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Breathtaking scenery, spectacular wildlife, and incomparable photo opportunities await you on this national parks tour through the West’s best-known national and state parks. Tour highlights include your overnight stay inside Grand Canyon National Park, where you can witness the stunning scenery at sunset and sunrise. In Yellowstone National Park, stand in awe as you hear the roar of the water and view the glorious falls at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Witness Old Faithful as it erupts and admire the herds of bison, elk, and other wildlife as you explore the park. Mount Rushmore offers the astounding monument of four U.S. presidents as well as spectacular scenery and wildlife, including mule deer and mountain goats. Also visit Crazy Horse Memorial, carved out of the mountain in honor of the Sioux Indian chief, and enjoy a scenic drive in Custer State Park, with its spectacular landscape and abundant wildlife. Have your camera ready for the bright red, yellow, and pink pillars called "hoodoos" in Bryce Canyon National Park, and marvel at the sculptured canyons and soaring cliffs in Zion National Park. But that’s not all…visit Monument Valley, one of the world’s most photographed places with its red-rock canyons, mesas, iconic buttes, and windblown sand. See the massive formations during your 4-wheel-drive tour with a knowledgeable Navajo guide. All of this—and much more—are included on this national parks tour designed for savvy, value-minded travelers.
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GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARKStay inside Grand Canyon National Park; sightseeing MONUMENT VALLEY4-wheel-drive excursion with Navajo guideMOABArches National Park sightseeingGRAND JUNCTIONVisit Colorado National MonumentBLACK HILLSScenic drive; visit Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Crazy Horse MemorialCUSTERScenic drive along Wildlife Loop Road in Custer State ParkDEVILS TOWER NATIONAL MONUMENTPhoto opportunityYELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARKStay two nights inside Yellowstone National Park or in West Yellowstone; sightseeingJACKSONVisit the Wild West townSALT LAKE CITYOrientation tourBRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARKSightseeingZION NATIONAL PARKSightseeingNotes:
On vacations that include an overnight stay in Las Vegas, at least one member of the traveling party must be 21 years of age or older. This vacation visits national parks and other remote locations where facilities may not be up to the standard you expect from Cosmos. Some lodges within the parks do not have air-conditioning, televisions, and other amenities you would expect from most Cosmos hotels. Maximum elevation on tour: 9,033 ft.
The following UNESCO World Heritage Sites can be seen or visited on this vacation:
Private, deluxe, air-conditioned motorcoach while touring with free Wi-Fi.
3 breakfasts, 2 continental breakfasts
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
LAS VEGAS Welcome to exciting Las Vegas, also known as “Sin City!” Your Tour Director is on hand late this afternoon to answer any questions.
LAS VEGAS–WILLIAMS–GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK Depart the glittering lights of Las Vegas for one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Grand Canyon National Park. Journey across the old Mojave gold-strike country, passing through Williams on historic Route 66, and Kaibab National Forest. Arrive at the Grand Canyon by mid-afternoon and marvel at the breathtaking views. Accommodations this evening are inside the National Park.
GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK–MONUMENT VALLEY–KAYENTA If you miss the sunset over the canyon, sunrise is just as impressive! You may want to join an exciting helicopter flight over the canyon for incomparable views of flame-colored walls plunging 6,093 feet into the Colorado River. Continue across Arizona and into the Navajo Nation. Situated on the Arizona/Utah border, Monument Valley’s scenic desert vistas and iconic buttes have appeared in countless classic Western films. See the massive formations on a memorable 4-wheel-drive tour. Your knowledgeable Navajo guide will show you some of the valley’s most incredible scenery and share with you local legends and lore. This evening, join the optional Navajo cookout for dinner surrounded by the red-rock canyons of Monument Valley.
KAYENTA–MOAB–ARCHES NATIONAL PARK–GRAND JUNCTION We head north for Moab. Visit the magnificent Arches National Park, where you’ll discover a landscape of contrasting colors, landforms, and textures unlike anything else in the world. This red-rock wonderland will amaze you. A late arrival into Grand Junction, surrounded by awe-inspiring natural beauty and the dramatic red-rock landscape of the Colorado National Monument.
GRAND JUNCTION–COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT–DENVER AREA This morning, visit Colorado National Monument. Towering monoliths exist within a vast plateau and canyon panorama. Experience sheer-walled, red-rock canyons along the twists and turns of Rim Rock Drive, where you may spy bighorn sheep and soaring eagles. We then journey east across the Rocky Mountains to the “Mile High City” of Denver.
DENVER AREA–CUSTER Today, travel across the windswept landscape of Wyoming and into the Black Hills of South Dakota. Spend the next two nights in Custer, in the heart of the Black Hills National Forest, and gateway to Custer State Park, Crazy Horse Memorial, and Mount Rushmore.
CUSTER. EXCURSION TO CUSTER STATE PARK, MOUNT RUSHMORE & CRAZY HORSE MEMORIAL At Custer State Park, enjoy a scenic drive along Wildlife Loop Road with spectacular terrain and an abundance of wildlife, like the herd of 1,300 bison that roam freely throughout the park. Afterward, visit Mount Rushmore National Memorial, which stands as a shrine to democracy. See the stunning granite faces of Mount Rushmore, a giant monument to four great American presidents: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt. Then, visit the Crazy Horse Memorial, a monument carved out of a mountain to honor the great Native American hero, Chief Crazy Horse.
CUSTER–DEVILS TOWER–CODY This morning, head through high country, where open-range cattle kings made war on the homesteaders in the 1890s. Next, make a photo stop at Devils Tower National Monument, established as America’s first national monument by Teddy Roosevelt in 1906. Overnight in Buffalo Bill’s Western town of Cody.
CODY–YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK This morning, join the optional outing and visit the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, which celebrates the spirit of the American West. This afternoon make your way into America’s first national park, Yellowstone National Park. Spend the next two nights inside the park. NOTES: Accommodations used by Cosmos in Yellowstone National Park are typically open from late May through mid-September. Departures before or after these opening dates will stay in West Yellowstone. Routing and areas visited in Yellowstone National Park are always subject to favorable weather, gate access, and road conditions; therefore, routings may be adjusted.
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK Spend the day exploring all the wonders of Yellowstone National Park, established in 1872 as the world’s first national park. See world-famous Old Faithful Geyser, Mammoth Hot Springs, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, and Fountain Paint Pots. Keep a lookout for some of the park’s wildlife that can include moose, bison, elk, deer, bighorn sheep, wolf, bear, fox, coyote, and beaver.
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK–GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK–JACKSON–ALPINE Head south into magnificent Grand Teton National Park, one of America’s last preserves of wild solitude. Its 13,770-foot-high ridges are crested with snow most of the year. Stroll along the shores of beautiful glacier-fed Jenny Lake before arriving in the Wild West town of Jackson with its wooden sidewalks and swinging-door saloons. Overnight in Alpine located on the banks of the Snake River.
ALPINE–SALT LAKE CITY Travel to Salt Lake City, Utah’s vibrant capital. Set on the edge of Great Salt Lake Desert, this center of the Mormon religion is where Brigham Young declared to his followers, “This is the place.” An orientation tour offers a glimpse of Temple Square, the Capitol Building, and the downtown area.
SALT LAKE CITY–BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK Today’s highlight is a visit to unique Bryce Canyon National Park with its 20 miles of sandstone cliffs and ever-changing colors. See some of Earth’s most brilliant shades of rock, sculpted by nature into pillars called “hoodoos.”
BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK–ZION NATIONAL PARK–LAS VEGAS First stop today is Zion National Park with its landscape carved over millions of years by rushing streams. Steep canyons, stone towers, and verdant vegetation form the scenery of Zion. See fantastic rock structures and some unbelievable scenic beauty. We then return to Las Vegas and your downtown hotel.
LAS VEGAS Your vacation ends this morning. You can extend your vacation with extra nights and explore Las Vegas further.
With Cosmos, there’s no better way to get to know your destination than through the eyes of your Tour Director. Averaging over a decade... we’d like you to meet a Tour Director, who is representative of the type of expert that will be with you on your vacation.
Escorting tours for more than 20 years
"My interest in the national parks began as a child on summer vacations in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. In college, I studied Botany, Ichthyology, Mammology, and Ornithology, and I began working in Yellowstone as a summer seasonal guide 25 years ago. I have also worked in Sequoia, the Everglades, and Alaska as a naturalist guide. Whether it's beachcombing in Florida, birding in the Everglades, or hiking in the Tetons, as long as I'm in nature, I'm where I want to be."
Escorting tours for more than 10 years
"As a young girl, I dreamed of traveling to faraway places. When I was 12, my mother took me to Europe. What an adventure we had! As the years passed I continued to travel to new places. I crossed paths with extraordinary people from all walks of life. Those we meet along the way can change our path or help us view things from a different perspective. It was that unusual twist in the road that led me to becoming a Tour Director. The journey is still new and exciting with every tour I take, and I love not knowing what is around the next corner. Sometimes the unexpected is the best gift of all."