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America's Original National Parks

Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, South Dakota

America's Original National Parks

13 Nights From €1459 (Per Person)

United States Flag of 
United States 3 Fly Drive Holidays

Colorado|| Nebraska|| South Dakota

Photograph of America's Original National Parks

Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, South Dakota

Look up and see majestic Mount Rushmore ablaze with light!  Look down and see the remains of giant woolly mammoths embedded in an ancient seabed.  Go underground and feel the rush of air through Wind Cave, the longest cave in the world.  During the next few days you’ll be traveling through some of the most majestic and unusual landscapes in America – places where volcanic action pushed peaks higher and rivers cut canyons deeper than elsewhere in the country.  You’ll find deserts punctuated with twisted, craggy forms, right alongside lush green rugged countryside.  In the South Dakota Badlands, you may even feel like you’ve reached another planet.  As you drive through the Black Hills, you’ll witness gnarled sandstone shapes that have evolved over millennia of massive wind and water action. 

From there, it’s off to Yellowstone, America’s first National Park, where Old Faithful stands guard over nearly two thirds of the planet’s active hydrothermal features.  In addition to famous geysers, don’t miss the paint pots, waterfalls, canyons, sparkling lakes and hot springs all over Yellowstone.  And just when you think you’ve seen it all, prepare to be awed by the ever present Grand Teton Range, majestically rising from the earth like craggy blades.  Even at the magnificently blue Jenny Lake, they loom massively overhead.  In between all of this, you’ll experience western culture galore before ending at beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park, the inspiration for John Denver’s  song “Colorado Rocky Mountain High.”  Whew!  You didn’t know that American scenery could be this good.  

America's Original National Parks

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Denver
Welcome to Denver, “the Mile High City” where a brass cap positioned at exactly 5,280 feet above sea level is perched on the Capitol steps.  The 16th Street Mall connects the Capitol Building with LODO, the Lower Denver cultural district.  Nearby, the Colorado State History Museum features the dramatic geology of the region. The Denver History Museum, the Denver Visitor Center, and the Molly Brown House, home of the “unsinkable” local heroine, are all close by as well.  Be sure to visit the Denver Art Museum, where the building is as dramatic as the visuals.   

Day 2: Explore Denver 
If you explored the Golden Triangle Museum District yesterday, today you may want to get out into one of Denver’s great neighborhoods. The Santa Fe Arts District has Denver’s largest collection of art galleries. Cherry Creek has the best shopping and dining in Denver. Quaint Old South Pearl Street has a Farmer’s Market every Sunday. The Highlands neighborhood was recently featured in National Geographic Traveler and Travel + Leisure Magazine. Golden, Colorado, the state’s first capital city, is a great western town nestled at the base of a mountain surrounded with huge buttes. It’s also home to Coors Beer.

Day 3: Denver to Scottsbluff, NE 
On your way from Denver and Scottsbluff, be sure to stop in Cheyenne, which still looks like it just stepped out of the Wild, Wild West. You can stroll the streets where Bat Masterson and the likes once punctuated the landscape. An overnight in Scottsbluff will have you well positioned to explore the South Dakota Badlands area tomorrow. Just before reaching the town, you can enjoy the last portion of your drive on the Western Trails Historic National Scenic Byway.  

Day 4: Scottsbluff to Rapid City, SD 
On your way to Rapid City, you’ll be passing Mammoth Hot Springs, where archeologists unearth the remains of wooly mammoths on a regular basis.  Custer State Park and Wind Cave National Park are both nearby.  Once in Rapid City, the Journey Museum is world class. Mount Rushmore is most dramatic at night when it is illuminated in a short ceremony that includes a short movie and the National Anthem. It’ll be a great end for a day of unique American visual landscapes. 

Day 5: Explore Rapid City Area 
Today, you’ll have the whole day to travel the Peter Noorbeck National Scenic Byway to and through Badlands National Park which preserves 244,000 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, spires, and other dramatic landforms sculpted by wind and water.  Just remember, you have not traveled to outer space!

Day 6: Rapid City to Sheridan, WY 
On the way to Sheridan, be sure to visit Devil’s Tower, a solid rock mass that shoots 1,000 feet straight into the air. Sheridan is one of Wyoming's jewels, where fabled Western history has settled comfortably into the New West, still surrounded by dramatic mountain vistas and wide open spaces. 

Day 7: Sheridan to Yellowstone National Park 
It’s hard to find words to describe Yellowstone, America’s first National Park. As big as the state of Rhode Island, Yellowstone is a driving park with miles of roads and multiple visitor centers connecting vast geologic wonders. There are over 10,000 hydrothermal features, including 300 geysers, boiling springs, hot springs bubbling up in many colors, an 800-foot thick lava flow and of course, Old Faithful. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is 20 miles long and up to 1,200 feet deep with waterfalls up to 300 feet high.

Day 8: Yellowstone National Park 
Spend one more day exploring this vast geologic wonder.

Day 9: Yellowstone to Grand Teton National Park 
Today, you’ll be traveling the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway National Scenic Byway to the Grand Tetons.  Get prepared, this scenery is spectacular! The 40-mile mountain range juts straight up over Teton Park Road, with 12 peaks more than 12,000 feet and Grand Teton rising to 13,770. Jenny Lake Scenic Drive skirts Jenny Lake, clear, blue and dramatic! Signal Mountain Summit Road gives you panoramic views of the Teton Range, Jackson Lake and Jackson Hole. 

Day 10: Grand Teton National Park
Spend one more day enjoying the spectacular scenery. Consider taking a Teton Science School Wildlife Expedition to the back country where automobiles are not permitted.  Sunrise and sunset are especially wonderful for this trip.

Day 11: Grand Teton to Casper, WY 
Casper was founded as Fort Casper, built during the mid-19th century mass migration of land seekers along the Oregon, California and Mormon trails. Emigrant tracks are still visible along the North Platte River north of town. Learn this story and other dramatic tales at the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center. 

Day 12: Casper to Rocky Mountain National Park 
Just north of Denver, Rocky Mountain National Park is a living showcase of grandeur with countless breathtaking vistas ranging from 8,000 to 14,259 feet. You’ll also see delicate alpine flowers, clear lakes, rushing mountain waters, bighorn sheep, ptarmigan, coyote, and elk. There is one major loop road through the park and every square inch is scenic. A great way to end your exceptionally scenic journey. 

Day 13: Rocky National Park to Denver
Devote one more day to Rocky National Park or to Denver. 

Day 14: Depart Denver

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