• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

A Circle of Stunning Scenery

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It is not often that you travel a road on which the scenery is a serious distraction to the driver because it is so beautiful and varied. I have just driven the Grand Circle in Utah, Nevada and Arizona and can honestly say that we had to keep on stopping to take photos and to explore off track. We took two weeks to drive the Circle and we would have loved a bit more time, as there was so much to see.

We flew in to Las Vegas and had three nights there. In truth I was ambivalent about spending time here, but now have to admit that we had a ball – and without gambling a single dollar. It was fun seeing the different themed hotels and the stunning displays that they put on. A tour of the city took us to places we would have missed and a trip to the Hoover Dam was a bonus.

Then we set off. We went in a Recreation Vehicle (a motorhome) to give us the flexibility to stay where we wanted, but a car and hotel option would be as good. Some of the hotels in the National Parks are located with views that are unrivalled. Imagine waking up and looking down on the Grand Canyon as the morning sun starts the shadows dancing through the canyon. Our first port of call was Zion National Park, but the crazy carved sandstone canyons and structures started before then. Many of the US National Parks have limited access to reduce the traffic in them. This means that you park up and then catch their buses that run up and down the Park, jumping off at those points that catch your eye. The drivers are knowledgeable and friendly and the buses run every 15 minutes so you are never waiting for long.

We walked many of the trails here – of differing degrees of difficulty and saw plenty of wildlife – deer, wild turkeys, various types of squirrels and even 3 of the extremely rare Californian condors.

On to Bryce National Park and the extraordinary hoodoos (many different shaped sandstone pillars and mountainsides) and views for miles. The trails again took us to stunning vistas and the setting or rising sun added to the magic of the Park.

Our itinerary took us to Kodachrome Basin, Capital Reef (and a dramatic desert thunderstorm), Arches and Canyonland Parks, Monument Valley (scene of all those 50’s cowboy films) and then on to the Grand Canyon. Each one was different and enthralling. Trying to capture the scene on camera was a real challenge.

Nor was it just walking and viewing. We took to the Colorado River first in a jet boat and then on a raft and that gave you a completely different view. The rafting could be for a few hours, all day or a trip of lifetime for up to 22 days! Elsewhere we rough roaded it in jeeps and 4×4 as we took on impossible looking gulches and scaled what looked like vertical mountain drops. All great fun and with guides that knew their part of the country from all angles and had a great sense of humour and fun.

These are deserts and probably the best time to go is in the spring or autumn. This will give you a cooler climate, fewer tourist and the colours of the spring and the “fall” to appreciate. Add in a friendly welcome everywhere and you have the makings of a great holiday. Tailoring it to your budget and time constraints are where our knowledge will help you make this holiday happen.

For fuller details and to discuss this trip (or others across the world) please contact us on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk


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