Depart London Heathrow – 11:40
Arrive Chicago – 13:55
Journey Time – 8 hours 30 minutes
Upon arrival into Chicago O’Hare airport transfer independently to your hotel ~ Welcome to the vibrant and bustling city of Chicago clinging to the southern shores of Lake Michigan. Home to skyscrapers (it’s here the word originated), lakefront beaches, restaurants reflecting its regional food specialties, magnificent shopping and unique architecture that epitomizes the spirit of the city.
Overnight – Chicago
The whole day to explore the best attractions of the city such as beautiful Millennium Park and Grant Park, Lake Michigan, the Art Institute of Chicago, the theatre district, and shopping along the Magnificent Mile. This evening, enjoy Chicago’s many restaurants, stroll along the shore of Lake Michigan or jive to the beat at a jazz or blues club – then get a good night sleep and be ready for tomorrow!
Overnight – Chicago
Chicago to Des Moines
Collect car rental from a Chicago airport or downtown location (downtown collection subject to availability at time of booking) before heading west this morning crossing the great Mississippi River towards the Great Plains and into the Hawkeye State of Iowa. Your journey takes you past the original state capital of Iowa City and on to your final destination the state capital of Des Moines. The gold leaf dome of the Capitol building is a favourite with sightseers and Des Moines is an important city in presidential politics as it is here that the first caucuses of the presidential primary cycle take place.
Overnight – Des Moines
Des Moines to Sioux Falls
Further to the western border of Iowa and Sioux City located on the shores of the Missouri, the longest river in the USA. This is an area originally inhabited by the Sioux tribe of Native Americans and it was here that the famous explorers Lewis and Clark set up camp in 1804 on their journey along the Missouri. Crossing into the state of South Dakota named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux Native American tribes travel to Sioux Falls the largest city in the state.
Overnight – Sioux Falls
Sioux Falls to Rapid City
Ever westwards continue through South Dakota, passing the Badlands National Park, to Rapid City at the foothills of the Black Hills mountain range, ancestral home of the Sioux people. Rapid City was founded as the gateway to the Black Hills resulting from the gold rush in 1874 that brought an influx of settlers into the region. Just 30 minutes’ drive from Rapid City is the major tourist attraction of Mount Rushmore with its sculptures of four presidents carved into the granite face.
Overnight – Rapid City
Rapid City to Deadwood to Sheridan
Into the Black Hills and the historic “Old West” town of Deadwood, a lawless gold mining town of goldpanners, gamblers and prostitutes that saw many murders including that of gunman Wild Bill Hickok. Wyatt Earp lived in the town and the local cemetery is the final resting place of Hickok and equally famous Calamity Jane. Crossing into Wyoming continue to Sundance where Henry Longabaugh, a member of Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch, afterwards known as the Sundance Kid, was released from jail in the late 19th century. Just north of Sundance is Devils Tower, the massive rock monolith featured in the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. An interesting day ends at the typical western town of Sheridan, Wyoming.
Overnight – Sheridan
Sheridan to Little Bighorn Battlefield to Billings
North this morning across the border into Montana for a trip through time, a highlight visit to the historic Little Bighorn Battlefield, site of “Custer’s Last Stand” the subject of many western movies. The area memorializes the U.S. Army’s 7th Cavalry and the Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapahoe in one of the Indian’s last armed efforts to preserve their way of life. Here in June 1876, Lt. Col. George Custer and 263 soldiers died fighting several thousand Lakota, and Cheyenne warriors. During your visit view the 25-minute orientation video and relive the drama of this historic event as you view the Last Stand/Indian Memorial erected on Last Stand Hill, over the mass grave of the Seventh Cavalry soldiers, U.S. Indian Scouts, and other personnel killed in battle. During your visit you will encounter a number of small signs posted throughout the historic site. Experience the narrative story of the Battle of the Little Bighorn through the convenience of your own cell phone. The cell phone stops consist of multiple stops along the tour road. You can listen to a narrative of soldier movements and warrior accounts. Additional cell phone stops are located in the National Cemetery and Last Stand Hill. Use your cell phone and enter the number found on the posted signs to learn what is significant at that location. These historic glimpses will help you enter more fully into the story of the battle. End an interesting day it’s just over a one-hour drive to Billings in the Yellowstone Valley.
Overnight – Billings
Billings to Cody
Just under two hours’ drive brings you back into Wyoming and Cody the town named after Buffalo Bill Cody the famous frontier scout, bison hunter and showman. The Buffalo Bill Centre of the West, located near the centre of the city contains five museums in one, including the Draper Natural History Museum, the Plains Indian Museum, the Cody Firearms Museum, the Whitney Western Art Museum and the Buffalo Bill Museum. The Cody Night Rodeo is an amateur rodeo that takes place every night from June 1 through August 31.
Overnight – Cody
Cody to Yellowstone North
Westwards this morning headed for Eastern Entrance of Yellowstone National Park the first National Park in the U.S, known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features. Your route takes you along the northern shore of Yellowstone Lake that at 7,732 feet is the largest freshwater lake above 7,000 feet in the USA. Yellowstone covers an area of 3,468.4 square miles comprising lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges and is home to hundreds of species of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles including Grizzly bears, wolves, and free-ranging herds of bison and elk. During your stay in Yellowstone North we recommend calling in at the nearby Albright Visitor Centre inside historic Fort Yellowstone for information and suggestions. The major feature of this area are the Mammoth Hot Springs, a large complex of hot springs on a hill of travertine terraces. Walk on boardwalks above the steaming thermal features and take the two-mile Upper Terrace Drive on the Grand Loop Road, a scenic one-way drive that winds among hot springs and travertine formations.
Overnight – Yellowstone North
Yellowstone North to Yellowstone South
Leave this morning heading south through the park on the continuance of the Grand Loop Road, a scenic drive of outstanding beauty. Take your time to absorb the scenery and keep your eyes open for wildlife such as bear, bison, coyotes and eagles. Every segment of the Grand Loop Road has different views, and they’re all stunning!
Overnight – Yellowstone South
The whole day to explore the wonders of the area including the astonishing Old Faithful Geyser, one of the most popular features in the park. When Old Faithful erupts its height can vary between 106 and 184 feet and basic prediction of when this will happen is dependent upon the duration of the previous eruption. During visitor centre hours, the naturalist staff maintains geyser statistics and predictions. Other attractions in the area include the Kepler Cascades a waterfall on the Firehole River that drop approximately 150 feet over multiple drops and the Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest hot spring in the United States, with its striking rainbow colours.
Overnight – Yellowstone South
Yellowstone South to Jackson
Your route to Jackson traverses the Grand Teton National Park passing the magnificent peaks of the Teton Range. Grand Teton National Park is an almost pristine ecosystem and the same species of flora and fauna that have existed since prehistoric times can still be found there. Your destination of Jackson, WY is surrounded by the scenic Teton and Gros Ventre mountain ranges and is an ideal centre to relax and explore the region.
Overnight – Jackson
Spend the day touring the Grand Teton National Park or enjoy activities such as wildlife viewing, hiking, biking, fishing, white-water rafting, shopping and dining. Perhaps an interesting visit to the nearby National Elk Refuge, created in 1912 to protect the habitat and provide sanctuary for one of the largest elk herd on earth. The refuge is nearly 25,00 acres of meadows and marshes where bighorn sheep and mule deer can also be seen.
Overnight – Jackson
Jackson to Flaming Gorge to Vernal
Heading south this morning you cross into the state of Utah with the road taking you through the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. The gorge was so named due to the spectacular red sandstone cliffs overlooking the Green River and at the border of Wyoming and Utah you’ll have an opportunity to marvel at the scenic vista of the Flaming Gorge Dam. Your overnight stay is in Vernal and an interesting side trip 25 minutes away is the Dinosaur National Monument where at the world famous quarry visitors can see over 1,500 fossils embedded in the cliff face.
Overnight – Vernal
Vernal to Moab
Today’s route takes you south through western Colorado and then re-enters Utah to end in Moab a popular base for visiting nearby Arches & Canyons National Parks.
Overnight – Moab
You have the whole day to explore an area that has been the background for many popular western movies. Arches National Park is only a few miles north of Moab on the Colorado River and is famous for containing over 2000 natural sandstone arches, including the world-famous Delicate Arch, as well as a wide variety of wildlife and plants. The spectacular and colourful scenery of nearby Canyons National Park astounds with its canyons, mesas and buttes eroded into the landscape by the Colorado and Green Rivers and their tributaries. Many traces of ancient Native Americans can be found in a district that has been described as “ the most weird, wonderful, magical place on earth”.
Overnight – Moab
Moab to Monument Valley
Travel to the Utah-Arizona state line and Monument Valley the setting for many of John Ford’s best-known western films. A cluster of vast, vivid, red coloured, sandstone buttes easily recognizable to western moviegoers, characterizes the valley, known to the Navajo Nation as “the Valley of the Rocks”.
Overnight – Monument Valley
Monument Valley to Grand Canyon
Over the border into Arizona and through the Kaibab National Forest into the Grand Canyon National Park, considered as one of the seven natural wonders of world. Visited by five million or more each year. Six thousand feet deep at its deepest point and up to 18 miles across at its widest, the canyon is immense and colourful with steep canyon walls and jutting mesas. Carved by the Colorado River over a period of six million years, it is one of the finest examples of arid-land erosion in the world, averaging 4,000 feet deep for its entire 277 miles. It is also one of the most biologically diverse with several major ecosystems that range from coyote willows at the river’s edge to hanging gardens along the canyon walls to ponderosa pines along the canyon rims. The North Rim of the Grand Canyon, sometimes referred to as the “other” Grand Canyon, is less populated with visitors and uniquely different from the South Rim. With an average elevation of 8,000 feet, the North Rim offers views of the canyon from a higher vantage, in an environment and sub-alpine climate of blue spruce, Douglas Fir, mountain ash, colourful lupines and grassland meadows. Set out on foot along a self-guided nature trail to reach Bright Angel Point, just a short walk on an easy, self-guided nature trail leading you to a spectacular view of the canyon. Here you can see and hear the Roaring Springs more than 3,000 feet below the Rim. Other viewpoints on the North Rim provide memorable opportunities to look across the expanse of the canyon.
Overnight – Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon to Zion National Park
A morning to continue your Grand Canyon experience before leaving the park via the North Entrance to drive back into Utah and on to Zion National Park. The major feature of the Zion are the steep red cliffs of the 15-mile long and up to half-mile deep Zion Canyon carved through the landscape by the Virgin River. The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive cuts through the main section leading to many scenic trails including the Emerald Pools with waterfalls and a hanging garden.
Overnight – Springdale
Zion National Park to Las Vegas
Time today to explore the park before leaving for Las Vegas a few hours’ drive away in the state of Nevada. The major feature of the park are the steep red cliffs of the 15 mile long and up to half mile deep Zion Canyon carved through the landscape by the Virgin River. The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive cuts through the main section leading to many scenic trails including the Emerald Pools with waterfalls and a hanging garden.
Overnight – Las Vegas
The Las Vegas Strip, now an All American Road and National Scenic Byway, is a sparkling fantasyland at the heart of the city. Its unique blend of exciting entertainment, scenic beauty, and lavishly landscaped resorts take you to a wide variety of exotic realms from a medieval castle to a Parisian sidewalk cafe, a lakeside Italian village, or a pyramid in ancient Egypt. Once you arrive on the Strip, however, you might be surprised to find that it’s also an enjoyable walking environment. Whether it’s pirates plundering, fiery volcanoes spouting or tropical gardens luring the weary, the Las Vegas Strip offers a variety of fascinating visual experiences. Las Vegas is home to some of the most spectacular shopping in the world. The Forum Shops at Caesars is Las Vegas’ premier luxury retail destination offering top retail, dining, entertainment, location and thematic Roman ambiance. And with two distinct locations together featuring 290 designer and name-brand outlet stores, Las Vegas Premium Outlets® is a must stop for savvy shoppers.
Overnight – Las Vegas
Depart Las Vegas
Return your car at the airport before your departure flight.
Depart Denver – 19:40
Arrive London Heathrow – 12:35 (Next Day)
Journey Time – 8 hours 50 minutes