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 the Golden Gate Bridge 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)
Day 1-4: 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 Scout’s Lookout. When it gets too warm, we’ll have our choice of swimming holes to splash around in.
Day 5-7: 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.
Accommodation: Camping & 1 night of hotels.
Day 8-12: 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 with the park rangers in Sequoia, giving back to this unique ecosystem with trash clean-up and other beautification projects. Next up on this 21-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 Falls, 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.
Day 13-15: 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 80-feet of rapids, 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!
Day 16-18: 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!
Day 19-21: Explore San Francisco
We’ll finish our Bold West adventure with a two-day tour of historic landmarks, including the famous Golden Gate Bridge. We will walk the entirety of Fisherman’s Wharf, a historic fishing village turned tourist destination. While walking past clam chowder cafes and street performers, we will make our way to Pier 39 to see the vivacious Californa Sea Lions in residence! With the Sea Lion barking echoing across the bay, we will make our way up the 209 steps to the top of Coit Tower. From there, we will have a view over the entire city and a sneak peek of what we will see next, like the West Coast’s oldest operating lighthouse and the beautiful Gardens of Golden State Park. Then we’ll walk the entirety of the 1.7-mile-long Golden Gate Bridge before admiring Ghirardelli Square and picking up some namesake chocolate! We’ll give back to this scenic and well-traveled area by spending four hours removing invasive species in Marin County Parks.
*Listed above is Bold Earth’s intended itinerary for this trip. All itineraries are subject to change in order to provide the best possible program quality.
Dates and Prices
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Accommodations & Service
Community Service: Approximately 8 Hours
- Sequoia National Park: Park beautification project.
- Marin County Parks: Environmental restoration.
- 19 nights of camping. All sites have running water and bathroom facilities. Bold Earth will provide comfortable 3-person tents.
- 1 night of hotels.
Community service: 8 hours
The fact that I was able to connect with 11 other students my age from all over the country was very meaningful to me. Everyone brought their own diverse opinions and culture to the trip, which made it spectacular.
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.