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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.

USA road trips

An essential guide to epic American road trips

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
View itinerary
  • Arizona

    ...
  • 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

    The most popular national park in California, Yosemite includes the world-renowned Yosemite Valley, which is beneath notable granite peaks including Half Dome and El Capitan – famous among rock climbers for their stunning views and difficult climbs...
  • Grand Canyon

    Grand Canyon

    Once in Grand Canyon National Park, there’s much more to do than stare into the world-famous chasm...
  • Death Valley National Park

    Death Valley National Park

    In Death Valley, you will be in the largest national park in the continental United States...
  • 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...
  • Utah

    ...
  • Arches National Park

    Arches National Park

    The park may be home to a daunting number of arches – more than 2000 have been documented – many of the most photogenic are easily accessed from the 18-mile scenic drive...
  • Canyonlands National Park

    Canyonlands National Park

    The most convenient of Canyonlands’ three visitor districts is Island-in-the-Sky, which sits atop a mesa thirty miles from Moab...
  • Goblin Valley State Park

    ...
  • Capitol Reef National Park

    Capitol Reef National Park

    Surrounding a 100-mile wrinkle in the earth’s crust, this 381-sq-mile park is a celebration of geology and the powerful forces of time and weather...
  • San Rafael Swell

    ...
  • 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

    Scooped into the side of a high-desert plateau, a deep natural amphitheater holds a small army of sandstone pillars at Utah’s smallest national park...
  • Zion National Park

    Zion National Park

    Sheer red rock cliffs flank Zion Canyon, a lush wonderland of gentle waterfalls, wild gardens and hidden pools...
  • Grand Staircase - Escalante

    ...
  • Moab

    ...
  • Salt Lake City

    ...
  • Kodachrome Basin State Park

    Kodachrome Basin State Park

    Named by the National Geographic Society for a popular type of camera film – known for its ability to capture brilliant colours – this state park lives up to its moniker...
  • 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...
  • Redwood National & State Parks

    Redwood National & State Parks

    Redwood National and State Parks are home to the world’s tallest trees, which grow more than 350 feet tall...
  • Rocky Mountain National Park

    Rocky Mountain National Park

    One of the highest national parks in the United States, the Rocky Mountain National Park includes the 14,258-foot-high Longs Peak (4,345 metres) and 300 miles of hiking trails...
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park

    Great Sand Dunes National Park

    One of Colorado's lesser-visited parks, Great Sand Dunes National Park has 30 square miles of dunes including one that is 750 feet tall (228 metres)...
  • Mesa Verde National Park

    Mesa Verde National Park

    The reason to visit Mesa Verde National Park is to see one of its ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings...
  • Yellowstone National Park

    Yellowstone National Park

    Established in 1872, Yellowstone is America’s first national park...
  • Colorado

    ...
  • California

    ...
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park

    Lassen Volcanic National Park

    A hotbed of geothermal activity, Lassen Volcanic National Park has mud pots, boiling pools and fumaroles (an opening near a volcano which releases gas)...
  • Channel Islands National Park

    Channel Islands National Park

    Whether you visit the tiny Channel Islands National Park’s Anacapa Island or Santa Cruz Island, you’ll experience a California coastal landscape devoid of development...
  • Pinnacles National Park

    Pinnacles National Park

    Pinnacles National Park was formed from the eroded sections of an old volcano...
  • Washington

    ...
  • Grand Teton National Park

    Grand Teton National Park

    With an elevation of 13,775ft, Grand Teton is the highest peak in the park and one of eight with an elevation above 12,000ft...
  • Joshua Tree National Park

    Joshua Tree National Park

    Named for a unique looking desert plant, Joshua Tree National Park offers hiking, birding, and horseback riding along with climbing, bouldering, highlining, and slacklining on its many rock formations...
  • Olympic National Park

    Olympic National Park

    With nearly a million acres, Olympic National Park offers a variety of experiences including hiking, soaking in hot springs (Sol Duc Hot Springs and Olympic Hot Springs), and sliding down a snowy peak at the Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area...
  • Mount Rainier National Park

    Mount Rainier National Park

    While its namesake 14,410-foot-high (4,392m) peak dominates the scenery, Mount Rainier National Park also has worthwhile hiking in the Tatoosh Range and waterfalls in the Carbon River area...
  • Crater Lake National Park

    Crater Lake National Park

    Oregon’s dazzling blue Crater Lake, a remnant of a volcano, is worth spending some time staring at...
  • Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

    Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

    The adjacent parks of Sequoia and Kings Canyon are a fine place to take in the splendour of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the towering sequoia trees, and geologic formations like Moro Rock...
  • Glacier National Park

    Glacier National Park

    With hairpin turns climbing past granite peaks to Logan Pass and beyond, the soaring Going-to-the-Sun Road is an engineering marvel and a 50-mile adventure for travellers...
  • Hoover Dam & Lake Mead

    Hoover Dam & Lake Mead

    Completed in 1936, the 726ft-high Hoover Dam across the Colorado River remains an architectural wonder...
  • Valley of Fire State Park

    Valley of Fire State Park

    An easy detour from the I-15 between Las Vegas and Zion National Park, Valley of Fire State Park lives up to its name...
  • Phoenix

    ...

Places to go in Western USA

Western USA Tours

Best of the West

A grand tour of the American Southwest

11 daysFrom $2,151
Destinations San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon, Death Valley National Park, Monument Valley, Utah
Tour Type Custom itinerary, Small group tour, Private guided tour, Self-guided tour
Activity Family, Active, Hiking & Trekking, Road Trips, Nature & Wildlife, National Parks, Solo Travel

Parks of California

Discover wild California

4 daysFrom $795
Destinations San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Death Valley National Park
Tour Type Custom itinerary, Small group tour, Private guided tour, Self-guided tour
Activity Family, Active, Hiking & Trekking, Road Trips, Nature & Wildlife, National Parks, Solo Travel

Southwest Express

Whistle-stop tour of the wild Southwest

3 daysFrom $695
Destinations Las Vegas, Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon, Death Valley National Park, Monument Valley, Utah
Tour Type Custom itinerary, Small group tour, Private guided tour, Self-guided tour
Activity Family, Active, Hiking & Trekking, Road Trips, Nature & Wildlife, National Parks

Southwest Highlights

Explore the best of the American Southwest

7 daysFrom $940
Destinations Grand Canyon, Utah
Tour Type Custom itinerary, Small group tour, Private guided tour, Self-guided tour
Activity Family, Active, Hiking & Trekking, Road Trips, Nature & Wildlife, National Parks, Solo Travel

South Kaibab Day Hike

Amazing Views • Famous Trail • Ridge Hiking

1 daysFrom $145
Destinations Grand Canyon
Tour Type Private guided tour
Activity Active, Hiking & Trekking, Nature & Wildlife, National Parks

Glacier Gorge Day Hike

Alpine Lakes • Waterfalls • High Country

1 daysFrom $145
Destinations Rocky Mountain National Park
Tour Type Private guided tour
Activity Active, Hiking & Trekking, Nature & Wildlife, National Parks

Western USA Travel Companies

Wildland Trekking

Hiking vacations in the US and beyond
Destinations Western USA
Tour Type Custom itinerary, Small group tour, Private guided tour
Activity Active, Hiking & Trekking, Backpacking, Camping, Nature & Wildlife, National Parks

Bindlestiff Tours

Self-drive & private tours of the Southwest US
Destinations Western USA
Tour Type Custom itinerary, Small group tour, Private guided tour, Self-guided tour
Activity Family, Active, Hiking & Trekking, Road Trips, Nature & Wildlife, National Parks, Solo Travel

Tour Estes Park

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

Sigs Rides

Guided & self-guided motorbike & cycling tours
Destinations North America, East Asia
Tour Type Custom itinerary, Small group tour, Private guided tour
Activity Active, Biking, Road Trips

Yellowstone Dreamin Adventures

Year-round wildlife tours of Yellowstone NP
Destinations Yellowstone National Park
Tour Type Small group tour, Private guided tour
Activity Family, Active, Walking, Hiking & Trekking, Winter Sports, Fishing, Nature & Wildlife, Photography, Birdwatching, National Parks, Accessible Travel

Hondoo Rivers & Trails

Discover Utah's canyon country
Destinations Utah
Tour Type Custom itinerary, Private guided tour
Activity Family, Active, Hiking & Trekking, Camping, Horseback Riding, Nature & Wildlife, National Parks, Culture, Indigenous Tourism

Off The Beaten Path

Exceptional trips for curious travelers
Destinations North America
Tour Type Custom itinerary, Small group tour, Private guided tour
Activity Luxury, Family, Active, Walking, Hiking & Trekking, Backpacking, Camping, Winter Sports, Fishing, Horseback Riding, Nature & Wildlife, Photography, Birdwatching, National Parks

The Landing at Estes Park

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

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