- Arrive in Seattle, WA
- Day: 1
- 0 miles | 0 Km*
Arrive at the airport, pick-up your rental car and proceed to your hotel. Seattle is known as the “Emerald City” because of thegreen hue of the waters that surround it. Situated between the jagged Olympic Mountains to the westand the volcanic peaks of the Cascade Range to the east, the city sits on a narrow strip of land betweenPuget Sound and the 18?mile?long Lake Washington. The downtown area of Seattle has many excellentrestaurants. You have two nights to enjoy the Seattle area.
Accommodations: (STD) Quality Inn & Suites or similar (2 Nights)
- Day: 2
- 0 miles | 0 Km*
Today, enjoy all the sights and sounds of Seattle. Much of modern Seattle began in 1962 with the World’s Fair. It helped spark the creation of the Space Needle, the Seattle Center, the Coliseum, and other local landmarks. The fair prompted the further development of parks, roads, and transportation systems. One of the city’s major attractions is the Waterfront. Here you will find shops, restaurants and the Seattle Aquarium, Odyssey Maritime Discovery Center, and Ye Olde Curiosity. Take the time to visit Boeing’s Museum and Pike Place Market. The Market, which opened August 17, 1907, is one of the oldest continually?operated public farmer’s markets in the country. After a long day of walking, relax on a tour boat and enjoy the views of the city from the waters of Puget Sound.
- Seattle – Mt. Rainier National Park – Yakima, WA
- Day: 3
- 181 miles | 291.229 Km*
Via a scenic route the tour continues toward Mount Rainier. This active cascade volcano is encased in over 35 square miles of snow and glacial ice. The 14,410’ mountain is surrounded by lush old?growth forests, spectacular subalpine meadows and a National Historic Landmark District. There are a variety of hiking trails available for all skill levels. Visit the Longmire Museum. Pioneer James Longmire discovered mineral springs here in 1883 and built Mt. Rainier’s first hotel; his ads for miraculous water cures helped generate early tourism and a constituency for the creation of the park. Take time for the easy 0.5?mile (0.8?kilometer) Trail of the Shadows that starts on the opposite side of the main road. While in Longmire, also visit the Wilderness Information Center for trail and weather information. Drive by Mt. St. Helen where an earthquake in 1980 preceded her eruption blanketing towns, hundreds of miles away, in volcanic ash and permanently alteringthe mountain’s face. Plants and animals in the blast zone were destroyed instantly. Since then, visitors have been able to see the volcanic cone and surrounding area for a personal look at the damage and recovery process. After visiting the National Park continue toward Yakima, known as Washington’s wine country, for an overnight stay.
(STD) Red Lion Hotel Yakima Center or similar (1 Night)
- Yakima – Spokane – Coeur d’Alene, ID
- Day: 4
- 235 miles | 378.115 Km*
Northwest, this mountain side city is considered a Mecca of outdoor recreational opportunities. You”ll find mountains for skiing, hiking and biking, lakes and rivers for swimming, boating and fishing, and golf courses with challenging holes and unmatched scenery. Broadway performances, intriguing art galleries, world?class museums and powerful stage performances will capture your imagination. From eclectic to classic, you can shop in sparkling new malls, renovated historic buildings, unique boutiques and well known department stores. And when it’s time for a little refreshment, you’ll find distinctively regional tastes paired with familiar favorites. Spokane has the recipe for your new favorite meal! Continue to Coeur d’Alene for an overnight stay.
(STD) Shilo Inn Suites Coeur d’Alene or similar (1 Night)
- Coeur d’Alene – Kalispell, MT
- Day: 5
- 205 miles | 329.845 Km*
Get to know the beautiful city of Coeur d’Alene before departing to Kalispell today. Coeur d’Alene is recognized as the center for business and recreational activities in the Inland Northwest complete with festivals, fairs, concerts, unique bistros, and elegant restaurants, main street and mall shopping. In the afternoon, continue to Kalispell. Established in the early 1890s as a result of railway expansion, Kalispell enjoyed moderate growth throughout the 1900s, serving as the commercial center for much of the county. Since 2000 however, the city has more than doubled in size and now benefits from a flourishing art community with more than two dozen art galleries and studios spread throughout the city. Antique stores and gift shops offer additional opportunity for shopping. The city features two museums: the Hockaday Museum of Art, featuring exhibits, lectures, classes and events year?round and the 1894 Central School Museum, Kalispell’s firstschool, which now serves as an historical museum.
(STD) Best Western Rocky Mountains or similar (2 Nights)
- Kalispell – Glacier National Park – Kalispell, MT
- Day: 6
- 65 miles | 104.585 Km*
Visit Glacier National Park today. Situated in northwestern Montana and bordering the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia to the North and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation to the East, Glacier International Park contains 2,000 square miles of some of the most beautiful and dramatic natural scenery on the continent. Glacier National Park contains two mountain ranges which are sometimes referred to as the southern extension of the Canadian Rockies. Comprised of multihued summits and peaks carved out by ancient glaciers, the mountains of Glacier National Park rise abruptly from gently rolling plains. Some 762 lakes, dozens of glaciers, and innumerable waterfalls glisten in forested valleys. A scenic highway crosses the park, making the surrounding beauty accessible to the casual traveler.
- Kalispell – Missoula – Butte, MT
- Day: 7
- 243 miles | 390.987 Km*
This morning, head south on Highway 93 for a stunningly beautiful drive along the shores of Flathead Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. Stop by the city of Missoula for a visit to the Hellgate Trading Post, which was initially established in 1860 to trade with Indians, miners traveling through the area, ranchers, and farmers settled in adjoining valleys. Continue via the Pintler Scenic Byway for a brief stop in the small town of Philipsburg where you can mine for saphires before continuing to Butte. As a small city nestled in the Rocky Mountains along the Continental Divide, Butte serves as a springboard to almost 4 million acres of state and federal public land. Butte has great restaurants, spirited night spots, unique places to visit and a countryside that all of Montana envies; because of its setting, it provides a wealth of outdoor opportunities.
(STD) Best Western Plus Butte Plaza Inn or similar (1 night)
- Butte – Big Sky, MT
- Day: 8
- 116 miles | 186.644 Km*
Leave Butte behind as you travel south to Big Sky, Montana for a memorable two night stay at the 320 Guest Ranch. Experience a 110 year old homestead, reshaped into a Montana guest ranch. Relive the early western atmosphere and down home hospitality, all in one big beautiful, historic property. This historical guest ranch occupies 320 pristine acres along the Gallatin River amidst Gallatin National Forest and surrounded by mountains. Depending on your time of arrival you may be able to join some of the included ranch activities and make plans to be included for the next day’s excitements.
(STD) 320 Guest Ranch or similar (2 Nights)
- 320 Guest Ranch, Big Sky, MT
- Day: 9
- 0 miles | 0 Km*
Today is your to explore and enjoy some of the many activities offered in and around the ranch. Some of the favorites are fly fishing, horseback riding, hayrides, and hiking in the summer, snowmobiling, wildlife viewing, and more in the winter. It’s all waiting for you just outside your cabin door. You also have the option of kicking up your heels and relaxing by lounging about the quieter areas of the ranch. Dining is always special when you visit the Steak House restaurant and Saloon, located within the ranch’s property; cowboy gourmet food and a thoughtfully selected wine list awaits you there.
- Big Sky – West Yellowstone, MT
- Day: 10
- 50 miles | 80.45 Km*
After a good night’s rest, continue the journey to West Yellowstone where you will spend two nights.
Yellowstone was the first national park in the world, the example on which parks everywhere aremodeled. One of the most famous park features is Old Faithful. This famous geyser got its namebecause of its punctuality and predictability. Eruptions at Old Faithful last anywhere from 1 to 5minutes, and spray water and steam up to 184 feet vertically. Yellowstone also has freely roamingherds of buffalo. It also includes the nation’s largest wildlife preserve, an enormous lake, theContinental Divide, some 10,000 hydrothermal features, and over 1,000 miles of trails. Upon arrival,choose to do either the Northern or Southern Loop before night fall.
Accommodations: (STD) Yellowstone Lodging* or similar (1 night)
(* 1 night in-park accommodations are offered on a first-come, first served basis depending on availability.
Early booking is essential; otherwise, similar accommodations near the park will be provided)
- West Yellowstone – Cody, WY
- Day: 11
- 133 miles | 213.997 Km*
Today you have the chance to do the remaining Loop which you didn’t do yesterday. This park’sdiversity of attractions is a match for any location on the planet. Explore the interesting park locationsand the hydrothermal features by strolling the boardwalks built over top them. Yellowstone’s wildlifeis as spectacular as the hydrothermal features. Because of the park’s remote location, and because ofits large size, animals roam freely and are able to live in a natural way much as their kind has lived forcenturies. Moose, elk and buffalo are among the most populous of inhabitants. Continue to Cody,known as “the rodeo capital of the world” for an overnight stay.
Accommodations: (STD) Comfort Inn Buffalo Bill Village Resort or similar (1 Night)
- Cody – Gillette, WY
- Day: 12
- 250 miles | 402.25 Km*
Take this morning to visit Buffalo Bill Historical Center, which is probably the most complete museum about the American West in the nation. This is actually five museums in one offering acomprehensive look at the history, art and culture of America’s west. There is The Whitney Gallery of Western Art, The Plains Indian Museum, The Cody Firearms Museum, The Drapper Museum of Natural History, and The Harold McCracken Research Library. The Buffalo Bill Historical Center is a large and modern facility located near the center of the city. Proceed to Gillette for an overnight stay.
(STD) Best Western Tower West Lodge or similar (1 Night)
- Gillette – Devils Tower – Deadwood – Rapid City, SD
- Day: 13
- 183 miles | 294.447 Km*
Depart Gillet this morning and travel northeast to visit Devils Tower National Monument. The nearly vertical monolith known as Devils Tower rises 1,267 feet above the Belle Fourche River. Known by several northern plains tribes as Bears Lodge, it is a sacred site of worship for many American Indians. Your next stop is the historic town of Deadwood. Located in the Black Hills, this old mining town is still as wild at heart as it was in the 1800s when the outlaws, gamblers and gunslingers ruled the streets. Today, the entire town is a National Historic Landmark and an ideal place to release your inner outlaw. Visit Saloon No. 10, famous for being the site where Wild Bill Hicoch was shot to death. Continue to Rapid City for a two?night stay.
(STD) Mount Rushmore’s Washington Inn or similar (2 Nights)
- Rapid City – Wounded Knee Museum – Badlands National Park – Rapid City, SD
- Day: 14
- 161 miles | 259.049 Km*
Depart Rapid City this morning for a round trip that will take you through the Badlands National Park and the neighboring city of Wall for a visit to the Wounded Knee Museum. Millions of years of wind, water and erosion have created the chiseled spires, deep canyons and jagged buttes of Badlands National Park. Covering 244,000 acres, Badlands National Park is one of the largest protected mixed grass prairies in the United States. The park is home to many species of wildlife including bighorn sheep, bison, the swift fox and the endangered black-footed ferret. Antelope and deer are commonly seen roaming near roadways and picnic areas. From here take scenic Route 44 to the Badlands. Take the first hour to watch the Park’s informational video and tour the exhibit at the Visitor Center; then, drive the 240 Loop Road (approximately 60min.) making stops as needed for picture taking. Depart the Badlands via I-90 to the historic town of Wall for a visit to the Wounded Knee Museum. Have lunch at Wollies, a local favorite on the way in. At the Wounded Knee Museum exhibits and photographs provide a vivid picture of what really happened at the famous battle of Wounded Knee. This narrative museum offers an authentic recount of the story behind the legendary massacre. Allow at least 2 hours to enjoy this experience before returning to Rapid City.
- Rapid City – Mount Rushmore – Crazy Horse Memorial – Custer State Park – Hot Springs, SD
- Day: 15
- 75 miles | 120.675 Km*
Start this morning with a visit to Mount Rushmore. The four figures carved in stone represent the first150 years of American History. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and TheodoreRoosevelt are captured in stone as the visionaries who individually contributed to the foundation ofthe United States. In addition to the carved granite faces, here you will find an amphitheater,museum/theater complex, Visitor Orientation Center, Presidential Trail, gift shop, bookstore, anddining facilities. To complete your Rushmore experience, view the evening lighting ceremony. Youmight also consider a visit to the Crazy Horse Memorial, home of the world’s largest mountainsculpture in progress. It tells the story in granite of the great and patriotic Native American hero, Crazy Horse, who died in 1877.
The Memorial’s visitor complex includes the 40,000 square foot Welcome Center and theaters, the Indian Museum of NorthAmerica, the Native American Educational & Cultural Center, the sculptor’s log home studio and workshop, indoor and outdoorgalleries, museum gift shop, restaurant and snack bar areas and expansive viewing veranda. On your way to Hot Springs for thenight, you may choose to pass by Custer State Park, the second largest State Park in America and home to a variety of wildlife andmagnificent scenery.
Accommodations: (STD) Super 8 Hot Springs or similar (1 Night)
- Hot Springs – Mammoth Site – Cheyenne, WY
- Day: 16
- 250 miles | 402.25 Km*
Start the day with a visit to the famous Mammoth site where you can see history being uncovered right before your eyes. It is the only display of mammoth fossils in the US. In 1974, building of a housing project came to an abrupt halt when a tractor driver unearthed a seven-foot tusk. Paleontologists soon declared that the workers had discovered the 26,000-year-old grave of Columbian and Woolly mammoths, 52 have been found to date. Inside the dome, fascinating tours explain how these 10-ton mammoths, along with camels, bears and rodents, were trapped in a steep-sided sinkhole and were gradually covered by sediment. At the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, you can see wild mustangs in their natural habitat with their heads held proudly high and hear their pounding hoof beats as they freely gallop over the openrange. Proceed to Cheyenne for an overnight stay.
(STD) Holiday Inn Cheyenne or similar (1 Night)
- Cheyenne – Rocky Mountain National Park – Denver, CO
- Day: 17
- 194 miles | 312.146 Km*
This morning go for a brief visit to Cheyenne’s State Capitol Building for a first?hand look at its famousgold dome. Continue to Rocky Mountain National Park. Here the Rocky Mountains keep a watchful eyeon the dramatic landscape below. There are forests of pine and fir and fields of wildflowers whichmake for spectacular vistas. Rocky Mountain National Park is unique because of its diverse terraincaused in large part by the extremes of elevation that exist within it. A prime wildlife?viewing area, thepark is home to elk, mule deer, beavers, coyotes, river otters, moose, bighorn sheep, and an abundanceof songbirds. Trail Ridge Road, which cuts west through the middle of the park, is rated among themost scenic highways in America. It was designated an All?American Road in 1996, one of the first six in the nation. Climbing to12,187 feet near Fall River Pass, Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuous paved highway in the United States. Exhibits at theAlpine Visitor Center at Fall River Pass, 11,800 feet above sea level, explain life on the alpine tundra. Keep traveling to Denver forthe last night of the tour.
Accommodations: (STD) Best Western Plus Denver Hotel or similar (1 Night)
* Mileage is approximate.
** Prices subject to change without notice. For up to date pricing, please submit a quote request.
Explore the beautiful Pacific Coast city of Seattle and continue east to the natural magnificence of the Rockies. Enjoy the scenic byways and routes that wind through magnificent landscapes and panoramas in Wyoming and Montana. See history preserved at Crazy Horse Memorial, Mount Rushmore, and Wounded Knee Museum, and experience the “Old West” in the towns of Deadwood and Jackson Hole.
T. And L. S. Wellington New Zealand –
We’ve just returned home from our wonderful Pacific Northwest Explorer trip and I wanted to thank you again for everything: the itinerary; the notes; the hotels; the rental car and most of all your helpful service. We thought this was a very efficient and economic way of travelling in the States and are now looking at your New England selection for next year!