Experience the very best of eight western U.S. National Parks on our Smithsonian Journeys Custom Private Jet journey.
U.S. National Parks by Private Jet
10 days from $47,500 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees
Experience the very best of eight western U.S. National Parks on our Smithsonian Journeys Custom Private Jet journey.
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Level 3: Moderate / Active
Expectations: The sample itinerary as outlined will be taken at a moderate pace with several early morning departures and longer days so you can experience the best of these eight national parks. This program will include plenty of physical activities—such as walking, hiking, rafting, and horseback riding—in addition to activities designed to offer cultural or historical context. Each excursion entails a different level of physical expectations. We will be delighted to discuss this trip with you in detail—and customize the excursions so each day’s activity level is just right for you, your family and friends.
Hikes on this advertised itinerary will vary from 1-3 miles (up to one and a half hours in length) and include elevation gains that can affect some travelers with shortness of breath. Excursions will be taken at a leisurely pace suitable for study and along groomed trails, some with steep inclines and declines. Trails can be uneven and rocky, with uneven steps, pebbles, mud, and exposed roots. All hikes and excursions, including canyoneering and horseback riding, are optional. We will provide further details on how to prepare for each day’s activities, including weather, packing suggestions and “what to expect” with your Pre-Tour documents.
The rafting day on the Colorado River will include Class III white water rapids which means plenty of swirling waves, bubbling/rushing white water and drops. The mood and force of the river on your arrival day will depend on previous weather and water levels. No rafting experience is necessary for your day in the Cataract Canyon and you will be escorted at all times by expert river guides. All gear and equipment for your rafting journey will be provided.
This trip will also include opportunities for private, scenic helicopter and prop plane flights. These excursions will offer participants the thrill of seeing some of these iconic landscapes from a different perspective and will also allow an opportunity to cover larger areas of the American West so you and your friends and family can enjoy the most of these locations.
Canyoneering, including a full tutorial and then rappelling down narrow slot canyons ranging from 20 to 175 feet in height will be offered to those who are more adventurous and want an extreme experience, this is also an optional excursion.
This Private Jet Journey is appropriate for: Travelers who are reasonably fit, enjoy days full of discovery and adventure and are comfortable with several early mornings to see the most of our National Parks.
*We highly recommend participants check with their private physician prior to registering for this trip to be sure the program and pacing is suitable for them.
To see itinerary, please click on an option below.
Day 1 — Arrive in Jackson, Wyoming
For participants joining the Smithsonian Journeys small group departure: Gather with fellow travelers and your Smithsonian Journeys Travel Director at Los Angeles International Airport. There you will be escorted to your private jet for your flight to Jackson, Wyoming.
For participants choosing a custom private departure for family and friends: We can arrange to greet you at Jackson Airport or at the airport of your choosing for the start of your trip, then:
Arrive into Jackson, Wyoming where you’ll be greeted by your private guide and driver. Depart for the stunning Amangani – Jackson Hole resort, located in the shadow of the majestic Teton range. Once you have settled in, spend some time exploring the grounds and take in the stunning views. Later, depart for a nearby ranch for an orientation into cowboy culture. With instruction from your expert guides saddle up, mount, ride, and direct a horse of your choosing. Once you are comfortable with your horse, you can take a leisurely ride or, with supervision, learn how to work with the resident cattle herd. Depending on your riding level and comfort you can go further afield to explore the surroundings. If you are not comfortable with horseback riding, other activities can be arranged, or you may remain at the resort to relax.
Return to the hotel late in the day to enjoy time at leisure. In the evening, depart for the Jackson Hole Rodeo (date dependent). Here, enjoy reserved seating for two action-packed hours where cowboys and cowgirls compete in events like bull riding, bronco busting, barrel racing, and roping. You’ll have the opportunity to go behind the scenes at the chutes where cowboys and cowgirls prepare to do battle in the arena. (B)
Day 2 — Grand Teton National Park
Rise early and depart for Grand Teton National Park. Begin with a wildlife safari at the National Elk Refuge, a safe habitat for endangered species. Continue toward Antelope Flats and Mormon Row for a glimpse of the impressive herds of bison and pronghorn that call this area home. Stop at the Lawrence S. Rockefeller Preserve Center before proceeding to Jenny Lake, a pristine body of water nearly two square miles in size that was formed by glaciers thousands of years ago.
During lunch, visit a nearby ranch and spend time with a cowboy who will demonstrate his unique horse whispering skills to gently tame unruly stallions. This centuries-old method of communicating with and calming horses is still used today by cowboys practicing natural horsemanship. Then, enjoy a gourmet outdoor lunch with breathtaking views of the Tetons.
In the afternoon, ascend to the top of Signal Mountain for magnificent views of the park. As you descend the mountain, pass Jackson Lake, the Snake River and several other picture-worthy sights. Look for a diversity of wildlife, from beavers to herons, moose and maybe even a grizzly. (B,L)
Day 3 — Yellowstone National Park
This morning depart for the West Yellowstone Airport to meet your pilots and board your private helicopter for a one-hour narrated flight over Yellowstone National Park. Sprawling across more than two million acres, Yellowstone contains numerous crystalline lakes, thundering waterfalls, panoramic vistas, and more geysers than anywhere else in the world. Your entire day will be customized by your naturalist guide to suit your interests.
After your flight, land in West Yellowstone to begin exploring the park from the ground, with opportunities to view the area’s bubbling mud pots, steaming fumaroles, and natural hot springs. Enjoy lunch at the historic Old Faithful Inn, a towering marvel of wood and stone. Grab your binoculars and continue the adventure in the afternoon, taking full advantage of your vehicle’s customized open safari hatches to spot all kinds of wildlife, including bison, bears, bighorn sheep, elk, and moose. In the early evening, your guide will transfer you back to West Yellowstone airport for your return helicopter ride back to Jackson. Once on the ground, transfer back to Amangani -Jackson Hole for the remainder of the evening at leisure. (B,L)
Day 4 — Arches National Park and Moab, Utah
After breakfast meet your private jet and depart Jackson, Wyoming for Canyonlands Field Airport, Utah. You’ll be greeted by a local guide and begin with an exploration in to Arches National Park. Take in breathtaking landscapes on a hike suited to your interests and abilities. Stand under the famed Delicate Arch, and wander in the Devil's Garden as you admire the vast array of red sandstone rock formations. Your guide will be on hand to lead the way and provide an informed historical perspective of the land and its wildlife.
In the late afternoon arrive at Sorrel River Ranch Resort in Moab, Utah. Take in the stunning views of red rock formations and the sparkling Colorado River then get settled into your deluxe accommodations. In the early evening depart for a private working cattle ranch and enjoy a sunset horseback ride to a gorgeous canyon lookout point that that will serve as the backdrop for a privately catered gourmet cowboy cookout, replete with live country music and gourmet western barbecue fare prepared over a campfire. (B,D)
Day 5 — Rafting the Cataract Canyon of the Colorado River
Meet your expert river guides and board your motorized whitewater boat to run the mighty rapids of the Cataract Canyon of the Colorado River. Here the river travels through the center of Canyonlands National Park. Start along the upper river, a calm area to take in the incredible views while lazily drifting along. Your guides will point out the unique onshore flora and fauna. Swim, hike, or simply enjoy the sun during this excursion. Pull up on a riverbank and enjoy a picnic lunch before heading downstream to enter the much anticipated Class III whitewater rapids, featuring plenty of waves and drops. (If you would prefer a less rigorous day, you may opt for a calm-water cruise instead.) Finish the tour cruising across Lake Powell, meet your pilot and board your private prop plane for the short, scenic flight to meet your driver. Transfer back to the hotel for an evening at leisure. (B,L)
Day 6 — Bryce Canyon National Park
Depart the Sorrel River Ranch and Moab, Utah and step back aboard your private jet for the flight to Bryce Canyon National Park. Upon arrival your guide is waiting to escort you on a leisurely hike through Bryce Canyon, home to some of the continent’s most intricate and detailed rock formations, a red and orange painted landscape of pyramidal towers, hoodoos, and more. Stop for a picnic lunch among a grove of 2,000-year-old bristle cone pine trees, then continue to the best viewpoints the park has to offer.
In the afternoon, make your way to your accommodations at a luxurious private ranch home. After settling in, gather outside where a roaring campfire has been built specially for you. Telescopes will be set up so you can gaze into the night sky with the assistance of a local astronomer (weather permitting). Learn about the constellations, and observe planets, nebulae, galaxies, and other celestial wonders. (B,L)
Day 7 — Zion National Park
Drive to Zion National Park and hike some of the most scenic trails with a private guide or head to the Canaan Mountain Trail, which is located just outside the park, but offers spectacular canyon views and stellar examples of all of the same geological features, flora and fauna found at Zion. After lunch, spend the remainder of your day partaking in an off-the-grid day canyoneering experience! Canyoneering is one of the most exciting ways to experience Zion’s unique desert landscape. Hike, climb, and rappel down narrow slot canyons ranging from 20 to 175 feet in height. Gain a new perspective as you learn canyoneering techniques from your local expert guides, then round out the day with a cool swim in a lush desert oasis. Late in the day transfer back your ranch home for an evening at leisure. (B)
Day 8 — Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
Depart your private ranch home and journey into the desert for an epic off-road experience. Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is located in the heart of the Colorado Plateau. Sometimes described as a mini Grand Canyon, the Paria Overlook is a must-see mixture of trail that traverses sandy washes, sand dunes, and red rock sandstone. See the layered colors along the sandstone cliffs to the west and the beautiful views of Lake Powell contrasting against red sandstone spires to the east. Keep your eyes open for foxes, coyotes, antelopes and bighorn sheep which may appear anywhere along your journey here. And look to the sky for a possible sighting of a California Condor with a wingspan averaging nearly 10 feet! Drive towards Big Water, Utah enjoying stunning scenery.
Continue to the luxurious and secluded Amangiri resort, Sanskrit for “peaceful mountain.” Amangiri is a wholly unique hotel property nestled in a protected valley near Canyon Point, Utah. Upon arrival, you’ll have time to unpack and relax and at your leisure explore the grounds of this utterly remote oasis. As the sun begins to set, meet your driver and depart for a remote canyon locale where you will enjoy an elegant, white tablecloth dinner al fresco. (B,D)
Day 9 — Mesas and Canyons of the Colorado Plateau
There is opportunity today to explore some of the alluring slot canyons that epitomize the iconic Utah desert landscape. Led by an expert Navajo guide, embark on a leisurely hike through three distinct canyons located in Navajo Territory, two of which are completely off-limits to the general public. Marvel at the shafts of sunlight penetrating the earth’s cracks and crevices to create a breathtaking spectacle on the canyon floor and learn about the natural and human history of the region.
In the afternoon, enjoy an exciting half-day private boat charter on Lake Powell’s pristine, glassy waters. Cruise to a secluded sandy beach where you will enjoy a casual lakeside picnic lunch. Spend the remainder of the afternoon exploring the lake’s famed steep-walled side canyons. Exhilarating water sports such as tubing, water-skiing, and wakeboarding can also be arranged. Alternatively, you can cruise to one of the lake’s most impressive natural wonders, Rainbow Bridge. Over 290-feet tall and inaccessible by land, Rainbow Bridge is the largest free-standing arch in the world. Depending on seasonal water levels, you may disembark for a brief hike to an ideal vantage point of the arch; observe the Navajo petroglyphs and dinosaur footprints. Return to the hotel in the late afternoon and enjoy the remainder of the evening at leisure to take advantage of Amangiri’s extensive amenities. (B,L)
Day 10 — Grand Canyon National Park and Return Home
Depart Amangiri and transfer to Page Airport to meet your private jet for the short flight to Grand Canyon National Park. Your expert naturalist guide is waiting to take you to some of the less-visited vistas and trails along the canyon rim. Then enjoy an elegant lunch in the dining room of the historic Hotel Tovar, located directly on the canyon’s south rim with breathtaking, panoramic views. This afternoon board your private helicopter for a narrated tour over the Grand Canyon. Take in sweeping views of the massive canyon from the air. Late in the day transfer back to the airport to meet your private jet and begin your journey home. (B,L)
- For travelers on the Smithsonian Journeys small group departure: Meet your private jet and fly back to Los Angeles International Airport. Upon arrival say goodbye to your Smithsonian Journeys Travel Director and fellow travelers and connect to your commercial flight to your home airport. We will be happy to arrange accommodations in Los Angeles for those who wish to overnight in the city.
- For participants who have chosen a custom departure: You may arrange for your private jet to fly you, your family and friends to your home airport or continue customizing your experience with additional itinerary stops which we will be delighted to assist you with.
Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)