Arrival at Denver
Depart London Heathrow – 16:05
Arrive Denver – 18:45
Journey Time – 9 hours 40 minutes
Collect your car rental and transfer independently to your hotel. (Collect car rental the following morning if preferred) The largest city in a 1,000-km circle and the gateway to the Rocky Mountains. Denver is the natural starting point to visit the scenic and historic mountain states, filled with national parks, abundant wildlife, ancient Indian rock art and much, much more.
Overnight – Denver
Denver to Snowmass
Who knew driving along a freeway could be such a fascinating journey? Interstate 70 connects the metropolitan areas of Denver and Grand Junction via a route through the Rocky Mountains. The construction of the freeway over Vail Pass is listed as an engineering marvel. At the time of dedication, Eisenhower Tunnel was the highest vehicular tunnel in the world, at 11,158 feet (3,401 m) and is noted as both the longest mountain tunnel and highest point on the Interstate Highway System. Enjoy the ride! Tonight finds you in Snowmass, near the town of Aspen, a popular retreat for celebrities and world-renown ski resort!
Overnight – Snowmass
Snowmass to Moab
Continue your drive to the land of red rocks, with Moab being in the heart of it! Partly due to the John Ford movies, partly due to magazine articles, the area has become a favourite of photographers, rafters, hikers, rock climbers, and most recently mountain bikers. Situated on the banks of the mighty Colorado River it is the perfect gateway to explore Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.
Overnight – Moab
A day to explore the area.
Overnight – Moab
Moab to Park City
A leisure drive through ever-changing landscape takes you to Park City, another world-renown ski resort, however in the summertime many valley residents of the Wasatch Front visit the town to escape high temperatures. Park City is usually 20 °F (11 °C) cooler than Salt Lake City, as it lies mostly 7,000 feet (2,100 m) above sea level. There are plenty of hiking trails to get out and explore – or take a leisurely stroll along – its colourful and evocative Main Street, where 64 Victorian buildings are listed in the National Register of Historic Places!
Overnight – Park City
Park City to Jackson
On your way to Jackson you can either pay a quick visit to Salt Lake City – or choose to leave the city life behind you to enjoy nature! Either way you’ll end your day in Jackson, a quaint little Western town surrounded by beautiful scenery. A visit to Jackson is not complete without a stop in the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar!
Overnight – Jackson
Jackson to Yellowstone National Park
Continue on to Grand Teton National Park, an ethereal mountain landscape where jagged peaks tower more than a mile above the Jackson Hole valley. Jackson Hole is surrounded by lakes, some of them of considerable size, and traversed by the beautiful Snake River. Popular leisure activities are hiking, fishing, canoeing and for the experienced some challenging climbing routes. In winter there is a wide variety of sports including downhill and cross-country skiing, skating, dog-sledding, ice fishing etc. This well watered mountain valley is the home of elk, wapiti and mule deer; on the lakes and rivers there are beavers, trumpeter swans, white pelicans, wild ducks, wild geese and ospreys; and a heard of bison is usually to be seen grazing to the east of the Oxbow Bend on the Snake River. Black bears are now rare. The highlight of today is of course Yellowstone National Park. The nation’s first National Park still remains primarily a wilderness with 97 percent of the park’s 8,800 km² remaining undeveloped. While Old Faithful, the most widely recognized geyser, serves as the park’s signature steam, there are more than 10,000 other geothermal features in Yellowstone including geysers, hot springs, mudpots and fumaroles.
Overnight – Yellowstone National Park
Day 8 & 9
Yellowstone National Park
A day at leisure to explore the park
Overnight – Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park to Sheridan (Standard) or Buffalo (Upgrade)
Follow Chief Joseph Scenic Highway . The road follows the escape route used by Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce tribe as the U.S. Army pursued them. Or the most direct route: Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway which follows the North Fork of the Shoshoni River east to Cody. Buffalo Bill, Cody’s founder and namesake, called this road, “The most beautiful 50 miles in the world.” Make sure you plan some time to experience Cody, a picturesque little western town, gateway to Yellowstone National Park. Then you can pick from equally scenic routs that will lead you to Buffalo or Sheridan. Big Horn Scenic Byway passes geological formations named Buffalo Tongue, the Fallen City and Steamboat Point after Burgess Junction and 9,000′ Granite Pass. Continue to Sheridan, steeped in western history, surrounded by dramatic mountains and wide open spaces For the standard tour you might want to choose a more direct route to Buffalo, which will give you more time to explore this quaint western town. If you want to get a feeling about the “Old West” read local best-selling author Craig Johnson’s “Walt Longmire Mysteries” series of mystery novels, now made into a TV show centred on Walt Longmire, a Wyoming county sheriff who returns to work after his wife’s death. Assisted by his friends and his daughter, Longmire investigates major crimes within his jurisdiction, while campaigning for re-election. Buffalo celebrates “Longmire Days” every mid-July! And should you happen to be in Buffalo on a Thursday night, you might be treated to a “jam-session” at the Occidental’s historic saloon. That’s when local musicians gather to play music “on the spot” – just because they can! The little town of Buffalo is located on the historic Bozeman Trail and are proxy to numerous Indian Battlefields and historic western sites like Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site, where Lakota and Cheyenne Indians fought to keep their last great buffalo hunting grounds.
Overnight – Sheridan / Buffalo
Sheridan (Standard) or Buffalo (Upgrade) to Rapid City
Visit Devil’s Tower. President Teddy Roosevelt designated Devils Tower as the nation’s first national monument in 1906. The tower is actually a volcanic neck over 860 feet high. Film director Steven Spielberg used the Devil’s Tower location as a landing pad for aliens in his 1978 movie, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” Nearby the Vore Buffalo Jump has been deemed one of the world’s premier archaeological sites. Dig teams are on the job during the summer and the public is welcome to walk down into the natural sinkhole where layers of bison bones are still intact. The Plains Indians are believed to have stampeded up to 20,000 shaggy bison over the rim near the site. Stop in Deadwood, a historic gambling town that came to life during the gold discovery of 1874. Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and Potato Creek Johnny lived here. Try your luck in one of the gambling halls or visit famous Saloon#10, the only museum in the world with a bar! End your day in Rapid City in the heart of the Black Hills!
Overnight – Rapid City
Rapid City to Custer State Park
Today there is so much to see! Within a ring of limestone surrounding the granite core of the Black Hills lies one of the largest cave systems in the world. Jewel Cave National Monument and Wind Cave National Park are examples of this underground wilderness. Visit Badlands National Park, whose harsh landscape was created by millions of years of erosion. The Lakota called it “mako sica,” meaning “land bad.” Today, you can view these fantastic formations along scenic roads or hiking trails. Spend time at the Crazy Horse Memorial, where the nine-story-high face of the legendary Lakota leader, Crazy Horse, gazes over the Black Hills. And nearby Mt. Rushmore National Memorial stands as a powerful symbol of American democracy. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln make up the world-famous “Shrine of Democracy. The afternoon will find you in Custer State Park, home to a herd of 1,500 free-roaming bison. The park boasts scenic drives such as the Needles Highway (SD 87), which twists and turns its way past towering rock formations and through narrow tunnels. At the end of one tunnel stands the Needles Eye, a granite spire with a slit only 3 to 4 feet wide but reaching 30 to 40 feet in the air.
Overnight – Custer State Park
Custer State Park
A day at leisure to explore Custer State Park and the Black Hills and/or Badlands National Park
Overnight – Custer State Park
Custer State Park to Estes Park
On the way back to Colorado stop at the Oregon Trail Ruts located about one mile south of Guernsey, the best representation of the Oregon Trail remaining today. Today the trail can be viewed exactly as it appeared to the pioneer wagon masters who once travelled this stretch. Also nearby is Register Cliffs, where many pioneers camped at its base. Travelers carved their names into the soft sandstone. Further down the road is Fort Laramie, a historic site, located three miles southwest of the town of Fort Laramie. It played a key role in the fur trade, the overland emigration, the gold rush, the Plains Indian wars and Wyoming’s settlement. Then stop in Cheyenne, Wyoming, the “Magic City of the Plains” in the heart of the American West. Cheyenne is approximately 100 miles north of Denver, Colorado. The name itself speaks of colourful legends and abundant history. It’s also the capital of Wyoming. Cheyenne is Western History at its best. The afternoon finds you in Estes Park, gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. Rocky Mountain National Park’s Trail Ridge Road is America’s highest continuously paved road. Scenic overlooks offer spectacular views of peaks ranging up to more than 14,000 feet. Eleven miles along the route are above the tree line in the alpine tundra. Established by Congress on January 26, 1915, the park exhibits the massive grandeur of the Rocky Mountains (weather permitting).
Overnight – Estes Park
Return car in Denver before taking your flight home.
Depart Denver – 20:40
Arrive London Heathrow – 12:45 (Next Day)
Journey Time – 9 hours 5 minutes