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USA Seattle pike place market
USA Yosemite2

The American West. Just the words conjure up an indefinable magic. You might feel you know the West thanks to countless movies, books and songs, but it remains a region impossible to pin down. That’s not surprising since it’s larger, and more varied and diverse, than many countries. Spectacular, invigorating and welcoming, yet with its dark sides, you could visit the American West 100 times and see it anew each time.

First the magic: There’s always a deserted highway, running straight as an arrow through shimmering desert. There’s otherworldly Death Valley—no-one who visits it ever forgets the experience. And no-one ever forgets, perhaps for different reasons, Las Vegas, the bizarre temple to hedonism, which you’ll either love or hate.

You won’t want to miss Monument Valley, by any standards one of the world’s great sights, and the real star of so many of John Ford’s Westerns. But then what would you want to miss? Yosemite or Yellowstone? the Grand Canyon? the 1,000 miles of Pacific coastline? the fabulous food, wine and microbrews? Somehow fitting it all into one trip is the first major challenge.

Of course you’ll want to give a wide berth to the parts of the West scarred by recent wildfires, and there’s no point trying to disguise the fact that the big cities have their problems. But still, there's so much here to delight in.

Los Angeles is big and brash, it's got Hollywood and Beverly Hills and the (slim) chance of spotting an A-lister. San Francisco, the home of the beats, can be cool, arty and uplifting. In one park you might see people reading books of poetry in the sun. In others, best avoided, you’ll get a glimpse of the city’s problem with homelessness. Farther north, Portland and Seattle are vibrant cities, each boasting their own thriving cultural scenes—but also, unfortunately, their share of homelessness.

The region has its problems, just like everywhere else in the world. But there’s that magic too. Culture, history, fun and adventure: it’s all there waiting for you in the great American West.

So you think you know the West? Get the motor running, head out on the highway, and find the adventure you’re looking for. It may be a switchback ride, but you’ll never forget it.

21 days

Discover Western USA

A route combining top cities and wilderness attractions
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14 days

Self-drive California

A scenic coastal route
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16 days

The best of the American West

A route to the top natural and historic attractions
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10 days

Tour northern California

Waterfalls and history in the golden state
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8 days

Wine lovers’ California

A grand tour of California’s wine region
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  • San Francisco

    San Francisco

    California's greatest city
    Crammed into less than 50 square miles and with a population of less than a million, small San Francisco packs a mighty punch...
  • Los Angeles

    Los Angeles

    Stroll along Hollywood Boulevard, spot your favourite TV and film stars on the Walk of Fame, and you can’t miss the hillside Hollywood sign...
  • Las Vegas

    Las Vegas

    Spend a day or two discovering the grandeur of Las Vegas and its famously flamboyant attractions...
  • San Diego

    San Diego

    A two hour drive south from L...
  • Yosemite National Park

    Yosemite National Park

    There are 800 miles of trails through the mountains and woodlands of Yosemite, where you can spot black bears, coyotes, bobcats and mule deer among other wildlife...
  • Grand Canyon

    Grand Canyon

    Follow the trails to explore Grand Canyon National Park and be sure to stop at the canyon edge to fully appreciate its enormity...
  • Death Valley National Park

    ...
  • Arches National Park

    ...
  • Napa Valley

    Napa Valley

    Napa Valley is filled with lush vineyards that can be visited on foot or with the vintage railcars of the Napa Valley Wine Train which covers 36 miles...
  • Palm Springs

    Palm Springs

    Set in possibly the most biologically diverse ecosystem in the Americas, Palm Springs is not only a winter playground for celebrities, but also a stylish place to relax in hot springs, spas and top-class golf courses at the base of the San Jacinto Mountains...
  • Estes Park

    ...
  • Sedona

    Sedona

    On arrival to the unique geological area of Sedona, you will be welcomed by red-rock monoliths, with names such as Coffee Pot and Cathedral, protruding from the desert landscape...
  • Monument Valley

    Monument Valley

    Pass through the Painted Desert with its kaleidoscope of colours to reach Monument Valley on the Arizona-Utah border...
  • Lake Powell

    Lake Powell

    The concrete Glen Canyon Dam would dominate the scenery if it was not for the commanding Colorado River and the bright blue waters of Lake Powell that lap against the tall red walls of the canyon...
  • Bryce Canyon

    Bryce Canyon

    Within the Mormon State of Utah is this multi-coloured spectacle of protruding sandstone pinnacles that gather along the edges and deep inside Bryce Canyon...
  • Zion National Park

    Zion National Park

    Visit Zion National Park with its towering rock formations that have been carved over time with the help of the mighty Virgin River...
  • Mammoth Lakes

    Mammoth Lakes

    Journey through Death Valley and ascend the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the alpine resort of Mammoth Lakes, famous for its skiing and hiking trails...
  • Santa Barbara

    Santa Barbara

    Backed by the dramatic Santa Ynez Mountains, Santa Barbara, is a hot-spot for white-sand beaches and palm-lined promenades...
  • Monterey Peninsula

    Monterey Peninsula

    Monterey Peninsula offers a mix of wind-whipped beaches, hidden coves and delicious seafood...
  • Lake Tahoe

    Lake Tahoe

    Explore the surroundings of this clear mountain lake by bike, kayak or cruise, or relax on one of its beaches to enjoy the unique views of the Sierra Nevada mountains and the Carson Range...
  • Sacramento

    Sacramento

    You can easily spend a few hours at the 28-acre Old Sacramento State Historic Park learning about The California Gold Rush, which took place in 1848–1855...
  • Rocky Mountain National Park

    ...
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park

    ...
  • Mesa Verde National Park

    ...
  • Yellowstone National Park

    ...

Wild Encounters

Ethical tourism for animal lovers

Horizon Guides’ Wild Encounters is your one-stop-guide for advice on how to see wildlife responsibly, exploring the issues facing wildlife tourism and the impact humans are having on animals.

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Western USA Travel Specialists

Bindlestiff Tours

Destinations San Francisco, Las Vegas, Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon, Death Valley National Park, Arches National Park, Monument Valley, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park
Tour Type Group tour, Private tour
Activity Family, Nature & Wildlife, National Parks, Active, Trekking, Road Trips, Solo Travel

Tour Estes Park

Personalized day tours of Rocky Mountain National Park
Destinations Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
Tour Type Private tour
Activity Nature & Wildlife, Active, Trekking

The Landing at Estes Park

Riverside retreat just outside Rocky Mountain National Park
Destinations Estes Park
Activity Family, Nature & Wildlife, National Parks, Active

Tiny Town Cabins

Cozy cabin getaway in Estes Park
Destinations Estes Park
Activity Family, Nature & Wildlife, National Parks, Active

Rams Horn Village Resort

Luxury vacation cabins in Estes Park
Destinations Estes Park
Activity Luxury, Family, Nature & Wildlife, National Parks, Active

Yavapai Lodge

Prime location within Grand Canyon National Park
Destinations Grand Canyon
Activity Family, Nature & Wildlife, National Parks, Active

Phantom Ranch

The only lodging below the canyon rim
Destinations Grand Canyon
Activity Nature & Wildlife, National Parks, Active

Great Sand Dunes Lodge

Traditional lodge at the entrance of the National Park
Destinations Great Sand Dunes National Park
Activity Family, Nature & Wildlife, National Parks, Active

Starry Nights Ranch B&B

Rustic B&B near Mesa Verde National Park
Destinations Mesa Verde National Park
Activity Family, Nature & Wildlife, National Parks, Active

Off The Beaten Path

Exceptional trips for curious travelers
Destinations Alaska, Western USA
Tour Type Custom itinerary, Group tour, Private tour
Activity Luxury, Family, Nature & Wildlife, Photography, Birdwatching, National Parks, Active, Walking Holiday, Trekking, Backpacking, Camping, Winter Sports, Fishing, Horseback Riding

Rock Light Photo Tours

National park photography workshops
Destinations Western USA
Tour Type Custom itinerary, Group tour, Private tour
Activity Nature & Wildlife, Photography, National Parks

Yellowstone Dreamin Adventures

Year-round wildlife tours of Yellowstone NP
Destinations Yellowstone National Park
Tour Type Group tour, Private tour
Activity Family, Nature & Wildlife, National Parks, Active

Why Horizon Guides?

Impartial guidebooks

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Our travel guides are written by the leading experts in their destinations. We never take payment for positive coverage so you can count on us for impartial travel advice.

Expert itineraries

Expert itineraries

Suggested itineraries and routes to help you scratch beneath the surface, avoid the tourist traps, and plan an authentic, responsible and enjoyable journey.

Specialist advice

Specialist advice

Get friendly, expert travel advice and custom itineraries from some of the world’s best tour operators, with no spam, pressure or commitment to book.

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