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National Parks & Big Sky Country

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Your 12-day adventure through Big Sky Country includes the best of the Old West with visits to Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park, Big Sky Country, Yellowstone National Park, and Glacier National Park.

You are viewing the 2021 itinerary. Select your departure year
20212022
12 days Sold out

2021 Tour code: RM-NPBA-21

About the tour

Travel on an 12-day tour through America's Wild West. Beginning in Chicago, board the Empire Builder for the overnight journey west to Montana. Arrive in East Glacier, MT, at the edge of Glacier National Park. A highlight of your stay will be a Red Jammer tour of Glacier National Park.

Continue to Helena, where your two-night stay mixes elements of history and nature. Visit the Charles Russell Museum, the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, and tour Montana's Capitol. Relax on a cruise through the Gates of the Mountains and enjoy a trip to dinner on a horse wagon.

Then it's time for a three-night stay in Big Sky Country, where you'll tour Yellowstone National Park, visit Old Faithful, and have a chance to relax on the ranch and take in the quiet scenery, horseback ride and fly fish.

Travel by coach to Jackson, gateway to Grand Teton National Park and a quintessential cowboy town, complete with wooden plank sidewalks and saloons. You'll visit the rodeo and take a float trip on the Snake River through Grand Teton National Park, offering a great vantage point for spotting wildlife. This trip through Big Sky Country shows off the west's natural wonders, rich history, and roaming wildlife.

 

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 Empire Builder

Arrive at Chicago Union Station and board the Empire Builder. Settle into your onboard accommodations and prepare for your overnight rail journey. Travelers may elect to travel from Seattle or points in-between and meet your tour manager in Glacier National Park. Overnight train.

Day 2 - En Route to Glacier National Park

Spend the day admiring the sights from the train's glass-walled Sightseer Lounge and chatting with your fellow travelers. Upon arrival in East Glacier, transfer to your hotel. Overnight Glacier National Park, MT.

Day 3 - Glacier National Park at Leisure

Today is free to begin to explore Glacier National Park. Grab your camera and start to discover the beauty of this beloved national park with a lakeside walk or meander along one of the scenic hiking trails. Or, simply relax on site at your hotel. Your Tour Manager will be available with dining and sightseeing suggestions. Overnight East Glacier or Essex, MT.

Note: For guests on the August 16, 2021 departure, there will be an included transfer from Izaak Walton Inn to Glacier Park Lodge. 

Day 4 - Glacier National Park

Embark on a half-day tour of one of America's most beloved national parks, Glacier. A highlight of the visit is a journey along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Traverse this famous highway aboard vintage open-air Red Jammer buses, traveling over the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. Overnight Glacier National Park, MT. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - Charles Russell Museum

Charles Russel is renowned for his artwork depicting the 1800's in the Old West. Today we visit the C.M. Russell Museum complex, which includes a museum to collect and preserve his paintings and sketches, Russell's original home, and his log studio. Overnight Helena, MT.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 6 - Gates of the Mountains Cruise / Montana's State Capitol

This morning, enjoy a cruise through the beautiful Gates of the Mountains, nestled between Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. Enjoy the heart of Montana as you take in the stunning scenery. Then Montana's state capitol. This evening, travel to the log cabin Last Chance Ranch in a horse-drawn wagon for your dinner and cowboy entertainment. Overnight Helena, MT. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 - Yellowstone National Park / Roosevelt Arch

Make the scenic drive from Helena to Roosevelt Arch at the north entrance of Yellowstone and continue to your lodging in Big Sky. The day's drive takes you through parts of the country seen in famous movies including Dances with Wolves. Settle into cowboy life at the 320 Ranch, where you can enjoy horse trail rides or take fly fishing lessons. Overnight Gallatin Gateway, MT. 

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 8 - Yellowstone National Park

Experience the grandeur of America's first national park, Yellowstone, home to the world's most vast region of geothermal activity, including thousands of hot springs and fumaroles that dot the landscape. Today's guided sightseeing tour showcases some of Yellowstone's most renowned sights, including Old Faithful, the Fountain Paint Pots, Canyon Village and Hayden Valley. Overnight Gallatin Gateway, MT. 

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 9 - Ranch at Leisure / Old Faithful Visit

You have a morning free at the ranch to live like a cowboy. Saddle up for a trail ride, enjoy some fly-fishing or just relax. This afternoon you'll head back to Yellowstone National Park for a visit to Old Faithful. A chuck wagon dinner this evening is at the ranch, followed by a get together around the fire pit sharing our experiences from earlier today. Overnight Gallatin Gateway, MT. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10 - Grand Teton National Park / Jackson Hole Rodeo

Discover the splendor of Grand Teton National Park. Highlights include the Colter Bay Visitor Center, Jenny Lake and the Chapel of Transfiguration. We will stop at the Mural Room at Jackson Lake Lodge for lunch on your own; then continue our drive to Jackson Hole, the quintessential cowboy town. This evening, learn more about the cowboy lifestyle as you head to the famous Jackson Hole Rodeo. Watch the cowboys and cowgirls put on a dazzling western show. Overnight Jackson, WY.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 11 - Snake River Float Trip

This morning's excursion takes us on a float trip along the Snake River. As you wind through Grand Teton National Park, keep an eye out for elk and other wildlife indigenous to the area. The afternoon is at leisure to explore Jackson as you like. Enjoy a chuckwagon dinner this evening. Overnight Jackson, WY. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 12 - Tour Conclusion

Your Western adventure comes to an end after breakfast this morning. A group transfer to the Jackson Hole International Airport will accommodate flights departing after 11:00 a.m.

Includes
  • Breakfast

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

Glacier Park Lodge, East Glacier Park

Glacier Park Lodge, East Glacier Park

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Izaak Walton Inn, Essex

Izaak Walton Inn, Essex

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320 Guest Ranch, Gallatin Gateway

320 Guest Ranch, Gallatin Gateway

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Best Western Premier Helena Great Northern Hotel, Helena

Best Western Premier Helena Great Northern Hotel, Helena

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Rustic Inn Creekside Resort & Spa, Jackson

Rustic Inn Creekside Resort & Spa, Jackson

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Train

Amtrak's Empire Builder

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Reviews

4.4 stars4.4 / 5 · 5 reviews

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

James Z., Naples, FL

4 stars

Submitted 08 Oct 2018

It was a well-planned and excellent trip! Really great time.

Collected by Vacations By Rail

Joan M., Mullica Hill, NJ

4 stars

Submitted 06 Feb 2018

The trip went beyond our expectations.

Collected by Vacations By Rail

Susan M, Quincy, MA

4 stars

Submitted 01 Jan 2018

At the end of your tour, you are happy, sad that it is over, and you had a great trip. Loved it all, would do it again!!

Collected by Vacations By Rail

Carol W., Findlay, OH

5 stars

Submitted 08 Sep 2017

Everything was excellent.

Collected by Vacations By Rail

Candace P., Aurora, OH

5 stars

Submitted 13 Feb 2017

We enjoyed the entire trip and would not change a thing! Wow, it was breathtaking and our group was the best!! We didn't want for anything.

Collected by Vacations By Rail

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