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Santa Fe

Cultures & canyons of western USA self-drive tour

14 days from CAD5,805pp

Santa Fe
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Tour highlights

  • Marvel at the ancient Pueblo dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park.

  • Explore the distinct rock formations and wide open spaces of Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.

  • Experience the unique architecture at Temple Square in Salt Lake City.

  • Learn more about the blend of cultures, art and food in Santa Fe, the oldest capital city in the US.

Price includes:

  • All accommodation
  • Vehicle rental
  • 24-hour support while you travel
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Itinerary idea in detail

Private customized tour. Ask us about booking your international flights at our preferred rates.

  • Once you arrive in the oldest city in the US, make your way to your centrally located hotel. The rest of the day is yours to relax or explore this historic Spanish colonial city.

  • Enjoy a day in Santa Fe, home to a number of magnificent 16th and 17th-century Spanish buildings. A guided walking tour through the city will allow you to visit the Palace of the Governors and the Central Plaza. In the afternoon, you may also wish to take one of the many hiking trails into the Santa Fe Forest or visit one of the city's renowned art museums.

  • Depart Santa Fe today and head north to Taos, nestled in the New Mexico high desert and surrounded by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Taos is known for historic adobe buildings such as Taos Pueblo and its galleries and museums that showcase regional artwork, like the Harwood Museum of Art and the Taos Art Museum.

  • Spend your day exploring the fascinating history of Taos. This morning, visit Taos Pueblo, which is the only living Native American community designated both a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Historic Landmark. The multi-storied adobe dwellings of Taos Pueblo have been continuously inhabited for over 1000 years. In the afternoon, take a walk through downtown Taos, marvelling at the many art galleries, restaurants, shops and historic homes.

  • Today, your five-hour drive takes you through the heart of New Mexico and into southern Colorado and the magnificent scenery of Mesa Verde National Park. You pass hills covered in Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, Engelmann spruce and juniper trees along the way. Leaving the town of Tierra Amarilla, you enter the San Juan National Forest area, with its lush tree-covered mountains and 'yellow bark' Ponderosa pine. Pagosa Springs is a good place to stop for refreshments before you continue along the forest edge to the town of Durango. Arriving at the national park, settle into your hotel for the evening.

  • Spend the day exploring Mesa Verde National Park on a small group, guided tour. The park is home to ancient Pueblo cliff dwellings expertly carved into the rock face. A remarkable reminder of an earlier culture, you can visit some of them with a guide and learn more about the Puebloan way of life.

  • Depart Mesa Verde National Park at your leisure and make your way to the activity center of Utah, Moab, which is home to several iconic national and state parks. Along the drive, stop off at a handful of the landmarks that track the route to the town. In the afternoon, if you're feeling up to it head to Canyonlands National Park for sunset.

  • Today is all about exploring the rugged scenery of southern Utah. Head into Arches National Park with your experienced guide and learn all about the natural formation of the arches, the unique geology, and the native wildlife of the park. As today's adventure is privately run for just your group, it can be tailored to your interests and fitness levels.

  • Spend another day in Moab, where there is plenty for you to see and do. We'd highly recommend a drive through nearby Canyonlands National Park today to look over the Islands in the Sky formation and visit Dead Horse State Park for sunset, where Thelma and Louise took their final plunge. If you'd prefer pre-arranged activities, there are 4x4 tours, guided hikes and white-water rafting in the area.

  • Drive for two and a half hours to Torrey, which is adjacent to Capitol Reef National Park. The drive is picturesque, through southern Utah and takes you up into the red rocky mountains of the region. In the afternoon, head to Capitol Reef National Park or relax at the hotel.

    Stay at Cougar Ridge   
  • Spend the day exploring Capitol Reef National Park in a 4x4 vehicle with your group and guide. In the park there are rugged canyons, tumbling rivers and spectacular rock formations to be explored.

    Stay at Cougar Ridge   
  • The final big drive of your trip takes you three hours from the peaceful beauty of Torrey and Capitol Reef National Park to the impressive skyline of Salt Lake City.

  • Spend a full day in Salt Lake City. We recommend a walk around Temple Square to acquaint yourself with the impressive Temple and headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Alternatively, for more nature and wildlife-watching experiences, head to Great Salt Lake to spot native birds and mammals or drive for 35 minutes to Park City for some fantastic hiking and mountain biking.

  • Today, you may have time to do some last-minute shopping or sightseeing before dropping your car off at the depot and heading to the airport in time for your flight home.

Accommodation options

While the itinerary price reflects the suggested accommodations, Audley trips are 100% tailor-made, and a specialist can help you select the option best suited to your tastes and budget.

Audley Travel Specialist Shannon
Contact a US specialist

The specialist who designs your trip to the US will have explored the country many times and, in some cases, lived there. Their first-hand knowledge gives us the belief that no other travel company can match our expertise in helping you plan your trip.

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When to go

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Place Daily max temperature (°C) Monthly rainfall (mm)
Santa Fe
Mesa Verde National Park
Salt Lake City

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