Five of the USA's most impressive National Parks are the focus of this sensational tour of the Wild West's natural splendours.
Travel through the USA’s most iconic states on this 17-day journey, exploring magnificent scenery, memorials, monuments, parks and canyons and a host of must-see sights, including Yellowstone National Park – the largest nature reserve – containing over 3,000 geysers and hot springs and one of the Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon.
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16 days from
(based on 23/09/2015 departure date)
Fly to Denver where you will transfer to your hotel for two nights.
'The Mile High City' of Denver is the capital of Colorado and the gateway to the Rocky Mountains. An attractive city with broad streets, a tree-lined pedestrian mall leading to the gold-domed State Capitol, and Larimer Square in the city's historic heart. It's also home to some fine museums and galleries.
We travel first through Cheyenne, the state capital of Wyoming, then it's on through the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota, immortalised in a famous song from the musical 'Calamity Jane', to the historic frontier town of Custer. Late this afternoon, travel to see the ongoing construction of the Crazy Horse Memorial, a monumental statue carved out of a mountain, that pays respect to the great hero of the Native Americans, Chief Crazy Horse.
Drive deep into the Black Hills, through what was once Sioux Indian territory, to see the magnificent granite face of Mount Rushmore, a giant monument to four great American presidents - Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. Afterwards visit Tatanka, 'The Story of the Bison', and experience the richness of the Lakota Indian life as it was around the 1840's. Next it's on to Deadwood, a lawless frontier town during the 1876 Gold Rush, where Wild Bill Hickok was murdered. Stay overnight in this historic town.
This morning, head through the rich high country where open-range cattle kings made war on the homesteaders in the 1890's. Driving past Sheridan in the Bighorn Mountains, the scene of many fierce battles between the US Cavalry and the Sioux and Cheyenne Indians, you'll arrive in Buffalo Bill's frontier town, Cody, for an overnight stay.
Travel to splendid Yellowstone National Park, the USA's largest nature reserve, which contains more than 3,000 geysers and hot springs. You'll drive along the Grand Loop Road to Artist Point with magnificent views of Yellowstone Canyon and the stupendous Lower Falls, twice the height of Niagara Falls.
Today, explore America's first National Park further by returning to the geyser basins with bubbling mud pots and the regular "blow" of old faithful at the West Thumb geyser basin. In addition to the superb mountain scenery, the park is one of the world's principle wildlife preserves and a photographer's paradise.
Head to the magnificent Grand Tetons. With saw-toothed, 13,770 feet high ridges crested with snow most of the year, it's one of America's last preserves of wild solitude. Arrive in the Wild West town of Jackson which with its wooden sidewalks and saloons with bat-wing doors, is just like a living film set! In the evening there's an optional barbecue cookout and Wild West show.
Time to relax in Jackson or how about joining a scenic raft trip down the snake river?
Today, leave Jackson and drive to Salt Lake City, Utah's vibrant capital. Magnificently set on the edge of a salt desert and surrounded by mountains and forests, this is the centre of the mormon religion where Brigham young declared to his followers "This is the place". Your sigtseeing will include a brief stop at Temples square, the captial building and beautiful downtown Salt Lake City.
Journey through sagebrush landscape to Bryce Canyon National Park, with its 20 miles of breathtaking sandstone cliffs and ever-changing colours. Marvel at some of the earth's most brilliant shades of rock, which have been sculpted by erosion into pillars called 'hoodoos'.
First stop today is Zion National Park, its striking landscape of steep canyons and stone towers carved out by rushing streams over a period of millions of years. Then head to Page, originally built to house workers during the construction of the massive Glen Canyon Dam, which holds back the waters of 186 mile long Lake Powell.
How about starting your day with an optional scenic flight over stunning Monument Valley? Then take a scenic drive through the Painted Desert and across the Kaibab National Forest, before arriving at the Grand Canyon in the early afternoon. Marvel at one of the Natural Wonders of the World as you experience breathtaking views. You'll have plenty of time to do some viewing before dusk as your accommodation is inside Grand Canyon National Park.
For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, take an optional 'flightseeing' excursion: a helicopter flight over the heart of the canyon with incomparable views of flame-coloured walls plunging 4,800 feet into the Colorado River. Leaving the high country of Arizona, we pass through Williams on famous Route 66, and then the old Mohave gold strike country, which still has traces of century-old ghost towns, to Las Vegas - a neon desert oasis, packed with spectacular hotels and casinos.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to the UK, or extend your stay in Las Vegas.
Maximum elevation on this tour is 9,033 ft.
Join us on our special departures to visit the Little Bighorn Battlefield that commemorates one of America's most significant and famous battles. A special 17 day itinerary on selected departure dates. Please see our website for details or call our contact centre free on 0800 997 8821.
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