Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Black Hills and Yellowstone (10 Days

From the man-made wonder of Mount Rushmore to the extraordinary geysers, mud volcanoes and wildlife of America's first national park, this Denver circle program offers an outstanding western experience. Rendezvous at Jackson Hole, home of the uniquely American tradition of legendary Mountain Man and myth, follow the tracks of the Oregon Trail pioneers in Nebraska, experience the thrill of the Black Hills gold rush, and glory in the splendor of Colorado's Rocky Mountains.Day 1 Denver Passengers arrive at Denver's International Airport and are met by your professional tour director and motorcoach. We'll travel eastward through the Nebraska panhandle as we begin our western adventure, overnighting in Scottsbluff. Tonight's welcome dinner will be an authentic Oregon Trail cookout served in the shadow of one of the trail's most distinguished landmarks, Chimney Rock. We'll sing songs around the campfire and get acquainted for the journey ahead. (D) Day 2 Rapid City Today we'll travel northward toward the historic Black Hills. Our first stop will be Fort Robinson, a strategically located military and Indian agency during the final Indian Wars. Across the South Dakota border we'll visit the Mammoth Site National Natural Landmark where over 100 complete mammoth skeletons have been unearthed in the old spa town of Hot Springs. This evening we'll view the awe-inspiring lighting ceremony at Mount Rushmore before calling it a night. Overnight in Rapid City, SD. (CB) Day 3 Rapid City We'll begin our tour this morning at an authentic old gold mine (take all the free samples you want!), have lunch with the Presidents at Mount Rushmore, then visit the Crazy Horse Monument, the still-unfinished mountain carving dedicated to Native Americans. This afternoon something special is on the agenda: we'll board open-air jeeps for a leisurely ride through scenic Custer State Park in search of the buffalo and other wildlife that roam free in the Hills. Tonight's dinner is at the State Game Lodge, Summer White House to two US Presidents. Overnight again in Rapid City. (B, D) Day 4 Cody Today is a travel day, but wondrous sights await us everywhere in the West as we head west across the cowboy state of Wyoming. We'll cross the picturesque Big Horn Mountains en route to the western town of Cody, named for the famous Wild West Showman. Nightly rodeo is a popular evening option here. Overnight in Cody. (B) Day 5 West Yellowstone The world-famous Buffalo Bill Cody Museum is a highlight of our tour today, with its four major collections including a large Native American exhibit and the Winchester arms collections. Then it's on to the wondrous sights of America's first national park as we visit serene mountain lakes, mud volcanoes, awesome waterfalls and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Keep an eye open for the buffalo, elk, deer, moose and hundreds of species of wild animals as we explore the park today and tomorrow. Overnight in West Yellowstone, MT. (CB) Day 6 Yellowstone National Park This morning we'll resume our tour of Yellowstone with a drive along the Firehole River and a visit to Fountain Paint Pots (more geysers, bubbling mud pots and hot springs). We'll catch an eruption of Old Faithful before making our way south along America's most spectacular mountain range, the Grand Tetons, and check in to our Jackson hotel. Tonight we step back in time as we board horse-drawn covered wagons and ride to a chuckwagon barbecue site along the banks of a clear mountain stream. Mountain men and "wild Indians' whoop it up along the way to make this a never-to-be-forgotten western dining experience. (CB, D) Day 7 Jackson Hole Today's highlight is a leisurely Snake River float trip with America's most spectacular mountain range - the Grand Tetons - for a backdrop. We'll have time for a shopping trip to Jackson where exclusive boutiques, antique stops and art galleries abound, and the Colter Bay Indian Cultural Center. Overnight again in Jackson Hole. (B) Day 8 Laramie We'll re-cross the Continental Divide today as our journey takes us eastward toward Laramie, site of the territorial prison which once housed the Sundance Kid. We'll tour the prison before settling in to our home for the night in Laramie, WY. (B) Day 9 Denver This morning we'll travel scenic Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. We'll make numerous photography stops along the way, so be sure to bring plenty of film. We'll also stop in picturesque Estes Park to explore its unique offerings and shopping opportunities before returning Denver and our festive farewell dinner. (B,D)


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