Experience the wonders of the West through its best-known national parks, gold-mining towns, and old saloons on this colorful vacation. If you are interested in seeing stunning scenery and amazing wildlife, this tour is for you. Visit Yellowstone National Park and view the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and impressive Lower Falls, almost twice as high as Niagara Falls. Hear the roar of the water and stand in awe as you view the glorious falls. Witness Old Faithful as it explodes into the air and admire the herds of bison, elk, and other wildlife as you explore the park. Similarly, in Grand Teton National Park, enjoy beautiful glacier-fed Jenny Lake and the rugged mountains—a dramatic sight indeed. Get back to nature and allow a sense of peace to envelope you as you take in the scenery.Mount Rushmore offers the astounding monument of four U.S. Presidents as well as spectacular scenery. Just imagine how difficult it must have been to sculpt the faces into the stone! In fact, did you know nearly 400 workers helped to create this memorial? Plenty of wildlife also roam this area, including Rocky Mountain goat, mule deer, and bison. All of this and more await you on this marvelous vacation through some of the West’s national parks. Be sure to pack your camera, as you’ll have plenty of photo opportunities!
Day #1 Arrive in Rapid City. Welcome to the heart of America! At 6 pm, meet your traveling companions for a welcome drink. Your Tour Director will prepare you for your upcoming adventure.
Day #2 Rapid City. Excursion to Crazy Horse & Mount Rushmore. After an orientation tour of Rapid City, visit CRAZY HORSE MEMORIAL, built in honor of the fearless Sioux Indian chief whose fame is derived from the Battle of Little Bighorn. Afterward, explore MOUNT RUSHMORE NATIONAL MEMORIAL, featuring the monumental likenesses of four U.S. presidents—Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt—carved on the face of a mountain. Maybe stroll along the Presidential Trail for more intimate views, or visit the Information Center. (B)
Day #3 Rapid City–Deadwood–Sheridan. This morning, enjoy a drive through BLACK HILLS NATIONAL FOREST and experience the area’s colorful history with a guided tour of DEADWOOD, once a wild gold-mining town, and hear the stories of legendary Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. Afterward, visit [LF] TATANKA to learn “The Story of the Bison,” and experience the richness of the Lakota people, a Plains Indian buffalo culture. Then, continue through the Black Hills to the cattle town of Sheridan at the foot of the Bighorn Mountains. (B,D)
Day #4 Sheridan–Little Bighorn Battlefield–Cody. Journey this morning into southern Montana to visit LITTLE BIGHORN BATTLEFIELD, the site commemorating one of America’s most famous battles. Tour the battlegrounds where Custer was defeated by approximately 7,000 Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho warriors, and visit the museum. Afterward, continue your scenic drive through the Bighorn Mountains, stopping at Shell Falls en route to Buffalo Bill’s Cody, with time for an optional float trip on the Shoshone River. (B)
Day #5 Cody–Yellowstone National Park. This morning, visit the BUFFALO BILL HISTORICAL CENTER, a fine museum of historic weapons and Western art. Then, continue through Shoshone National Forest to YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, established in 1872 as the world’s first national park, where wild animals roam freely in vast meadows and forest. Enjoy several photo stops along the way to your hotel, including world-famous Old Faithful Geyser. (B,D)SPECIAL FEATURE: Enjoy a 2-night stay inside Yellowstone National Park. Each lodge has its own unique setting and atmosphere. Lodges featured are the Old Faithful Inn, Lake Yellowstone Hotel, and the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel. Specific lodges will be confirmed in your documents.NOTE:The routing and areas visited within Yellowstone are subject to favorable weather and/or road conditions. When conditions are unfavorable, routing may be adjusted accordingly.
Day #6 Yellowstone National Park. Spend the day exploring Yellowstone. Travel along Grand Loop Road to Fountain Paint Pot to see the bubbling mud. Continue on to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone with magnificent views of Yellowstone Canyon and the spectacular Lower Falls, almost twice as high as Niagara Falls. Next, stop at Mammoth Hot Springs and take a short trail walk through steaming limestone terraces. (B)
Day #7 Yellowstone National Park–Grand Teton National Park–Jackson. Journey south this morning into breathtaking GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK. Visit beautiful glacier-fed Jenny Lake at the foot of the rugged spires for a delightful walk along the shore before ending the day in the all-Western town of Jackson. This evening, travel by horse-drawn covered wagons into Cache Creek Canyon and experience dinner at the [LF] BAR T-5 CHUCK WAGON COOKOUT and Wild West show. Feast on slow-cooked chicken made in traditional Dutch ovens, along with other local specialties. (B,D)
Day #8 Jackson. Full day at leisure to enjoy this spectacular playground. Perhaps choose an optional float trip along the Snake River or stroll along the downtown boardwalks and enjoy a drink at one of the swing-door saloons. (B)
Day #9 Jackson–Salt Lake City. Today’s journey continues alongside some of Wyoming’s most beautiful mountain ranges into Utah, home to five national parks. Arrive in Salt Lake City, founded by Brigham Young in 1847. Enjoy a sightseeing tour of the capital city and its historic monuments. This evening, your Tour Director hosts a special farewell dinner at Temple Square. (B,D)
Day #10 Salt Lake City. Your tour ends this morning with guests departing on independent schedules. Transfers are provided to Salt Lake City International Airport. (B)