Northwest Parks and Wildlife    *alt*

12 days, from £2799
Grand American Adventures
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Constantly rated as one of our staff's favourite areas, the Pacific Northwest has such a high concentration of incredible and hugely diverse national parks, so we have included three of our favourites. This tour begins in Portland, another staff favourite and a city with a unique and artistic pulse and exciting undercurrent. The tour also takes in the wonderful cities of Seattle and Vancouver. As you're so close, it would be a shame not to ferry over to Vancouver Island and enjoy two dedicated Zodiac tours; one in search of whales and the other to watch bears roaming and feeding along the shore. If you are a wildlife, hiking, nature and photography enthusiast, this tour will tick all the boxes and give not only your legs a workout, but also your camera.

* Hit the water on a Zodiac boat tour in search of the magnificent whales who use the area surrounding Tofino as a feeding ground
* Spot Grizzly and Brown Bears from the safety of a Zodiac on board this dedicated bear viewing tour
* Visit Sol Duc Hot Springs in Olympic National Park
* Hike up Mount St Helens in Washington State with the chance to see the wild flowers
* Hike the trails and keep an eye out for wildlife in Mt Rainier National Park - staying at the historic Paradise Inn
* Explore the old-growth Hoh Rain Forest and wild Pacific Coast in Olympic National Park
* Two picturesque Vancouver Island ferry crossings
* Orientation walking tour in the city of Victoria
* Endless wildlife viewing opportunities
* Many walks and hikes amongst stunning scenery


 Day 1 Portland

Welcome to the Portland, or the 'City of Roses', or 'Bridge City' as it is otherwise known. This vibrant city full of quirky cafes, artistic splendour and the best doughnut shop a person could ask for, Voodoo Donuts. A welcome meeting will be held tonight at 18:00 where you meet your tour leader, fellow travellers and find out a bit more about your next 12 days. Portland has over 30 breweries dotted across the city so you may wish to sample one in the evening. One thing is for certain, you will never go thirsty in Portland.
Meals: Meals paid locally

 Day 2 Mount St Helens

Mount St. Helens is an active stratovolcano located in Skamania County, Washington, in the Pacific Northwest. It is perhaps best known for the 1980 eruption which destroyed the almost perfectly symmetrical cone which stood roughly 9,600 feet (3,000 meters) above sea level. The eruption left a horseshoe-shaped crater and a barren wasteland, which although devastating, proves natures ability to endure and rejuvenate.Today you hike the Butte Camp trail, a 7.4 mile moderately trafficked return trail where you can see the beautiful wild flowers. This trail is rated as moderate and is well-known for hikers, birders and biking.'Trail name: Butte Camp trailMileage: 7.4 miles Elevation gain: 1873 feet Rating: Moderate
Meals: Meals paid locally

 Day 3 Mount Rainier National Park

Next up is the stunning snow covered peak of Mount Rainier in the State of Washington. At over 14,000 feet this iconic volcano looms large in the Pacific Northwest. Draped in snow, Mount Rainer has the greatest single peak glacial system in the United States, covering 36 square miles of the mountain with sheer ice! With over 260 miles of well maintained trails winding through a varied terrain, from old growth forest to subalpine meadows, there are plenty of different hiking options available. Not to be outdone by its national park neighbours to the east, Mount Rainier is also a haven for wildlife, and you may see Columbian Black-tailed Deer, elk and Black Bears roaming freely.Today you warm up your legs on a short and easy stroll through old-growth forest on the Grove of the Patriarchs' Trail. It's easy to feel small whilst standing beside one of the massive Douglas Firs, hemlocks or cedars, some nearly 40 feet in diameter and more than 300 feet tall. A wooden boardwalk leads you along the trail and through these ancient giants.'Trail name: Grove of the Patriarchs' TrailMileage: 1.5 miles Elevation gain: 50 feet Rating: Easy
Meals: Meals paid locally

 Day 4 Mount Rainier National Park

Today is all about heading out on one of the trails to see just what the park has on offer, keeping your eye open for deer and foxes. There are a number of hikes to choose from depending on the weather, but a likely option is the Nisqually River Trail.
Meals: Meals paid locally

 Day 5 Olympic National Park

With its incredible range of precipitation and elevation, diversity is what makes Olympic National Park one of the most unique in North America and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spanning almost a million acres, the park protects old-growth rainforests, wildlife and several distinctly opposing ecosystems and is, for the most part, an untouched wilderness area. Let's not forget about the 70 miles of wild and rugged Pacific coastline with sculpted sea stacks.Our first visit is the Hoh Rain Forest, an old-growth forest located in the stretch of the Pacific Northwest rainforest which once spanned the Pacific coast from southeastern Alaska to the central coast of California. A visit to this temperate forest is like walking into a Lord of the Rings film set. Moss drips from the trees, dense trees camouflage deer seeking refuge and it is perhaps the perfect example of a forest which constantly renews itself from fallen trees.
Meals: Meals paid locally

 Day 6 Olympic National Park

In the morning, you head off to Rialto Beach on Olympic's wild Pacific coast. Think rocky beaches, giant drift logs, pounding waves and views of small islands called 'sea stacks', and that is Rialto. You begin your hike at the car park for the two mile trail along the beach to Hole-in-the-Wall. You'll notice immediately the huge array of trees and gigantic pieces of driftwood which have reached their final resting place near the top of the beach. They gather up like beached whales, rising from the sand. As you continue along the beach, you'll see all number of different creatures, from whales, sea lions and otters offshore to birds circling overhead and starfish lining the rock pools. When the tide is out, you can scramble through the rocky arch for panoramic views of the other side.In the evening after dinner, the perfect way to wave goodbye to the evening is with a soak in the Sol Duc Hot Springs as the day turns to night. This activity is included to help you rest your bones after a day patrolling the beach trail.
Meals: Meals paid locally

 Day 7 Seattle

Leaving the mountains of the Olympic Peninsula behind, you journey across Puget Sound aboard the ferry from Bainbridge Island to Seattle. Your leader will take you down to Pike Place Market to watch as the famous fishmongers throw fish to each other. Why not order yourself a coffee at the world's very first Starbucks! With a few hours free in the evening, you may want to whisk yourself more than 150 metres (520 ft.) up the Space Needle, taking in the spectacular setting from a glass elevator.
Meals: Meals paid locally

 Day 8 Victoria

This morning you take the ferry from Seattle over to Victoria in Canada, Vancouver Island's main city and the capital of British Columbia. It's a remarkable mix of English Edwardian, First Nations and even some unique Chinese style buildings, and was home to the first Chinatown in Canada. Upon arrival, your leader will take you on a driving tour to acquaint yourself to the city with free time afterwards.
Meals: Meals paid locally

 Day 9 Tofino

Take a drive up the coast before cutting inland and making your way towards Tofino, a small district on Vancouver Island. It extends onto the peninsula within Clayoquot Sound, characterised by wild natural scenery including lakes, inlets and ancient rainforest. The coastline is rugged and wild with sandy beaches, making it perfect for attracting year-round surfers. The laid-back town of Tofino sits on the peninsula's tip.
Meals: Meals paid locally

 Day 10 Tofino

Even though today is all about bears, don't be surprised if you also see whales and Bald Eagles, which are commonly spotted from the Zodiacs. Enjoy a scenic boat ride on waters of the Clayoquot Sound inlets, where it won't be long before you're exploring the protected wilderness beaches and inlets which the bears call home.From late spring to October, it is common for bears to come down after hibernation, to feed on shellfish and crustaceans. The benefit of travelling by Zodiac is this allows us to get close enough without disturbing or causing them distress, or upsetting their natural feeding patterns. It is here you have the chance to witness mothers teaching their young cubs, and can observe them climbing trees and playing on the beach.
Meals: Meals paid locally

 Day 11 Tofino

Your whale watching Zodiac tour is one of the unmissable activities to do on Vancouver Island; using a company which combines years of experience and a responsible approach to whale watching. Included is a half day whale watching program that travels to Gray Whale feeding areas near Tofino. You will navigate the pristine waters of Clayoquot Sound, revealing sensational scenery, and wildlife such as Gray Whales, sea lions, seals, porpoise and Killer Whales. The area is also known for its variety of sea birds, including Tufted Puffins, and the numbers of resident Bald Eagles. Visit the Whale Report for recent sightings.
Meals: Meals paid locally

 Day 12 Vancouver

It's time to say goodbye to Vancouver Island as you set off from Nanaimo on a scenic ferry to the mainland across the Salish Sea, admiring small islands and the breathtaking panorama of the city of Vancouver as it comes into view. This cosmopolitan and diverse metropolis is a real contrast to the rest of British Columbia, but always proves to be a highlight. Enjoy a scenic drive through Stanley Park, a 400-hectare green wonderland with authentic totem poles erected in the 1920s; and stop by Prospect Point, a scenic lookout where you can gaze out at spectacular views of Lions Gate Bridge, North Vancouver and West Vancouver.This tour ends at our gateway hotel at approximately 17:00 hrs. We can book you post-tour accommodation at our gateway hotel if required. If you are planning to fly tonight, please do not book a flight that departs before 21:00 hrs.
Meals: Meals paid locally

Dates and Prices

Sat 13-Jul-2019£2,799
Sat 10-Aug-2019£2,799
Sat 07-Sep-2019£2,799

Tour Map