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Grand Tour of America

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Uncover the USA’s most iconic sights by rail

18 days From £3,995 per person
Operated by our sister company Great Rail Journeys

2022 Tour code: SUG22

About the tour

Discover the vibrant, varied United States on a once in a lifetime journey that takes you to some of America's most famous sights including Alcatraz, the Las Vegas strip, the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls and Yosemite National Park.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Days 1-2 - London and San Francisco

We fly from London Heathrow to the vibrant city of San Francisco, where we spend two nights.

We're introduced to the city on Day 2 during a sightseeing tour. We see the inspiring Golden Gate Bridge, which was the longest suspension bridge in the world when it was built in the 1930s. Continuing, we see popular Fisherman's Wharf before cruising to the famous island of Alcatraz. Once an 'escape-proof' maximum security prison housing notorious criminals such as Al Capone and the fascinating 'Birdman of Alcatraz', today Alcatraz is a fascinating public museum.

Day 3 - Yosemite National Park

We board an Amtrak train today for a journey inland, to Merced. From here, we take a coach to nearby Yosemite National Park, one of the most stunning areas of natural beauty in the United States, known for its deep valleys, tumbling waterfalls and ancient, towering trees. We enjoy a tour of the valley floor, taking in views of Half Dome, a well-known rock formation with a unique shape. We also see the 3,000-foot El Capitan, a huge rock face popular with rock climbers, and the spectacular Bridalveil Falls. We return to Merced, where we spend the night.

Days 4-5 - To Las Vegas

We board our Amtrak service to Bakersfield today, continuing across the desert to Las Vegas by coach. On arrival, we check into the famous Park MGM hotel for two nights, staying on the bustling Las Vegas Strip.

On Day 5, you're free to explore incredible Las Vegas at your own pace, and there's plenty to occupy yourself with here. The Las Vegas monorail is a great way to discover the fantastic sights and spectacles of the Las Vegas Strip and its variety of resorts, with top-class shows, excellent restaurants, and an extraordinary selection of entertainment to choose from.

Day 6 - The Hoover Dam and Flagstaff

Today, we head across Nevada to Arizona, via the Hoover Dam. Entering Arizona, we take the legendary Route 66, following this famous road until Flagstaff, where we spend 2 nights at the Little America Hotel, set amidst 500 acres of ponderosa pine forest.

Days 7-8 - The Grand Canyon and Monument Valley

We travel in vintage carriages hauled by historic locomotives on the Grand Canyon Railway today, to see one of the world's most awe-inspiring sights, the Grand Canyon. The canyon, created by the Colorado River over a period of 6 million years, is up to 18 miles wide, 1 mile deep, and is one of the most visited sites in the US. We arrive at the South Rim and main viewpoint of the canyon to take in the dramatic vistas.

On Day 8, we drive through Navajo country and Utah's Monument Valley - familiar as the rugged setting of many American Western movies. The whole region presents the imagery of a bygone era, where cowboys still spend lonely months herding cattle across miles of untouched hills and Native Americans perform age-old rituals. Enjoy excellent views of the vast and wild scenery as we make our way to Durango, where we spend the night.

Days 9-10 - Railroads of the US

We board the Durango and Silverton Railroad today for a journey through breathtaking canyons, past emerald-green rivers and dense forests. The line connects Durango with the mining town of Silverton and incredibly, has been in continuous use since its inception more than 130 years ago. We continue by coach to Grand Junction, nestled in Colorado's fruit growing area, where we spend the night.

On Day 10, we set out on one of the USA's most scenic rail journeys, travelling aboard the California Zephyr. Our journey takes us up into the Rocky Mountains, through the heart of Colorado's wine region towards Chicago.

*During the early part of the season the Durango & Silverton Railroad operates a winter timetable. During this period we enjoy a journey from Durango to Cascade Canyon by rail.

Days 11-13 - Chicago

We arrive into Chicago's Union Station this afternoon, and you're free for the rest of the day, and on Day 12, to begin exploring the city.

Set on the shores of vast Lake Michigan, the 'Windy City' is home to a wealth of incredible architecture, world-class museums, and wonderful restaurants. One must-try for visitors is Chicago-style deep dish pizza. By no means your traditional Italian-style pizza, this delicious pie-like dish is made with layered cheese and chunky tomato sauce encased in a high crust, and is served in many iconic eateries across the city.

On Day 13, we explore Chicago further on an insightful guided sightseeing tour, seeing many of the incredible sights of the city. This evening, we board the Lake Shore Limited for the overnight rail journey to Buffalo, on the cusp of Niagara Falls.

Days 14-15 - Niagara Falls

We arrive in Buffalo today and transfer to our hotel, located close to the spectacular Niagara Falls. The waterfall is loved by travellers all over the world for its emerald colour and a descent so forceful that the spray casts a mist around it, and seeing it is a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

On Day 15, we travel to cosmopolitan New York by train. On arrival, we take a unique 'behind the scenes' tour of iconic Grand Central Terminal. This is one of the USA's most famous stations, and boasts elegant marble floors and an incredible vaulted ceiling painted with a stunning celestial mural, with thousands of golden stars and constellations set against a turquoise backdrop. We then transfer to our hotel, where we spend two nights.

Day 16 - New York, New York

We wake up in 'the city that never sleeps' today, setting out on a guided tour that includes some of New York's most spectacular sights. We take a harbour cruise around Manhattan, which takes us past the world-famous Statue of Liberty. We continue with a visit to leafy Central Park, a green oasis of calm set against a backdrop of towering skyscrapers, and glamorous Fifth Avenue, the city's most famous shopping street. Later, you have some free time to explore this exciting city; perhaps visit poignant 'Ground Zero' or catch a show on Broadway.

Days 17-18 - New York and London

Bidding a fond farewell to New York and the US, we transfer to the airport today for our flight to London Heathrow, arriving on Day 18.

Additional information

Please note

Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We will write to you around 10 weeks before your departure date with the precise meeting times for your tour group.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Little America Hotel, Flagstaff

Little America Hotel, Flagstaff

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Hampton Inn, Grand Junction

Hampton Inn, Grand Junction

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Park MGM Hotel, Las Vegas

Park MGM Hotel, Las Vegas

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Courtyard by Marriott, Merced

Courtyard by Marriott, Merced

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Le Meridien Hotel, San Francisco

Le Meridien Hotel, San Francisco

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Trains

Amtrak
California Zephyr
Durango & Silverton Railroad
Grand Canyon Railroad
Lake Shore Limited

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Grand Tour of America

Uncover the USA’s most iconic sights by rail

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Helen Laverack
Helen
Luke Simpson
Luke
Lynne Broadley
Lynne