Welcome to Jackson! Home to an array of wildlife and the center of outdoor adventures, explore Jackson on your own before meeting your Travel Director and fellow travelers for a Welcome Reception. Excitement builds as your Travel Director outlines the sites to come in your exploration of national parks.
Spend a full day at leisure connecting with the dazzling natural scenery of Grand Teton National Park. If you like, take an optional float trip down Snake River^. Sit back and relax as your expert guide points out the sites and wildlife which may include beaver, cutthroat trout, cliff swallows, pelicans, osprey, and bald eagles. No matter what critters come into view, you’ll surely enjoy the mountain views. This afternoon, we’ll sail into the sky on an aerial tram ride to the peak of Rendezvous Mountain. The Jackson Hole Aerial Tram in Teton Village is the gateway to your national park experience. Soar from the valley to the summit of Rendezvous Mountain rising 4,139 vertical feet as you take in 360-degree views of the Tetons, Jackson Hole, the Snake River Valley, and Grand Teton National Park. Or, seasonally dependent, we’ll ride the Bridger Gondola taking us 2,700 feet above the valley floor.
We continue our exploration of the Tetons this morning before heading to the UNESCO-listed Yellowstone National Park. Your encounter with its geothermal wonders will leave you in awe. Witness Old Faithful’s waters arc high into the air as it has done approximately every 90 minutes since the Washburn Expedition discovered it. We stay amidst the colorful pools of hotsprings, mudpots and geysers tonight at one of the park’s signature lodges.
Keep a keen eye out for bison, grizzlies and elk as you journey through Hayden Valley en route to the rusting walls of Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon. Drive along Dunraven Pass and past Montana’s Lamar Valley, home to herds of elk, bison and grizzlies. Admire the gentle cascade of water running down the multi-colored mineral terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs as they descend into the valley.
Head to the infamous town of Cody, named for its most famous native son, Buffalo Bill. Gain insights into the history of the American West at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West and delve into the history of the cowboy, the role of the firearm in the early days, and the culture of the Plains Indians. This evening we Connect with Locals and enjoy a traditional Western-style Be My Guest dinner at a historic café, complete with an old-time tobacco shop.
Head through the windswept prairies of the American Frontier and into the Black Hills of South Dakota, admiring the looming fortress of Devils Tower en route. Arriving in the infamous Gold Rush town of Deadwood, we join Kevin Costner's Original Deadwood Tour. Meet a Local Specialist to hear about the days of Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and Potato Creek Johnny. Journey to Rapid City, where you have the seasonal option of visiting Mount Rushmore this evening to see the evening illumination ceremony.
This morning, we pay tribute to Crazy Horse, peering at the immortalized face of the famed war chief of the Lakota people etched from the granite rock of the Black Hills. We continue to Mount Rushmore featuring the enormous carvings of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
Take an optional trip to Badlands National Park this morning or enjoy free time to explore downtown Rapid City today. This evening, we join a festive Farewell Dinner and MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience with Stephen Yellowhawk. Learn about how he works to preserve Native American heritage.
Bid farewell to your traveling companions and take a transfer to Rapid City Airport or extend your stay in Rapid City at The Rushmore Hotel.