From mountains and cowboy towns to two national parks, the varied scenes of the West surround on this 10-day tour through Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.
About the Tour
Train rides, mountain scenery and national parks are just the tip of the iceberg on this rail tour of America’s West. Begin with an overnight rail journey aboard the legendary California Zephyr, into the Colorado Rockies to Grand Junction. From Grand Junction, we travel to Salt Lake City for sightseeing before arriving at the Homestead Resort in Midway, UT. Here, we explore Provo Canyon by train and enjoy the amenities of this rural retreat in between the tour’s fascinating excursions. From Utah, we move into Wyoming, where the grandiose scenes of Grand Teton National Park are seen both on land and by water and we are immersed in the rustic luxury in Jackson Hole. The tour concludes with a visit to one of the most well-known national parks in the world, Yellowstone, where geysers and hot springs are just some of the many things we discover during our stay. There is no shortage of amazing sights and fascinating expeditions on this tour of the West.
- 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.
- Rail travel on Amtrak (1 night on train)
- Scenic rail excursion aboard the Heber Valley Railroad
- Hotel accommodations for 8 nights, including 3 nights in Yellowstone National Park
- 10 meals
- Meals on the train included when upgrading to private sleeping accommodations
- Salt Lake City tour
- Provo Canyon sightseeing by heritage train
- National Oregon/California Trail Center
- Snake River float trip
- Grand Teton National Park touring
- Yellowstone National Park tour, including Old Faithful
- National park entrance fees
- Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
- Services of a professional tour manager
- Baggage handling
Day 1 - Depart Chicago on the California Zephyr
Arrive at Chicago Union Station to meet your tour manager and fellow travelers. 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 Grand Junction. Overnight train.
Day 2 - En Route to Grand Junction aboard the California Zephyr
As you wake this morning, watch as the scenery changes between prairie and city and finally, as Colorado’s Rocky Mountains come into view. Take in the sights from your seat or from the California Zephyr’s Sightseer Lounge Car. The train is scheduled to arrive in Grand Junction this afternoon, and we transfer to our centrally located hotel from the train station. After you settle into your room, meet your fellow travelers for a Welcome Dinner at the hotel. Overnight Grand Junction, CO. (D)
Day 3 - Salt Lake City Tour
After breakfast this morning, board your deluxe motorcoach and begin the day’s travel. Our destination is Midway, UT, and the route that takes us there presents the rugged beauty of Colorado and Utah. We pass through protected forests and open expanses of desert. Mountain ranges loom in the distance, and we get a glimpse of the Wild West as we drive through Western towns. We make a stop in Salt Lake City, where a guided tour introduces us to some of the best sites. Points of interest include Temple Square, the State Capitol, the Mormon Tabernacle, Brigham Young’s Lion House and Olympic Village, amongst others. Following the tour, we continue our route through Utah and arrive at the Homestead Resort in Midway, UT. Overnight Midway, UT. (B)
Day 4 - Provo Canyon Aboard the Heber Valley Railroad
Discover the glacier-carved landscape of Provo Canyon during a ride aboard the Heber Valley Railroad today. The train takes us along the shores of Deer Creek Reservoir and along the banks of the Provo River. We disembark the train briefly at Vivian Park and have the opportunity to stretch our legs and take in the scenery before making the return journey. Return to the resort and enjoy a free afternoon to breathe in some fresh mountain air and to explore the resort’s amenities. Take a dip in one of the indoor/outdoor pools; visit the world-famous Homestead Crater, with its 96-degree mineral-rich hot spring; or walk along the well-manicured historic grounds. Overnight Midway, UT. (B)
Day 5 - National Oregon/California Trail Center
Immerse yourself in the mountainous scenes of Utah, Idaho and Wyoming as we travel from Midway to Jackson, WY. Approximately halfway through the journey, the motorcoach enters the beautiful Bear Lake Valley and arrives at the National Oregon/California Trail Center. This interpretive center is located on the site of the original Oregon Trail and works to preserve the pioneer history of the region. Hear stories of the harrowing journey presented by actors in period clothing, and you can even try a simulated wagon ride. There is a lovely onsite art gallery that displays Oregon Trail artwork, as depicted by artist Gary Stone, as well as a Rails and Trails Museum that tells the colorful history of Bear Lake Valley. Back on the road, we continue to Jackson - Wyoming’s quintessential cowboy town - with the evening free to enjoy the onsite amenities of your hotel or the activities in Jackson’s historic Town Square. Get your picture taken under the antler arch, visit the shops and restaurants or have a drink while sitting on a saddle in the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. Overnight Jackson, WY. (B)
Day 6 - Snake River Float Tri
pTake in the absolute majesty of the Grand Teton Mountain Range from the winding Snake River on today’s adventure. We embark on a leisurely float trip down a smooth section of the river and take in sights of wildlife, beautiful mountain peaks, forests, wide-open valleys and more. Our knowledgeable guide leads the way and offers interesting commentary on the history, flora and fauna, geology, and wildlife of Jackson and Grand Teton National Park. Following the float trip, we head back to the Lodge for a day at leisure. Spend the remainder of your day soaking in the hot tub and infinity pool or continue your adventures through Jackson Hole. There are several popular museums and galleries to explore, as well as shops of every kind. This evening, enjoy a chuckwagon dinner. Dine on authentic ranch food while being delighted by bona fide cowboy entertainment performed by “Bar J Wranglers.” Their songs, comedy, stories and fiddling is an experience you will never forget. Overnight Jackson, WY. (B, D)
Day 7 - Grand Teton National Park
Lose yourself in the grandeur of the Grand Teton Mountain peaks today. We set out on a guided tour through Grand Teton National Park, gazing up at the stunning Grand Teton Mountains and enjoying the surrounding alpine scenes. Wildlife is abundant in Grand Teton, so keep your eyes peeled for elk, pronghorns, marmots, bison, bald eagles and possibly even bear! Highlights of the tour include the Chapel of Transfiguration, a beautiful log chapel with outstanding views of the Tetons, and the Colter Bay Visitor’s Center. Lunch is on your own at the Jackson Lake Lodge, where 60-foot floor-to-ceiling windows frame pristine Jackson Lake and the majestic Teton Range. Following, we are bound for America’s first national park, Yellowstone. We are staying within the park and have access to all the amenities of our lodge, and Yellowstone as a whole, this evening after arrival. Overnight Yellowstone National Park, WY. (B)
Day 8 - Yellowstone National Park
A hub of natural beauty, geothermal activity, wildlife and astounding views, Yellowstone National Park is truly the granddaddy of all protected lands. This morning, we tour some of the most impressive sites of Yellowstone on a guided tour. As we travel through sites such as Mammoth Hot Springs, Tower Falls, Tower Junction, Artist Point and the Upper and Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River, we learn facts and history of the park and information about the animals that call the park home. We return to our lodge following the tour and enjoy an evening at leisure. Overnight Yellowstone National Park, WY. (B)
Day 9 - Yellowstone National Park
Today brings another day of touring Yellowstone National Park. Our driver takes us through the spectacular Hayden Valley, where meadows, forests and geothermic hotspots collide. A true highlight of the day is seeing Old Faithful in action. This geyser sends a hot stream of water 100 feet into the air every 91 minutes, and we are lucky enough to see an eruption. Following, we are introduced to the famous Paint Pots and the park’s hot springs. We return to our lodge following the tour and enjoy dinner with our new friends. Overnight Yellowstone National Park, WY. (D)
Day 10 - Tour Conclusion
Our adventure through the West concludes after breakfast this morning. A group transfer to Jackson Hole Airport will accommodate flights departing after 2:00 p.m. (B)
Hotels include the DoubleTree Grand Junction, Homestead Resort (Midway), The Lodge (Jackson), and Canyon Lodge (Yellowstone National Park).
Heber Valley Railroad
Look over the Heber Valley, Provo Canyon, Mount Timpanogos and Deer Creek Reservoir from heritage railcars aboard the Heber Valley Railroad. This railway was first established in 1899, yet with the building of a local highway in the 1930s, had to be rebuilt in 1939. By the 1960s, freight transportation on the railway suffered, and in the 1970s, the Heber Valley Railroad became a tourist attraction. It was not until 1993, though, that this historic railway became the attraction that it is today. Now, travelers ride aboard fully restored steam and diesel engines en route to Vivian Park on the Provo Canyon Limited line. The round trip journey takes approximately 3 hours.
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