ARRIVED BY: Plane DEPARTED BY: Bus
ACCOMMODATION: The Stratosphere (2 nights), Camping (2 nights), Excalibur (3 nights)
This post is really two in one. I visited the glamorous Las Vegas which was also the stepping stone to a National Parks tour.
I found Las Vegas a bit of a strange place. Like I ‘m sure many have said before me it is ‘a place like no other’. I didn’t catch a Hop On Hop Off bus in Vegas, because most of the sights to see such as the fancy hotels are all on the strip and it was more economical to just buy a 24 hour RTC ticket and catch the Deuce Bus (which travels up and down the strip with stops every 15 minutes). While Las Vegas is definitely worth a visit, once you’ve seen the extravagant hotels, played a few games in the Casino, maybe seen a show or two and lazed around the pool for a bit, there really isn’t much else to see and do. My four full days in Vegas was enough and it is probably the only place I’ve been so far where I haven’t left thinking there is more I’d like to see or do.
As mentioned previously I took a 2 night/3 day National Parks tour from Las Vegas. Over the three days we travelled over 1600km through three states (Nevada, Utah and Arizona), viewed some amazing scenery and experienced extremes of temperature.
On the first day we headed to Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon in Utah. During the drive the tour guide told us some very informative and interesting stories about the Mormon stronghold and history in Utah.
Now I am usually more of a gentle walk type person than a hiking person, but Bryce Canyon was quite spectacular and I couldn’t resist the 1500ft decent to the bottom of the canyon to experience more views. The decent was relatively easy and only took 20 minutes, but the climb back up again was a steep hike and probably the hardest thing I’ve done in a while.
Following the visit to the canyon we set up our tents at the local campground. Now Bryce Canyon is actually 10,000ft above sea level and there just happened to be a cold snap the night our tour group was there. During the night the temperature dropped to -1’C and when we were woken up at 6.15am there was actually ice on the outside of our tents. By midday the second day the temperature was back up to about 38’C.
The second day of the tour included a walk through the beautiful Antelope Canyon and a visit to Horseshoe Bend.
We spent the second night camping at Monument Valley in the Navajo Nation. Everyone on the tour woke up in time to see the sunrise over the monuments. A sight that was definitely worth waking up early for.
On the final day of the tour we visited the South rim of the Grand Canyon. The rugged views and shear size of the Grand Canyon were breathtaking.
Finally we made a quick stop at a diner on Route 66 on our way back to Las Vegas.
Although it was really hot the National Parks Camping tour was well worth doing and the highlight of my trip to Las Vegas.