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Country Profile: United States

There is boundless staggering beauty to witness in the United States: lush green forests blanket the mountains of New England and Washington State. Wind-sculpted rock formations and desert terrain lend an eerie beauty to Utah’s Canyonlands and California’s Death Valley. Mighty glaciers and pristine wilderness take the breath away in Montana and Wyoming. Simply put, America’s magnificent landscapes and national parks stir the soul, and the most rewarding way to truly connect with its sweeping spectacle is on a guided walking tour, one step at a time.

There are few countries that boast the variety of landscapes and wilderness of the United States. Early last century, as the country’s population expanded, the nation’s untouched natural resources were seen as critical to preserving the people’s national identity. Conservationists such as John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt worked to put land aside, protecting it from development and degradation. By 1916, Woodrow Wilson created the United States National Park Service, which has grown into one of the most successful preservation organizations in the world. Today, it manages walking trails in 58 national parks and hundreds of other forest and wilderness sanctuaries.

Beyond Acadia National Park in Maine, Bryce and Zion in Utah, Yellowstone in Wyoming, Olympic in Washington and others, the real national character of the U.S. lives on Main Street. Charming New England towns seem torn from a Norman Rockwell painting. Artisans keep time-honored crafts alive. Vermont farmers rise before dawn to milk their organically fed cows. Vintners harvest California grapes to produce world-renowned wines. All told, our walking tours throughout the United States reveal a rich and invigorating portrait of a country you only thought you knew.

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Country Highlights
  • Walk among the spectacular rock formations of Utah’s Arches National Park.
  • Look for otters, seals, and whales as you stroll the Pacific beach of Olympic National Park.
  • Hike among the otherworldly landscapes of Death Valley, descending to 282 feet below sea level.
  • Marvel at towering redwoods, the legendary tall trees of California’s Muir Woods.
  • Sample local delicacies, from steamed lobster in Maine to grilled blue corn trout in Colorado.

Why Walk With Us

  • Trust our expertise with 36+ years in active travel.
  • 24/7 support from a local representative.
  • Generous inclusions: all breakfasts, many meals, and luggage transfers.
  • Your departure is always guaranteed.
  • We take care of our solo travelers.
  • Past guests and referrals always save.
  • Bring six friends on a guided tour and enjoy special savings, support, and a gift.

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Country Facts

About United States:

With its vast variety of landscapes and climates across 50 states, the United States hosts countless ecosystems. In the continental U.S., the Atlantic plains rise up to the Appalachian Mountains, which then drop off into the grasslands of the Midwest. These Great Plains stretch west to the Rocky Mountains which, with the Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges, form a massive bowl comprised mostly of arid desert. Beyond, the sand beaches and rocky shores of the west coast spill into the Pacific. California is home to both the lowest and highest elevation in the 48 contiguous states: Mount Whitney at 14,505 feet and Badwater Basin in Death Valley at 282 feet below sea level.

The United States is the world’s oldest federation, a constitutional republic and representative democracy. Its capital is Washington D.C.

The primary language spoken in the United States is English.

Life in the United States

Shopping and banking hours: Shops and stores are generally open Monday to Saturday between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., and on Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Shopping malls, department stores, and supermarkets are open all day, every day of the week, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (or later; check locally). Banks are open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, and some branches are open from 9:00 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

Meal times: Breakfast is served at hotels from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. In restaurants, lunch is served from noon to 3:00 p.m. and dinner is usually served from 4:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., but with substantial local variation.

Tipping: In restaurants and bars, leave 15 to 20 percent of the total. Taxi drivers receive 10 to 15 percent of the fare. For luggage assistance, offer from $2 to $5 depending on the service provided.

The United States public holidays: The United States public holidays, festivals, or calendars of events may affect your travel planning. You may find an official list here. For a description of US holidays, click here.

The people’s library: For both U.S. and international travelers, a fascinating resource on American history and culture is the U.S. Library of Congress. Originally Thomas Jefferson’s personal collection, the library maintains a website that is not only a library catalog, but a clearinghouse for wide-ranging information on U.S. history, folk life, geography, the performing arts, and more.

In addition to the well-known standard repertoire of American food, considerable regional variation reflects the cultural heritage and seasonal harvest of individual areas.

In the southwestern states and California, dishes are Mexican- and cowboy-influenced. In Washington State, the bounty includes fresh salmon and other Pacific seafood. In Montana, game, freshly caught fish, and steaks predominate. And in New England, seasonal produce and local specialties such as cheese and maple syrup are ubiquitous, and delectable Maine lobster and seafood are a highlight.

Country Walkers visits a range of U.S. destinations, spanning the continent from Maine to Washington State. Tour dates coincide with the ideal weather and conditions for an active vacation.

Fall in New England means stunning foliage, warm days, and crisp nights. Spring and fall in the desert climates of California’s Death Valley, Colorado, and Utah start off with chilly mornings that turn into dry and sunny days. Summer in Washington State, Montana, and California can offer sunny days and cooler nights—with local variation and seasonal precipitation in all regions.

For up-to-date forecasts, see qwikcast.com. For historical average temperatures and rainfall, see weatherbase.com.

For more information about entry requirements, see travel.state.gov.

For up-to-date exchange rates for the U.S. dollar with other currencies, see oanda.com.

Contact your bank or your credit-card company for details on fees and card use when travelling, and to inform them of your travel destination and dates so they do not freeze your accounts when they see charges appear from out of town.

We recommend having a variety of payment options readily available to help you start your trip: ATM card(s) and credit card(s).

Electricity: Alternating current of 120V and 60Hz is used in the United States. The majority of plugs are Type B, with two square and one round prong. For a full listing of electrical outlets worldwide, see electricaloutlet.org. If you are visiting the United States from outside North America and bringing your own hair dryer or other electrical device, you will need a travel converter, available at most hardware, travel, or consumer electronic stores. For laptops or an electronic device with a dual voltage switch, you will only need the adapter plug, not the converter.

Phone: The United States country code is “+1.” Cell phone coverage throughout The United States is extensive, but we cannot guarantee adequate signals on all American phone models or while on walking trails or in remote areas.

Internet: Internet access is generally widely available; however, all of the hotels used on our tours do not necessarily provide it, or they provide it at an additional cost. Details regarding Wi-Fi availability in each hotel are available in the Itinerary Overview that you’ll receive once you’ve reserved.

The United States spreads out over several time zones. Find the official time at your U.S. destination at time.gov.

A wealth of travel information is available at discoveramerica.com. For a list of all U.S. official state tourist boards, visit usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Travel-Tourism/State-Tourism.shtml.

Airports

The United States has an enormous international and domestic air network with dozens of airlines and hundreds of airports. For travel to various regions and airports, individual state tourist boards offer travel and airport information: usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Travel-Tourism/State-Tourism.shtml.

Trains

Amtrak: The United States national train company is amtrak.com . You may book your train travel directly with them.

Other local transportation

Long-distance bus travel can also be a convenient way to reach a destination. National companies include Greyhound, Trailways Trailways, and Megabus megabus.com; check locally for smaller regional long-distance bus companies.

Major car rental agencies are available at airports, city centers, and train and bus stations. Taxis are available at all major airports, cities, train and bus stations, and in smaller towns, and can be reserved in advance (your hotel can usually provide assistance).

For more information, contact Country Walkers.

Country Walkers’ U.S. itineraries include many of the country’s best-known national parks; for more information, visit nps.gov.

For additional hints and guidance about travel to the United States, visit the tourist board’s website at discoveramerica.com.

Photos

United States - 10 Tours Available

Guided Walking
North America

California: Death Valley National Park

Activity level: Moderate Terrain

2-5 Miles Daily

Tour Only

4 days, 3 nights

From $2,398 USD

per person

Tour Highlights:
  • Soak in the spring-fed pool at your desert oasis hotel, the Furnace Creek Inn.
  • Walk the rim of Ubehebe Crater, a half-mile wide and 600 feet deep, and discover how it was formed by a single, massive explosion of steam over 2,000 years ago.
  • Spot the region’s diverse wildlife with your experienced guides, including hawks, roadrunners, iguana, bighorn sheep, and wild burros.

Have Questions?

Speak with a Travel Expert 800.234.6900

Request a Call
Departure Dates
Tour Only

2016

  • Oct 29
  • Nov 3

2017

  • Feb 11
  • Feb 16
  • Mar 11
Self-Guided Walking
North America

California: San Francisco to Point Reyes

Activity level: Easy to Moderate Terrain

4-9 Miles Daily

Tour Only

6 days, 5 nights

From $1,998 USD

per person

Tour Highlights:
  • Stay in the heart of iconic San Francisco, taking time to browse Ghirardelli Square, ride a cable car, or people watch in Chinatown.
  • Discover the tranquil white-sand beaches, dramatic bluffs, and hidden bays of Point Reyes National Seashore, keeping an eye out for whales and harbor seals as you go.
  • Stay in a charming hotel patterned after English country estates located just steps from the beautiful Muir Beach.
  • Be entranced by the colossal redwood groves of Muir Woods, the only old-growth coastal redwood grove in the region.

Have Questions?

Speak with a Travel Expert 800.234.6900

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Departure Dates

2016 & 2017: Departs daily Mar 1 - Nov 30

More Details
Self-Guided Walking
North America

California: The Wine Country

Activity level: Easy to Moderate Terrain

4-7 Miles Daily

Tour Only

6 days, 5 nights

From $1,998 USD

per person

Tour Highlights:
  • Enjoy daily wine tastings, including an indulgent sampling of Benziger Family Winery’s vintages paired with a tour of their vineyards.
  • Stay in the charming Gaige House, a boutique hotel in the heart of Sonoma, which boasts fireside public rooms, tranquil gardens, and easy access to wineries and hiking trails.
  • Savor a picnic basket of local specialties at Buena Vista Winery, the oldest vineyard in the entire region.
  • Explore Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, a beautiful landscape of oak and redwood chaparral laced by burbling creeks.

Have Questions?

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Departure Dates

2016 & 2017: Departs daily Mar 1 - Nov 30

More Details
Guided Walking
North America

Colorado & Utah: Mesa Verde, Arches & Canyonlands

Activity level: Moderate Terrain

4-10 Miles Daily

Tour Only

6 days, 5 nights

From $2,998 USD

per person

Tour Highlights:
  • Raft through Colorado River canyons past formations like Fisher Towers and Castle Rock, stopping for a picnic lunch (and swim, if you’d like) on a sandy beach.
  • Hike the amazing Sand Canyon trail with a local guide, passing through Indian reservations to see Puebloan cliff dwellings undisturbed for centuries.
  • Enjoy dinner alfresco on the deck of your hotel, overlooking a view of the Colorado River and savoring wine from your lodge’s own vineyard.

Have Questions?

Speak with a Travel Expert 800.234.6900

Request a Call
Departure Dates
Tour Only

2017

  • May 7
  • Sep 17
  • Sep 24
Guided Walking light house in acadia national park
North America

Maine: Acadia National Park

Activity level: Easy to Moderate Terrain

2-8 Miles Daily

Tour Only

6 days, 5 nights

From $2,998 USD

per person

Tour Highlights:
  • Take the daily mail boat to Little Cranberry Island, where you’ll discover how locals have carved out a hearty life away from the mainland and chat with a local lobsterwoman aboard her boat.
  • Cap off a morning walk with lunch at the Jordan Pond House. This historic teahouse-style restaurant is situated in the heart of the park and is renowned for its delicious popovers.
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the region’s flora, fauna, and dramatic glacial history with veteran wilderness guides.

Have Questions?

Speak with a Travel Expert 800.234.6900

Request a Call
Departure Dates
Tour Only

2016

  • Oct 2

2017

  • Jun 18
  • Aug 27
  • Sep 3
  • Sep 10
  • Sep 17
  • Sep 24
  • Oct 1
Guided Walking
North America

Montana: Glacier National Park

Activity level: Moderate to Challenging Terrain

4-11 Miles Daily

Tour Only

6 days, 5 nights

From $3,198 USD

per person

Tour Highlights:
  • Raft down the Flathead River, along the southern boundary of Glacier National Park, and stop to swim, skip stones, and eat lunch at a bend called the Devil’s Elbow.
  • With your naturalist guides, trace the geological history of the park from ancient seabeds to crashing tectonic plates and glaciers.
  • Walk flower-studded hillsides beneath Mt. Wilbur, surrounded by creamy white tufts of beargrass, the magenta spikes of fireweed, balsamroot, monkeyflowers, and much more.

Have Questions?

Speak with a Travel Expert 800.234.6900

Request a Call
Departure Dates
Tour Only

2017

  • Jul 16
  • Jul 23
  • Aug 6
  • Aug 20
  • Sep 3
Guided Walking beautiful walking tour of yellowstone
North America

Montana & Wyoming: Yellowstone

Activity level: Easy to Moderate Terrain

4-6 Miles Daily

Tour Only

6 days, 5 nights

From $3,298 USD

per person

Tour Highlights:
  • In the Upper Geyser Basin, marvel at a landscape unlike any on Earth: the iconic blast of Old Faithful, the eerie, geyserite cone of Castle Geyser, the colors of Morning Glory Hot Spring, and more.
  • Climb Mount Washburn, where you’ll enjoy a picnic lunch in the fire tower at its summit, gazing out at 75-mile views of the entire park.
  • Savor the natural bounty of local game and produce—fresh huckleberries, bison, elk, antelope, and trout.

Have Questions?

Speak with a Travel Expert 800.234.6900

Request a Call
Departure Dates
Tour Only

2017

  • Jun 11
  • Jun 18
  • Aug 13
  • Sep 10
  • Sep 17
Guided Walking
North America

Utah: Bryce & Zion Canyons

Activity level: Moderate Terrain

4-7 Miles Daily

Tour Only

6 days, 5 nights

From $3,098 USD

per person

Tour Highlights:
  • Stroll through the ghost town of Grafton, an abandoned Mormon settlement on the Virgin River with tombstones dating back to the 1860s.
  • Enjoy the frontier beauty of Springdale, your home for three nights, and meet local artisans in their galleries as you venture out into town.
  • With your expert guides, discover the Puebloan legacy of the region, learning how they survived in this extreme climate and perhaps spotting their rock art along the way.

Have Questions?

Speak with a Travel Expert 800.234.6900

Request a Call
Departure Dates
Tour Only

2016

  • Oct 2

2017

  • Apr 23
  • May 7
  • Oct 1
  • Oct 8
Guided Walking Fall Foliage in Vermont
North America

Vermont: Fall Foliage

Activity level: Easy to Moderate Terrain

2-6 Miles Daily

Tour Only

6 days, 5 nights

From $2,998 USD

per person

Tour Highlights:
  • Walk a stretch of the nation’s first long-distance hiking route, the Long Trail. Country Walkers is proud to help maintain this historic trail.
  • Explore the manicured grounds of Shelburne Farms (designed by Frederick Law Olmsted), a Vanderbilt country estate turned nonprofit organic farm.
  • Get a personal sense of Vermont history when we visit our friend George Woodard, whose dairy farm has been in his family for over a century.

Have Questions?

Speak with a Travel Expert 800.234.6900

Request a Call
Departure Dates
Tour Only

2016

  • Oct 2

2017

  • Sep 24
  • Oct 1
  • Oct 8
Guided Walking
North America

Washington: Olympic Peninsula

Activity level: Easy to Moderate Terrain

4-9 Miles Daily

Tour Only

6 days, 5 nights

From $3,298 USD

per person

Tour Highlights:
  • Enjoy a rare perspective on Native American traditions when our friend Harvest Moon, a Quinault storyteller, joins you for a relaxed evening of coffee and dessert.
  • Investigate the otherworldly Mima Mounds with our naturalist guides. Theories as to what caused these huge earthen mounds range from pocket gophers to major earthquakes.
  • Cap a beautiful walk past the iconic Sol Duc Falls by relaxing (and sipping a cold beverage) in Sol Duc Hot Springs.

Have Questions?

Speak with a Travel Expert 800.234.6900

Request a Call
Departure Dates
Tour Only

2017

  • Jun 25
  • Jul 9
  • Aug 20
  • Sep 10
  • Sep 17
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