We booked with Snowflake Tours after reading their many positive reviews and also those of their... read more
We booked with Snowflake Tours after reading their many positive reviews and also those of their... read more
I meant to write a review in November 2017 after my three-day trip with Snowflake Tours to Grand... read more
We had an enjoyable experience on our 4 day National parks tour with Snowflake Tours. Leaving Las Vegas we visited the Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell, Antelope Canyon, Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon. This was a personalised tour and much more leisurely than a regular bus tour. Chris was pleasant, helpful and patient with all our photography. The scenery was breathtaking. Bryce Canyon was particularly spectacular with snow/ice on and around the hoodoos.
Travelling in winter meant there were less tourists - the only negative was less hours of daylight so we missed some of Zion National Park.
Chris ensured we had very good accommodation and meals, including the picnic lunches. We would recommend you take a tour with Chris if you want a tour with a difference and don 't mind being flexible.
We were looking for a whirlwind tour of the southwestern national parks in the US, but did not want to self-drive. While Bryce and Zion are easy enough to visit on day-trips out of Las Vegas, the options for visiting places further afield such as Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Canyonlands, Arches NP, Lake Powell and Monument Valley on guided tours are limited, and the few group options that we came across seemed appalling. We decided to opt for a private customised tour with the hope that the additional expense would be balanced out by efficient scheduling and routing, especially as we wanted to visit the north rim of the Grand Canyon, not the south.
We came across Snowflake Tours on the internet and, over a few emails, Chris, the owner, worked out a five-day itinerary. His price was a third less than what another outfit quoted for something similar, and we decided to go with Snowflake Tours based on his responses to our queries, despite the fact that it appeared to be a one-man operation.
We were offered the option of camping to save hotel costs and we chose to alternate nights between tents and hotels. Chris let us know that he would personally be guiding only a part of the trip as he had a prior overlapping booking and we were fine with that.
We were picked up at our Vegas hotel on the dot by Marv, working for Chris. He was instantly likeable and proved to have a wacky sense of humour that chimed well with ours. He drove us through Zion and Bryce and on to Moab where we met up with Chris. For Arches NP and Canyonlands, we had the luxury of two guides; we then switched cars and guides with the other clients and Chris took us to Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon Dam. We drove back through the north rim of the Grand Canyon, camping outside the park, and switching back to Marv’s car at Jacob Lake for the drive back to Vegas.
We thoroughly enjoyed the trip, experiencing much more than we had counted on. Chris is not a businessman; his enthusiasm for showing his guests the geological wonders of the American Southwest ensures that we will always be the winners. He is delightfully unprofessional: no deadline threats, no ‘no unscheduled stops’, and no ‘sorry, that will be extra’. He thought nothing of driving long hours through the night and setting off at unearthly early hours to maximise our sightseeing. We even went back to Arches NP next morning because the Windows arches area was closed off for construction work, and he wanted to show us more.
Chris works closely with the locals, such as with the native Americans who run tours at Antelope Canyon and Monument Valley. He knows the parks and the routes well and has a lot of interesting and relevant background information on the area. He also has a dry sense of humour and was downright fun to travel with; we liked switching between him and Marv as we could play off one against the other. It was more like being taken around by friends, and we really appreciated their suggestions on hikes, camera angles and menu choices. We could sense the additional effort in juggling the two client groups (the others, a couple from the UK, also in the US for the total solar eclipse), but Chris never let it affect our tour experience and, I’m sure, theirs. On the one night that we could not camp as Chris was not with us, he booked us into a hotel and absorbed the additional cost. Best of all, we always seemed to get the most convenient parking, the most informative local guides, the most scenic times of day at the sights, and the most photogenic vistas, all because Chris knows the parks well and treats his job as a passion.
Our decision against driving a rental car was frighteningly endorsed when, one sleepy afternoon, a semi-trailer truck, in a bizarrely misjudged attempt to overtake, came hurtling towards us down our lane. If Chris had not swerved off onto the gravel shoulder of the road we would have become a statistic. Thanks, Chris, for your quick thinking and safe driving.
If you want a customised tour of the desert parks (or even Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons), you couldn’t do better than go with Snowflake Tours. Being small-scale, it is human, personal and great value for money. We usually prefer D-I-Y travel, but travelling through the desert parks with Snowflake Tours saved us so much in time, expense and hassle, affording us such a memorable adventure that we would love to do it again. Snowflake Tours has our highest recommendation.
A bit late doing our review but better late than never. Chris organised a bespoke tour for us over a five day period. We picked Snowflake Tours due to the ability to go where we wanted and not where the tour company wanted us to go. All arrangements prior to the trip went well and we were picked up from our Las Vegas hotel on time.
In turn we visited Zion and then followed the beautiful Scenic Byway 12 to Red Canyon and Bryce. After Bryce we saw the Grand Staircase Escalante, Capitol Reef and on to Arches. at each location Chris knew all the best scenic locations. At Arches the "Fiery Furnace" at sunset was tremendous. Onwards to Dead Horse Point State Park, Canyonlands Park and Monument Valley, for me the highlight of the trip. We were caught in a torrential rainstorm which gave us a unique perspective of the Park. Next day we saw Antelope Canyon (truly beautiful), Horseshoe Bend and then the north rim of the Grand Canyon, topped off with a magnificent rainbow. Do not miss sitting with a beer at the Visitor Centre overlooking such grandeur. On our way back to Las Vegas we took a more detailed look at Zion.
To sum up our trip, it was busy, it was long, but it was also a most thrilling adventure. Chris had organised everything so we could start early in the morning and get to the next night's accommodation well after dark and never had to queue at any of the attractions. Chris drove many miles on roads of varying quality but we never had any worries, the ability to go on some poor quality back roads added to our enjoyment. Meal stops whether as a picnic or a diner stop we're all well chosen as were the motels. All were clean and comfortable and met our needs. If you want a boring big bus tour choose that, if you want something really personal, Snowflake Tours has to be the choice.
We hadn't wanted to book a tour guide and had never done so before. We knew that medical reasons might prevent us from driving and given that our tour was attached to the eclipse we could not spare the time that public transport (even if it had existed) would have taken.
Naturally I was nervous about sending money to someone I had never met, but the reviews here were honest and we didn't really have any other option. He was understanding of our position and offered a better cancellation policy that other tour operators.
Chris isn't a 'cruise' type tour guide - no striped tie and stick with a flag on it but that suited us fine. He really did know the attractions available in the area and put the tour together in a good way...he took us around each national park with the views and what we saw getting better and better. At times husband knew more than him about some of the physics and geology but that's not a problem - its actually nice to share the human in travelling and both come away having learned something.
In retrospect we were actually really pleased with what having a private guide added to our holiday. No rows about map reading and driving, no time spent actually trying to find an accommodation stop, knowing where you would park for each attraction, knowing the ropes. It did mean that we managed to squeeze much more in to the trip than we would have managed alone.
The accommodation he picked was good. He managed to get us into the lodge on the canyon north rim which was a massive plus. We could not have done that without staying up at night to be be able to pick up an early morning cancellation. [lots of the national park accommodation is booked wall to wall by major tour operators].
I would happily book another trip with him if self drive is no longer possible for us.
I booked a private tour with Chris for 4 days in June before a wedding in Salt Lake City. As a woman traveling alone, you're always a little apprehensive, but Chris was an easy-going and knowledgeable travel partner and a great photographer to boot! He was pretty much willing to pull over at any scenic overlook. He also took the extra long way from Bryce Canyon to Moab just so I could see basically every type of landscape Utah has to offer (forest to desert!). Accommodations were great after long days of driving and hiking (Ruby's in Bryce Canyon has a state liquor store in the lobby!), and he basically let me set the departure time every day for the trip. A word about Utah in the summer - it is hot and the sun is pretty scorching. Chris kept plenty of sunscreen in the car as well as water for filling up (fresh from springs at the Grand Canyon!). He knew some great road food stops along the way, good for fried chicken, boysenberry pie, burgers, and the BEST gas station taco truck. He also knew the good trails in the shade in the parks when the sun was high, and he knew the easy ones for a good vista without too much effort as well as the more challenging ones. I would definitely recommend and if I get the chance I would definitely book again!
We booked a 12 day tour with Chris to explore national parks from Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon. With a 1 day break in Salt Lake City we had a marvelous time. We were joined by another couple for the first 4 days and we had similar expectations. It seems the previous reviewer was not as lucky. Chris was very knowledgeable and more than happy to assist us in any reasonable way. He is more than happy to go above and beyond to ensure we got the most from our tour. He even joined me on a hike on the Angles Landing trail. Chris is a rough diamond and dont expect precise timings. He was happy to accommodate relatively early mornings and sunsets (around 9pm) to get the best light for the Tetons and Canyonlands NP respectively. We are more than happy to recommend Snowflake Tours.