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Southwest Native Trails

11 Day USA Tour of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah

with Balloon Fiesta
11 Days
1 Country

United States

13 Cities

Albuquerque, Petroglyph National Monument, Acoma Pueblo, Chaco Canyon National Historic Park, Gallup, Hubbell Trading Post National Historical Site, Canyon De Chelly National Monument, Chinle, Monument Valley, Mesa Verde National Park, Durango, Taos, Santa Fe

16 Meals

1 Welcome Reception, 10 Breakfasts, 2 Lunchs, 3 Dinners

Comfortable

Mainly 2 and 3 night stays in each location. Comfortable travel days with numerous stops. Requires walking to participate in top sites.

Average group size average 48-52
Tour brand Trafalgar

Trafalgar

If you like hassle free travel with everything handled for you – looking to meet great people, eat great food, enjoy great sightseeing, and have immersive experiences, Trafalgar is for you.  From the iconic not-to-be-missed to one-of-a-kind local experiences, including Be-my-Guest dining and stays with stories, you’ll connect deeper to your destination, and every tour has at least one MAKE TRAVEL MATTER immersive impact experience included advancing one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), offering you the chance to take a deep dive into culture and community. As the world’s leading tour company and trusted by more than 5 million guests, Trafalgar tours are simply the best value for your vacation dollar.

View all Trafalgar Tours

National Parks Tours

Explore the breathtaking beauty of the National Parks in the USA. See the wonders of Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and more with local experts who provide insights into the park's history, geology, and wildlife. From magnific geysers to breathtaking vistas, these guided tours offer an unforgettable experience in the heart of America's natural treasures.

View all National Parks Tours

This immersive Native American Cultural Heritage tour dives deep into the captivating culture and traditions of the Southwest. From Chaco Canyon’s Pueblo structures to Hovenweep National Monument’s villages through local historians, you’ll embrace history of the Ancestral Puebloans and thriving Native American cultures.

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Average group size
average 48-52
Tour brand
Trafalgar
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National Parks
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Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Albuquerque

Start your cultural encounter with New Mexico in its warm heart - Albuquerque. Join your Travel Director and fellow travelers this evening for a Welcome Reception.

Downtown of Rio Rancho in Albuquerque, USA
Accommodation Sheraton Albuquerque Uptown
Included Meals Welcome Reception

Day 2

Uncover the History of Acoma Pueblo

Trace centuries-old stories etched in stone by Ancestral Puebloan peoples and early Spanish settlers at the Petroglyph National Monument. Marvel at the designs and symbols carved onto volcanic rocks 400 to 700 years ago, a valuable record of cultural expression and of profound spiritual significance for Native Americans and the descendants of the early Spanish settlers. Continue to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center as you appreciate insights into the pueblo from ancient times to modern day through the museum and art galleries. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy at leisure. Perhaps join an optional visit to Sandia Peak Tramway to ascend one of America’s most stunning urban peaks where an 11,000 square mile panoramic view awaits.

Buildings in Acoma Sky Pueblo, USA
Accommodation Sheraton Albuquerque Uptown
Included Meals Breakfast
Iconic Experience Visit Petroglyph National Monument of petroglyph sites in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
Petroglyph National Monument

Home to one of the largest petroglyph sites in North America, featuring designs and symbols carved onto volcanic rocks by Native Americans and Span...

See More
Included in Trip

Iconic Experience

Iconic Experience Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, USA
Visit the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

Visit the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, gateway to the 19 Pueblos. Learn about the pueblo from ancient times to modern day through ...

See More
Included in Trip

Iconic Experience

Optional Experiences Take the Sandia Peak Tram up the Sandia Mountains, Albuquerque, USA
Sandia Peak Tramway

Rising from the hustle and bustle of Albuquerque, you ascend one of America’s most stunning urban peaks. Reaching the 10,378-foot crest of the Sand...

See More
Additional Cost Applies

Optional Experiences

Day 3

Explore Chaco Canyon

You’ll love this MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®  Experience along your Southwest Journey as you visit the Chaco Canyon inside Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Head on a field trip with your Local Specialist to Pueblo Bonito, an important “Great House” in modern day culture (should weather conditions render the dirt road to Chaco Canyon unsafe, your Travel Director will arrange visits to more accessible destinations of historical and cultural significance). Tonight, your Stays With Stories is historic El Rancho Hotel, home to many starlets in the 'Westerns' genre during the 1930s-40s.

Cactus plants in Albuquerque, USA
Accommodation El Rancho Hotel, Gallup
Included Meals Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Trafalgar Difference Stay at The El Rancho Hotel in Gallup, USA
El Rancho Hotel

Your Stay with Story is the historic home to many starlets from the 'Western" genres of the 1930's - 40s.

Included in Trip

Trafalgar Difference

MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Visit Chaco Canyon National Park in San Juan, USA
Picnic and Lunch at the Chaco Culture National Historical Park

Stop at the Chaco Culture National Historical Park Visitor Center, and enjoy a picnic lunch with a Local Specialist.

Included in Trip

MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®

Day 4

Delve Into the Legacy of the Navajo

This morning, stop at Window Rock, the capital of the Navajo Nation, where you'll see the Window Rock geologic formation and the World War II Navajo Code Talkers' Memorial and learn how Navajos helped the United States win WWII. Take a step back in time and visit the Hubbell Trading Post National Historical Site, and learn how the Navajo and settlers once traded. Delve into the story of Lorenzo Hubbell, who had a major influence on Navajo rug weaving and silversmithing. After a visit to the Canyon de Chelly Visitor Center, meet your certified Navajo Local Specialist and board your 6X6 vehicle to marvel at the stunning scenery with sandstone cliffs, canyons, and beautiful artwork in the forms of pictographs, petroglyphs and ruins in this MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience.

Navajo Woman weaving rug in Gallup, USA
Accommodation Holiday Inn Canyon de Chelly
Included Meals Breakfast
MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Take a scenic drive to Canyon de Chelly National Monument in Navajo Nation, USA
6 WD Adventure to the Bottom of Canyon de Chelly

Meet a Navajo Local Specialist and take 6X6 vehicles to the bottom of Canyon De Chelly for the most incredible natural sites.

Included in Trip

MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®

Iconic Experience Window Rock Navajo Tribal Park, Arizona, USA
Visit Window Rock Navajo Tribal Park and Veteran's Memorial

See the graceful red sandstone arch geological formation for which the capital is named Tségháhoodzání (Window Rock). The small Memorial Tribal Par...

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Included in Trip

Iconic Experience

Day 5

Marvel at Canyon de Chelly National Monument

See an ancient community built into a sandstone cliff as you peer over the edge of the White House Overlook to see the mastery of Ancient Puebloan construction. Watch nature defy gravity when you encounter Spider Rock and hear the legend of the mythical Spider Woman who is said to live in this towering stone spire. Enter Monument Valley National Tribal Park, a symbol of the American West with its iconic landscape of enormous rock features, including mesas, cliffs, and buttes made famous as the location for dozens of films stretching back almost a century. Meet your Navajo Local Specialist for a private guided excursion of Monument Valley in this MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®  Experience. Continue deeper into the valley while experiencing the sights of Monument Valley through the eyes of your Navajo guide. Travel along backroads and trails unavailable to the public while learning the history and local culture of the Dineh people. Visit an authentic hogan, the primary, traditional dwelling of the Navajo people. Other traditional structures include the summer shelter, the underground home, and the sweat house.

Landscape, Monument Valley, USA​
Accommodation Goulding's Lodge, Monument Valley
Included Meals Breakfast
MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Dream Catchers in Monument Valley, USA
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park Tour, a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER ® Experience

Immerse yourself in the landscape of the Navajo people journeying through the desert to Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park accessing roads, places,...

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Included in Trip

MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®

Iconic Experience White House Ruins in Canyon De Chelly National Monument, USA
Visit Canyon de Chelly

See an ancient community built into a sandstone cliff as you peer over the edge of the White House Overlook to see the mastery of Ancient Puebloan ...

See More
Included in Trip

Iconic Experience

Day 6

Time Hop to Prehistoric Settlements in the Southwest

Head to Hovenweep National Monument, an intriguing prehistoric settlement. As you travel through the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, stop at Southwest Colorado's leading archeological museum at the Canyon of the Ancients Visitor Center for a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience. Then have an insightful viewing of the Ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites at Mesa Verde National Park. From the Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum, you can see the park's third largest cliff dwelling, Spruce Tree House. This evening your Stays With Stories is at the historic Strater Hotel in Durango.

Motorcycle in Monument Valley, USA
Strater Hotel View Hotel Details
Included Meals Breakfast

Strater Hotel

About the Hotel

Durango, United States

Style

  • Stays With Stories
Trafalgar Difference Stay at The Strater Hotel in Durango, USA
The Strater Hotel

Stay at The Strater Hotel, adorned with beautiful handcrafted woodwork, housing the largest collection of American Victorian walnut antiques. It's ...

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Included in Trip

Trafalgar Difference

MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Visit the Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center and Museum, Colorado USA
Canyon of the Ancients Visitor Center and Museum

Visit the Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center and Museum, Southwest Colorado's leading archaeological museum, displaying exhibits on archaeology, local history and Native American cultures.

Included in Trip

MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®

Iconic Experience Visit pre-historic settlements at Hovenweep National Monument, Montezuma Creek, USA
Visit Hovenweep National Monument

Visit Hovenweep National Monument, one of the most intriguing pre-historic settlements in the Southwest, known for its six major villages and more ...

See More
Included in Trip

Iconic Experience

Iconic Experience Visit Mesa Verde National Park in USA
Explore Mesa Verde National Park

There’s no better place to learn about the ancient cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Puebloan people than at Mesa Verde National Park. View the carv...

See More
Included in Trip

Iconic Experience

Day 7

Dive into Durango

Spend your day at leisure exploring the historic town of Durango. Choose to go farther afield taking an optional scenic drive on Colorado’s Million Dollar Highway (U.S. Route 550), from the town of Ouray, known as the Switzerland of America, to the historic mining town of Silverton. Enjoy the panoramic views of one of the most scenic drives in the U.S. as you reach the summit at Red Mountain Pass at over 11,000 ft. Take time to explore and have lunch in Silverton before heading back to Durango. You can even choose to book a ride back onboard the historic Silverton narrow gauge steam train, an unforgettable step back in time aboard a coal-fired, steam-powered train. Chug along rails originally laid at the end of the 19th century winding through a spectacular wilderness (dependent on availability and season). If you are feeling more adventurous, opt for a white water rafting trip on the Animas River.

Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad in Durango, USA
Strater Hotel View Hotel Details
Included Meals Breakfast

Strater Hotel

About the Hotel

Durango, United States

Style

  • Stays With Stories
Optional Experiences Enjoy drive along the Million Dollar Highway in Ouray, Silverton, USA
Ouray and Silverton Half-Day Tour

This morning, take a scenic drive on Colorado’s Million Dollars Highway (U.S. Route 550), from the beautiful town of Ouray known as the Switzerland...

See More
Additional Cost Applies

Optional Experiences

Optional Experiences Take a Mountain Waters Rafting trip through Durango, USA
Mountain Waters Rafting 2 Hours

Experience the adrenaline-pumping excitement of a rafting adventure on this professionally guided, 3-hour excursion. Ride along the clear, crisp wa...

See More
Additional Cost Applies

Optional Experiences

Optional Experiences Take guided food tour around Portland, Oregon, USA
11th Street Food Truck Station

When a couple of Durango locals wanted to create great food centered around a great environment, 11th Street Station was born in 2015. A permanent ...

See More
Additional Cost Applies

Optional Experiences

Day 8

Discover Taos Pueblo

Make your way through the mountains and into New Mexico, arriving at the Rio Grande Gorge, a geological feature where the watercourse of the Rio Grande follows a tectonic chasm. Cross the Taos Landmark Site of the Rio Grande Bridge, a steel arch bridge that stands roughly 600 feet above the Rio Grande. This afternoon, Dive Into Culture in charming Taos beginning at Taos Plaza, a Historical Landmark and artist colony in the heart of the Taos Historic District, home of 65 galleries, shops, restaurants and 21 landmarks. Join a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience when you tour Taos Pueblo, a World Heritage Center and National Historic Landmark, with a Local Specialist. Connect with Locals who call the Pueblo home and learn about these iconic, multi-storied adobe buildings, built roughly 1,000 years ago. A piece of the past in the present, about 150 Puebloans still live within the pueblo today. Gain insight into life in the pueblo and leave with stories one can only hear from locals. 

See the iconic, multi-storied adobe buildings in Taos Pueblo, USA
Accommodation Don Fernando De Taos, Tapestry Collection by Hilton (Taos)
Included Meals Breakfast, Dinner
Iconic Experience Walk around Taos Plaza, Historic Landscape in New Mexico, USA
Taos Plaza Historical Landmark

Experience Taos Plaza, a Historical Landmark and artist colony in the heart of the Taos Historic District, home of 65 galleries, shops, restaurants, and 21 landmarks.

Included in Trip

Iconic Experience

Iconic Experience Old Pueblo in Taos, USA
Meet the Puebloan People of Taos Pueblo

Explore Taos Pueblo with Local Specialists who call Taos Pueblo home. Gain insight into the history of the pueblo and what it is like to live there today.

Included in Trip

Iconic Experience

Iconic Experience Bridge over Rio Grande, USA
Cross the Rio Grande Bridge

Cross the Rio Grande Bridge, a steel deck arch bridge, roughly 600 ft above the Rio Grande and one of the highest bridges in the United States.

Included in Trip

Iconic Experience

Day 9

Uncover the High Road from Taos to Santa Fe

Start the day taking the High Road from Taos to Santa Fe and visit Trujillo's weaving shop. Dive Into Culture learning first-hand how these eighth-generation weavers use one of a kind handwoven techniques. Visit Nambe Village, an active indigenous community at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains along the Rio Grande River, for a traditional feast day meal prepared by elders at the Robinson Property. During this Be My Guest experience, learn more about Nambe culture over lunch and conversation. Continue to Bandelier National Monument and delve into the history of the people that inhabited this area 1,000 years ago. These fascinating cliff dwellings have been designated as one of UNESCO's Creative Cities Network, City of Design and City of Crafts and Folk Art.

Woman with Woven Navajo Basket in Taos, USA
Accommodation Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza
Included Meals Breakfast, Lunch
Be My Guest Chili Peppers in Santa Fe, USA
Traditional Feast Day Meal by the Nambe Pueblo

Visit Nambé Pueblo, a Native American community in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains famous for its public ceremonies and traditions,...

See More
Included in Trip

Be My Guest

Dive Into Culture
Visit Trujillo’s Weaving Shop

Visit Trujillo's weaving shop and admire the New Mexico weaving tradition that dates back to Spanish Colonial times. Learn about the Trujillo famil...

See More
Included in Trip

Dive Into Culture

Iconic Experience Arrive in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
Scenic Drive to Santa Fe

Journey through arid landscapes as you travel along High Road, a cultural and geographical feast for the eyes. Arrive in Santa Fe, the 'City Differ...

See More
Included in Trip

Iconic Experience

Day 10

Savor the Culture of Santa Fe

This morning we head to Allan Houser Sculpture Garden, where you will meet with the museum’s director. Explore the 50-acre open air museum dedicated to preserving the artist's work. This afternoon you’ll love the eye-opening MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience where you'll meet Emigdio Ballon, the agricultural director at the Tesuque Pueblo Community Farm. Learn about this Indigenous community and their efforts to achieve food sovereignty by preserving heirloom seeds and growing their own food.

Buildings in Santa Fe, USA
Accommodation Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza
Included Meals Breakfast, Dinner
MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Meet Emigdio Ballon at the Tesuque Pueblo Community Farm, USA
Tesuque Pueblo Community Farm

Meet Emigdio Ballon the agricultural director at the Tesuque Pueblo Community Farm. Learn about this Indigenous community and their efforts to achi...

See More
Included in Trip

MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®

MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Visit Santa Fe Allan House Sculpture Garden, USA
Allan Houser Sculpture Garden

Visit the 50-acre property on a private tour with local specialist to see some of Allan Houser's most amazing works known for his magnificent sculp...

See More
Included in Trip

MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®

Day 11

Depart Santa Fe

Say a fond farewell to Santa Fe and make your way to the Santa Fe Airport at your leisure. 

Chili Peppers in Santa Fe, USA
Included Meals Breakfast

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Special Departure

Special Departure

Included Highlights

Top rated highlights

Learn more about the landmarks, history and culture that makes your destination special.

Iconic Experience
Petroglyph National Monument

Home to one of the largest petroglyph sites in North America, featuring designs and symbols carved onto volcanic rocks by Native Americans and Span...

See More
Included in Trip
Iconic Experience
Visit the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

Visit the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, gateway to the 19 Pueblos. Learn about the pueblo from ancient times to modern day through ...

See More
Included in Trip
Trafalgar Difference
El Rancho Hotel

Your Stay with Story is the historic home to many starlets from the 'Western" genres of the 1930's - 40s.

Included in Trip
MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®
Picnic and Lunch at the Chaco Culture National Historical Park

Stop at the Chaco Culture National Historical Park Visitor Center, and enjoy a picnic lunch with a Local Specialist.

Included in Trip
MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®
6 WD Adventure to the Bottom of Canyon de Chelly

Meet a Navajo Local Specialist and take 6X6 vehicles to the bottom of Canyon De Chelly for the most incredible natural sites.

Included in Trip
Iconic Experience
Visit Window Rock Navajo Tribal Park and Veteran's Memorial

See the graceful red sandstone arch geological formation for which the capital is named Tségháhoodzání (Window Rock). The small Memorial Tribal Par...

See More
Included in Trip
MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park Tour, a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER ® Experience

Immerse yourself in the landscape of the Navajo people journeying through the desert to Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park accessing roads, places,...

See More
Included in Trip
Iconic Experience
Visit Canyon de Chelly

See an ancient community built into a sandstone cliff as you peer over the edge of the White House Overlook to see the mastery of Ancient Puebloan ...

See More
Included in Trip
Trafalgar Difference
The Strater Hotel

Stay at The Strater Hotel, adorned with beautiful handcrafted woodwork, housing the largest collection of American Victorian walnut antiques. It's ...

See More
Included in Trip
MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®
Canyon of the Ancients Visitor Center and Museum

Visit the Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center and Museum, Southwest Colorado's leading archaeological museum, displaying exhibits on archaeology, local history and Native American cultures.

Included in Trip
Iconic Experience
Visit Hovenweep National Monument

Visit Hovenweep National Monument, one of the most intriguing pre-historic settlements in the Southwest, known for its six major villages and more ...

See More
Included in Trip
Iconic Experience
Explore Mesa Verde National Park

There’s no better place to learn about the ancient cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Puebloan people than at Mesa Verde National Park. View the carv...

See More
Included in Trip
Iconic Experience
Taos Plaza Historical Landmark

Experience Taos Plaza, a Historical Landmark and artist colony in the heart of the Taos Historic District, home of 65 galleries, shops, restaurants, and 21 landmarks.

Included in Trip
Iconic Experience
Meet the Puebloan People of Taos Pueblo

Explore Taos Pueblo with Local Specialists who call Taos Pueblo home. Gain insight into the history of the pueblo and what it is like to live there today.

Included in Trip
Iconic Experience
Cross the Rio Grande Bridge

Cross the Rio Grande Bridge, a steel deck arch bridge, roughly 600 ft above the Rio Grande and one of the highest bridges in the United States.

Included in Trip
Be My Guest
Traditional Feast Day Meal by the Nambe Pueblo

Visit Nambé Pueblo, a Native American community in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains famous for its public ceremonies and traditions,...

See More
Included in Trip
Dive Into Culture
Visit Trujillo’s Weaving Shop

Visit Trujillo's weaving shop and admire the New Mexico weaving tradition that dates back to Spanish Colonial times. Learn about the Trujillo famil...

See More
Included in Trip
Iconic Experience
Scenic Drive to Santa Fe

Journey through arid landscapes as you travel along High Road, a cultural and geographical feast for the eyes. Arrive in Santa Fe, the 'City Differ...

See More
Included in Trip
MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®
Tesuque Pueblo Community Farm

Meet Emigdio Ballon the agricultural director at the Tesuque Pueblo Community Farm. Learn about this Indigenous community and their efforts to achi...

See More
Included in Trip
MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®
Allan Houser Sculpture Garden

Visit the 50-acre property on a private tour with local specialist to see some of Allan Houser's most amazing works known for his magnificent sculp...

See More
Included in Trip

What to expect

Explore Pueblo Bonito "Great House" and the North Rim scenic drive with a Local Specialist
Visit Petroglyph National Monument, Chaco Canyon National Historical Park, Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site, Hovenweep National Monument, Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Monument Valley Tribal Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Durango, Taos Pueblo, Santa Fe, Tesuque Pueblo, Bandelier National Monument
View Square Tower Unit at Hovenweep, Chaco Canyon's White House, Bandelier National Monument
Scenic Drive along Colorado's Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway

Hand-Picked Hotels

Stay at highly rated hotels in desirable locations offering superb service, superior rooms with comfy beds to rest in.

Strater Hotel

Optional Experiences

Sign up on tour for additional experiences that have been curated by your Travel Director from their own in-depth local knowledge.

Optional Experience
Sandia Peak Tramway

Rising from the hustle and bustle of Albuquerque, you ascend one of America’s most stunning urban peaks. Reaching the 10,378-foot crest of the Sand...

See More
Additional Cost Applies
Optional Experience
Ouray and Silverton Half-Day Tour

This morning, take a scenic drive on Colorado’s Million Dollars Highway (U.S. Route 550), from the beautiful town of Ouray known as the Switzerland...

See More
Additional Cost Applies
Optional Experience
Mountain Waters Rafting 2 Hours

Experience the adrenaline-pumping excitement of a rafting adventure on this professionally guided, 3-hour excursion. Ride along the clear, crisp wa...

See More
Additional Cost Applies
Optional Experience
11th Street Food Truck Station

When a couple of Durango locals wanted to create great food centered around a great environment, 11th Street Station was born in 2015. A permanent ...

See More
Additional Cost Applies

USA National Parks

The National Park system was launched when Congress established Yellowstone National Park in the Territories of Wyoming and Montana. Since this preceded statehood for both territories, they were placed under federal management within the Department of the Interior. Today, the National Park System administers 419 parks! Here are some quick facts about our top national parks in the USA. 

If you're planning to go on a tour of the USA's national parks, there are several important things to know to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some key tips:

Pack Appropriately:

  • Depending on the time of year and location, weather conditions can vary greatly. Pack layers, waterproof gear, and appropriate footwear for hiking.
  • Don't forget essentials like water bottles, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a first aid kit.

Stay on Marked Trails:

  • Follow marked trails and paths to protect fragile ecosystems and your own safety.
  • Venturing off marked paths can harm plants, disturb wildlife, and increase the risk of accidents.

Wildlife Safety:

  • Keep a safe distance from wildlife. Use binoculars or a telephoto lens to observe animals from a distance.
  • Never feed wild animals, as it can alter their natural behaviors and potentially lead to dangerous encounters.

Leave No Trace:

  • Follow the principles of "Leave No Trace" by packing out all trash, minimizing your impact on the environment, and respecting the natural beauty of the parks.

Photography Etiquette:

  • Take photos responsibly and without disturbing the environment or other visitors.
  • Avoid climbing on delicate formations for the sake of a photo.

Cultural and Historic Sites:

  • Respect cultural and historical sites within the parks. Do not touch or disturb artifacts or structures.

The climate and weather in the USA's national parks can vary significantly due to their diverse geographical locations and elevations. It's important to note that the weather can be unpredictable in many national parks, so it's wise to be prepared for changing conditions. Always check the weather forecast before your trip, especially if you plan to participate in outdoor activities such as hiking or camping. Additionally, higher elevations tend to have cooler temperatures, and conditions can change rapidly, so be sure to pack accordingly and follow park guidelines for safety.

Here's a general overview of the climate and weather considerations for some of the top-visited national parks:

Yellowstone National Park:

  • Located in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.
  • Summers are short and cool, while winters are cold with heavy snowfall.
  • Weather can change rapidly, even within a single day.
  • Snow can be present even in summer at higher elevations.

Grand Canyon National Park:

  • Located in Arizona.
  • Summers are hot on the canyon floor, with cooler temperatures at higher elevations.
  • Winters can be mild at the bottom but cold at the rim. Snow is possible at the rim.

Yosemite National Park:

  • Located in California.
  • Mild temperatures in the valley during summer, with cooler temperatures at higher elevations.
  • Winters can bring snow to the valley floor and heavy snowfall at higher elevations.

Rocky Mountain National Park:

  • Located in Colorado.
  • Summers are pleasant, but temperatures can drop at night due to high elevation.
  • Winters are cold with heavy snowfall, especially at higher elevations.

Zion National Park:

  • Located in Utah.
  • Summers are hot, particularly in the narrow canyons.
  • Winters are mild in the lower elevations but can be snowy at higher elevations.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park:

  • Located in Tennessee and North Carolina.
  • Experiences a temperate climate with hot and humid summers and mild winters.
  • Rainfall is common, contributing to the lush vegetation.

Glacier National Park:

  • Located in Montana.
  • Short, cool summers with temperatures varying significantly depending on elevation.
  • Winters are cold with heavy snowfall, and many areas remain inaccessible due to snow.

Bryce Canyon National Park:

  • Located in Utah.
  • Summers are warm during the day and cool at night.
  • Winters are cold with significant snowfall, creating a unique snowy landscape.

Acadia National Park:

  • Located in Maine.
  • Summers are mild and pleasant, but fog can be expected along the coast.
  • Winters are cold, and snowfall is possible.

On-Tour Luggage & Carry-On Bag Size Limits

Luggage: Each guest traveling may bring one suitcase no larger than 30” x 18” x 10" and weighing no more than 50 lb

Carry-On Bag: *Restricted to one piece per person, not to exceed 12” x 11” x 6”

  • *Please note: A "carry-on bag" on a tour coach is not the same as a "carry-on" for a flight. Because our coaches have large windows to enjoy the view, there is minimal space to store large items securely overhead or under the seats. A "carry-on bag" may be a soft-sided daypack, purse, backpack, tote bag, or the like. Because we value our guests' safety, small rolling suitcases or bags with telescopic handles are not permitted. In order to guarantee a smooth trip, guests are not permitted to store an additional "carry-on" bag beneath the coach with the luggage. 

So your driver and any hotel porters can safely lift and transport your suitcase throughout your vacation, we strongly recommend that you test the weight of your baggage prior to travel. You should be able to lift and comfortably transport it for short distances. 

Baggage allowances vary from airline to airline, and you should check with your chosen carrier for details prior to travel.

Packing Tips for Your Tour

Packing for a trip to Alaska will vary depending on the duration of the trip, the time of year, and the activities planned. Still, it requires careful consideration due to the diverse climate and activities you might encounter. Here's a comprehensive list of packing tips to ensure you're well-prepared:

Clothing:

  • Comfortable walking shoes: Sturdy, comfortable hiking shoes or boots with good traction are essential for exploring park trails.
  • Layering is key: Bring a variety of lightweight, moisture-wicking base layers, insulating mid-layers, and waterproof outer layers to adapt to changing weather conditions.
  • A warm jacket: A waterproof and insulated jacket will be essential for colder days.
  • Rain gear: Bring a waterproof jacket, pants, and even a rain cover for your backpack/camera to stay dry during unexpected rain showers.
  • Fleece or sweaters: These provide extra warmth and can be worn over base layers.
  • Quick-dry pants: Opt for comfortable pants that dry quickly if they get wet.
  • Gloves and mittens: Pack lightweight gloves or heavy mittens for colder days.
  • Hats: A warm beanie and a sun hat with a wide brim for sun protection.
  • Polarized sunglasses for glare reduction and eye protection.

Sun Protection:

  • Sunscreen with high SPF. If you're visiting any coastal areas, bring "Reef-Safe" sunscreen formulated without harmful chemicals known to be damaging to coral reefs and marine life. Traditional sunscreens often contain ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate, which have been found to contribute to coral bleaching and negatively impact marine ecosystems. Look for sunscreens with certifications such as "Reef Safe," "Coral Safe," or "Ocean-Friendly" to ensure they are environmentally friendly.

Medications and First Aid:

  • Any prescription medications you need. (See more below under Health & Wellness)
  • Basic first aid kit with adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, etc.

Toiletries:

  • Travel-sized toiletries, including shampoo, conditioner, soap, and toothpaste.
  • Travel towel (quick-drying and compact).
  • Hand sanitizer and wet wipes.
  • A washcloth and carry bag (often not available in hotels abroad).

Electronics:

  • A camera: You’re traveling to see extraordinary scenery and sites. So that you don't miss a single moment, bring a trustworthy camera. Check out our travel photography tips for capturing the best photos of your trips. If you feel comfortable, you can also try the camera on your phone. However, if you want to zoom in or capture moving objects, a camera might be your best bet.
  • Mobile phone.
  • Chargers for each electronic you bring.
  • Portable power bank for charging devices on the go.
  • Small travel hair dryer (make sure you have the correct converter and adapter).

Miscellaneous:

  • A travel-friendly daypack or bag is useful for carrying essentials like water, snacks, a camera, and any extra clothing layers during excursions.
  • Insect repellent can be essential, especially in parks with dense foliage or during warmer months.
  • Reusable water bottle. At GET, we’re all about caring for our planet, and with that in mind, we always recommend that you pack a reusable water bottle for your trip. Bringing your own reusable water bottle or asking for tap water at restaurants means you can make a difference by reducing your vacation plastic waste.
  • If you have a National Park Pass or any tour-related documents, keep them easily accessible.
  • Carry a copy of your ID, passport, or driver's license, especially if you're staying in lodges within the park.
  • A small travel alarm.
  • A travel iron if you like your clothes to be pressed.
  • A travel pillow.

Optional:

  • Light sleepwear.
  • A new, blank journal to document your trip. Don't know your travel journal style? Find out here!
  • Ziplock bags (storing snacks, toiletries, and keeping things organized).

Remember that the specific items you pack may vary based on the park you're visiting and the activities planned during your guided tour.

Since you are traveling within the USA, you won't need to worry about voltage and plug type differences. Just pack your electronic devices as you would for any domestic trip, and you'll be all set to enjoy your guided tour in the United States!

It's important to keep in mind that the focus of national park lodges is often on providing a comfortable and immersive experience that aligns with the natural surroundings. Depending on the lodge's location and the park's preservation priorities, the amenities offered might differ from what you'd find in a typical hotel. As well, the availability of amenities such as air conditioning and hair dryers in national park lodges can vary widely based on the specific lodge and park you're visiting. 

Here's a general idea of what to expect:

Electricity

  • Voltage and Plug Type: As an American traveler, you won't need a voltage converter or plug adapter for your electronic devices within the country.
  • Compatibility: Since you are traveling within the USA, your electronic devices, such as smartphones, laptops, and camera chargers, should be compatible with the standard voltage and plug type used in the country. You can use your regular chargers and power cords without any issues.
  • Hotels and Accommodations: Most hotels and accommodations in the USA provide electrical outlets compatible with American plugs. You won't need to worry about adaptors or converters within the country.
  • Airports and Public Places: Airports, train stations, and other public places in the USA will have outlets that match the American standard, so you can quickly charge your devices while on the go.
  • On the Go: We highly suggest bringing a portable power bank for charging devices on the go. You can charge it each night and pack it for your excursions during the day. There's nothing like missing that photo when your camera dies!

Air Conditioning:

  • Many national park lodges are located in areas with cooler temperatures or higher elevations, where air conditioning is not as commonly needed.
  • However, some lodges in warmer regions or lower elevations might offer air conditioning, especially if the climate calls for it.

Hair Dryers:

  • National park lodges often prioritize preserving the natural environment and minimizing their ecological footprint, so some lodges might not provide hair dryers in rooms.
  • However, larger lodges or those near more developed areas might offer hair dryers as part of their room amenities.
  • If having a hair dryer is essential, check with the lodge in advance or consider bringing a compact, travel-sized hair dryer.

Traveling by coach

Our modern air-conditioned coaches have been selected with your comfort in mind. Your Travel Director will familiarize you with all the onboard features, including a washroom fitted for your convenience and comfort. Regular stops are made to stretch your legs, take refreshments, fill up your water bottles, and use the facilities.

Airport transfers

Airport transfers are not included or available on tours that operate in the United States. Guests will be provided local transfer options after booking so they can make their travel arrangements from the airport to the hotel and vice versa. Learn more about Airport Transfers here.

So that you can personalize your tour experience, you will find a number of Optional Experiences designed to complement the itinerary. These are designed to offer a deeper insight into the culture and character of the areas to be visited and provide some wonderful highlights to your travels. Optional programs are designed to help you experience more of what interests you and to get the most from your vacation without replacing or overlapping anything included in an itinerary.

The majority of Optional Experiences will be offered to you by your Travel Director at the beginning of your trip. Some may be subject to change, depending on the time you are traveling or local circumstances, including weather and days of the week. Your Travel Director will provide further information.

Exact payment options will be advised locally by your Travel Director/Local Representative for each Optional Experience, but in many cases, cash, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are all accepted.

Traveling on a guided tour can be an exciting and enriching experience. However, it's essential to prioritize your health and safety while exploring new territories. Staying informed, prepared, and cautious will go a long way in ensuring a safe and enjoyable travel experience. Always stay in touch with your Travel Director and always follow their recommendations.

Here are some health advice and recommendations for travelers:

Visit the Doctor: Before embarking on your trip, schedule a visit with a medicine specialist or your healthcare provider. They can provide personalized health advice based on your medical history and current health status.

Travel Insurance: Ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, evacuations, and trip cancellations.

First Aid Kit: Carry a basic kit with essential items like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, antidiarrheal medication, and any prescribed medications.  

Stay Hydrated: Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, avoid strenuous activities during the hottest part of the day, and rest in air-conditioned or shaded areas.

In order to ensure a healthy and enjoyable trip, we strongly suggest that you pack an adequate supply of your prescription medications and carry them in their original packaging, along with a copy of your prescription. Here’s what you need to know about traveling with medications.

Prior to traveling, please notify GET of any disability requiring special assistance or any specific dietary needs that you may have, and we will strive to accommodate these. 

When traveling with GET, baggage handling at hotels, service charges, and tips for hotel wait staff (for included meals) will all be taken care of by your Travel Director. There are, however, a few instances where individual tipping is welcome.

Local Specialists

It is customary to show appreciation for the insights, stories, and know-how shared with you by the Local Specialists, and we suggest a gratuity of $1.00-$2.00 USD per person/half day. You can always ask your Travel Director if there will be any need to bring cash along to tip someone that day. 

Your Coach Driver and Travel Director

The trip cost does not include gratuities for your Travel Director and Driver. At the end of your trip, you may express appreciation to your Travel Director and Driver for their excellent service and the personal attention you received. Gratuities are given at the discretion of each guest, and a suggested amount per person/day is listed in your travel documents.

Hotel services

It is customary to tip hotel staff for room service delivery if the charge has not already been added to the bill. Where ice machines are not available, and you receive ice from the bar, a small tip to the bartender is always appreciated.

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