This adventure explores incredible desert destinations, hidden oases and enchanting islands. Soak in hot springs, dip into swimming holes, explore extremes in Death Valley and camp in solitude beneath starlit skies. Boulder hop in Joshua Tree National Park and go caving in Pinnacles! Revitalize your adventurous spirit and awaken the senses on a trek through the sprawling desert wilderness.

2023 Date & Price

2024 Dates Coming Soon!

Fare: $+ Food/Parks: $
Total: $


8 days 7 nights

Desert Explorer

Welcome to the Green Tortoise!

Day 1:

Greet your traveling companions in San Francisco and hop on board the adventure bus!  The journey begins headed to the myriad of desert landscapes decorating Southern California.  First stop, Pinnacles National Park!  Keep your eyes on the skies, as this is home to a recovering species, the California Condor. Don’t forget your flashlight!  Explore deep into talus caves and hike around massive rock formations in this off the beaten track park.  

Camp Night

Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2

Good morning!  The adventure continues to Hollywood’s “playground to the stars,” Palm Springs. Marvel at the mid-century modern architecture and wander the streets lined with vibrant shops and cute cafes. A chance to hike to the clouds for a better view of the valley will entice the active crowd, while a stroll through the art or architecture museums pleases the culturally curious traveler!

In the afternoon, head for Anza-Borrego State Park.  Hike into Palm Canyon to explore the desert oasis flourishing between it’s walls.  Take a dip or jump right into the shimmering pools filling the space between massive boulders.  The further you trek, the more diverse flora and fauna you’ll see! This hike’s reward is an enchanting watering hole enclosed by gigantic California fan palms.  

Camp Night 

Meals Included: Breakfast / Dinner

Day 3

Awaken to the chirping of the cactus wren.  The bird calls are nature’s alarm clock, alerting you to the opportunities for exploration today! Go on a wildflower viewing expedition or meditate in the calm tranquility of the desert.

In the afternoon, one of the world’s most unique biomes, Joshua Tree National Park, beckons. Wind your way around massive boulders (or flex your biceps and scramble over them) on a hike through this desert wonderland. Named after the tree that has become the iconic symbol of the American Southwest, this wild area is home to hidden mines, countless legends, big horn sheep, and the desert tortoise! There will be plenty to explore during our day in the park. This evening, venture to Mojave National Preserve.  At camp, gaze up at the Milky Way, shooting stars, constellations and planets in this Dark Sky Sanctuary.

Camp Night

Meals Included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 4

Don’t forget to pack your swimming suit.  On the road to Death Valley National Park, we’ll have the chance to take a dip in Tecopa Hot Springs.  Soak those hiking muscles in the mineral-rich springs.  

Today, we enter the land of extremes.  Get your first glimpse of the expansive Death Valley from Zabriskie Point. Then, get a look into the history of the early enterprises established in the valley. Not only will outdoor enthusiasts enjoy this wild place, but history buffs will delight in the unique chronicles.

Camp Night

Meals Included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 5

Explore those extremes that Death Valley is known for; such as lowest point, driest weather, and the hottest temperatures in North America. After breakfast, stretch your legs through the labyrinth of narrows and hills in Golden Canyon, and then head for the salt flats of Badwater Basin. With an elevation of 282 feet below sea level, it’s known to be the lowest point on the continent!  

Spend the afternoon among the ripples and curves of the peaks while watching for wildlife or sand boarding at the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.  Test your endurance and patience while ascending the giant, shifting ridges.  Brush up on your favorite Star Wars quotes to truly experience this location where the scenes on the planet Tatooine were filmed. 

Camp Night

Meals Included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 6

This morning, the Alabama Hills is our explorers playground and provides some otherworldly views. Then, take a stroll along the quaint downtown of Lone Pine, a historic town lined with old western-style buildings and dusty sidewalks. This small town with big views is part of the Great Basin Desert and flanked by the Sierra Nevadas to the west and the Inyo Mountains to the east.

Our journey back to the coast begins.  Relax, play games, socialize and enjoy the unique comforts of travel in our comfortable adventure coach.  By the evening, you’ll be enjoying dinner in Ventura, strolling the Botanical Gardens, or sipping a local brew. 

Camp Night

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 7

Cruise on an unforgettable ferry ride to the Channel Islands.  Poise your camera for the chance to snap photos of dolphins, whales and other marine life.  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.  You may choose to stay shoreside and spend a day relaxing on the beach in Ventura, California.  This evening, we’ll walk along the palm-lined streets of historic Santa Barbara and snuggle up in the bus for a night drive back to San Francisco.

Custom Sleeper Coach Drive Night

Meals Included: Breakfast / Lunch

Day 8

We wake up right back where we began in San Francisco! Say farewell to our new adventure pals.  Until next time!

  • 70% of Meals
  • Travel by Custom Coach
  • National and State Park Entrance Fees
  • Semi-Guided Exploration of the Parks and Cities
  • Camping Fees

What’s Not Included

    • Sleeping Bag  
    • Tent  
      • Options to rent camping gear when you book (subject to availability)

    • Channel Islands Ferry – $74.49
      • Option to add to your adventure when you book


    • Channel Islands Ferry
    • Kayaking Tour

You’ll be traveling in a custom sleeper coach! 


A sleeping bag is required for this adventure. If you don’t have one, rent one from us upon booking! 


A tent is required.  On most occasions you are welcome to sleep on the bus or sleep beneath the stars.  However, we strongly recommend bringing along a tent for privacy and comfort. You may rent a tent from us (subject to availability).


Our coaches are equipped with a camp kitchen. No need to bring your own cookware or utensils. Bring a reusable lunch container to store your packed lunch and a reusable water bottle.

Once you’re booked, you will receive a detailed packing list in your e-ticket.

Departure:  7:00 AM – San Francisco, CA, Columbus and Montgomery St. Bus Loading Zone

San Francisco Arrival:  7:00 AM – San Francisco, CA, Columbus and Montgomery St. Bus Loading Zone

Eugene, OR Arrival: 9:00 PM – Monday, April 17 – E 27th & Oak St. Parking Area

A group of explorers visiting Joshua Tree National park relax during a sunset. The mid-size group is lounging around the Green Tortoise adventure bus.

Day By Day

1. Pinnacles National Park – Camp Night

 2. Anza Borrego Desert State Park – Camp Night

3. Joshua Tree National Park – Camp Night

4. Mojave National Preserve – Camp Night

5.  Death Valley National Park – Camp Night

 6. High Desert – Camp Night

 7. Channel Islands National Park – Drive Night

8. San Francisco, CA – Arrival

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