On this fun-filled vacation, discover the majestic parks and historic lodges of the American West. Begin your trip in Rapid City, South Dakota, gateway to the Black Hills. Enjoy an orientation tour and visit to Badlands National Park with its stunning scenery. Spend two nights in Custer State Park at the historic State Game Lodge, a gracious stone and wood lodge set in a beautiful mountain valley that served as the “Summer White House” for President Coolidge. Here, enjoy a buffalo safari and chuck wagon cookout. Visit the world’s largest mammoth-remains excavation site in Hot Springs, spend free time exploring Custer State Park, and visit Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse memorial.Cross the plains and mountains of Wyoming and arrive in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West town of Cody, Wyoming. Next up: Yellowstone National Park, America’s first national park and the geothermal home of Old Faithful Geyser. Stay at one of the majestic hotels inside Yellowstone, enjoy Yellowstone’s Upper and Lower Falls, and watch for herds of bison and other animals.On your way to Jackson, tour beautiful Grand Teton National Park. In the thoroughly Western town of Jackson, enjoy plenty of leisure time. Your grand vacation concludes with a trip through the Wasatch Mountains and a farewell dinner in Salt Lake City, Utah. On this tour, you’ll see some of the West’s classic lodges, breathtaking scenery, and historic sights—what a grand vacation!
Day #1 Arrive in Rapid City. Welcome to Rapid City, gateway to the Black Hills. At 6:30 pm, meet your traveling companions for a welcome drink. Your Tour Director will prepare you for your upcoming adventure.
Day #2 Rapid City–Badlands National Park–Custer State Park. After breakfast, enjoy an orientation tour of Rapid City, then visit BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK to see some of the most spectacular scenery in the region. Afterward, there’s time to explore Wall Drug, well-known for its quirky roadside signs and free water. Later this afternoon, travel into the backcountry and enjoy a [LF] BUFFALO SAFARI and a CHUCK WAGON COOKOUT. (B,D)SPECIAL FEATURE: We overnight at the Historic State Game Lodge in Custer State Park. This gracious stone and wood lodge is set in a beautiful mountain valley, surrounded by a ponderosa pine forest. The State Game Lodge served as the “Summer White House” for President Calvin Coolidge and was visited by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It was built in 1920 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Day #3 Custer State Park. This morning you will travel to Hot Springs to visit the world’s largest [LF] MAMMOTH SITE, where scientists are currently excavating remains of woolly mammoths that were trapped and died in the pond more than 26,000 years ago. After a short tour, you’ll have time to stroll the sidewalks of the dig area and see the paleontology laboratory. Next, visit CRAZY HORSE MEMORIAL, built in honor of the fearless Sioux Indian chief whose fame is derived from the Battle of Little Bighorn. The remainder of the day is yours to relax in Custer State Park. Perhaps try some fly-fishing, mountain biking, or take a nature walk. (B,D)
Day #4 Custer State Park–Mount Rushmore–Deadwood–Spearfish Canyon. Today, visit one of the world’s largest stone monuments: MOUNT RUSHMORE. At Mount Rushmore, the solid granite faces of four presidents loom more than a thousand feet overhead. We then continue on a guided tour of the Old West town of DEADWOOD, where Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane are laid to rest on Boot Hill. We spend the night deep in the heart of one of the most breathtakingly beautiful canyons in the world. The location for scenes from the movie Dances with Wolves, Spearfish Canyon Lodge sits nested among lofty pines and spectacular cliffs. (B,D)
Day #5 Spearfish Canyon–U-Cross Ranch–Cody. This morning, drive through scenic Spearfish Canyon and across the grassy plains of Wyoming. Enjoy lunch at an authentic [LF] WESTERN RANCH. Next, we cross the Bighorn Mountains via Shell Creek Canyon to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West town of Cody, Wyoming. (B,L)
Day #6 Cody–Yellowstone National Park. Enjoy a leisurely visit to the BUFFALO BILL HISTORIC CENTER, a fascinating tribute to frontier America. Later, depart for YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, America’s first national park, where wild animals roam freely in vast meadows and forest. (B,D)NOTE:The routing and areas visited within Yellowstone are subject to favorable weather and/or road conditions. When conditions are unfavorable, the routing may be adjusted accordingly.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 Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel. Specific lodges will be confirmed in your documents.
Day #7 Yellowstone National Park. On today’s tour you will see the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone with its Upper and Lower Falls. Watch for herds of bison in Hayden Valley, and view many of Yellowstone’s geothermal sites, including Old Faithful Geyser. (B,D)
Day #8 Yellowstone National Park–Grand Teton National Park–Jackson. This morning, tour GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK. The jagged Tetons form a perfect backdrop behind Jenny and Jackson Lakes. Next, continue to the Western town of Jackson, Wyoming. The remainder of the day is free to explore on your own. You may choose to see a shoot-out in Town Square, shop for souvenirs, or relax with a cold drink at the famous Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. (B)
Day #9 Jackson. Today is at your leisure to explore on your own or perhaps take an optional float trip down the Snake River. (B)
Day #10 Jackson–Salt Lake City. Follow the Snake River and lovely Star Valley en route to Utah. Wind along the shores of beautiful Bear Lake before climbing through the Wasatch Mountains and on to the Great Salt Lake Basin and Salt Lake City. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner hosted by your Tour Director. (B,D)
Day #11 Salt Lake City. After a leisurely breakfast, bid farewell to newfound friends as your tour comes to an end with an included transfer to Salt Lake City International Airport. (B)