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Southwest Desert Loop

Green Tortoise USA bus tours - Southwest Deserts

Southwest Desert Loop Adventure Map

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Southwest Desert Loop 2019 Departures:

Round Trip from San Francisco:

  • Sat, Mar 30 - Sat, Apr 6

Departure Times

  • San Francisco, CA - 9:00 PM

Arrival Times

  • San Francisco, CA - 7:45 AM

Frequent Crawler Program

  • Points Awarded for this Trip: 700
  • Points for Free Trip: 7000

Join the Frequent Crawler Club today!

Southwest Desert Loop - 7 Days

The magic of the American West is best symbolized by one of the land's most dramatic natural features: the silence and rugged grandeur of the southwestern deserts. We explore hidden canyons and palm oases, steaming hot springs and swimming holes that soothe the soul, and extraordinary California islands to invigorate the adventurous spirit.

Please note: This is an exploratory trip! We are familiar with all of the regions we will be visiting but you will be participating in exploring the trails and highlights in each park!

Day 1: Deep Creek Hot Springs
After an overnight drive from San Francisco, we spend the day at a stunning, remote desert hot spring in the San Bernardino Mountains. Snow-capped mountains envelop the Mojave Desert decorated with flora and fauna that thrives in the dry wilderness. In the evening, we enjoy the vibrant sunset and share a dinner around the campfire.

Day 2: Anza Borrego Desert State Park
We have a full day at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to explore Palm Canyon. After breakfast, we hike as far up the canyon as we care to go or lounge on the boulders and swim in the various pools along the way. A scramble through the canyon and around the rocks reveals massive palm trees flourishing from between giant boulders. The snow melt that cascades down the canyon feeds the trees and fills the creek, creating an unbelievable oasis of plant and animal life in the otherwise barren desert. The grand finale to the hike is this magnificent display of life in contrast with the surrounding environment.

Day 3: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument & Picacho Peak
We say sayonara to California and wake up in Arizona for a day of adventuring through the Sonoran Desert. An early morning hike in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument awakens the senses; a chance to marvel at the organ pipe cacti that have been growing for over a century and a half, as well as the remarkable variety of desert plant life. Tonight, we dine and camp in the shadow of Picacho Peak, a massive geological feature seen from nearly 50 miles away in Tuscon.

Day 4: Wet Beaver Wilderness
Heading north through Phoenix, we make our way to the Wet Beaver Wilderness, where the junction of Dry Beaver Creek and Beaver Creek form an alluring swimming hole. The day is spent hiking on top of mesas and taking a dip in "The Crack," one of Arizona's prized watering holes surrounded by high canyon walls. The red rock formations around the Coconino National Forest are a picturesque setting for our day of venturing around yet another desert oasis.

Day 5: Valley Of Fire
Today's destination takes us on a journey back in time to step foot on 150 million year old Aztec sandstone. The brilliant formations in the jagged walls, rough floor and rolling sand dunes of Valley of Fire State Park appear aflame as they reflect the sun's rays. After hiking through this obscure wilderness, we continue on to Las Vegas for a few hours of soaking up the neon lights and dining on the legendary Vegas Strip.

Day 6: Channel Islands
A short ferry ride brings us to the Channel Islands. The islands are home to 150 species of plant that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The day is spent indulging in the unique biology of the archipelago while hiking over rolling hills and meandering through farm houses restored from the Spanish colonization in the early 19th century. Exploring the area gives us a chance to see how conservationists and federal programs have helped to restore the rare ecosystem that was heavily impacted by the fishing and ranching of the past.

Day 7:
We arrive back in San Francisco in style on the Green Tortoise sleeper coach, refreshed and relaxed from our week-long adventure.

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Flexible Itinerary means that we may alter an itinerary depending on weather, local events, etc. Although we make every attempt to run our trips as advertised, please be aware that the itinerary may change to give you the best trip possible.

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