National Parks & Canyon Country – 2012 ~ 13 days from Denver to Las Vegas

     

Vacation Overview

Marvel at the West’s premier natural wonders on this 6-state vacation and see spectacular scenery, memorials, monuments, parks, canyons, and much more. Your trip begins in Denver and heads to South Dakota for visits to the Crazy Horse Memorial and Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Tour Tatanka and Deadwood, once a wild gold-mining town, and journey west to Buffalo Bill’s frontier town of Cody, Wyoming. Then head to Yellowstone National Park to see magnificent views of Yellowstone Canyon, Lower Falls, and world-famous Old Faithful Geyser. Overnight in Yellowstone National Park before traveling into breathtaking Grand Teton National Park for a delightful walk along glacier-fed Jenny Lake. In nearby Jackson, with its wooden sidewalks and swing-door saloons, you’ll have plenty of free time to tour on your own.

Next, it’s on to Salt Lake City, Utah’s capital, for a sightseeing tour; then marvel at the “hoodoos” and dramatic landscapes of Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park. Stunning scenery awaits you in both parks, so have your camera ready! Continue into Arizona to Page, on the shores of Lake Powell, and cross the Painted Desert to amazing Grand Canyon National Park. Your hotel is located on the rim of the Grand Canyon, giving you a rare opportunity for great views and time to explore this spellbinding place. For a thrill of a lifetime, take an optional flightseeing trip over the Grand Canyon. Finally, travel to Las Vegas, where this spectacular vacation ends. On this vacation through some of the West’s premier national parks, you’ll see breathtaking scenery that cannot be found anywhere else—a trip of a lifetime!

Day 1 – Denver

Enjoy time at leisure to relax or to do some independent exploring. Your Tour Director is on hand this evening to answer any questions.

Day 2 – Denver–Cheyenne–Black Hills of South Dakota–Keystone

Depart Denver and travel north to Cheyenne. See the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota and continue to Custer. Then, see the CRAZY HORSE MEMORIAL, a monument carved out of a mountain that pays respect to the great Native American hero, Chief Crazy Horse. (CB)

Day 3 – Keystone–Mount Rushmore–Deadwood

Deep in the Black Hills, behold the granite faces of MOUNT RUSHMORE, a monument to four American presidents: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt. Afterward, visit TATANKA: The Story of the Bison, and experience the richness of the Lakota people. On to Deadwood, a lawless frontier town during the 1876 Gold Rush, where Jack McCall murdered Wild Bill Hickok during a poker game. Overnight in this historic town and discover Deadwood’s Wild West ways as you walk in the footsteps of legends like Calamity Jane and Seth Bullock.

Day 4 – Deadwood–Cody

On to Buffalo, where open-range cattle kings made war on sheep ranchers in the 1890s. Drive by Sheridan, site of battles between the U.S. Cavalry and the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Crow Indians. Overnight in Buffalo Bill’s frontier town of Cody. (CB)

Day 5 – Cody–Yellowstone National Park

Proceed through Shoshone National Forest to YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK. Travel along Grand Loop Road to Artist Point with views of Yellowstone Canyon and the Lower Falls. See the bubbling geyser basins and the consistent “blow” of Old Faithful, Yellowstone’s most famous geyser. Overnight in Yellowstone National Park.

Notes:
Departures traveling to Yellowstone National Park in April/May and September/October will stay in West Yellowstone. Routing and areas visited in Yellowstone National Park are subject to favorable weather, gate access, and road conditions. When conditions are unfavorable, routing may be adjusted accordingly.

Day 6 – Yellowstone–Grand Teton National Park–Jackson

Head south into magnificent GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK, one of America’s last preserves of wild solitude. Its 13,770-foot-high ridges are crested with snow most of the year. Stroll along the shores of beautiful glacier-fed Jenny Lake before ending the day in all-Western Jackson. This evening, join an optional barbecue cookout and Wild West show.

Day 7 – Jackson

With its wooden sidewalks and swing-door saloons, Jackson is like a film set. Time today for an optional float trip on the Snake River. (CB)

Day 8 – Jackson–Salt Lake City

Today, drive to Salt Lake City for an overnight stay. Set on the edge of Great Salt Lake Desert, this center of the Mormon religion is where Brigham Young declared to his followers, “This is the place.” An included sightseeing tour shows you the capital of Utah, including Temple Square, the adjacent tabernacle, and the Beehive House. (CB)

Day 9 – Salt Lake City–Bryce Canyon National Park

On to BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK with its 20 miles of sandstone cliffs and ever-changing colors. See some of Earth’s most brilliant shades of rock, sculpted by nature into pillars called “hoodoos.”

Day 10 – Bryce Canyon National Park–Zion National Park

Travel to ZION NATIONAL PARK with its landscape carved over millions of years by rushing streams. Steep canyons, stone towers, and verdant vegetation form the scenery of Zion. Head east into Page on the shores of Lake Powell.

Day 11 – Page–Painted Desert–Grand Canyon National Park

Enjoy an optional flight over scenic Monument Valley. Then, cross the Painted Desert and through Kaibab National Forest. Arrive for an overnight at the South Rim of GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK with free time to explore. (CB)

Day 12 – Grand Canyon National Park–Las Vegas

For a once-in-a-lifetime thrill, take an optional flightseeing trip over the Grand Canyon. Next up: the world-class entertainment of Las Vegas.

Day 13 – Las Vegas

The trip ends today with guests departing on individual schedules. Transfers to Las Vegas McCarran International Airport are included. You can extend your vacation with extra nights and explore “Sin City” further with a variety of exciting optional activities.

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