Day 1 – Rapid City, South Dakota
See some of America’s grandest sights! Your western adventure begins in Rapid City, South Dakota. Transfer from the Rapid City Airport by hotel courtesy shuttle to your centrally located hotel for a two night stay. Rooms are available for check in after 3:00 p.m. Join Caravan for a 7:00 p.m. welcome briefing.
Day 2 – Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse
Enjoy a morning visit to Mt. Rushmore National Monument and the sculpted faces of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Lincoln. Next, drive to Crazy Horse Memorial. Started over 50 years ago, and still under construction, the memorial is the world’s largest sculpture in progress. Chief Standing Bear told the sculptor, Korczak Ziolkowski, “My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know the red man has great heroes, too.” The monument is a tribute to the Sioux Lakota Indian leader known as Crazy Horse. Here, Indian artisans showcase their arts and crafts and visit with guests. Visit the Indian Museum of North America. Return through the Black Hills to Rapid City. Free time to explore the historic district and stroll the Presidential Walk with life-size statues of American Presidents.
Day 3 – Little Big Horn, Montana
Enter the range lands and oil fields of Wyoming and head west across the high plains. Visit the old western cowboy town of Sheridan. Enjoy lunch. Next, enter Montana, “Big Sky Country.” Enjoy a brief visit to Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in the Crow Nation. Here, in 1876, in the Valley of Little Big Horn, combined Sioux and Northern Cheyenne forces led by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse overwhelmed General Custer and his cavalry. Continue to Billings, nestled between the Yellowstone River and the Rimrocks. Explorers Lewis & Clark camped near here in 1806. Visit a wild west museum.
Day 4 – Yellowstone National Park
Journey alongside the Yellowstone River in Montana as you follow the Lewis and Clark Trail to Livingston, film location of "A River Runs Through It" and "The Horse Whisperer." Continuing following the Yellowstone River south this morning thru Paradise Valley into Yellowstone National Park. Established in 1872, Yellowstone became the first national park in the world. Now over 90 countries have national parks. This 2,219,766 acre park contains almost 300 geysers and over 10,000 hot springs, fumaroles and mud pots. Look for moose, elk, bison, bears and wolves. You will visit the major attractions of both Yellowstone’s upper and lower loops on your leisurely visit to the park. Visit Mammoth Hot Springs, one of the best areas in the park for close-up viewing of elk. See the unique terraced pools at Mammoth. Arrive for a relaxing two night stay at your lodge, Old Faithful Inn. Old Faithful Geyser is within easy viewing and walking distance of Old Faithful Inn. Every 90 minutes, Old Faithful Geyser shoots thousands of gallons of steaming water into the air. Elevation at Old Faithful is approximately 7,300 feet.
Day 5 – Yellowstone National Park
Continue your exploration of Yellowstone Park today on the lower loop. Visit Norris Geyser Basin, stop at Fishing Bridge Visitor Center alongside Yellowstone Lake and visit Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon, where you can marvel at the rushing waters of Yellowstone Falls, twice the height of Niagara Falls. Return to Old Faithful Inn by mid afternoon for leisure time to enjoy your lodge and the nearby geysers.
Day 6 – Grand Tetons, Jackson
This morning enter Grand Teton National Park. See the jagged, soaring Teton Range with peaks over 12,000 feet. Scenes from the movie “Shane” were filmed here. Stop at pristine Jenny Lake. Then, enjoy a picnic lunch near the banks of the Snake River. Weather and river conditions permitting, an unforgettable float trip awaits you on the majestic Snake River. Wildlife viewing opportunities abound as you float through the park. Watch for waterfowl, beaver, osprey and eagles. Then, to Jackson. Free time to explore the charming downtown. Stroll the art galleries and western shops. See the Antler Arch at the entrance to historic Jackson town square. You may wish to visit the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, with bar stools made from horse saddles. Elevation in Jackson is approximately 6,300 feet.
Day 7 – Tetons, Oregon Trail, Idaho
Drive south through the Bridger-Teton National Forest this morning. Enter Idaho and travel along the route of the original “Oregon Trail.” Visit the National Oregon Trail Center. Drive by Soda Springs and visit the resort town of Lava Hot Springs. Continue to Salt Lake City, Utah, the state capital. Afternoon visit to Temple Square with its spacious gardens and fountains. See the Mormon Tabernacle, home to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (unless closed to the public due to a religious ceremony). Enjoy a farewell dinner.
Day 8 – Salt Lake City, Utah
Your tour ends after breakfast at your hotel in Salt Lake City. Thanks for vacationing with Caravan.
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