Dear Traveler,

    Before you clicked on the "Options" tab above you probably saw a drop-down menu with some very peculiar titles. Northbound Tour - Southern Segment? What does that mean?

    We feature two tours each year which travel from El Paso, Texas - down near the Mexican border, all the way north to a point just a few miles below the Canadian border. We also provide one trip which begins in the north and proceeds south. All three trips take a month to complete, but we realize that taking the entire tour is not possible for everyone. So, we split the tours into a Southern Segment and Northern Segment. You are probably not very interested in whether you travel north or south, and are more interested in particular destinations, but the departure times and locations of each tour - especially as they relate to the seasons - could make a very big difference in your choice of tour.

    If you haven't done so already, look at the page called "Destinations & Dates". The map, the list of destinations, and the departure dates will probably help you select your first preference, and there are links from there to the pages in the drop-down menu above. These pages have a more complete description of each particular tour segment.

    The basic itinerary is pretty well set. (But if you have a full group of 30 and want to make a major modification, we can probably work it out.) However, after you pick your tour there are still many options to consider, because within each region we pass through there are more things to do and see than we can possibly cover in a single trip.

    So, once a trip is fully subscribed (thirty people) each guest can participate in choosing excursion options for some of the areas we’ll be visiting. We provide a list of ideas, but you are welcome to propose other options during the subscription period. The most popular options will become part of the tour, and we will assemble a detailed itinerary for the whole trip. Every one of the activities included in the final itinerary is included in the tour price, so you don’t need to worry about running up the bill while selecting things you would like to do.

    We will also ask you to indicate your interests generally, because there may be opportunities to include those even though we don’t have a specific place in mind. Example: If some of the group wants to go horseback riding, we will find a great place to do that somewhere along the way.

    Since two out of three Epic American West Tours begin in El Paso, Texas and proceed north each year, the options preference form is laid out in that order. If you are planning on joining the southbound tour, just remember that you'll be seeing these places in reverse order.

    Once you start looking at specific tour segments it will be easy to understand how the option process works by reading along on the options form:

    Please use our Form Translations page if you need the form translated from English.

    Getting you involved in planning the program for your trip is intended to be fun. If you don't want to be bothered with the details, and find it to be a chore, don't bother. Put yourself in our hands and we will create a wonderful experience for you.

    Courtney and Jeffrey

    First Things to Consider

    If your choice of tour is entirely dependent on your personal schedule, you can choose your dates and come back to the Options section to read about what to expect. If your choice of travel dates is flexible, some of the general differences in the tours may influence your preference. For example:

    Our tour departing in May (Spring) of each year is filled with bright green leaves and wildflowers.

    Both of the tours scheduled for the autumn feature changing leaves of red and gold.

    The springtime northbound tour offers a slight chance of snow.

    The northbound tour departing in August (Autumn) will probably have the highest average temperatures, and fall colors will be encountered only at higher altitudes. There will still be a slight chance of snow.

    The southbound tour departing in late September is almost certain to include some amount of snowfall, and lots of changing leaves at lower altitudes. At higher altitudes the trees may already be bare.

    The May tour does not overnight in Aspen, Colorado because the town is nearly shut down at that time of year - with most restaurants closed, etc. So, we will take our accommodations in Glenwood Springs instead. We will still take a drive up to Aspen (and the Maroon Bells area if the road is open) for anyone in the group who would like to go.

    The southern segment of the tour requires more advance decisions by our guests because many of the choices are geographically specific and/or involve activities with limited availability.

    The northern segment allows more flexibility, and in many cases will not require that any decisions be made until the day before.