United States of AMerica

Yellowstone, Dinosaurs and Grand Canyon

Bozeman, Montana to Phoenix, Arizona
16 - 26 October, 2018

£1600

Includes 4 National Parks, 2 National Monuments and 2 World Heritage Sites
Exclusive small group tour: 4 - 8 people
Included: Bed and Breakfast accommodation, transportation, National Park and National Monument entrance fees, and geological guiding
Old Faithful geyser, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.
Porcelain Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Fossil Priscacara liops, from Fossil Butte National Monument, Wyoming
Dinosaur National Monument, Utah/ Colorado
Delicate Arch in the Arches National Park, Utah
Monument Valley, Utah/ Arizona
Dinosaur tracks near Tuba City, Arizona
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Meteor Crater, Arizona seen from the air
Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

Itinerary 

Days 1 - Arrive in Bozeman, Montana.  Bozeman is the northern gateway to Yellowstone. It is possible to fly to Bozeman from Europe with American, Delta or United airlines, changing plane in one of the major hubs e.g. New York, Chicago, Denver, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas or Phoenix.

Day 2 - Yellowstone National Park and World Heritage Site - We enter Yellowstone by the North Gate. We first visit Mammoth Hotsprings with its  striking travertine terraces. We then proceed on to Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone’s oldest and hottest thermal area with  Porcelain Basin. Here we find the world’s tallest geyser, the 400-foot Steamboat Geyser. We then drive to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and see the Lower Falls. The night is spent in West Yellowstone. Drive time: 3hrs.

Day 3  - Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Today we visit the Lower Geyser Basin and the Midway Geyser Basin, famous for the gorgeous Grand Prismatic Spring, the park’s largest hot spring. Midway is also home to Excelsior Geyser’s 200ft by 300ft crater. We then proceed to the Upper Geyser Basin, home to at least 150 geysers packed into just one square mile, including the world’s most famous, Old Faithful. We then pass along the  Yellowstone Lake before leaving the southern entrance of the Park and entering the Grand Teton National Park with its rugged mountain views. We spend the night in Jackson. Drive time: 3hrs.

Day 4 - Fossil Butte National Monument. This morning we drive south to Fossil Butte National Monument the site of the famous Green River fish fossils which can be found in fossil shops and museums all around the world. The Monument has a wonderful museum and a scenic walk in the fossil quarry. The collection of fossils is not allowed in US National Parks, however, if the weather conditions are suitable we plan to also visit a nearby 'pay to dig' quarry on private land where we will be able to collect our own fish fossils. The night is spent is the nearest town, Kemmerer. Drive time: 2hr45.

Day 5 - Dinosaur National Monument. In the morning we drive through the Ashley National Forest in Utah to reach the Dinosaur National Monument. We then spend the whole afternoon at this wonderful site. In the Quarry Exhibit Hall, located over the world-famous Carnegie Dinosaur Quarry, we see a wall of approximately 1,500 dinosaur bones including Allosaurus, Apatosaurus, Camarasaurus, Diplodocus and Stegosaurus, along with several others. The rocks are from the famous Morrison Formation from the Late Jurassic, 149 million years ago. The monument was founded in 1915 and was the site of several important early dinosaur discoveries. We will also walk the 1.2 mile Fossil Discovery Trail that links the Quarry and the Visitor Centre. Along the trail a number of dinosaur bones can be seen eroding out of the rocks. The night is spent in the nearby town of Dinosaur. Drive time: 3hr30.

Day 6 - Arches National Park. We spend the morning driving south to the Arches National Park. We spend the whole afternoon in the park walking to several of the most famous arches, including Delicate Arch, stopping at all the viewpoints to reach Moab, our stop for the night. Drive time: 4hrs.

Day 7 - Dinosaur bones and trackways and Monument Valley.  We spend the morning in the Moab area visiting the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Tracksite which  includes 8 different types of dinosaurs, along with a crocodile resting trace, and we walk the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail, where the bones of dinosaurs can be seen in the rocks. We then drive on to the iconic Monument Valley and spend the night in Kayenta. Drive time: 3hrs.

Day 8 - The Grand Canyon National park and World Heritage Site. We drive via the Tuba City dinosaur trackway along the East Rim of the Grand Canyon stopping at several photo stops to reach the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is both a World Heritage Site and National Park and is one of the world's most famous geosites. Once we arrive, we walk the gentle and flat 'Trail of Time'. The trail is 1.3 miles long , and 1 metre represents 1 million years. The trail goes from the visitor centre to the Yavapai Geology Museum, which has interpretive boards and stunning views. The night is spent in Tusayan which is a short drive south of Grand Canyon Village. Drive time: 3hrs.

Day 9 - The Grand Canyon National Park and World Heritage Site, Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument and Meteor Crater. This morning you can either have free time in Grand Canyon Village or join James on a hike part way down into the Canyon. We will walk the first 1.5 miles of the South Kaibab Trail, descending 1,140 feet (350m) and then turning around at Cedar Ridge, to walk the 1.5 miles back. After lunch we drive back along the East Rim to reach Sunset Volcano Crater National Monument. Here we see the visitor centre and take a short walk. We then drive on to Meteor Crater, one of the best preserved meteor impact craters in the world. The night is spent in Holbrook. Drive time: 3hr45.

Day 10 - Petrified Forest National Park. This National Park is so named because of its fossil trees. We spend the morning walking the three best trails. First we walk the 0.75 mile Crystal Forest Trail, named for the presence of beautiful crystals that can be found in the petrified logs; this trail offers one of the best opportunities to experience the petrified wood deposits. We then walk the 0.4 mile Giant Logs Trail which features some of the largest and most colourful logs in the park. Old Faithful, at the top of the trail, is almost ten feet wide at the base. Finally, we walk the 1.6 mile Long Log Trail. Long Logs is one of the largest concentrations of petrified wood in the park and we can explore this ancient log jam at the base of gray badlands. We spend the afternoon driving through the scenic Tonto and Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests to reach Phoenix where we will spend our last night. Drive time: 3hr30.

Day 11 - Depart from Phoenix, Arizona. Phoenix has direct flights to severalUS and European airports.