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Great American West

Sale!

Great American West

Was From $ 10,530 AUD
Now From $ 8,424 AUD
Sale!

Description

See natural wonders in South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana on a 12-day small group adventure that packs plenty of National Parks into a short amount of time. Uncover the beauty of Badlands National Park, before you travel to Mount Rushmore, spot buffalo in Custer State Park and continue to Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. With two nights at Yellowstone National Park, you’ll have time to spot wildlife and watch Old Faithful spray water into the air. Then travel from Bozeman to Missoula via mountains, rivers, glaciers, and lakes. Learn about the customs and histories of the Blackfeet Native American culture and explore Glacier National Park on a guided hike and a scenic river rafting trip. With easy to moderate hikes, comfortable accommodation, and a knowledgeable leader, this nature-focussed adventure is big on beauty.

Trip Name
Great American West
Last Updated
2024-06-16
Days
12
Capacity
12
Highlights
  • Join an expert naturalist on a wolf tracking expedition at Yellowstone National Park.
  • Spend a full day with a member of the Blackfeet tribe learning about Native American history in First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park, hiking in Giant Springs State Park and exploring the land and culture.
  • Jump in a jeep to safari with an expert guide and see buffalo up close, along with pronghorns and elk, in Custer State Park.
  • Visit Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument and join your Crow Nation Guide to learn about the history of the area.
  • Raft down the Flathead River in Glacier National Park – a wilderness area in Montana’s Rocky Mountains – and soak up the views from a different perspective.
  • Marvel at Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial where a walk will take you up close to this famous mountain sculptures.
  • Hike Yellowstone National Park where grizzly bears, wolves and herds of buffalo and elk roam free.
  • Follow in the path of Lewis and Clark exploring the “Gates of the Mountains” on a river cruise along the Missouri River
  • Spend a full day on a locally guided hike through the incredible Glacier National Park, where you’ll stand at the foot of waterfalls, walk under the canopy of ancient forests, and enjoy a homemade lunch in the wilderness.

Itinerary

ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It's important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, political unrest or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. Your group leader or local representative will keep you up to date with any such changes once your trip is underway. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance fees only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your group leader or local representative know you are interested at the Welcome Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and group leader or local representative are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

Day 1 - Rapid City to Custer
Welcome to South Dakota! Your adventure starts at 10 am with a welcome meeting in Rapid City. After, take a short drive to the iconic Wall Drug Store – drawing millions of visitors every year, it’s hard to believe this store won over customers in its early days by offering something as simple as free ice water. Take some time to wander around and grab some lunch before heading to Badlands National Park. Have your camera handy to capture the sweeping prairie grass plains and dramatic rocky pinnacles. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, chirping prairie dogs and American bison. Take a short hike on one of the scenic trails before continuing to your lodge in Custer. Your home for the next two nights will be a game lodge, established in 1920, where you can see bison wandering the property grounds and immerse yourself in the Western feel of this historic-style accommodation. Tonight, you’ll have a group dinner at the lodge to settle in and get to know your fellow travellers.
Day 2 - Custer
Enjoy breakfast at State Game Lodge – your residence has played host to several presidents – then it’s time to jump in a jeep and go wild on a buffalo safari. Trek through the Custer State Park in an open-air jeep as your expert guide shares historical and educational facts and helps you spot pronghorns, elk and buffalo. After, you’ll visit the Crazy Horse Memorial – the largest mountain carving in the Black Hills (widely considered the Eighth Wonder of the World in progress). Then continue to the famous Mount Rushmore to walk the Presidential Trail – a bucket list location, this is a great spot to grab a photo! Tonight, you’re free to grab dinner at your accommodation or a nearby local restaurant.
Day 3 - Billings
It's an early start this morning as after breakfast you’ll drive to the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. After a stop along the way for lunch, join your Crow Nation Guide for a tour that provides an Apsaalooke perspective on the conflict. With a tribal historian at your side, you’ll traverse the battlefield and learn how Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors defeated the US Army on the Greasy Grass at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. After, head to Billings, where you’ll spend the night.
Day 4 - Yellowstone National Park
This morning after breakfast, depart Billings and drive west towards Yellowstone National Park – one of the country's most popular, expansive, and beautiful national parks. Stop in Cody along the way – a western town in Wyoming famously named after Buffalo Bill Cody. Enjoy some free time for lunch and to explore Cody, and then carry on to the park. When you arrive at Yellowstone, you’ll head straight for a visit to the Old Faithful Geyser – a must-see for any trip to the park, Old Faithful is a cone geyser with striking colours and a predictable geothermal eruption (hence the name). Watch as it sprays over 4000 gallons (14,000 litres) of boiling water into the air, then be hypnotised by the startling colours of the Grand Prismatic Spring. After, you’ll check into your hotel in West Yellowstone.
Day 5 - Yellowstone National Park
Today after breakfast, you’ll continue to explore the gorgeous Yellowstone National Park, looking out for grizzly bears, wolves, buffalo and elk roaming free. Visit The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone (a great spot for photos) and then explore the Norris Geyser Basin – the hottest and oldest geyser in the park. Along the way, you’ll enjoy a picnic lunch with your group, giving you some free time to sit down and relax or wander and take photos. Tonight, you’re free for dinner, so maybe get your group together and say a pre-final day goodbye over a couple of drinks.
Day 6 - Yellowstone Wolf Tracking / Bozeman
You'll be up before the sun this morning, but it's for a good reason! After breakfast, you’ll head back into Yellowstone to join a wolf-tracking expedition with an experienced naturalist guide. There's no better place than Yellowstone to see these magnificent animals in the wild. Your guide tracks the movements and behaviour of Yellowstone wildlife almost daily and knows the best places to find the animals. There will be top-of-the-line binoculars for everyone and high-powered spotting scopes, so no one will miss out. After an included lunch, travel to Bozeman, where your adventure ends at around 4 pm this afternoon. If you’d like to stay in the area for longer, just speak to your booking agent.
Day 7 - Bozeman to Helena
There'll be a meeting at 10 am to welcome new travellers joining the next leg of your adventure. After your meeting, visit the Museum of the Rockies, a Smithsonian Affiliate Museum that’s famous for its world-class dinosaur exhibits. After a bit of culture to get you going, you’ll head to Helena, where you spend the night. When you arrive in the capital of Montana, you might like to head out for dinner with your group.
Day 8 - Helena
After breakfast, you’ll follow in the footsteps of the explorers Lewis and Clark and venture to the Gates of the Mountains on a scenic river cruise. You’ll sail alongside limestone cliffs to a set of towering stone walls which appear to open like a gate as your boat approaches. Little has changed since the two explorers first visited this stretch of the Missouri River, and the region’s untouched beauty remains. Your night is free in Helena to rest and recharge or find a good dinner spot – your leader is always on hand with suggestions.
Day 9 - Great Falls
After an early breakfast, hit the road and drive to First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park – home to the largest buffalo jump in America, used as a hunting tool by Native American tribes for at least 1000 years. This is a special and unique experience to learn about the history of the land firsthand. Get to know the landscape with a member of the Blackfeet tribe, who will take you on a full day experience including hikes, walks, talks and a cultural exchange on their homelands. Then, sit down and soak up the scenery over an included lunch where you can ask questions and learn more. Spend the night in Great Falls, where you’re free for dinner.
Day 10 - Glacier National Park / Whitefish
This morning, you’ll hit the road again after breakfast. Known as the ‘Crown of the Continent’, Glacier National Park offers an impressive array of activities for lovers of nature and the great outdoors. Today, you’ll board a raft and enjoy an exhilarating (and splashy) rafting experience down the Flathead River with an expert local guide – a must-do in this area! Then head into the town of Whitefish, where you’ll spend the night. After an action-packed day, feel free to relax and recharge, or chat with your leader for the best dinner recommendations in town.
Day 11 - Glacier National Park / Whitefish
After breakfast this morning, you'll take on a full day locally-guided nature hike in Glacier National Park – a wilderness area in Montana’s Rocky Mountains, with glacier-carved peaks and valleys running to the Canadian border. First, we'll drive the iconic Going to the Sun Road to the trailhead where we'll begin our hike. Meander through sun dappled forests to the base of two waterfalls as you hear from your guide about the history of the people who have called Glacier National Park home. Stopping for a homemade picnic lunch with your group, soak up the beauty of your surroundings before making your way back along the trail. Tonight, you may like to drop into one of the local craft breweries or restaurants for dinner.
Day 12 - Missoula
Enjoy a morning at leisure before hitting the road to Missoula. When you arrive, enjoy one last meal with your group to celebrate all you’ve done in this jam-packed adventure. Head to a local brewery and taste some local Montana huckleberry beer over an included lunch. Your adventure will end at around 3 pm.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
21-07-202401-08-2024AUD $ 10,735-
28-07-202408-08-2024AUD $ 8,424-
18-08-202429-08-2024AUD $ 10,630-
25-08-202405-09-2024AUD $ 10,225-
01-09-202412-09-2024AUD $ 10,530-

Accommodation

Lodge (2 nights),Hotels (9 nights)

Transport

Private vehicle

Map