Mother Nature on an Epic Scale
VIP Adventure welcomes you to the western U.S.A. In this geologically diverse region, we'll explore some of North America's most beautiful and iconic National and State Parks. You'll travel from deserts, with haunting landscapes, to the glamour of Sin City, to the breathtaking views of Zion. You're in for an experience of a lifetime!
We'll travel in comfort on a Can-Am Spyder. In Nevada, as in California, a simple car driver's licence is all that's needed to operate this vehicle.
This is a city you won't want to miss. At night the world famous 4 km long part of Las Vegas Boulevard, known as The Strip, glitters, flashes, and glows with bright lights. The Strip is an adult's playground; you come here to escape the ordinary. Groups of merrymakers add to the town's festive spirit as they head to hotspots for cocktails, watch a show, have a fabulous dinner, or maybe to play a game of chance available in one of the giant casino-resorts.
We find it all here, mega shows from stars such as Lady Gaga to the Beatles-Love by Cirque du Soleil! The resorts, each having unique and outrageous architecture and attractions, are experts in catering to the needs of their fun-seeking guests. While it's fun spending a night in what is arguably the world's entertainment capital, now we should hit the road to take in the incredible natural beauty that makes up this state.
Red Rock Canyon
Located just outside of Las Vegas in the Mojave Desert, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area covers about 800 square km. It is one of Nevada's most popular parks for hiking and rock-climbing. Massive red sandstone formations hundreds of meters high and about 200 million years old are characteristic of the canyon.
As we ride into the area we stop at the Visitor Center to buy some sunscreen, in case you've forgotten yours, you're going to need lots of it. The center also has informative outdoor kiosks that will put meaning to some of the extraordinary panoramas, wildflowers, and wildlife that we're about to see.
The canyon is home to black-tailed jackrabbits, antelope ground squirrels, coyotes, mountain lions, and hawks. With temperatures that can reach into the 30s, most ground animals will be seeking shelter from the heat, so if we're lucky, we may see a few birds of prey.
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Red Rock is a vast area just begging to be explored, to see as much of this amazing area as possible, we take the 20 km long Scenic Loop. The many breathtaking views of the contrasting sweeping greyish colored mountains, groups of Joshua trees, and the striking red desert soil will inspire you to park and take short hikes with your camera in tow.
Back on the road we make our way eastbound towards the Valley of Fire and pass through Lake Mead National Recreation Area, on the Colorado River. This lake is the largest reservoir in the U.S. containing over 32 million liters of water at its maximum capacity. It has over 1 000 km of picturesque shoreline for you to hike, take a canoe trip, have a great picnic lunch, or sit and enjoy its beauty.
Valley of Fire
Riding into this park, it's clear how it got its name. There are red and burnt orange rock formations pushing into the blue sky. The sandstone and grayish limestone started forming some 150 million years ago, during the age of the dinosaurs. Now, these formations are part and parcel of spectacular desert vistas. We can park, grab some water, and take the 30-minute hike along a marked winding trail through sand and slot canyons to see the fire wave, a highlight of the park, the beautiful rainbow striped formations of multicolored rock has a magical look to it.
As we ride towards Zion, in southwest Utah, we encounter the town of St George that is located just shy of the park. We have an opportunity here to take a break from the road and organize an exciting western style tour on horseback, through trails in the park itself.
Zion National Park
Zion is a jaw-dropping natural spectacle. Soaring canyon walls and a vast pink and red-hued landscape await those of us that like to experience nature on an epic scale. The gorge's unique animal life, hanging gardens of wildflowers, gentle waterfalls, and pools of emerald colored water will leave you feeling relaxed and in a state of awe.
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The Virgin River and its tributaries that cut their way through the heart of the park have created this landscape over thousands of years; the erosive force of the river's water continuously carving out and washing away Navajo sandstone from the canyon's walls. Allow yourself the time to take in the spectacular views from the Canyon Overlook Trail, maybe try a hike up to Angels Landing, or a water hike through the Narrows. Our experience is complete after exploring the beauty of Zion Scenic Drive and the dramatic Checkerboard Mesa.
We'll now swing back over to the west. It's as if the roads of Arizona had been made for you to gawk at the beautiful scenery, we ride through spectacular multicolored dunes, mountains, and small towns that seem to have come out of an old western tv show. We're riding towards one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the most iconic of all parks, the Grand Canyon.
Grand Canyon National Park
There are so many scenic viewpoints for the canyon that it's hard to choose just one. The Mather Point is spectacular during sunrise and for those of us who crave the feeling of solitude with panoramic views, Tuweep. We've selected the South Rim, that's over 300 meters above the Colorado River and has the best overall experience. It's difficult to judge the enormous size of the cliffs facing you, but you soon realize that everything is gigantic at the Grand Canyon.
Almost 450 km long and 30 km wide, the canyon contains millions of years of history trapped in its rocky layers which are revealed by the cutting flows of the Colorado River, continuously widening and deepening the canyon. The rocky layers we see along the canyon wall are over 250 million years old. Each layer represents a different period in the earth's geologic history. To fully experience the various microclimates and explore the diversity of the canyon's flora and fauna, we need to dip below the rim.
The Grand Canyon, Zion, and the Valley of Fire are part of the VIP Adventure expedition:
Las Vegas-Grand Canyon-California on Can-Am Spyder. Drop us a line to reserve this or any of our other small-group expeditions.
As with the other parks we could strike out on foot towards the canyon floor, but a hike to the bottom would probably take a full day, then we'd have to hike back up. The trails are rocky, the heat is usually intense, and our eyes can be easily fooled into thinking that distances are closer than they are, so hiking is not in the cards today.
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But since we want to see the inside of the canyon, we will take an organized mule trail. Along the way, we're likely to spot some of the canyon's native inhabitants that have adapted to the different climates within the canyon, animals like rock squirrels, deer, lizards, and ravens. Plantlife, as well, shows a wide diversity, adapting to the different environments below the rim. We travel through the cool temperatures of the canyons woodland forests into the hotter regions where only cactus and other plants suited for dry soil can grow.
What a fantastic tour!