This is an 11-day trek with an average of 4 to 6 hours walking each day. We have graded the walks as moderate with more challenging options available.
Yellowstone Walking Tour
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Following scenic park trails we discover some of the most spectacular scenery in North America: from glaciers and rivers, to deserts and canyons,hot springs and waterfalls. Join us as we view the geysers of Yellowstone National Park and hike along the shores of dramatic glacial lakes.
Yellowstone NP - Thorough exploration of spectacular scenery and mud volcanoes
Grand Teton NP - Soaring peaks and glacial lakes.
Dinosaur National Monument - Uncovering America's jurrassic past
Moab - Adventure centre with many optional activities on offer
Leaving early we journey north towards the Rockies, aiming to reach the outskirts of Yellowstone National Park. We travel through Utah and Idaho passing through National Forests and Fort Hall Indian reservation. The scenery today is on a par with Yellowstone itself, and we plan to stop off at the magnificent Mesa falls, on the approach we witness the toothy skyline of the Teton Range, which thrusts up 7,000 feet from the plains – out to the north you can see Big Bend Ridge, the western flank of a volcano that erupted 1.3 million years ago. We reach West Yellowstone late in the day, our long drive enabling us to make the most of our time here. The elevation of this area is 7500 feet, so nights can be cold.
We have almost 3 full days to thoroughly explore the wonderland of Yellowstone National Park by vehicle and on foot. Although scenery is the primary draw of this area, the park abounds with wildlife. Having been protected from hunters since the park’s inception, bear, moose and elk are frequently seen. Here we see geysers, hot springs and mud volcanoes and walk along beautiful trails. There are flowery alpine meadows to explore where wild animals roam. Buffalo Bill was the first to bring tourists here (often royalty he’d met on his travels) and these visitors, like us, marvelled at the spectacular scenery. The volcanic activity frightened the Indians who believed this to be the land of evil spirits, and so the wilderness remained unexplored until it was declared the first National Park in 1872. We plan 2 half day walks in the park. The itinerary is flexible depending on local conditions and the ability of the group but will incorporate areas such as the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone with its beautiful waterfalls, Mud Volcano, Beaver Ponds Trail and Mammoth Hot Springs.
Before leaving the park this afternoon we drive to the Upper Geyser Basin. Old Faithful – the most famous and reliable of the geysers is here, amidst this intensely geo-thermal area, home to the world’s largest concentrations of hot springs and geysers. We spend 4-5 hours in the area, walking from Firehole River to Geyser Hill , perhaps diverting to Morning Glory and Biscuit Basin. We travel on to Grand Teton N.P. via Colter Bay where we visit an Indian Arts museum (optional). We continue to our base, just outside the park, for the next 4 days. The Grand Teton area is blessed with some of the most dramatic mountain scenery anywhere in North America – 10 summits carved by glaciation tower almost 2 miles above the valley floor. At the foot of the mountains lies a necklace of sparkling lakes. These jagged pinnacles are the inspiring back-drop for our hikes in the park.
On our first day we drive to Jenny Lake. You may follow the shoreline on foot and follow this scenic walk up to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point (4 hrs return). Then we continue further to Cascade Canyon passing beneath Mount Aven (12980m) where moose and bear are often spotted. On the return it is possible to take the passenger ferry (optional) which plies across the blue waters of Jenny Lake, back to our transport waiting on the far side – high above hangs the Teton Glacier, a stunning finale to our walk.
In Grand Teton NP; optional rafting on Snake River
Our second day is free for relaxing in nearby Jackson, an ideal place to wind down after the last few days. The downtown area still has the boardwalks so typical of the first town in the west and has some good shopping. It is an excellent centre for outdoor activities: grade 3 rafting trips on the Snake River can be arranged or you could perhaps hire a bike for some independent sightseeing.
Overnight Simple CabinIncluded meals: Breakfast
In Grand Teton NP; Hike at Amphitheatre Lake
The final day can be spent hiking up to Amphitheatre Lake – a tough trek (6 hours walk) which rewards the traveller with remarkable views of Jackson Hole and its Lakes – alternatively for those wishing something easier, it is possible to stroll around one of the many nearby glacial lakes like Taggart and Bradley.
We drive through the Gros Ventre range onto the Sublette Plateau, heading down through the rich red-hued rock of Flaming Gorge, appropriately named by Major John Wesley Powell whilst on his famous expedition in 1869. Once a hideout for Butch Cassidy, Flaming Gorge is now home to wildlife such as Osprey which are often spotted nesting on craggy rock pinnacles and clifftops and here we explore the Canyon Rim Trail on foot (1.5 hours walk). Tonight we stay near the town of Vernal.
We traverse the high desert landscape which switches to pine clad mountains as we enter the state of Utah. Here we explore the Dinosaur National Monument, renowned for the exceptional number of dinosaur bones discovered in one single sandstone cliff, including Brontosaurus. We journey across the 8,240m high Douglas Pass to Moab.
Fisher Towers Recreation Site and Canyonlands National Park
Waking early to take advantage of the brief respite from the desert heat, we drive to the Fisher Towers, one of the most outstanding scenic features of Utah’s Colorado Riverway. Rock pinnacles soar above a maze of red and purple hued canyons. The 2.2 mile hiking trail along the base of the towers offer excellent views (3-4 hours). In the late afternoon, we head to Canyonlands National Park where we explore the arid, canyon incised region set at an altitude of 6000 feet, known as the ‘Islands in the Sky’. The plateau is set 2000 feet high above the confluence of the Green River and the Colorado. We visit Mesa Arch and Grand View Overlook, walking some of the trails into the desert wilderness.
As well as being ideally located for walks in the nearby parks, Moab is one of the USA’s leading adventure centres where you can take advantage of the many activities on offer. The opportunities are boundless, for example taking an optional half day float trip on the Colorado River – a unique way to view the towering canyons and experience the silence and beauty of this remote area. We use inflatable kayaks and will travel over some small rapids, but no experience is necessary. There is also an opportunity to make an optional jeep excursion to visit areas which are inaccessible to other vehicles, perhaps seeing petroglyphs left behind by the Ancient Ones.
Overnight Simple CabinIncluded meals: Breakfast
Hiking in Arches National Park
Today we visit the extraordinary Arches National Park, where more than 1,600 natural arches have been sculpted over the years by wind, sun, frost and rain, creating a strange rockscape in the desert. Soft Entrada Sandstone – a 91m layer of rock deposited as sand during the Jurassic Period – has been eroded into twisted spires, fins and arches which are particularly beautiful in the morning and afternoon when they take on a fiery glow in the low light. The famous Delicate Arch has become Utah’s symbol and seems to defy gravity as the large precariously-balanced boulders hover near the edge of a cliff.
We return to Salt Lake City, Utah’s capital, with time to take a stroll around the centre. Founded by a group of believers of the Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) in 1847, the city is now their international headquarters and some of the finest buildings are ecclesiastical. The setting, below the Wasatch mountains and beside the great salt lake, is superb and makes this a pleasant city to explore on foot.
Overnight Standard HotelIncluded meals: Breakfast
Tour ends in Salt Lake City
The tour ends in Salt Lake City this morning after breakfast.
Included meals: Breakfast
Please note that from time to time our itineraries may be amended, either for operational reasons or in response to feedback from customers. Please ensure you have read the latest Tour Notes before booking or travelling on your tour.
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