American West Geography Tour

The spectacular scenery of the American West provides an unrivalled backdrop to geography study from the Grand Canyon to Death Valley. The glitz of Las Vegas complements a truly once in a lifetime experience for your students.

horseshoe bend

School Geography Trip to the American West

Our geography tours to the deserts and canyonlands of the American West visit the States of Nevada, Arizona and Utah.  The vast Grand Canyon and spectacular Monument Valley both feature on our itineraries, which also venture to Bryce and Zion National Parks. Our tours typically start in the desert city of Las Vegas and can also be adapted to visit Death Valley in California. As well as the undoubted natural wonders on show, there are opportunities to visit some of the huge hydro-electric and water management projects including the Hoover Dam and Glen Canyon.

Suggested Itinerary

The itinerary featured here is intended to give you inspiration and an idea of what you could do on your tour. Your trip will be created individually by one of our travel advisors to match your requirements and budget.

Day 1

Flight to Las Vegas and City Tour

Flight to Las Vegas: On arrival you will be met by your tour guide and transfer to your hotel. This unique city is located in the middle of the desert and is renowned for its gambling and glitzy entertainment. Las Vegas has over 35 million visitors a year who flock to play in its casinos and the slot machines.

Las Vegas Tour: This afternoon you have a tour of the Las Vegas strip. Your first stop is at The Venetian where they have built a replica of Venice complete with canals and gondoliers. You the move onto the Luxor with its pyramid and sphinx. At New York New York you can see the Manhattan Skyline and Statue of Liberty, while at the Bellagio Hotel you can see the dancing fountains, perfectly choreographed to the accompanying music. The tour culminates at the erupting volcano at the Mirage Hotel before heading to a local restaurant for your evening meal.

las-vegas-sign

Day 2

Hoover Dam. Drive to the Grand Canyon

Hoover Dam: This morning you depart from Las Vegas and drive out across the Mojave Desert to the spectacular Hoover Dam which was built during the Great Depression under Roosevelt’s Presidency. It remains one of the highest dams in the United States and generates electricity for many cities in California including Los Angeles. During the tour you see the eight huge generators which produce electricity. There is also a visit to the exhibit gallery with numerous multimedia displays.

Grand Canyon: In the afternoon you continue the road journey along historic Route 66 to the Grand Canyon. You stop at Mather Point for a spectacular view of the canyon before continuing to your overnight accommodation.

hoover-dam-3

Day 3

Full Day exploring the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon: Today you explore the South Rim of the Grand Canyon which was carved by the Colorado River. The size and sheer scale of the canyon is quite breath-taking; it is over 270 miles long and in places up to 18 miles wide. Let’s face it, the Canyon has to be explored on foot and the easiest way to do this is to walk the South Rim Trail which starts at the Bright Angel Trailhead and goes for a maximum of 9 miles on a level path along the rim as far as Hermits Rest where there are places for lunch. The benefit of this trail is that it is almost entirely level, is mostly paved, and is served by regular National Park shuttle buses which means it can be cut short if necessary or desired.

Grand Canyon Village: In the afternoon you can spend time exploring Grand Canyon Village where you can see original Hopi Indian houses and visit John Verkamp’s visitor centre and museum before dinner this evening at your accommodation.

grand-canyon-5

Day 4

Monument Valley and Antelope Slot Canyon

Monument Valley:  This morning you drive to the spectacular and iconic Monument Valley.  You head across the desert to the borders of Arizona and Utah.   The southeast corner of Utah looks about like it did 3,000 years ago; vast, wild and sunbaked, with deep canyons and towering buttes rising up from the desert plain. Monument Valley is what wind and water can make with enough time and energy.   This great valley boasts sandstone masterpieces that tower up to 1,000 feet. The landscape overwhelms, not just by its beauty but also by its size

Antelope Slot Canyon:   This afternoon you visit the spectacular Antelope Canyon, a heavily sculpted slot canyon carved out of the soft sandstone rock.  The sunlight reflects off the rock in an incredible way and there are superb opportunities for photographers to capture some amazing images.

Travel to Page:  In the afternoon we travel to our accommodation in the town of Page.

monument-valley-1

Day 5

Glen Canyon Dam and Horseshoe Bend. Drive to Bryce Canyon National Park

Glen Canyon Dam: This morning you visit Glen Canyon Dam, the construction of which was commenced in 1956. Damming the canyon has created Lake Powell, the largest man-made lake in North America and one which has since been controversial on environmental grounds. In recent years calls to remove the dam and drain the lake have grown louder and it seems that some form of dam removal will go ahead in the next decade or two, posing a massive environmental challenge.

Horseshoe Bend: You also visit the scenic viewpoint overlooking Horseshoe Bend, a fascinating and unique geological phenomenon where the Colorado River meanders into this spectacular horseshoe shape.

Drive to Bryce Canyon: This afternoon you drive to Bryce Canyon National Park and your overnight accommodation.

horseshoe bend

Day 6

Full day in Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon: There is no place like Bryce Canyon – Hoodoos (odd-shaped pillars of rock left standing from the forces of erosion) can be found on every continent, but here is the largest collection of Hoodoos in the World. The Park has gone through 140 million years of geological processes. Water seeps into fractures within the rocks and freezes at night which expands the fractures and creates stunning bright red, yellow and orange pinnacle colours. This results in the very surreal and quite magical landscape of the canyon.

There are several short hiking routes we can do such as the Navajo Loop or the Queens Garden Trail, which can also be linked to form a longer route. One of the most famous rock formations in Bryce is Thors Hammer, a giant rock stack, and the famous Bryce Amphitheatre is best seen at dusk from Sunset Point.

bryce-canyon-hoodoos-2

Day 7

Zion Canyon and Springdale

Zion National Park: This morning you depart from Bryce Canyon and drive the scenic Zion-Mount Carmel Highway. Along the way you pass the spectacular Red Canyon and Checkerboard Mesa, a distinctive rock formation caused by erosion. Zion was Utah’s first National Park, and the deep valley of the Virgin River contains unique array of birdlife including the Peregrine Falcon, the Californian Condor and the Bald Eagle. The best way to explore the park is on foot following one of the many trails where you can gaze up at the massive sandstone cliffs of cream, pink and red that soar into the sky. Local transport is provided by Park shuttle bus which gives access to features such as The Grotto, The Angels Landing and finally the Temple of Sinawava from where you can walk along the North Fork of the Virgin River as far as the Narrows.

Springdale: You travel to the spectacularly situated town of Springdale for your final night in the American West.

zion-park-sign

Day 8

Return to Las Vegas and evening flight home

Return to Las Vegas: This morning you transfer back to Las Vegas with time for sightseeing and shopping before your afternoon or early evening flight home.

Day 9

Arrive Home

Arrive Home:  Your flight arrives back home today

Excursions

las-vegas-sign

Las Vegas

grand-canyon-panorama

The Grand Canyon

zion-park-view

Zion National Park

bryce-canyon-hoodoos-2

Bryce Canyon National Park

hoover-dam-3

The Hoover Dam

glen-canyon-dam

Glen Canyon

death-valley-moon-night

Death Valley

monument-valley-clouds

Monument Valley

antelope-slot-canyon-2

Antelope Slot Canyon

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Inspection Trips

If you are planning a tour with us, we can arrange an inspection trip so you are able to familiarise yourself with the destination and conduct any risk assessments your school may require.

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Many tours travel with a full-time guide who will look after your group in the destination, and you will always be able to contact our UK office which is manned 24/7.

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