July 31, 2018
Blaze a trail with Our State as we experience the dramatic scenery of the Rocky Mountains while we visit some of the most iconic places in America.
July 31 – August 8, 2018
Day 1: Arrival in Salt Lake City
Welcome to Utah’s capital city, bordered by the buoyant waters of the Great Salt Lake and the snow-capped peaks of the Wasatch Mountains. Downtown is centered by the headquarters of the Mormon Church.
An Our State group transfer will take you from the airport to your hotel. Settle in and get ready for an outstanding private orientation tour that includes a visit to Temple Square (the headquarters of the Mormon Church) where you’ll see the famed Mormon Tabernacle.
You’ll be back at the hotel by 6 p.m. for an exclusive Welcome Dinner with your Our State Group.
Meal(s): D | Hotel: Little America or similar
Day 2: Salt Lake City – Montpelier – Jackson
Today, we’ll head north to Wyoming for your first encounter with the mighty Rocky Mountains. We’ll stop at the Oregon Trail Center in Montpelier, Idaho where we’ll learn of the brave pioneers who settled the West. Our Group will be hosted by a Local Expert ,who will add insight to the story of this epic migration. We’ll enjoy a private lunch in a covered wagon and then, back on the road, cross the Oregon Trail to the authentic Old West town of Jackson, Wyoming. You’ll know you are there when you see the famous arch of tangled elk antlers that leads to the Town Square park. Around the Town Square, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time, walking on authentic western boardwalks. This evening, you’ll feel like a pioneer ⎯ Our State guests will take a private wagon ride out to the river for an exclusive hearty Chuckwagon dinner.
Meal(s): B, L, D | Hotel: Rustic Inn Creekside Resort & Spa or similar
Day 3: Jackson – Grand Teton
Early risers have a treat in store for them! We’ll have a float trip down the Snake River. This isn’t whitewater rafting! It’s a leisurely trip with the guide handling all the rowing while describing the wildlife and sights that you see along the river. It’s OK if you’d rather sleep late. You can just meet the adventurers later in the morning for the drive to Grand Teton National Park. Here, we’ll stop at scenic spots like Jenny Lake and Taggart Lake. Lunch will be on your own at the Jackson Lake Lodge (you can pick up some souvenirs here too!).
After lunch, we’ll travel onward to Montana’s Big Sky Country and one of the highlights of the trip, visiting the 320 Guest Ranch. This 320-acre ranch dates back to 1898, but it wasn’t until 1936 that Montana’s first woman doctor, Dr. Caroline McGill, purchased the ranch to serve as an outdoor retreat for herself, her friends, and her patients. It was Dr. McGill who began the tradition of log cabin accommodations. You’ll enjoy a classic Western dinner at the ranch tonight, followed by a night’s stay at the Huntly Lodge in Big Sky.
Meal(s): B, D | Hotel: Huntly Lodge
Day 4: Yellowstone National Park
Yesterday was a big day, so today we are giving you a leisurely morning. After lunch, we’re off the visit the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone. Here, our group will learn about the conservation efforts of Yellowstone National Park and have a chance to uniquely experience the world of grizzly bears and gray wolves. All the animals at the Discovery Center are unable to survive in the wild and serve as ambassadors for their wild counterparts.
Next, we’ll enter one of America’s most famous national parks, Yellowstone. Yellowstone is the world’s first national park and a model for those that followed. The park sits atop a volcanic hot spot, so be prepared for hot springs and gushing geysers, including the renowned Old Faithful. Yellowstone also features dramatic canyons, alpine rivers, lush forests, and is home to hundreds of animal species.
We will spend two nights at a National Park Lodge within this glorious wilderness. Our lodge accommodation is unique, mirroring the place and time it was built.
Meal(s): B, L | Hotel: National Park Lodges
Day 5: Yellowstone National Park Sightseeing
Today is a truly special day because we will discover Yellowstone’s amazing natural wonders. Get ready to be completely awed by a multitude of hot springs, gushing geysers ⎯ including Old Faithful ⎯ brilliantly hued and simmering thermal springs topped off by a visit to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and Yellowstone Falls. The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is roughly 20 miles long, more than 1,000 feet deep, and up to 4,000 feet wide! The Yellowstone River flows through the canyon actually creating two Yellowstone Falls, the Upper Falls and the Lower Falls. The Lower Falls is the grandest. It is the tallest waterfall in the park and based on height alone, more than twice the size of Niagara Falls! Enhancing an already magical day, we’ll join a local wildlife expert on the boardwalks of Yellowstone. The boardwalks are charmingly rustic and meanderingly haphazard, but in reality, are painstakingly designed to allow our group the most personal access possible to thermal areas while safeguarding both visitors and natural resources.
Dinner is at your park lodge. After dinner, relax and reflect on your incredible day.
Meal(s): B, D | Hotel: National Park Lodges
Day 6: Yellowstone National Park – Cody – Sheridan
This morning, we say a fond farewell to Yellowstone and head east to a classic western town, Cody, Wyoming. Cody is named after its most famous citizen and founder, “Buffalo Bill” Cody. We’ll visit the Buffalo Bill Center of the West ⎯ and with a local expert ⎯ discover the five museums that make up this must-see attraction. There is the Buffalo Bill Museum that tells the story of Bill Cody and the West he loved; the Plains Indian Museum, where the lives and legends of the Plains Indian people are on display; the Cody Firearms Museum, which houses the most comprehensive collection of American firearms in the world; the Draper Natural History Museum, where the innovative, informative, and inspiring exhibits allow you to explore Greater Yellowstone’s wildlife and ecology; and the Whitney Western Art Museum, where you can experience the spirit of the American West through art.
After learning the authentic story of the American West, we’ll head to Sheridan, Wyoming for the night.
Meal(s): B, D | Hotel: Holiday Inn Sheridan or similar
Day 7: Sheridan – Keystone – Rapid City
After a hearty breakfast, we’ll journey on to South Dakota and visit the Crazy Horse Memorial. The memorial honors the legendary Native American leader of the Oglala Lakota tribe, Crazy Horse. The sculpture was started in 1948 and has yet to be completed. That’s partly because the memorial and the educational foundation behind it is all privately funded. Our visit helps to realize the dream of honoring Native American heroes and educating all citizens about the Native American community. We’ll take a private bus to the base of the memorial and along the way hear about the history of Crazy Horse and the memorial. After exploring the memorial, it’s on to Rapid City to check into our hotel.
This evening, you are in for another special treat! We’ll travel the short distance to Mount Rushmore for a memorable Mount Rushmore Lighting Ceremony. This unabashedly patriotic program consists of a brief park ranger talk, a short film about America’s legacy of democracy, and finally the lighting of the sculpture as the audience sings the National Anthem.
Meal(s): B,D | Hotel: Alex Johnson or similar
Day 8: Rapid City and Black Hills Excursion
The first stop on our journey this morning is Bear Country USA, a wildlife park featuring the world’s largest private viewing habitat of the American Black Bear. Next, we’ll head back to Mount Rushmore to visit this immense symbol of American freedom during the day.
This evening, join our group for a Farewell Dinner featuring a performance of Native American dancers.
Meal(s): B, D | Hotel: Alex Johnson or similar
Day 9: Depart Rapid City
After breakfast, we must say goodbye to our Great American West. But think of all you have learned and the memories you have made! Your group transfer will take you to the Rapid City Regional Airport for your flight home.
Tour customized by Trafalger for Our State and AAA Travel