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Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands, & Yellowstone

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4.5 stars(42 reviews)
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Saddles, Stetsons, Buffalo and more greet you on this 11-day Wild West Adventure! Be awestruck by the scenery of Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Badlands National Parks, relive the stories of the old West in Cody and Deadwood, marvel at the sight of Mount Rushmore, and be exhilarated on an off-road Jeep Safari. Your adventure awaits!

You are viewing the 2021 itinerary. Select your departure year
20212022
11 days From $3,595 per person

2021 Tour code: RM-MRBA-21

About the tour

Rugged frontier towns of the Old West and renowned national historic sites are hallmarks of this 11-day escorted tour across America's western frontier. Your Wild West discovery begins in Chicago, where you board the legendary California Zephyr for your journey across the Rocky Mountains to Provo, Utah. From Provo, your travels take you to the cowboy town of Jackson and Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, Cody and then to the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Additional departure dates are available featuring 12 Day & 13 Day itineraries.

Highlights

Activity level Natural Explorer

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You don’t mind spending the day on your feet. You enjoy sightseeing that includes walking, standing or stair climbing. You’re okay with longer days that are more active, such as multiple sightseeing stops, longer motorcoach journeys and getting on and off ships and trains.

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Depart Chicago aboard the California Zephyr

Arrive at Chicago Union Station and board the California Zephyr. Settle into your onboard accommodations and prepare for your overnight rail journey. Travelers may elect to travel from San Francisco or points in-between and meet your tour manager in Provo. Overnight train.

Day 2 - California Zephyr through the Rocky Mountains

Keep your camera handy today as the Zephyr climbs across the Colorado Rockies, through the Moffat Tunnel, and along the Byers, Glenwood and Ruby Canyons. Make time to visit the glass-walled Sightseer Lounge car for panoramic views of the passing scenery, as well as for an educational Trails and Rails presentation conducted by volunteer park rangers as you travel between Denver and Grand Junction. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel. Overnight Provo, UT.

Day 3 - Jackson, Wyoming

After breakfast, board the coach for a scenic journey through the beautiful Star Valley to Jackson, Wyoming. Once we arrive, the afternoon is yours to stroll the wooden plank sidewalks and enjoy stunning views of the Grand Teton mountain range. Browse the shops and galleries of the Town Plaza, enjoy a bite to eat at one of the many local favorites, get a picture of yourself in front of the elk antler arches, or sit on one of the saddle bar seats at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. Overnight Jackson, WY.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 4 - Snake River Float Trip

This morning, enjoy a scenic float trip along the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park. Keep an eye out for elk and other wildlife indigenous to the area. The afternoon is free for you to explore Jackson on your own, then this evening, enjoy a delicious chuckwagon dinner with cowboy entertainment. Overnight Jackson, WY.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - Grand Teton National Park

Discover the hidden treasures of Grand Teton National Park this morning. Highlights include a stop at the new Moose Visitor Center, the breathtaking Jenny Lake Overlook, Jackson Lake Lodge and more. Later, we travel by coach to America's first National Park, Yellowstone, with a photo stop at Lewis Falls as we enter the Park. As you travel to your lodge, which is set within the park, keep an eye peeled for herds of buffalo and impressive rock formations. The evening is at your leisure. Overnight Yellowstone, WY. 

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 6 - Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park has the world's most extensive region of geothermal activity, with thousands of hot springs and fumaroles dotting the landscape. Today's sightseeing tour showcases some of the park's most renowned sights, including Hayden Valley, the spectacular Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and Artist Point. Walk around Fountain Paint Pots and, finally, stop at the famous Old Faithful Inn and Geyser Basin. There is time to explore the Old Faithful area and see the most famous geyser erupt before returning to our lodging. Overnight Yellowstone, WY.

Day 7 - Buffalo Bill Center of the West Museum

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before we set out for today's adventure to Cody, Wyoming. Our first stop along the way is the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. This complex contains five museums under one roof: the Buffalo Bill Museum, the Remington Firearms Museum, the Whitney Museum of Western Art, the Plains Indian Museum and the new Draper Natural History Museum. After lunch, it is off to the ranch where ranch activities and a delicious dinner await*. Overnight Clearmont or Sheridan, WY.

*July 12 departure will visit Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in lieu of the ranch.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 8 - Deadwood / Mt. Rushmore

Journey to Deadwood this morning. Our late morning arrival gives you ample time to explore the town and have lunch. This South Dakota town is steeped in history and was once home to some of the West's most legendary figures. After lunch, we embark on the Original Deadwood Tour. Hear stories of the old west and pay your respects to Wild Bill and Calamity Jane at Mt. Moriah Cemetery, aka, "Boot Hill." From Deadwood we head to Mount Rushmore National Memorial, whose four presidents represent the first 150 year of America's history. After ample time to explore Mount Rushmore we head to Rapid City where the evening is at leisure to explore the town. Overnight Rapid City, SD. 

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 9 - 1880 Train / Crazy Horse / Custer State Park

This morning we head to Hill City, where we board the vintage cars of the 1880 Train for a ride through the Black Hills to Keystone. From here we make our way to the Crazy Horse Memorial. Explore the museum and learn about the construction of this amazing memorial. From here, we move on to the town of Custer for a lunch stop and a little exploring, before making our way into Custer State Park. Board your Safari Jeep for a fun-filled afternoon of adventure. Overnight Rapid City, SD. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10 - Badlands National Park

This morning we travel through spectacular scenery on our way to the Badlands National Park. This Park features 244,000 acres of protected prairie and is home to bison, bighorn sheep, and the endangered black-footed ferret. A guided tour through the park provides the best opportunities for wildlife viewing and in-depth information about the land and history of the park. Next, visit Wall Drug, "America's Favorite Roadside Attraction," for lunch on your own. Discover a variety of western souvenirs and classic pieces of Americana in this Old West Emporium. The final stop for the day is Bear Country USA. This wildlife park features the world's largest private viewing habitat of the American Black Bear Enjoy a drive through this unique park and then stroll through the Wildlife Center where you will find the small animals and also the baby bears. Your final adventure finds you back at Mount Rushmore for the evening lighting ceremony. See this incredible monument in a different light as you enjoy this patriotic celebration. Overnight Rapid City, SD.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 11 - Tour Conclusion

Your tour concludes this morning. A group transfer to the Rapid City Airport will accommodate flights departing after 11:00 a.m.

Additional information

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

The Ranch at UCross, Clearmont

The Ranch at UCross, Clearmont

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Rustic Inn Creekside Resort & Spa, Jackson

Rustic Inn Creekside Resort & Spa, Jackson

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Provo Marriott Hotel & Conference Center

Provo Marriott Hotel & Conference Center

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Hotel Alex Johnson Rapid City, Curio Collection by Hilton

Hotel Alex Johnson Rapid City, Curio Collection by Hilton

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Holiday Inn Sheridan-Convention Center

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Canyon Lodge & Cabins, Yellowstone National Park

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Trains

1880 Train
Amtrak's California Zephyr

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Reviews

4.5 stars4.5 / 5 · 42 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (19)
  2. 4 stars
    (23)
  3. 3 stars
    (0)
  4. 2 stars
    (0)
  5. 1 star
    (0)

TERESA

5 stars

Submitted 30 Aug 2019

Booking the trip was easy and fast with Ryan's assistance. The trip itself was wonderfully organized, with Joan our Tour Director keeping us well informed throughout the trip. Hotels were great, food was delicious, and Dale our bus driver was wonderful. I'd do this tour again. The step-on guides for Yellowstone and the Black Hills added a lot of great information. The only change I would make would be to take a bedroom instead of a roomette if traveling with two people. The roomette was good during the day but extremely cozy at night.

Collected by Vacations By Rail

Linda D, North Royalton, OH

4 stars

Submitted 21 Dec 2018

Very well organized- saw many sights

Collected by Vacations By Rail

Janine B., Paris, IL

5 stars

Submitted 18 Dec 2018

The scenery was beautiful. The tour director & driver were determined to give us a great trip!

Collected by Vacations By Rail

Kevin K, Madison, IN

4 stars

Submitted 17 Dec 2018

Trip was planned to please everyone and for the most part it worked! This trip made me do things I would not have done on my own: float trip, Bar J western music, Chuck Wagon cookout. I would have just gone to good restaurants and lost out on these events!

Collected by Vacations By Rail

Gary C., Flushing, NY

4 stars

Submitted 11 Dec 2018

Tours were good. Nice fellow travelers.

Collected by Vacations By Rail

Ken G., Lake Worth, FL

4 stars

Submitted 07 Dec 2018

Trip was well organized.

Collected by Vacations By Rail

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