Embark on the ultimate American West adventure! Hike in Zion National Park and wade through the Virgin River in the famous Narrows. Learn how to rock climb in Utah’s high alpine desert, and then travel to California to delight in the world’s most giant trees in Sequoia National Park. A visit to the Golden State isn’t complete without a stop in Yosemite National Park, including seeing El Capitan, Half Dome, and Nevada Fall. We’ll whitewater raft the American River, learn how to surf in the Pacific, and take a tour of Alcatraz Island and Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco!
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21 Daysview dates and prices
Arrive: Las Vegas, NV (LAS)
Depart: San Francisco, CA (SFO)
Hike in Zion National Park
We’ll begin our excursion of the American West with a quintessential Zion National Park experience! We’ll hike through the Narrows, which, as the name suggests, is a canyon as narrow as 20 feet wide in some places, enclosed by sheer, 1,000-foot-tall sandstone walls. Even more unique, you’ll wade through the shallow Virgin River as you hike! Later, you’ll earn phenomenal views hiking to the top of the dramatic, 1,500-foot-tall Angels Landing. When it gets too warm, we’ll have our choice of swimming holes to splash around in.
Rock climb in Saint George
Our tour continues with two days of rock climbing in Saint George, UT. Tall sandstone walls will beckon as we learn how to tie climbing knots and the basics of belaying from professional guides. A multitude of routes will be set up from beginner to advanced, so you can push your limits as much as you want. In the afternoons, we’ll swim in nearby Crawdad Canyon’s pristine pools.
Explore Yosemite and Sequoia national parks
Our first stop in California will be in Sequoia National Park, where we’ll walk along the Congress Trail in the Giant Forest, home to the world’s largest tree, General Sherman. We’ll volunteer for about four hours with the park rangers in Sequoia, giving back to this unique ecosystem with trash clean-up and other beautification projects. Next up on this five-day tour is Yosemite National Park, internationally recognized for its colossal granite cliffs and towering waterfalls. A frolic in the green meadows in front of El Capitan offers unobstructed views of this monumental, 3,000-foot-tall monolith and the nearby Cathedral Rocks. A cliff perhaps even more impressive than El Cap, Half Dome sits just a short ways away—this is often the mascot of Yosemite Valley. Just south of Half Dome, we’ll admire Nevada Fall, whose powerful mist can be felt far away from the 600-foot-tall falls. We’ll wrap up our tour with a hike around the verdant Tuolumne Meadows and picturesque Cathedral and Tenaya lakes.
Whitewater raft the American River
There’s no better bonding time with your new best friends than spending two days on the secluded Middle Fork of the American River. This section of the river is a must-do for anyone wanting to experience thrilling class IV rapids. Perhaps the most exciting section of the river is the Tunnel Chute, so named because of the blasting done by gold miners in the late 1800s. After an 80-foot drop, you’ll find yourself in an underground tunnel for 90 feet before bouncing back out to daylight. We’ll camp under the stars on the shoreline at night, and have splash wars in our rafts during the day. Calmer sections lend themselves to rock and cliff jumps into deep pools!
Learn to surf at Stinson Beach
Known by locals as the most beginner-friendly surf spot in the area, we’ll spend two days on Stinson Beach receiving professional surf instruction. You’ll learn techniques, water safety and awareness, and etiquette before paddling out to watch for the perfect line. These mellow waves are so reliable, it’s not unusual to catch 20 to 30 lines in a day!
Explore Alcatraz Island and San Francisco
We’ll finish our Bold West adventure with a two-day tour of historic landmarks, including the infamous Alcatraz Island. See reminders of the American Indian Occupation carved into the stone of “the Rock,” and walk in the shoes of notorious criminals like Al “Scarface” Capone during a prison cell tour. We’ll see friendlier sites as well, like the West Coast’s oldest operating lighthouse and the beautiful Gardens of Alcatraz. Then we’ll walk the entirety of the 1.7-mile-long Golden Gate Bridge before admiring Ghirardelli Square (possibly picking up some namesake chocolate!) and Fisherman’s Wharf. We’ll give back to this scenic and well-traveled area by spending four hours removing invasive species in Marin County Parks.
Dates and Prices
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Approximate service hours: 8
Included in Tuition:
- All meals
- All lodging, group gear, and technical gear
- All guided activities
Not Included in Tuition:
- Personal gear and clothing
- Optional trip protection
My favorite part about the trip was probably when we went whitewater rafting, because I had never done that before, and it was an amazing and thrilling experience! I also really enjoyed our hike to Angels Landing, which was incredible.
We chose Bold Earth from a web search as we sought out an adventure tour for our daughter. It took a great leap of faith to send her out to Vegas never having
met anyone from the company. I was able to talk to previous travelers’ parents but, again, no one I knew. Any time I called, I immediately got a helpful voice on the other end of the phone. Becca had the time of her life and obviously made lifelong and far-flung friends. She grew in responsibility, maturity and independence. Taking a chance on Bold Earth was one of the best decisions we have ever made.
My favorite part about the trip was seeing incredible places that I didn’t even know existed. They truly took my breath away.