The great American south-west has witnessed a fascinating history, from the mysterious Anasazi – the ancient ones who lived in elaborate cliff-dwellings until their sudden disappearance from the region in the 13th century; the Spanish explorers who searched in vain for the mythical cities of gold; the rugged frontiersmen who hunted and mined; the outlaws whose exploits captured our imagination in countless movies. Against a backdrop of towering peaks, spectacular red rock spires and buttes, mighty rivers and the awesome Grand Canyon, this history is celebrated in our 15 day/14 night self-drive tour which operates Saturdays between mid-May and mid-September.
Day 1. Arrive Denver. Day 2. Free day in Denver. Day 3. Denver to Alamosa (approx. 235 miles). Day 4. Alamosa to Santa Fe (approx. 140 miles). Day 5. Free day in Santa Fe. Day 6. Drive to Durango (approx.213 miles). Days 7 & 8. Free time in Durango. Day 9. Drive to Monument Valley (approx. 186 miles). Day 10. Monument Valley to Grand Canyon National Park (approx. 176 miles). Day 11. Grand Canyon National Park to Sedona (approx. 113 miles). Day 12. Sedona to Scottsdale (approx. 125 miles). Days 13 & 14. Free day in Scottsdale. Day 15. Depart Scottsdale/Phoenix.
Day 1. Arrive Denver. Upon arrival in the mile-high city of Denver make your way to your hotel in the centre of the city, your base for the next two nights. The remainder of the day is at leisure for you to explore Denver. Overnight: Crowne Plaza Downtown (Standard) or The Curtis Hotel (Superior).
Day 2. Free day in Denver. Enjoy the shops, museums and historic attractions of Colorado’s premier city. Overnight: Crowne Plaza Downtown (Standard) or The Curtis Hotel (Superior).
Day 3. Denver to Alamosa (235 miles). Collect your rental car this morning and head south to Colorado Springs where you should have time to view the spectacular Pikes Peak, before continuing your journey with a stop at the Great Sand Dunes National Park shortly before arriving in Alamosa. Overnight: Holiday Inn Express (Standard & Superior).
Day 4. Alamosa to Santa Fe (140 miles). The short drive today allows you time to visit the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railway – a must for steam railway enthusiasts, and the famous pueblo at Taos. Browse the shops and galleries and visit the Kit Carson home before continuing from Taos to Santa Fe, once the Spanish capital of western America. Overnight: Courtyard by Marriott (Standard) or Inn of the Governors (Superior).
Day 5. Free day in Santa Fe. Santa Fe still retains much of its Spanish history and character. In the main square the Old Santa Fe Trail, the Governor’s Palace and several other landmarks testify to the long Spanish occupation. The Governor’s Palace is the best place to start your tour, this lovely museum dedicated to telling the long and fascinating story of Santa Fe and its important role in opening up western America. Santa Fe’s shops, galleries and restaurants will tempt you to linger in the town, but you may wish to take a drive out into the surrounding country and explore some of the small town and ghost towns close to Santa Fe. Overnight: Courtyard By Marriott (Standard) or Inn of the Governors (Superior).
Day 6. Drive to Durango (213 miles). The journey from Santa Fe to Durango takes you through some beautiful rugged scenery and allows time to visit the Native American cliff-dwellings a Puye Cliffs, a fascinating site with both cliff homes and a major ‘town’ occupied between 1100 and 1580AD. From Puye travel north through Charma (and see the other end of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railway), before crossing back into Colorado and arriving in Durango. Overnight: Durango Downtown Inn (Standard) or The Strater Hotel (Superior).
Days 7 & 8. Free time in Durango. Enjoy two leisurely days based in Durango. There is much to do and see in the town and the surrounding area. The town of Durango has retained its wild-west atmosphere and has an interesting collection of saloons, shops and restaurants. Durango owes its existence to the railways being established in the 1880’s by the Denver & Rio Grande Railway Company and today the town is home to the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway which runs through spectacular canyons to the town of Silverton. A day trip to the quaint Victorian mining town of Silverton through the remote San Juan National Forest wilderness and majestic mountains bordering the Las Animas River, is a treat not to be missed. You have the option of returning to Durango by bus from Silverton, or returning by train. The stunning Mesa Verde National Park is not far from Durango and no visit to the area would be complete without a visit to the Park. Mesa Verde (the Green Mesa) was once home to a thriving ancient native culture whose occupation of the high plateau and deep valley spanned thousands of years. The most famous culture known to inhabit this ‘lost world’ was the Anasazi – the mysterious ‘ancient ones’ who built the incredible cliff-dwellings and who farmed and hunted the area for hundreds of years before suddenly abandoning the region in the 1300’s AD. The story and theories regarding the Anasazi will form an important part of the background history as you tour the region. Other Durango based activities include mountain-biking, rafting, hiking, hot-air ballooning, jeep tours and much more. Overnight: Durango Downtown Inn (Standard) or The Strater Hotel (Superior).
Day 9. Drive to Monument Valley (186 miles). Cross the Four Corners today – the only place in the USA where four states join. Your base for tonight is the historic Gouldings Lodge in the heart of the stunning landscape of Monument Valley – backdrop to countless western movies. Make sure you visit Goulding’s museum dedicated to the history and movie-making fame of Monument Valley. Most of Monument Valley is inaccessible to rental vehicles so we recommend you prebook one of the excursions that leave from Gouldings Lodge (click here to see details of the excursions) Overnight: Gouldings Lodge. (Standard & Superior).
Day 10. Monument Valley to Grand Canyon National Park (176 miles). From Monument Valley head south across the Navajo Nation Indian Reservation and the towns of Kayenta and Tuba City to the most stunning natural wonder on your itinerary the mighty Grand Canyon. Enjoy the remainder of the afternoon at the Grand Canyon by taking the free tram service along the South Rim stopping at the many scenic overlooks – each one affording a stunning view of the huge chasm of the Grand Canyon. Make sure you don’t miss the sunset! Overnight: Maswik South Lodge (Standard) or Yavapai East Lodge (Superior).
Day 11. Grand Canyon National Park to Sedona (113 miles). Linger a while at the Grand Canyon this morning – perhaps taking a scenic flight or helicopter ride over the canyon. The short drive to Sedona takes you past the snow-capped San Francisco Peaks and Humphrey’s Peak at 12,663 the highest point in Arizona. Passing through Flagstaff you travel – rather briefly – on the old Route 66 the highway that linked Chicago to Los Angeles and carried thousands of hopeful migrants from the Midwest to the promised land of California in the 1930’s and 40’s. From Flagstaff pass through the pretty red-rock country to the town of Sedona. No visit to Sedona would be complete without a Pink Jeep excursion through the company’s spectacular private grounds where their specially adapted jeeps travel off-road to take you to some very special scenic locations while the driver provides an interesting commentary on the history and wildlife of the area. Overnight: Andante Inn (Standard) or Sedona Reãl Inn & Suites (Superior).
Day 12. Sedona to Scottsdale (125 miles). A very leisurely drive from Sedona to Scottsdale allows ample time to linger in Sedona enjoying the shops and galleries, or a visit to the Montezuma’s Castle – Native American cliff-dwellings. After checking in to your Scottsdale hotel this afternoon, enjoy the facilities of the hotel or explore the legendary shops of this lovely resort town. You’ll soon see why Eleanor Roosevelt nicknamed the town ‘shopsdale’. Overnight: Cottonwoods Resort (Standard); JW Marriott Camelback Resort or Marriott Suites Old Town (Superior).
Days 13 & 14. Free day in Scottsdale. Two full days to relax and enjoy the desert resort of Scottsdale. Time for a round of golf, relaxation by the pool, or shopping today before maybe visiting the cowboy town of Rawhide for a last bit of western fun and saloon dining to round off your holiday in the great American southwest. Overnight: Courtyard Marriott Old Town (Standard); JW Marriott Camelback Resort or Marriott Suites Old Town (Superior).
Day 15. Depart Scottsdale/Phoenix. Return your rental car at Phoenix airport and check in for your onward or homebound flight to the UK.
Standard Hotels Superior Hotels Price per adult
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Prices from On request On request On request On request Prices from On request On request On request On request Location No.nights Standard Hotels Superior Hotels Denver 2 Crowne Plaza Downtown The Curtis Hotel Alamosa 1 Holiday Inn Express (bkfst) Holiday Inn Express (bkfst) Santa Fe 2 Courtyard By Marriott Inn of the Governors Durango 3 Durango Downtown Inn The Strater Hotel Monument Valley 1 Gouldings Lodge Gouldings Lodge Grand Canyon National Park 1 Yavapai East Yavapai East Sedona 1 Andante Inn of Sedona Sedona Real (Cont.bkfst) Scottsdale 3 Courtyard Marriott Old Town JW Marriott Camelback Inn or *Marriott Suites Old Town
* 14 nights hotel accommodation including local taxes.
* Maps, guides and itinerary.
Not included: Flights, airport taxes, car rental, travel insurance, meals, optional excursions and personal expenses.
Please note: there is currently a one-way rental fee of $250 plus tax to pay when collecting your car in Denver.
All hotels are subject to availability at the time of booking. Just America provides a full tailor-made holiday service so if you want to alter the itinerary, change the hotels, number of nights, add excursions, flights and car rental then please let us know at the time of booking. We can offer flights from the UK with a variety of airlines.
Tour prices:The prices shown in the price panels are for the accommodation elements only, they do not include flights or car rental (unless indicated). This enables you to choose the airline and car of your choice and add them to the accommodation package to create your holiday. Our reservations staff will be pleased to help you with flight availability, to suggest which is the best airline for your itinerary and to advise you of any special offers the airlines may have introduced.
Hotels:Hotels featured in our self-drive and independent tours are chosen for their location, value for money and facilities. Whenever possible we offer a choice of Standard or Superior hotels. There is no recognised 'star' system throughout North America for classifying hotels, motels and resorts. The hotel ratings for our tours are subjective and are provided to give you an understanding as to the level of facility. They are either the hotel's official categorisation as per the Official Hotel & Resort Guide, or Just America's. Standards vary from location to location, therefore ratings in the remote areas can differ from those in the cities. Standard hotels would be those classified as Moderate, and Superior hotels would be First Class, in the Official Hotel and Resort Guide. National Park accommodations are more rustic and are chosen almost entirely because of their location. It should not be assumed that because an hotel is listed as Superior that it has certain amenities. Often a hotel is classified as Superior due to its position, views or room standard, it does not always follow that a superior hotel will have a swimming pool, hair-dryers, golf course, room service etc. We will try to provide information on individual hotels on request although the internet is usually the quickest and most accurate source of information. Hotel rooms in North America usually have one or two double beds. Triple and Quad rooms have two double beds. Very few hotels in North America have three or four beds. It is sometimes possible to have a rollaway bed which can be requested, but cannot be guaranteed. Occasionally hotels are chosen purely for their location - i.e. half-way between two points of interest - and may be included as a one night stop to break up an otherwise long journey. Such hotels may not have the full facilities normally associated with a Standard or Superior hotel, but sometimes we don't have any other choice. Where possible hotels providing free car parking have been included, however in some locations, such as city centres, the hotels may make a charge.
Note:Hotels are not usually ready to accept guests until after 3 or 4 pm, so please try not to check in before mid-afternoon. Check out time is usually before 11 am or 12 noon. It is sometimes possible to arrange late check out, or the storage of luggage, but this is at the discretion of the hotel.
Tour notes and itineraries:On several of our tours the tour notes and itineraries are provided at the first hotel. On other tours this information is forwarded with the travel documents approximately 14 days prior to departure. We will endeavour to provide the best information we can to help you, but it is not our policy to provide mile by mile detailed route guides, the frequent changes to local road conditions, layouts etc., makes this impossible. We do provide maps, guides to the major attractions en route, and directions to hotels whenever possible. These are independent self-drive holidays and you will be required to read a map and locate attractions and hotels. Sat.Nav. is available from the car rental companies - at a charge - and you may find this useful, however all technology is prone to failure so we always recommend that you keep the maps handy.
Tailor-made holidays:We will be pleased to discuss your own ideas and itineraries and help you plan your holiday. If you would like to email, fax or mail an outline of your tour with dates, number of people, ages of children etc., to us we will be happy to advise you. We request that you include your daytime telephone number on all correspondence. Where you have chosen the route and we have designed a tailor-made holiday for you, it may not be possible to provide you with a detailed tour itinerary. We suggest that you read up about the area you are planning to visit well in advance, preferably before you book the holiday. Insight Guides cover almost every region of North America and are about the best on the market. Just America can also provide a some tourist information subject to availability, but we do not have detailed route information to cover every area of the Continent. You might find the internet to be the best source of free, up-to-date information.
National Park Passes:Both the US and Canada charge entrance fees for their national parks, and if you are visiting a number of parks, this cost can add up to a significant amount. We recommend that you purchase a Parks Pass at the first national park you visit. For the US the pass currently costs $80 for up to four adults (children under 16 are free). In Canada a family pass currently costs $136.40. Both passes provide unlimited visits to that country's parks for 12 months. The passes can only be used in the country of purchase. Full details available at www.nps.gov (for USA) and www.pc.gc.ca/index_e.asp
Just America specialises in tailor-making holidays and we will be pleased to design this or any of our tours to your specifications. ATOL & ABTA protected.
We can provide details, prices and make reservations for optional sightseeing excursions mentioned in the itinerary.
All mileages are approximate.
Hotels are subject to availability at the time of booking.