2023 Date & Price

Sunday, April 9 –
Sunday, April 16, 2023

Fare: $790 + Food/Parks: $220
Total: $1,010

Initial Payment Required To Book This Adventure: $250
Total Payment Due 60 Days Prior To Adventure 

A nonrefundable 6% convenience charge is added to third-party online booking.
Call us to book fee-free anytime!

8 days 7 nights
Desert Explorer

Total Price: $1,010

Starts: San Francisco, California

Ends: San Francisco, California

From desert oases to sandy landscapes speckled with colorful wildflowers to enchanting islands, this trip takes us on an adventure around the most grandeur destinations in the high desert.  Soak in hot springs, venture to hidden swimming holes, explore extremes in Death Valley and camp in solitude beneath starlit skies. Revitalize the body, soothe the soul and awaken the senses on a trek through the sprawling desert wilderness.

Welcome to the Green Tortoise!

Day 1:

Greet your traveling companions in San Francisco and hop on board the adventure bus!  We’ll begin the journey towards 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 treasured and recovering species, the California Condor. Don’t forget your flashlight!  You have the chance to explore talus caves and hike around massive rock formations.  In the afternoon, we’ll continue south to reach our first campsite.

Camp Night

Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2

Good morning!  The sun rises as our 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, we’ll head for Anza-Borrego State Park.  Hike into Palm Canyon to explore the desert oasis flourishing between it’s walls.  You’ll have a chance to dip your toes or jump right into the shimmering pools that fill between massive boulders.  The further you trek, the more diverse flora and fauna you’ll see! The hike ends at 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 tranquility of this special desert oasis.

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, 5 oases and one desert tortoise! There will be plenty to explore during our day in the park. The journey continues this evening to Mojave National Preserve.  Gaze up at the Milky Way, shooting stars, twinkling constellations and planets this evening in this Dark Sky Sanctuary.

Camp Night

Meals Included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 4

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

This afternoon, 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.

Camp Night

Meals Included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 5

Today we get up close to those extremes that Death Valley is known for; such as lowest point, driest weather, and the hottest temperatures in North America. After breakfast, we’ll stretch our legs through the labyrinth of narrows and hills in Golden Canyon, and then head for the salt flats of Badwater Basin, which has an elevation of 282 feet below sea level!  

Spend the afternoon among the ripples and curves of the starfish shaped 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

Today, you’ll have the chance to see the otherworldly views of the Alabama Hills. Take a stroll along the quaint downtown of Lone Pine, a historic town lined with old western-style buildings and dusty sidewalks. The 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 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

Hop 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 meander the palm-lined streets of historic downtown 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 to 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  (Rent one from us!)
    • Tent  (You don’t need one.  You can sleep on the bus!)
    • Channel Islands Ferry – $74.49
      • Option to add to your adventure when you book
    • River Rafting
    • 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

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

From desert oases to sandy landscapes speckled with colorful wildflowers to enchanting islands, this trip takes us on an adventure around the most grandeur destinations in the high desert.  Soak in hot springs, venture to hidden swimming holes, explore extremes in Death Valley and camp in solitude beneath starlit skies. Revitalize the body, soothe the soul and awaken the senses on a trek through the sprawling desert wilderness.

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