National Parks of the Northwest US
About United States
Imagine a two-week breath of fresh air and you’ve summed up this 15-day tour of some of the greatest American national parks. With big city fun in buzzing Seattle and funky Portland, unique and quirky small towns like Wallace and Jackson, and all the stunning western grandeur your eyes can soak in, this trip has it all. Combining hiking in parks big and small, savouring artisanal donuts, and relaxing in cowboy bars, this whirlwind trip is the answer for anyone looking for a true adventure away from home.
Mt Rainier Park visit. Coeur d’Alene stop. Glacier NP visits. Yellowstone NP visits. Grand Teton NP visit. Craters of the Moon National Monument visit. Crater Lake NP visit. All transport to/from included activities and between all destinations.
Get inspired by wilderness in the Rockies, watch geysers erupt in Yellowstone, indulge in craft beer in laid-back Oregon, get a taste for the Northwest’s majestic national parks, visit quirky towns and funky cities.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
In order to cover the vast distance in North America to be able to visit several different parks and cities along our trip, we will have a couple of long driving days.
2. WALKS AND HIKES – OPTIONAL
All walks and hikes proposed by our CEO will be easy to moderate level. You may choose to participate or not, but exploring our national parks on foot is part of our way of travelling. It’s a healthy way to discover North America’s beauty and landscape.
3. LEGAL DRINKING AGE
Please note that the legal drinking age in the United States is 21. Many bars and clubs will ask for ID at the door, therefore listening to live music in certain bars or spending a night out in Las Vegas or New Orleans is not possible when you are under the legal age, even if you don’t plan on consuming alcohol. Drinking laws in both countries are strictly enforced and our CEOs are unable to help those under age obtain alcohol of any kind.
While this should not stop those under legal drinking age from booking a tour, it is important to note that if a traveller is under age there are certain optional nighttime activities that they may not legally be able to participate in. When trying to book the right trip, we recommend that travellers under legal drinking age take this into consideration when booking a tour that visits several big cities.
Group Leader Description
This G Adventures group trip is accompanied by one of our group leaders, otherwise known as a Chief Experience Officer (CEO). The CEO will be the group manager, leader and driver – this person is experienced in the routes travelled and will organize and lead the meal preparations and has experience in cooking a variety of local and international dishes for large groups.
As the group coordinator and manager, the aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. They will also offer suggestions for things to do and to see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends.
While our CEOs are trained and have resources to assist them along the way, the United States is the fourth largest country on the planet, and it is impossible for them to know everything about this massive country. We recommend local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting – we think it’s the best of both worlds
Please note that specific tour guide licenses are required to guide in certain cities and regions, and as such, our CEOs will oftentimes provide brief orientation walks to point out useful places like supermarkets, main squares and ATMs but for more specific or in depth destination information, an official guided tour is recommended.
Group Size Notes
Max 14, avg 12
4 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners
Air-conditioned private vehicle, walking
About our Transportation
We use 15-passenger vans for up to 14 people plus the CEO/Driver for all our of our trips in North America. For groups of 8 and more travellers, we also use a trailer to carry luggage and camping equipment.
These vans are durable vehicles that allow us to drive on most types of roads in North America.
Each van has a front passenger seat and 4 benches that will accommodate 3 people each. No standing is permitted in these vehicles, but there is air conditioning to cool things down on warm days and mandatory seat belts to us secure and safe.
This is not a physically demanding journey. However, travelling can be difficult, with long drives and limited space in the van. Please take note of the travel times and distances in the above itinerary. Despite some of the long days, most clients feel that the diversity of the North American landscape, culture and wildlife are all well worth the experience!
We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Hotels (9 nts), hotel with shared facilities (1 nt), participation camping in or around national parks (4 nts).
My Own Room
Please note that if you have booked the “My Own Room/Tent” option for this tour, you will receive your own single room/tent for all nights, except for the below.
My Own Room Exceptions
This trip uses 2-3 star hotels and motels in cities and near park entrances. Our chosen hotels vary in size, character, and amenities, but are of a good standard, and the rooms are double occupancy, almost all with en suite bathroom. There is also four nights of camping on this trip where staying somewhere closer to nature will definitely enhance the experience.
For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
Yellow Cabs are available on the third floor parking garage. A cab from Sea-Tac airport to downtown Seattle ranges from $50-55 USD.
LINK LIGHT RAIL
Upon arrival, follow the signs to Link Light Rail by way of the fourth floor of the parking garage (and not Public Transit). The fare is $3 USD to Westlake Station. Transfer to Metro transit (Route 71) to destination. A ticket must be purchased prior to boarding the train, this can be done with cash or credit card.
Link is a separate entity from Metro transit that serves downtown Seattle. If you buy a ticket for the train and you wish to transfer to a city bus that would be another fare. You can buy an Orca card from the ticket machine that does allow for transfers. This will cost $5 and you can ‘load’ it with any amount of money that you wish.
The Shuttle Express is a shared van service that can be pre-booked online (www.shuttleexpress.com). The fare is $19 USD per person in a shared van and goes from the airport to most downtown hotels.
Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned for that day other then your welcome meeting in the evening, so you can arrive at any time.
Your CEO will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. A welcome note will be left for you in the hotel so you have all the necessary information regarding the meeting time. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier and contact us as soon as possible. If you have a pre-booked transfer, and you have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call the G Adventures Local Representative. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Representative (Boston)
During office hours (Weekdays, 6:00am-9:00pm PST)
From outside the USA: 1- 412-423-8143
From within the USA: 4412-423-8143
After hours emergency numbers
From outside the USA: 412-423-8143
From within the USA: 412-423-8143
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local representative, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible.
For days in the outdoors, we recommend the use of lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics made of wool or synthetic fibers. Cotton is not recommended for days spent hiking as it does not allow for heat or moisture to enter or escape, and it will not dry easily once wet.
We recommend using a backpack for your convenience, or a medium-sized suitcase if you prefer. Heavy luggage is not recommended for the health of the CEO, who will take a lead in loading the storage trailer. Due to space in the trailer, we will not be able to accommodate more than one piece of main luggage per person. A good size day-pack (20-35L) is also essential to carry your personal gear for the day, as access to luggage between destinations will be limited. This daypack will be used to carry your personal gear for the day, your lunch and a water bottle.
It is important to pack clothes for warm days and cool evenings, as well as a light jacket. A set of smart casual clothes is also advisable.
Weather in the Pacific Northwest is unpredictable. Prepare for everything from sun and heat to rain and potentially even a little snow in Montana. Layers are best.
• Hiking boots/sturdy walking shoes
• Sleeping bag and liner, 4 season
• Sport Sandals or Water Shoes (If you plan on rafting)
• Thermal base layer
• Travel pillow
• Windproof rain gear
• Long-sleeved shirts or sweater
• Warm gloves
• Warm hat
• Warm layers
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
• Binoculars (optional)
• Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
• Cash, credit and debit cards
• Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
• Ear plugs
• First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal)
• Fleece top/sweater
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Small travel towel
• Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable)
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket
• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
• Sun hat/bandana
Laundry can be done at least once a week while on tour. Some hotels and most cities have laundromats where you can buy soap and wash your laundry in coin-operated machines. Your CEO will advise you along the trip where you will be able to do your laundry.
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. It is your own responsibility to have the correct travel documentation. Visa requirements for your trip will vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. We keep the following information up to date as far as possible, but rules do change and sometimes without warning. While we provide the following information in good faith, it is vital that you check yourself and understand that you are fully responsible for your own visa requirements.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
The United States currency is the US Dollar (USD).
Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere in the US and can be used to purchase small and large items. When purchasing products or services with a foreign credit card in the USA, you may be charged additional fees by your credit card company for foreign purchases.
Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances but you must remember to bring your PIN number (be aware that many ATM machines only accept 4-digit PINs). Both Cirrus and Plus system cards are the most widely accepted debit cards. Both Visa and Master Cards are the most widely accepted credit cards. While ATMs are commonly available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work check with your bank before you travel. A visit to an ATM can be arranged on Day 1 and other days of the trip.
Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US Dollars as cash (preferably smaller bills, 5’s, 10’s and 20’s), traveller’s cheques and credit cards is best. Currency exchange is best obtained prior to travel or at the airport, currency exchange is very difficult to find in the USA and most banks do not accommodate.
Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
It is customary in North America to tip service providers such as waiters, bartenders and taxi drivers, at approximately 15-18%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected – though not compulsory – component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip any local guides used. Recommendations for tipping local guides would range from $2-8 USD per activity depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.
Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures Chief Experience Officer did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline $5-10 USD per person, per day can be used as a guide. If your CEO exceeded your expectations, feel free to tip more.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.
We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:
Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility’ is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at:
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we’ll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at email@example.com and we will send it on to you.
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Travel Forum - The Watering Hole
Be sure to stop by The Watering Hole, our adventure travel forum. If you’re interested in meeting others booked on your upcoming trip, check out the Departure Lounge section of our forum and introduce yourself. Otherwise, just drop in at anytime to share some travel tips, ask questions, meet other travellers and quench your thirst for travel. Our forum is located at wateringhole.gadventures.com.
You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.
Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout.
PRODUCT_LINE: NUSS, ID: 24822
Day 1 Seattle
There’s a lot to see and do in Seattle, and we recommend spending extra time here if you’d like to explore the city.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Seattle/Mount Rainier National Park
Drive to nearby Mt Rainier National Park. Explore the park on one of the many hiking trails, including the Skyline, Nisqually Vista, or Bench/Snow Lake Trail.
Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s))
Day 3 Mount Rainier National Park/Wallace
Continue east through the state of Washington. Check out scenic Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, en route to the quirky, small town of Wallace.
Private Vehicle (6.00-7.00 hours)
Day 4 Wallace/Glacier National Park (1D)
Enjoy the drive into Montana, and head to Glacier National Park for the first night of camping in Big Sky Country.
Glacier National Park Visit
Private Vehicle (3.50-4.50 hours)
Day 5 Glacier National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)
With over 20 glaciers and 200 lakes and streams, Glacier National Park is a must see. Choose from 730 miles of hiking trails to really enjoy this majestic park.
Glacier National Park Visit
Day 6 Glacier National Park/Bozeman (1B, 1L)
Drive south to the university town of Bozeman, Montana. Enjoy a hotel night before carrying on to Yellowstone.
Private Vehicle (4.00-5.00 hours)
Day 7 Bozeman/Yellowstone National Park (1L, 1D)
Spend the day driving through the northern section of Yellowstone National Park. The ride can be slow-going due to all the stopping for bears, elk and bison that may cozy up to the road. Soak in the scenery before camping just outside the park.
Yellowstone Northern Loop Excursion
Private Vehicle (3.00-4.00 hours)
Day 8 Yellowstone National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)
Continue exploring more sections of the park, home to the most wild animals in the US. Check out waterfalls, take short hikes and lay eyes on Old Faithful.
Yellowstone NP Visit
Day 9 Yellowstone National Park/Jackson (1B)
Cross the Continental Divide, and enjoy the view of more than 12 peaks that make up this beautiful drive. Stop at Grand Teton National Park and take in the tranquil surroundings.
In the late afternoon, reach Jackson and marvel at the town square’s elk antler arches. In the evening, enjoy a night out with a true wild western atmosphere at the One Million Dollar Bar.
Grand Teton National Park Visit
Private Vehicle (5.00-6.00 hours)
Day 10 Jackson/Boise
Start heading west to Boise, Idaho, stopping at Craters of the Moon National Monument en route.
Craters of the Moon National Monument Visit
Private Vehicle (6.00-7.00 hours)
Day 11 Boise/Bend
Continue on to Bend, Oregon, consistently voted one of the best places to live in the US. Arrive in time to explore a bit of the town.
Private Vehicle (5.00-6.00 hours)
Day 12 Bend/Eugene
Leave early to spend a few hours at gorgeous Crater Lake National Park. Enjoy a short hike in the area before continuing on to the university town of Eugene.
Crater Lake National Park Visit
Private Vehicle (1.50-2.00 hours)
Private Vehicle (3.00-4.00 hours)
Day 13 Eugene/Portland
Drive north to the city of Portland. One of the most popular cities to visit north of California on the West Coast, Portland is artsy, funky and full of great eating and drinking options. Spend the afternoon getting to know this charming city.
Private Vehicle (2.00-3.00 hours)
Day 14 Portland/Seattle
Enjoy the morning in Portland before travelling back to Seattle. Opt to go for a final dinner with the group.
Private Vehicle (2.50-3.50 hours, 280km)
Day 15 Seattle
With so much to see and do here, opt to extend your stay and see more.