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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: 2,500
  • Points for Free Trip: 25,000

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: Hidden Hot Springs
After an overnight drive from San Francisco, we spend the day at a stunning, riverside hot spring. Soak in the steamy pools along the Kern River in Sequoia National Park. Take a self-guided tour of Silver City Ghost Town and see how early settlers lived while they worked in historic mining camps. In the evening, stretch your legs on a hike around Lake Isabella's beach.

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: Joshua Tree National Park
A short drive brings us to one of Joshua Tree National Park's best kept secrets! A short hike up the Cottonwood Wash will reveal another palm oasis in the desert. We have the chance to see firsthand why this area of the park was an important spot for thirsty early explorers. Keep an eye out for Bighorn Sheep on their search for water. Enjoy a longer adventure to Mastodon Peak for spectacular views of the expansive wilderness.

Day 4: Sedona
We say sayonara to California and wake up in Arizona for a day of adventuring beneath the red rock walls of Sedona. Spend the day meditating in this awe-inspiring wilderness on any number of trails leading from town. Take in the massive pillars towering above you as you hike alongside blooming prickly pear cactus. You may choose to go souvenir shopping for native artworks or spend the day sipping coffee with tourists in a local cafe. In the afternoon, take a short walk to Montezuma Well, where natives built pueblos in the canyon walls. Learn why the natural spring is still important to the endemic species and local residents in the area on a nature walk around the national monument.

Day 5: Wet Beaver Wilderness
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 one of Arizona's prized watering holes surrounded by high canyon walls. The red rock formations around the desert wilderness are a picturesque setting for our day of venturing around yet another beautiful oasis.

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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