Friday, September 2, 2011

Commercial cityscapes in the world

For most, the Old West conjures images of towering sandstone buttes, deep red rocks jutting out over vast chasms and of course the inevitable cowboys that complete the scene. What gap year in the USA would be complete without experiencing that childhood dream of the Old West, solid beneath your feed and in front of your eyes?
Adventure tours across Western America can capture all the most stunning scenes the country has to offer, from massive sandy dunes to stop-offs in some of the most brightly-lit commercial cityscapes in the world.
Perhaps the most iconic landscape in our minds when we picture the Old West, Monument Valley embodies the essence of cowboy films. Sandstone buttes looming over the valley create the atmosphere so sought after not only by directors of Westerns, but scene-hunters from other film genres seeking a dramatic landscape to give their picture the edge.
This makes Monument Valley an ideal place to begin your adventure travel across America. Walking tours are available throughout the valley; however, only one route – the Wildcat Trail – can be walked without the aid of a Navajo guide. For those who want to experience the Monument Valley of the movies, horseback tours are also available to give you that cowboy feeling.
Not content with just offering breathtaking tours, it also gives you the opportunity to spend the night gazing at the stars and sleeping in a rustic Hogan – the traditional housing of the Navajo people. The option of a hot air balloon trip can complete your dream-like visit.
If you love aerial tours, a helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon should be next on your list. This wonder of the world is an essential stop on any gap year in the USA and is perhaps the most iconic landmark in America. The magic and sheer awe of your visit can be enhanced by the time of day you visit – travel gurus often recommend an early start to view the sunrise, or staying a bit later to catch the sunset.
The city of Tucson, known as the Old Pueblo, in Arizona boasts four mountain ranges surrounding its metropolis. Visiting this blend of ancient and modern, it’s hard not to feel that the sense of the Old West lives on here, melding with contemporary living. Exploring the outskirts of this city can be an exhilarating adventure; perfect for mountain biking, the landscape is home to cactuses as well as its mountains.
National parks, although on the face of it not the raw wilderness of the valleys and canyons, are also a great way to experience the West. These actually often comprise vast areas designated wilderness, parks only in that they are protected as heritage sites.
Once such park is Death Valley, infamous for its seemingly endless stretches of desert, the driest, lowest and hottest area of Northern America. Equally impressive but incredibly different is Yosemite Park – over 90 per cent wilderness consisting of granite cliffs and waterfalls galore. Its striking views attract hordes of visitors year on year, making it another essential to add to your adventure tour.
Tours of the Old West allow you to experience more than the cowboy scene of so-called Real America, so if you are looking for some culture to contrast the rocky planes, why not stop off in some America’s most vibrant cities?
Las Vegas will catapult you back into the modern world with a vengeance. This neon metropolis boasts some of the most dazzling sights in America – a city seemingly made of light and glamour. You can indulge in a helicopter tour completely contrasting the scenes of the Grand Canyon, or delight in the array of shows and infamous casinos.
Not to be outdone by its dazzling counterpart, San Diego also offers itself as an amazing city to explore at the end of your Old West tour. Its beautiful weather complements the gorgeous Mission Beach perfectly – a great place to relax and recharge your batteries before a night out in the vibrant Gaslamp Quarter.
Travel across America really feels complete when it incorporates Monument Valley and the Old West. While modern American cities are iconic in their own right, it’s often the rocky scenes and desert horseback rides that capture the imagination of the nation’s visitors. Incorporating vibrant Western cities into your adventure tour means a more complete experience of this wonderful area of America, allowing you to experience the country’s contrasts back to back in all their glory.

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