Canyon National Park.

• Tour the park by bus and on foot

• Take in up-close views of its distinctive pink limestone and sandstone formations, including awe-inspiring arches, spires and bridges

• View colorful rock pinnacles known as “hoodoos”

Jackson, Wyoming 3 nights Hotel info

Day 9: Transfer to Jackson

  Included meals: Breakfast

Cross into Wyoming on a scenic drive en route to the resort town of Jackson. Then, set out to explore Grand Teton National Park, home to the youngest mountain range in the Rockies.

• Drive through stunning Logan Canyon and past turquoise Bear Lake

• Tour Grand Teton National Park by bus and on foot

• Try to spot elk, coyotes, black bears, wolves and the elusive mountain lion

Day 10: Yellowstone National Park

  Included meals: Breakfast

Venture out into Yellowstone National Park, designated the world’s first national park in 1872, for a full day of sightseeing.

• Drive through the park with stops for photos 

• See cascading waterfalls, bubbling mud pots and the famous geyser, Old Faithful

• Keep an eye out for the bison, mountain goats, moose and grey wolves that call the park home

Day 11: Free day in Jackson

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a free day in Jackson or add excursions. 

Later, gather with your group for a farewell dinner.

Optional Excursion - The Grand Tetons by Horseback $79pp* Details

Jackson is home to fewer than 9,000 people, but it’ll feel like the big city after today’s horseback riding excursion through the Grand Tetons. Suitable for riders of every skill level, this trip into Wyoming’s back country will highlight the scenic beauty of the Snake River Valley. As you trot down mountain paths, keep your eyes peeled for the incredible array of wildlife that calls this area home. Please note: This excursion is weather-dependent and runs seasonally from mid-May through August.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $89)

Optional Excursion - Snake River Float $79pp* Details

One of the best ways to see the Grand Tetons—the glorious peaks that surround Jackson—is from the Snake River. On a raft ride, you’ll have a great chance of glimpsing some of Wyoming’s wildlife, including soaring eagles and graceful mountain lions. You’ll also get a firsthand view of the site of Ansel Adams’ famous photo. Please note: This excursion is weather-dependent and runs seasonally from mid-May through mid-September. Layered clothing and waterproof shoes are recommended for this excursion.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $89)

Day 12: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Add Missoula & Glacier National Park $999 pp

Please note: Extension is not available on all departure dates.

Missoula, Montana 1 night

Day 12: Transfer to Missoula

  Included meals: Breakfast

Say goodbye to Jackson and drive to Missoula, Montana’s second most populous city.

Glacier National Park Region 2 nights

Day 13: Transfer to the Glacier National Park Region

  Included meals: Breakfast

On the way to the Glacier National Park region, make a stop at the National Bison Range. Then, enjoy free time at your destination or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Lake Flathead Cruise & Dinner $79pp* Details

Begin your evening with a delicious dinner at a local restaurant near Kalispell. Then, set out on a sunset cruise of Flathead Lake, the largest fresh-water lake west of the Great Lakes. Take in breathtaking mountain scenery and marvel at its crystal clear water as you make your way along the banks. Please note: This excursion is seasonal from the end of June through September.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $89)

Day 14: Glacier National Park

  Included meals: Breakfast

Today, hop into an iconic Red Jammer car and venture into Glacier National Park for a guided tour.

• Discover incredible mountain ranges, waterfalls and wildflowers

• Appreciate the wilderness of the park and revel in the sight of melting glaciers that experts estimate will be gone within the coming decades

• Look for bighorn sheep, grizzly bears, moose, river otters and mountain lions

Day 15: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport in Kalispell for your flight home.

How's the weather?

  • Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States
  • Mesa Verde, Colorado, United States
  • Sedona, Arizona
  • Zion, Utah, United States
  • Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
  • Jackson, Wyoming, United States
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
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  • NOV
  • DEC

Passport & Visa Requirements

Valid government-issued identification is required for air travel within the United States. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please be sure to have your required identification with you as well.

Baggage Allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Be advised that most domestic airlines impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage, and that you are responsible for any such costs. Contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height). Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.

Health

Please be aware that you will be traveling at altitudes between 7,000 and 9,000 feet above sea level on this tour. These high altitudes can sometimes cause difficulty breathing and other health problems with travelers who have heart problems or respiratory ailments. If you suffer from any of these conditions, please speak to your doctor regarding any potential health risks. Even healthy travelers may sometimes experience altitude sickness, a temporary condition featuring symptoms of headache, fatigue, nausea and lightheadedness. Until your body acclimates to the higher altitudes, we suggest that you drink plenty of fluids and limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol. Otherwise, there are no major health risks when traveling to this region. During the summer months, take care for sun exposure and heat. It is always advisable to check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and personal travel requirements.

Clothing & Packing Tips

Light, loose-fitting clothing that provides comfort when exploring the sights is essential for your tour. A sun hat, sunglasses and a sturdy pair of walking shoes are recommended for sightseeing. Hiking boots might come in handy, if you plan to do any extensive walking or hiking. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for any eventuality—a lightweight jacket and emergency rainwear are advised. Restaurants are typically informal in this region of the United States.

Cuisine

One of the most enjoyable aspects of traveling is the delightful variety of local cuisine—even if you’re not traveling abroad. After all, the United States contains some of the most varied food in the world. Most of the cuisine is well-known to Americans, but look out for delicious Mexican and Spanish food in New Mexico.

Transportation

Flights arrive in Albuquerque, where a Go Ahead representative escorts you to Santa Fe for hotel check-in. Flights depart from Jackson. All included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach.

Electricity

All regions operate on the U.S. standard 110 volts.

Time Zones

Most of your tour will fall on Mountain Standard Time (MST), which is two hours behind Eastern Standard Time (EST). Arizona is on Pacific Standard Time (PST) in the summer, which is three hours behind EST; and MST in the winter. For most of your tour, when it’s noon in New York City, it’s 10am on tour.

Currency

U.S. dollars will be the currency on your tour.

Tipping

At the conclusion of your tour, it is customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/16/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: ME

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Wondrous!

This was an amazing trip! Each canyon had it's own uniqueness and the tour guide was excellent, as well as the bus driver and the bus itself! I would highly recommend this trip.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 9/18/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: GA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Superb tour of National Parks

We had never been on a trip out West, and this was a wonderful experience. Our coach was brand new and our driver was extremely capable and very friendly. Our Tour Director Christine did an excellent job. She kept us informed on all the details of the tour and narrated some fascinating stories about the area. She was very knowledgeable and a lot of fun. All of our accomodations were very nice. I would definitely recommend Go Ahead Tours and be willing to travel with them again.

review photo review photo
1 / 2

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 9/25/2015

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: DE

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

SO GLAD WE WENT!

For our third Go Ahead trip, we stayed in the USA and took the National Parks Tour. We saw some fabulous National Parks and felt in good hands with Rebecca, our tour guide and Ken, our bus driver. Lots of postcard photos. The pace of the trip is challenging - long days and bus rides to complete the itinerary. Highlights were the Grand Canyon and Bryce National Parks and a calm water float down the Snake River.

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1 / 1

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 9/18/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: PA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Christina is the Best!

I don't even know where to start. I have been to Europe 3 times an never west of Pittsburgh so this tour was an unbelievable experience that I never anticipated. What a beautiful and breathtaking tour it was! I met some wonderful people who joined us on the tour. The tour was flawless due to our superb tour guide. Christina was so organized, prepared, and knowledgeable that everything went like clockwork. She had a fun personality but at the same time was professional. I am going to try to schedule more tours with Go Ahead but will seriously try to get Christina as my guide. Kudos to her!!

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 9/18/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: PA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

National Parks-WOW!

just returned from a tour of our National Parks and I couldn't be any happier with Go Ahead Tours. Everything was first class. The accommodations were excellent, the meals provided were excellent, our tour director Christina was excellent! I, and the group traveling with me, will travel again with Go Ahead Tours.

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1 / 1

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 9/11/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Exceeded our Expectations

This was our first tour with "Goahead" and we were not disappointed. The entire 12 days were just great and every National Park we visited was differently "awesome". Our tour director, Lindsay, was from Utah and therefore, not only knowledgeable about every aspect of all the states we visited, but was so PASSIONATE about the parks, the wildlife and the terrain. She had scheduled a couple of surprises, both of which were well worth the time. Our bus driver, Ken, also from Utah was a gentleman every moment of the time. He was a careful and courteous driver and we felt very safe on every switchback! We enjoyed meeting our fellow travelers and shared a lot of fun - both on and off the bus! Every one of them were very nice people. We look forward to another tour in our future.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 7/10/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Beautiful Landscapes!

This tour was perfect for someone who has never seen this portion of the U.S. It was a great introduction to some of the best national parks. I would gladly return to some of the parks for an extended stay!

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 7/10/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NJ

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Awesome trip!

The U.S National Parks Tour was fantastic! My husband and I enjoyed it so much. All the places we visited were amazing as was our tour director, Phil, and our bus driver, Bret. We also had a great group of fellow travelers. We definitely recommend this tour!

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/19/2015

Number of Past Tours: 6

From: OH

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Best tour in the U.S.

My partner and I have traveled several times to Europe, not realizing how magnificent is our own country. We have seen amazing things on this tour, spectacular sights, and the things that we have experienced brought the WOW affect for both of us.. Thanks to our tour director Stevyn, he took us to places we would heve never found on our own. Europe is amazing, so are the U.S. National Parks. Kathy

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/19/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: VT

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

excellent tour director

Stephen was an excellent tour director and we had a great time with him. Our tour of the national parks was even better than we thought that they would be. We would highly recommend this tour to all our friends. This is our second tour with Go Ahead and it was just as great as the first one.

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