Explore the incredible forests, mountains and rivers of Mount Rainier National Park, and head to the stunning Multonomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge.. Treat yourself to a world-class food and beer scene in the progressive city of Portland. Head to one of the many microbreweries and embark on a cycling adventure through its renowned food truck pods.. Walk among some of the world’s oldest and tallest trees in the lush Redwood National Park in northern California.. Take a look at the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, and experience the diverse and multicultural city of San Francisco, with free time to go exploring at your own pace.
Hit the hotspots of the Pacific Northwest and California before finishing up in Las Vegas, where the landscape has dried up but hopefully your luck won’t. Start in Seattle and make your way through Washington state, exploring its lush national parks, old-growth forests and glacier-capped mountains. Check out the hipster haven of Portland and indulge in microbrews and artisanal cheese as you head south through Oregon. Take a walk through California’s Redwood forests, home to some of the world’s oldest trees, hike through the climbing mecca of Yosemite, marvel at the infamous Death Valley and end up in, of course, Vegas baby.
Breakfast Included: 7 Lunches Included: 1 Dinner Included: 2
Welcome to Seattle! The Pacific Northwest is all about the outdoors, good food, better beer and all the arts and culture you could ever want. You'll meet your leader at 6 pm, but there's plenty to see if you happen to arrive early. Take a walk around the waterfront and the renowned Pike Place Market, which is nearby to the original Starbucks store. Otherwise, head to the popular Starbucks Reserve Roastery or go visit the towering Space Needle for views of the surrounding mountain ranges. After your important meeting, why not grab a feed and try a local beer at one of the many microbreweries in the city.
Mt Rainier National Park
This morning, head out to Mount Rainier National Park – home to the highest mountain in both Washington and the entire Cascade Ranges. Rainier was the fifth national park to be created in the US and is popular with hikers, alpinists, climbers and tourists thanks to its varied landscape, from its ice-capped volcano namesake to subalpine meadows filled with wildflowers. Stop in at the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Centre to check out the trails and work out what hikes you’d like to tackle. You’ll have time to do a small amount of walking. Afterwards, head to your accommodation for the evening.
Columbia River Gorge / Portland
Leave Mount Rainier, and head to Columbia River Gorge. The Columbia River provides a natural border between the states of Washington and Oregon and is home to some stunning scenery of flowing rivers, verdant forests and cascading falls. Take some short walks in the surrounding countryside and then head to the Multonomah Falls – a beautiful cascading stream that can be viewed from below, or higher up on a pedestrian bridge lookout. Later in the afternoon, travel to the indisputable hipster capital of the west, Portland. You’ll take a late afternoon walking tour and get shown the ropes – from Pioneer Square to the renowned donut stores like Voodoo and Blue Star, and the absolute book-lover’s heaven at Powells, this progressive city has got you covered. Portland is yours to explore in the evening, so hit the breweries, check out the music and theatre scene or simply find a good spot to people-watch.
Jump on the saddle and get pedalling, as you’re off on a Food Carts of Portland bike tour. Portland is known for its varied cuisine, and today, you’ll cycle past some of the 60 pods (food cart collections) of the city, filled with over 600 food stalls! The focus of your tour is on locally owned businesses with a great story, so meet the vendors, hear their stories and get the chance to taste the delicious food on offer. This will cover your lunch for the day. Later in the afternoon, have some time to explore Portland at your own pace. Depending on the time of year, there might be a local ice hockey or basketball game on at the Moda Center – best to book in advance if this interests you.
Silver Falls State Park / Newport
Bid farewell to Portland and transfer to Silver Falls State Park. This park is home to the acclaimed South Falls, which has a direct plunge of 54 metres (177 feet) and is surrounded by plenty of walking trails to see this natural beauty from all angles, even from behind! It’s a sight to behold. Take some short hikes around the park before continuing on a drive through the Willamette Valley. Stop by a local vineyard for a tasting, then head to Newport on the Oregon coast. This evening, head to Rogue Brewery for an included dinner. You may have noticed a similar brewery in Portland; however, this is Rogue’s world headquarters, which looks out into Yaquina Bay.
Oregon Dunes / Bandon
This morning, visit Yaquina Head Lighthouse – the tallest on the Oregon coast. Walk up the circular stairs to the top of the lighthouse for panoramic views over the Pacific Ocean. Continue your drive south to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, where you’ll have time to walk through the expansive dunes which stretch for over 64 kilometres (40 miles) along the coast from Florence to Coos Bay. Afterwards, head to Bandon – a small coastal town with some incredible ocean vistas. Visit the Face Rock Scenic Viewpoint, to see the rock formation of a head jutting out of the ocean, and if you’re lucky, view the Circles in the Sand art installation on the beach from above. Bandon is also part of the Wild Rivers Coast Food Trail that you’ll be enjoying over the next few days, so start that off with an included visit and cheese tasting at the Face Rock Creamery.
Redwood National Park
Today you’ll head south into northern California, hugging the coastline on stretches of road and stopping at cranberry and blueberry fruit farms along the way. The Wild Coast Trail is a foodie gift that keeps on giving. Continue across the Oregon-California border and stop at Crescent Beach Overlook for a view of the Pacific, before ending the day with sunset on the beach and a night near the Redwood National Park. This area of the coast is home to some of the tallest and oldest trees in the world.
Redwood National Park
Take a full day to hike and explore the Redwood National and State Parks. Go looking for elk in Prairie Creek then walk through the incredible ridge-top redwoods at the Lady Bird Johnson Grove of Tall Trees. The scenes on Endor with the Ewoks in ‘Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi’ were filmed in this area, and you really will feel like you're on another planet. The brisk clean air, the filtered sunlight and the verdant tree canopies – this part of the world is truly a nature lover’s paradise.
Mendocino, Northern California
Rise and shine early and depart Crescent City for a morning stop in Arcata. This hippie college town has a laidback vibe and is a perfect place for a coffee and a walk around the downtown main square. Continue your drive south to Mendocino, just in time to get yourself some lunch. Afterwards, take a walk around the Mendocino Headlands and the downtown area. Later in the afternoon, head to the unique Glass Beach in Fort Bragg – a colourful shore made from years of people dumping waste on the beach in the early 20th century. In 1967, the North Coast Water Quality Board closed the area and many clean-up programs have taken place, and now what is left is different coloured glassy beads on the shores that make this beach an attraction. Tonight, head to North Coast Brewing for dinner.
Make your way to the City by the Bay, San Francisco. With one of the most iconic bridges in the world, San Francisco is a photographer’s dream. Arrive in the late afternoon and stop by the Golden Gate for some photos and, depending on the season, understand what the fuss is about with the infamous San Francisco fog. In the evening, go out exploring the city with your group, and perhaps head into Chinatown for a meal. There are some great nightlife options in Union Hill and the Mission District, or better yet, book yourself in for a sunset cruise on the bay. There’s no shortage of things to do in this lively, eclectic city.
Spend a free morning exploring San Francisco. You might like to hire a bike and cycle your way along the bay towards the Golden Gate Bridge, or book yourself in for an Alcatraz experience – tickets for this usually sell out well in advance, so get in quick! In the afternoon, head to another meeting at 3 pm to meet some new travellers joining you on this stage of your west coast adventure, then head on an Urban Adventures tour through the hidden gems of Chinatown. Explore this renowned neighbourhood with a local who has all the insider knowledge on how its residents live, eat and drink, indulging in tea, treats and tastings.
This morning, explore the architectural landmarks of San Fran with a guided visit to the Palace of Fine Arts and the iconic Ferry Building – a historical monument home to an array of food stalls and eateries, then get your camera ready as you gaze upon the Golden Gate Bridge from the best view point in the city. After your guided tour, head across to Sausalito and stop for lunch (own expense) in Placerville – an old mining town with a notorious past, before continuing your drive to Lake Tahoe – the USA’s second-deepest lake and home to 116 km (72 miles) of scenic shoreline. This evening, (depending on the season) set sail on a sunset cruise around the stunning Emerald Bay and watch the orange hues glisten on the surface of the calm, cobalt waters.