USA: Total Solar Eclipse

The Astronomy and National Parks of the American West
14-23 August 2017 (14-22 August ground only)

Trip Scholar: Professor Roger Davies

Philip Wetton Professor of Astrophysics
University of Oxford

14day tour
Price from £3,890

 A once-in-a-lifetime chance to join renowned astronomer Roger Davies to experience a spectacular total solar eclipse in the USA on 21 August 2017.

The first time in over two decades that continental USA has experienced this phenomenon, witness the unforgettable sight of day turning to night and the shimmering corona of the sun blazing in the darkened sky.

Before the eclipse, enjoy incredible scenery at the Grand Canyon and go in search of bears and wolves at Yellowstone. See charming Sedona, Montezuma Castle and impressive Bryce Canyon, known for its superb star-gazing in ultra-dark skies.

With Professor Davies on hand, learn of the latest astronomical research and discoveries with a visit to one of the USA’s most important observatories, then set up at a special location on the line of totality near breath-taking Grand Teton National Park to observe nature’s grandest spectacle, the total solar eclipse.

Itinerary at a glance

Day 1 Arrival in Phoenix, Arizona
Day 2 Phoenix to Flagstaff
Day 3 Grand Canyon
Day 4 Flagstaff to Bryce Canyon
Day 5 Bryce Canyon to Salt Lake City
Day 6 Salt Lake City to Moran
Day 7 Yellowstone
Day 8 Eclipse Day
Day 9 Departures/extensions
Day 10 Those flying back to London only


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14-23 August 2017 (14-22 August 2017 land only)
Cabin ClassPriceSingle SupplementOptional Flight from LondonAvailability

Share of twin or double bedded room, breakfast and lunch daily, six dinners (except on the arrival day when only dinner is included, and on the departure day when the tour ends after breakfast), all excursions mentioned with local guides including entrance fees, expert leader.

Not included
Flights to and from USA (see optional flights below), drinks, dinners on day 3 and 5, visa charges, travel insurance, tips to guides and driver, items of a personal nature.
Single supplement £980.

Optional flights
Temple World can arrange flights from London for those who need them, using British Airways or United. BA flies direct from London to Phoenix but flights from Jackson Hole back to London route via Dallas. Flights will come into range from the end of September 2016 and we recommend securing them as early as possible as the return leg in particular will be very busy. The fare is likely to be around £800 per person including taxes and fees.

Making your own way there
Clients wishing to use airmiles to buy or upgrade flights, or who wish to fly from a city other than London are advised to book their own flights. The start point for the tour is PHOENIX, Arizona and the end point is JACKSON HOLE in Wyoming. You can arrive at any time of day on 14 August but check-in at the hotel is not normally until 4pm unless you have paid for early check in (we can arrange this but the hotel may charge a full extra night). There are no activities on the first day until dinner, which is likely to be at around 7.30pm. On the last day (22 August) there are no activities after breakfast and you are free to leave whenever you want. Check out time at the hotel is 11 am but we can arrange late checkout (fee applies) for those who wish to stay longer. Bags can be stored after checkout during the day if needed. We can arrange private airport transfers to co-ordinate with any flight time – please ask for a quote.

Very Important! Clients should not make any binding or non-refundable arrangements until their place has been confirmed on the tour and Temple World has confirmed that it is a guaranteed departure.

Note about costs
This is not a cheap tour and understandably expectations will be high. Whilst we strive to offer the very best value possible on all our tours, we have found that value is hard to come by in the American West at busy times, especially when operating a group size which we guarantee will be under 20. We are entirely confident that the scenery, lectures from Professor Davies and experience of the eclipse (weather permitting) will be superb. But we would like to set expectations about the journey, hotels and meals. August is peak season in the USA’s National Parks, and demand always outstrips supply, meaning that fairly basic motel-like properties can charge similar prices to a luxury central London hotel at this time. Add to that the ‘eclipse fever’ which has taken hold in every town within the path of totality, the costs of three extra rooms throughout for our lecturer, driver and guide, the driver and guide’s (first world) wages, as well as the 10% donationto the university per client. This means that everyone is paying a premium to be in this area at this special time.
In terms of the journey, we will be using a very comfortable 24-seater mini-coach for this trip, with a separate driver and guide to look after our needs. However it’s important to note that the itinerary covers quite a lot of ground on the stretch between Flagstaff and Jackson Hole, with three days of scenic 4-5 hour drives in a row. We made the decision not to take this at a slower pace as extra nights would have added to the cost of the tour too much and we felt people would want to have time to add their own extensions to the end as the options are so limitless. It will be very hot at the time we are visiting – obviously the date of the eclipse has dictated the tour dates so this is unavoidable but we wanted everyone to bear this in mind as it can make visits rather arduous.
Finally, this part of the USA is not known for its haute cuisine and despite our careful efforts and no expense spared, our previous group to the area found the choice available to be a little monotonous. We have chosen some lovely restaurants in a few places where this is possible, but it’s important to note that when we dine as a group we are usually restricted to a very small menu choice (sometimes we are asked to choose one main course for the whole group). For this reason we have left some evenings at leisure so that individuals can choose where to dine and what to have. Feedback from recent tours suggests that clients enjoy having one or two nights where they are not forced to follow the routine and timings of a tour.

Fitness Guideline

We have graded the fitness level required for participation in this tour as Moderate. We are travelling to a very hot part of the USA at the hottest time of year. This can make sightseeing outdoors rather arduous, with dehydration and fatigue occurring quickly. Phoenix is particularly hot but as we travel north we should find that altitude helps keep temperatures down to fairly comfortable levels in many places.

At the Grand Canyon and at Bryce it’s possible to take sightseeing at your own pace. Whilst sightseeing elsewhere as a group there are no mandatory hikes but we may be ‘on the go’ for a few hours in hot weather. Participants must be able to keep up with the group in order to see everything in the time allocated – it is not fair to hold the rest of the group back as they will miss the sights they have come so far to see. Scheduled ‘comfort’ breaks will be built into every road journey but more frequent stops could cause the schedule to slip and will eat into lecture times later in the day. For the reasons we have given above, do please give careful consideration to whether this tour is for you. We do not recommend the tour for anyone who routinely has to use a walking stick to get about at home. Unfortunately the coach does not have wheelchair access.

We know that age is not always a reliable indicator of fitness, but prospective participants over the age of 80 will be given a letter to be signed by their GP to say they are fit enough to undertake this tour.


NHS Fit for Travel advises travellers to the USA don’t normally need any immunisations as long as all UK childhood vaccinations and boosters are up to date. Due to a popular anti-vaccination movement, cases of Measles are starting to return to some US cities. Most symptoms resolve but in a small number of cases, the disease which can cause serious complications or death. Please seek professional medical advice at least 8 week before departure. NHS Fit For Travel Website

Trip Scholar




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Congenial Companions

Our small group tours are exclusively available to alumni of Oxford and Cambridge universities and their friends and family, making for a wonderful atmosphere amongst like-minded individuals.

Expert Lecturer

All our small group alumni tours are accompanied by a university lecturer as well as local guides, with illuminating lectures given throughout the tour to enrich understanding of the destination.

To reserve a place on one of our small group alumni tours, contact us for availability then send us a signed booking form and deposit.

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