USA & Canada National Parks Road Trip (22 Days)
$6,495 + Airfare
Jun 29 – Jul 20
9, 10, 11
|Places we visit:||
Denver, Hanging Lake, Glenwood Springs, Moab, Arches National Park, Park City, Jackson, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Glacier National Park, Calgary, Banff, Jasper, Golden, Ashcroft, Whistler
|Who can go on this trip?||
Students from around the world!
|Optional group flight there:||
New York – JFK to Denver, CO
|Optional group flight back:||
Whistler, BC to New York-JFK
America and Canada both boast some of the most beautiful national parks in the world. In 1872, Yellowstone became the first national park and a trend of preserving the unique and incredible wonders of the North America began. Yellowstone is just one of the eight parks you’ll see on this action-packed 22 day adventure. Our goal will be to experience each of these parks beyond the traditional sightseeing and hiking, so we will be peppering in plenty of fun adventure activities to help you get the most out of each destination! Climb up and canyoneer red rocks in Utah, white water raft rivers in Montana, horseback ride in Wyoming, hike to an alpine lake in Colorado, trek across glaciers in the stunning Banff and Jasper National Parks, and soak in natural hot springs. All of this and more on the North American road trip of a lifetime!
On this trip you will:
- Visit seven of North America’s most incredible National Parks
- Indulge in the mountain views and foodie haven that is Denver, CO
- Hike to Hanging Lake, a pristine alpine lake surrounded by waterfalls in the Colorado Rockies
- Soak in America’s largest hot spring in Glenwood Springs
- Go canyoning and rock climbing in Moab, Utah
- Hike to a secret waterfall in Moab for a refreshing swim
- Hike to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park
- Contemplate how nature formed the canyons of Canyonlands
- Horseback ride below the Tetons in Wyoming
- Swim in Jenny Lake at Grand Teton National Park
- Watch Old Faithful erupt in Yellowstone National Park
- Check out Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park
- Whitewater raft the Flathead River
- Hike the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park
- Drive the famous Going-to-the-Sun-Road
- Stand-Up Paddleboard, kayak or boat on Lake Mcdonald
- Try fly fishing in Montana*
- Hike around alpine lakes in Banff National Park
- Soak in the Upper Banff Hot Springs
- Admire Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park
- Drive the Icefields Parkway; one of the most scenic drives in North America
- See Peyto Lake, the bluest of its kind in the Canadian Rockies
- Walk on the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park
- Whitewater raft the Kicking Horse River
- Visit a wolf sanctuary and learn about wolf conservation efforts
- Ride horses through glacial carved valleys*
- Stay at a Canadian ranch and get a taste for western life
- Mountain bike down North America’s best downhill trails*
- Zipline through coastal mountain forest
- Ski in the summer on Blackcomb Glacier**
*Biking and horseback riding are open to all skill levels and are not mandatory, those who opt not to participate will have plenty of other activities to choose from.
**Skiing is an optional excursion.
DAY 1: GROUP FLIGHT DEPARTS FROM NEW YORK-JFK
DAYS 1-2: COLORADO–THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS & GLENWOOD SPRINGS
Our adventure begins in the breathtaking state of Colorado. Enjoy a night out in the capital city of Denver before beginning the road trip of a lifetime. Our first day on the road we’ll head for the hills and hike to the stunning Hanging Lake, a turquoise alpine lake surrounded by waterfalls in the Rocky Mountains. In the evening, rest up in Glenwood Springs and soak in the largest hot spring pool in America.
DAYS 3-5: UTAH–ARCHES & CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARKS
Tucked on the border of Utah and Colorado, Moab is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise! We’ll rock climb, go canyoning , and even do an easy hike to a secret waterfall where you will be able to cool off and go for a swim! Of course, no trip to Moab would be complete without visiting the National Parks. Delicate Arch is the most recognizable of its kind and a must do on our itinerary. In Canyonlands, we’ll check out the best viewpoint in the park at Grand View of Island in the Sky. From this (as the name suggests!) truly spectacular view, you can look out at what was formerly plains and contemplate how nature shaped the canyon into what it is today.
Heading north we’ll make a stop in Park City, Utah. The 2002 Winter Olympics were held here and in the summer you can still ride the gondola to the epic mountain coaster!
DAYS 6-8: WYOMING–YELLOWSTONE & GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARKS
The road headed north brings us to Wyoming, where Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks await. Our homebase in charming Jackson is the perfect jump-off point. Get a taste for the old west on horseback beneath the striking Tetons, then cool off in the crystal clear waters of Jenny Lake. Within Yellowstone’s boundaries, It’ll feel like we’ve left planet Earth. Bubbling hot spring pools of vibrant color and spouting geysers provide a window to the super-volcanic activity below.
DAYS 9-11: MONTANA–GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
Montana is not a state to be missed on this incredible journey. We will spend our time at the “Crown of the Continent,” in Glacier National Park where even more adventure and natural beauty await us. Test your balance with stand-up paddleboarding on Lake Mcdonald. Then, get your adrenaline pumping on the Highline Trail off the Going-to-the-Sun Road. You’ll walk across the incredible glacially carved valley without putting in hours of elevation gain! If that’s not enough of a rush, you’ll whitewater raft down the Flathead river through thrilling class IV rapids!
DAYS 11-12: CALGARY, ALBERTA
Say hello to Calgary, Alberta, home of the 1988 Winter Olympics! We’ll have a relaxing time exploring the city and visiting Olympic Park. We will even have the opportunity to fly downhill on a luge! We will play games at Prince Island Park and enjoy our first introduction to Canada.
DAYS 13-15: BANFF, ALBERTA
Home to two of Canada’s most popular National Parks, Alberta is the perfect place to kick off your Canadian adventure! Leave the bustling city of Calgary behind to spend the first full day in the charming town of Banff. Located within the boundaries of the National Park, this small township is surrounded by natural beauty. The peaks of the Canadian rockies frame the scene from all directions and wildlife such as moose can sometimes be seen walking down Main Street! Deep inside the park you’ll find the famous teal waters of Lake Louise and the quaint Lake Agnes Tea house just a short hike up the hillside. At Moraine Lake, Hike or choose to canoe around the lake in the incredible Valley of the Ten Peaks. As you head north out of Banff towards Jasper, you’ll ride along the magnificent Icefields Parkway, rated as one of the best drives in the world! Make a pit stop at the bluest lake in the Rockies, Peyto Lake, before arriving at Athabasca Glacier for an afternoon glacier walk.
DAYS 16-17: GOLDEN, BRITISH COLUMBIA
From Jasper we’ll head into British Columbia to the adventure haven of Golden. The Kicking Horse River runs through town, making it the perfect place to stay for the ultimate whitewater rafting experience! Even without the rapids, the river itself is a spectacle worth seeing. Bright blue water rushes through sturdy green forests where bear and deer can be spotted on the shores! If by now you haven’t satisfied your desire to see wildlife, we’ll head to a wolf conservation center to learn about these majestic animals and see them in their natural environment.
DAYS 18-20: ASHCROFT, BRITISH COLUMBIA
As we make our way across the province of British Columbia, there’s no better place to stop than at our handpicked horse ranch in Ashcroft! Break up the drive by spending two nights at this at this traditional Canadian ranch. Ride one of 100 horses on the property, enjoy amazing views, and savor delicious home cooked meals.
New to riding or an experienced equestrian? All levels are welcome! If horses aren’t your thing, enjoy the heated pool, game room, or hiking trails around the undeniably beautiful property.
DAYS 20-22: WHISTLER, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Upon arriving in Whistler you’ll dive right into the action. Take the gondola up the mountain to access some of the best downhill mountain biking trails in North America. You’ll get small group lessons from a trained professional catered to enhance pre-existing skills or start from scratch for beginners! Safety is a top priority and plenty of fun will be had on the back country trails! Biking is not mandatory and those who choose not to bike will have other hiking options instead.
While in Whistler we will also hike to Alexander Falls, zipline from peak to peak and even get the chance to summer ski or snowboard on Blackcomb Glacier!
DAY 22: RETURN FLIGHT HOME FROM VANCOUVER
Who can go on this trip? What kind of teen typically goes on this trip?
We have teens join this program from all over the world! They are typically culturally curious teens who are excited about making new friends, stepping out of their comfort zone, expanding their horizons, and trying something new.
Where do we stay?
Our hotels are specifically chosen to be in safe areas and well-suited to facilitating group supervision. We stay in centrally located accommodations, usually within walking distance of the main attractions. This means we do not use large, impersonal chain hotels on the outskirts of cities. We prefer to select smaller, family-run hotels where we establish personal relationships with the owners.
All accommodations on this trip have been selected to ensure quality while still maintaining character of the places we are visiting. In Denver, we’ll stay downtown to give us access to all the food and entertainment options available. In Glenwood Springs, our hotel will be walking distance from the largest hot spring in America. The accommodations in Moab are sure to satisfy the adventurous spirit in all. We’ll be staying in “glamping” style canvas tents equipped with cots, sheets, bathrooms, and more. In Jackson, we’ll stay in a lodge located close to downtown so we can take in everything the quaint city has to offer while still accessing the Grand Tetons. In Yellowstone, we’ll use the same glamping style canvas platform tents to get the rustic experience of visiting the National Parks without roughing it! Just west of Glacier National Park we’ll stay in an awesome cabin resort equipped with its own swimming pool and plethora of activities. In Calgary, we’ll stay at a downtown location convenient to restaurants and the park. In Banff, we’ll stay close to downtown in a quaint lodge. In Golden, a unique hotel in historic downtown will be our home for two nights. Our accommodation in Ashcroft is the most unique of all. We’ll spend two nights in on a family owned ranch in the middle of British Columbia. In Whistler, we’ll stay at a beautiful resort right off the mountain.
For safety reasons, we do not publish the names of the accommodations we use. We do not feel it is safe to publish the name of a hotel where a group of teenagers is staying abroad. After registering, participants and parents are given access to our secure parent website where you will be able to see the names of all of the accommodations for a trip.
Do most travelers go by themselves?
Yes, in fact over 75% of students who travel with us choose to come independently. This encourages teens to step further outside their comfort zone and make new friends. We believe that one of the most rewarding and exciting elements of travel is the new friendships that are formed along the way. If you travel by yourself, you are bound to make new friends from all over the country and even the world. The best part is, you can travel again with your new BFFs on another TFT trip the next summer!
Can I bring a friend?
Absolutely! We just ask that if you come with a friend, you and your friend(s) are still open to meeting new people and sharing this special experience with the entire group.
What do students generally like most on this program?
Students love that they are able to explore seven National Parks in 22 days without feeling rushed! Mixed into the itinerary is a different activity for every place that will provide both new and enriching experiences for all types of interests.
What is unique about this program?
From a glamping style canvas tent under the incredible Utah desert sky to a cabin resort in Montana, our choice of accommodation beats any chain hotel. We pepper in activities that highlight the culture of each state we’re visiting. From rock climbing in Moab to horseback riding in Montana, you’ll truly feel like you’ve gotten to know each destination beyond the surface level.
What is included?
Ground transportation, accommodations, all breakfasts and dinners, chaperones and guides, trip related activities, trip related activity admissions, taxes and tips.
Not included (not intended to be an exhaustive list): Airfare, lunches, beverages other than tap water, activities and admissions not referenced in the itinerary or deemed not trip related such as movies, clubs and the like, visas and visa applications, expenses incurred by the participant that are outside the trip description such as damage to hotels, excess baggage fees and the like, expenses related to unforeseen circumstances such as transportation strikes, natural disasters and the like, personal and medical expenses.
How do the optional group flights work?
Upon registration, you will be contacted by our International Logistics Team to discuss this trip’s flight details. You are not required to take the group flight, although there are several advantages to doing so. The group flight is chaperoned by TFT staff, it offers an opportunity for the students to get to know each other before the trip starts, and we get preferred group flight prices on trips that have group contracts (ask for details). Parents are responsible for arranging for participants to get to the group flight airport. Travel For Teens staff are at the airport, greet arriving participants, and help them get to where the rest of the group has assembled. For more information about Flights, visit our Flights page.
Who are the counselors on the trip?
The Trip Director for every trip is a seasoned teen travel professional with extensive TFT experience. Trip Directors often live or have lived and worked in the destination country. Extensive knowledge of the language and culture of the destination is crucial. Our Senior Counselors are experienced, responsible and fun-loving individuals who our participants can share experiences with and look to for guidance and support. At Travel for Teens we pride ourselves on our rigorous staff application process and the professionalism of our full time and summer staff.
It is the job of the counselors to keep the trip fun and exciting, the learning and the laughter in good balance, and to oversee the safety of the participants. Minimum ratios are on average one staff member to every seven participants. Trips may also include one or two Junior Counselors, who are college students with a history of TFT travel, and one or more Counselors in Training (CIT’s) with limited responsibility. CIT’s are not counted in staff-participant ratios.
What are the safety qualifications for our staff?
All of our staff members attend a week long training session every May to prepare for the upcoming summer and go over safety precautions and protocols. Likewise, every counselor is CPR/First Aid certified and Trip Directors are Lifeguard certified. All staff undergo a rigorous interview process and thorough background check.
What is the average group size?
At Travel for Teens, we like to keep our group sizes small to allow for a more personalized program. Our average group size is between 14-21 students, which provides an authentic travel experience without any student feeling like “just a number.” You would never be able to have the same experience with a group of 40-50 students!
How does this program connect to other programs?
Most of our North American programs are designed specifically so that participants can combine them with other trips. If you are connecting to another program, your counselor will escort you to the airport on the last day of the trip and help you get to your next destination where you will meet up with your new counselors and group.
What is the food like on this trip?
In a word – Delicious! At TFT, we believe food should be an integral part of the travel experience and always make an effort to eat at authentic establishments when we can. What better way to immerse yourself in the culture of a place than by sampling the local delicacies, and we encourage students to do so whenever possible! Just as we stay away from hotel chains, we try to avoid restaurants with menus that cater only to tourists because every good traveler knows the best food is found wherever the locals are eating!
When you think “American food” you either think steaks and burgers or fast food! The latter will be avoided at all costs while on this road trip of a lifetime but if you’re a carnivore, there is truly no better place to indulge in beef than in the western ranch laden states!
In Denver, we’ll check out some of the hip new eateries that dot the city, taking advantage of the incredible foodie culture that’s taken Colorado’s capital city by storm. Feel free to try the infamous “Rocky Mountain Oysters” and see for yourself what they’re really made of!
“Funeral potatoes” are known as Utah’s staple food! We’ll be sure to give them a try while we’re adventuring across the state.
Wyoming and Montana is where quality beef can’t be beat. If you like red meat there is no better place in the country to indulge than in such close proximity to cattle ranches.
Of course, you’ll try poutine, the famous fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds Canada is known for! As we move towards the coast, salmon and other seafood specialties will be offered in abundance!
As always, we are willing and able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, and other dietary restrictions.
Do I need any vaccinations for this trip?
We recommend that you check with your family doctor regarding vaccinations and medical advice for the areas you will be visiting. For more information, please check out the World Health Organization’s website www.who.int/en/.
How much free time do we get?
Our counselors are with the group nearly always. Everyday we will break up into smaller groups to give our participants some choices and flexibility in their itinerary. We do offer some free time to do some shopping, for example, in defined areas that we are very familiar with. If participants are ever shopping by themselves within these defined areas they go in groups and for no more than an hour. On this trip, for example, the group will have some free time to explore some of the safe pedestrian areas of Moab, Park City, Calgary and Jackson. A counselor will always be nearby when participants have free time in each city.
What kind of visa do you need for this trip?
American citizens traveling with a US passport do not need a visa to enter Canada. If you are coming from somewhere outside the US, please be sure to check your country specific visa requirements.