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This unforgettable eight day Mountains, Deserts and Moonscapes Expedition will take you to the most remote and spectacular corners of this otherworldly state.

After a brief intro to San Francisco, you’ll drive to Yosemite National Park, to hike, stargaze and picnic in some of the most picturesque surroundings on the planet. Next explore the contrasting habitats of saline Mono Lake and freshwater June Lake before taking a detour to Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest to see the world’s oldest living trees.

Top it all off with two full days exploring surreal Death Valley, the lowest point in North America and the hottest spot on the planet!

Book With Confidence

We are committed to helping you change your plans if you need to and we pledge the utmost flexibility to adjust your trip dates if required.

Private Socially Distanced Tours

Privately guided tours are more essential than ever, allowing you to freely explore remote destinations with your family. With SA you will ride in your own spacious, sanitised vehicles and visit attractions at strategic times, steering clear of any crowds.

Good to know

  • Private tour accompanied by an expert driver-guide
  • Flexible bookings: no cost rebookings & itinerary adjustments
  • Carefully-selected boutique accommodations
  • All itineraries & activities tailored for you

What's included

  • Included Accommodation
  • Included Guided excursions
  • Included Some meals
  • Included Support
Days

8

Starting from

$3,490 pp

Contact us now for more information about this trip
Speak to Shaina for expert travel advice
Talk to us
Destinations
Western USA
Activity
Adventure, Hiking & Trekking, Active, Biking, Road Trips, Nature & Wildlife, National Parks
Tour Type
Custom itinerary, Private guided tour

Journey highlights

Key moments and experiences on this trip

Private tour of San Francisco
San Francisco

Private tour of San Francisco

Explore one of the West Coast’s true gems, San Francisco, from the city’s most iconic neighborhoods, to its famously steep streets, to the bright red Golden Gate Bridge.

Visit natural hot springs
Yellowstone National Park

Visit natural hot springs

Don your swimming duds and go for a relaxing soak in natural mineral hot springs.

Full-day guided tour of Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park

Full-day guided tour of Yosemite National Park

Enjoy a privately guided visit to Yosemite National Park, home to iconic spots El Capitan and Half Dome.

Hike to the Methuselah Grove of Ancient Bristlecone Pine Trees
Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Hike to the Methuselah Grove of Ancient Bristlecone Pine Trees

Hike through a grove of the world’s oldest living trees – the 5000-year-old Ancient Bristlecone Pines, perched on a barren hillside in the White Mountains.

Guided visit to Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park

Guided visit to Death Valley National Park

Visit the desert known for being the hottest place on earth and the lowest point in North America: Death Valley.

Detailed itinerary

What you'll see and do

This is a customisable trip

Use the following itinerary for inspiration. Remember: all days, hotels and activities can be altered to suit your requirements. A SA Expeditions travel specialist will be happy to advise.

Arrival in San Francisco

Welcome to California! Today is a transit day. After your plane glides in for a landing over the waters of the San Francisco Bay, you will take a shuttle to claim your rental car before driving into the City by the Bay. Take the afternoon to explore or relax in your iconic SF Hotel. Rest up for the adventure to come or hit the town to experience some of San Francisco’s famous nightlife.

Featured Accommodation
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AC Hotel Waterfront
Superior

AC Hotel Waterfront

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Westin Union Square
Superior

Westin Union Square

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The Fairmont
Superior

The Fairmont

San Francisco to Yosemite

After driving over the bay and across the expansive Central Valley, climbing into the Sierras by vehicle you will arrive to the majestic and fabled Yosemite Valley. The glaciated valley within the shadows of massive granite protrusions was one of the world’s first National Parks. Its value to humanity as a natural landscape has inspired conservation movements around the world ever since. You will be greeted in comfort and style at your Yosemite lodge to begin your exploration of the park.

Included meals: Breakfast

Featured Accommodation
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Ahwanee
Superior

Ahwanee

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Chateau du Sureau
Superior

Chateau du Sureau

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Yosemite Valley Lodge
Boutique

Yosemite Valley Lodge

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Tenaya Lodge
Superior

Tenaya Lodge

Explore Yosemite National Park

One of the best ways to explore the park is on foot. After breakfast, your guide will greet you at the lodge to take you into the back-country. There you will picnic amongst the wild-flowers and green meadows and visit waterfalls and alpine streams that meander through sheer granite cliffs. By day’s end, you will be back at your lodge for a cold beverage to reflect on a beautiful day in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Featured Accommodation
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Yosemite Valley Lodge
Boutique

Yosemite Valley Lodge

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Chateau du Sureau
Superior

Chateau du Sureau

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Ahwanee
Superior

Ahwanee

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Tenaya Lodge
Superior

Tenaya Lodge

Mono and June Lake

From Yosemite, you will descend out of the mountains down the Highway 395 corridor to Mono Lake. This saline lake, formed over hundreds of millennia, is a critical habitat for millions of migratory birds – and it’s equally popular among photographers and seekers of otherworldly landscapes. After visiting the briny waters of Mono, you will head to June Lake where a wonderful lodge, surrounded by a more conventionally majestic alpine setting, awaits. Your sunset and evening are spent taking in the views and mountain air.

Included meals: Breakfast

Featured Accommodation
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Double Eagle Lodge
Boutique

Double Eagle Lodge

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Creekside Inn
Superior

Creekside Inn

The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

This California State Park is home to the oldest living trees on the planet. The 5000-year-old trees of Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest live in groves on a windswept mountainside of dolomite at 11,000 feet. After a morning spent exploring the many trails of this paradise for naturalists and photographers, you’ll enjoy a well-earned picnic lunch. By the mid-afternoon you will depart for a scenic drive into Death Valley, arriving in time for your first desert sunset.

Included meals: Breakfast

Featured Accommodation
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The Inn at Death Valley
Superior

The Inn at Death Valley

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The Ranch at Death Valley
Superior

The Ranch at Death Valley

Explore Death Valley

Death Valley National Park is a desert wonderland like few places on earth. Both the lowest point in North America (282 feet below sea level) and the hottest spot on earth (134 degrees Fahrenheit), Death Valley is not for the faint of heart! Not that you’ll have to worry about any of this – our travelers stay at the finest lodges in the park. Your first full day in the park will include a fascinating docent-led geology tour and a sunset trek among the dunes, once the midday heat has worn off.

Then you’ll have another full day to drink in this incredible landscape. Setting out in the morning, you will go with your guide to further explore the mysteries of Death Valley. Choose between a fascinating Geological tour of the sliding boulders and lunar landscapes and a journey through the storied history of the California desert with visits to Leadfield Ghost Town and Scotty's Castle. Regardless of which option you choose, you will be moved.

Included meals: Breakfast

Featured Accommodation
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The Ranch at Death Valley
Superior

The Ranch at Death Valley

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The Inn at Death Valley
Superior

The Inn at Death Valley

Departure day

All good things must come to an end. Departing Death Valley you will return to the Highway 395 corridor before heading south to Los Angeles to head home or onwards to your next California destination.

Included meals: Breakfast

  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • June Lake

    June Lake

    ...
  • Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

    Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

    ...
  • Death Valley National Park

    Death Valley National Park

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

Speak to a Western USA specialist about this trip

SA Expeditions

Call one of our travel experts for ideas and trip planning advice.

Talk to us

Where to stay

Some of our sample accommodation.

Accommodation is included and our destination experts will help you chose the perfect hotels.

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The Ranch at Death Valley
Superior

The Ranch at Death Valley

Labelled the “energetic center of activity in Death Valley,” the vibrant and family-friendly Ranch at Death Valley has recently undergone a multi-million dollar renovation...

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Creekside Inn
Superior

Creekside Inn

Bishop Creek runs through the middle of the Creekside Inn, which is nestled in the town of Bishop in the Eastern Sierra Nevadas...

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Double Eagle Lodge
Boutique

Double Eagle Lodge

June Lake is often referred to as the “Switzerland of California,” and the Double Eagle Resort is the perfect place to experience this four-season destination...

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Tenaya Lodge
Superior

Tenaya Lodge

Tenaya Lodge is an unrivalled all-season resort located just two miles from Yosemite National Park's south gate...

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Chateau du Sureau
Superior

Chateau du Sureau

The Chateau du Sureau is a fairytale getaway in the small town of Oakhurst, the gateway to Yosemite National Park...

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The Fairmont
Superior

The Fairmont

The luxury Fairmont hotel, located atop iconic Nob Hill in San Francisco, provides all the “services one would expect of a luxury hotel in a world-class city...

Reviews

What people are saying about SA Expeditions

M
Melinda
09/09/2021

I went to Ecuador on the Galapagos trip. It was my first trip with SA Expeditions so I had no idea why to expect. They definitely impressed. Every detail was organized and planned for me. The hotels exceeded my expectations. The tours were exactly what they described. My guides were fun, knowledgeable and flexible to adjust to what I felt like doing. I travelled alone as a single woman and felt completely safe the entire time. I knew they were just a phone call away. I'll be booking the trip to the salt flats for December!

M
Mendiola
28/08/2021

We had a great trip to Peru booked through SA Expeditions! Everything ran smoothly from start to finish. We had great accommodations and we especially liked our guide Silver! I was nervous at first about booking with a company I found on the web and had no experience with but Dan, who made all arrangements, was very patient with me and but me at ease. I would highly recommend SA Expeditions!

K
Kevin
25/08/2021

My daughter and I went with SA Expeditions to coordinate our trip to Peru to Machu Picchu, Rainbow Mountain and Lake Titicaca. The accommodations that SA scheduled were fantastic. Beautiful settings, delicious food and friendly staff.

Our guides were extremely knowledgeable and accommodating. We had to make some last minute changes to our hike. Our guide Marco rolled with the changes and made it a memorable experience.

We enjoyed the knowledge that the guides had regarding Incan and pre-Incan societies. We left the vacation more knowledgeable that when we started.

Can't recommend enough.

How to book

Contact us now for expert advice

Price guide

This itinerary would cost from $3,490 pp.

Pricing may vary by accommodation choice, group size and time of year.

What's included

Included Accommodation

Customise your trip, choosing from recommended hotels.

Included Guided excursions

You'll be shown around each destination by a local expert (we call them ‘docents’) who knows the place inside out and enjoy private excursions.

Included Some meals

Select meals included.

Included Support

We'll greet you at the airport and be by your side every step of the way, making room for spontaneity as you go, with 24 hour support.

How to book

Trip Date Flexibility

We are committed to helping you change your plans if you need to. While every trip SA Expeditions designs is unique, we pledge the utmost flexibility to adjust your trip dates, working closely with our partners across the Americas with personalized and informed assistance throughout.

Private Socially Distanced Tours

Privately guided tours are more essential than ever, allowing you to freely explore remote destinations with your family. With SA you will ride in your own spacious, sanitized vehicles and visit attractions at strategic times, steering clear of any crowds.

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