Depart London Heathrow – 15:05
Arrive Seattle – 16:40
Journey Time – 9 hours 35 minutes
Arrive in Seattle, located beautifully between the Cascade Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. We recommend you take one of the metered cabs from the airport to your Hotel (approximately $30) as you will be tired after your flight & a car is not required in this city. If you would like us to arrange for someone to meet you at the airport and provide a private transfer to your hotel, this can be done for an additional cost. Your downtown hotel for the next 2 nights is only minutes from the city’s greatest treasures. Get a good night sleep and be ready for tomorrow!
Overnight – Seattle
A full day in Seattle for seeing the sights. We suggest that the first thing you do this morning is to head down to the lively ‘Pike Place Market’, the oldest farmer’s market in the United States, where there are a huge range of restaurants and this is a great place to eat breakfast whilst either overlooking the sea or just watching the marketers set up their stalls. After breakfast, why not take a ‘Hop on, Hop off’ city tour (there is a stop just outside the Pike Place Market) – this, in our opinion, is one of the best ways to get your bearings in a new City. Stops on the tour include the downtown shopping district, Seattle Centre, Waterfront and Pioneer Square. Also, whilst in Seattle, the ‘Underground Tour’ is a must! Located just off Pioneer Square, this is a leisurely, guided walking tour beneath Seattle’s sidewalks and streets. As you roam the subterranean passages that once were the main roadways and first-floor storefronts of old downtown Seattle, the guides regale you with the stories pioneers didn’t want you to hear. It’s history with a twist! Tonight you will spend a second night at your hotel in downtown Seattle. Another option would be a day excursion to visit Mount Rainier National Park. On clear days the snow-covered mountain top raises behind the city’s skyline on the horizon. Other options for your day in Seattle are :- Space Needle and Exhibition Park area Boat tour on Puget Sound/Elliot Bay/Union Lake The Museum of Flight and/or Boeing Factory Music Experience Museum Ferry tour to the San Juan Islands ‘Ride the Ducks’ (tour Seattle by land and water) Visit to Tillicum Island where you will experience the Northwest’s tribal culture during a traditional Native American Salmon Bake and Performance.
Overnight – Seattle
Seattle to Winthrop via North Cascade National Park
This morning head north on Interstate 5 for about 60 miles to reach the beginning of the North Cascade Scenic Byway. As the North Cascades Scenic Byway loops between massive peaks and along lakes colored turquoise by glacial silt, you’ll see why these mountains are called “the American Alps.” Many argue that the North Cascades Highway is the most scenic
in Washington State. Of all the passes that traverse the Cascades, this is the most mountainous, with high hairpin turns and jaw-dropping vistas. Here you’ll find 1920s-era company towns, organic farms selling their produce Farther up the road is Newhalem, a community built by Seattle City Light to house dam workers. An old-fashioned general store and 1920s homes will take you back in time. Nearby is the North Cascades Visitor Center. Try the Sterling Munro Trail, a 300-foot boardwalk right outside the visitor center that leads to a view of the Picket Range, the park’s signature mountains.
Overnight – Winthrop
North Cascade National Park
A full day to explore North Cascade National Park! There are miles of outstanding trails here . SR-20 weaves among Gorge, Diablo and Ross lakes. These reservoirs and their dams are all accessible. If your timing is right, these lakes may be pale green, from silt washing down from the peaks above. This is a protected area for elk, mule deer, gray wolf, mountain goat and moose, and sightings of wolverines, hawks, falcons and eagles are common. Rainy Pass (4,875 feet) and, four miles east, Washington Pass (5,477 feet) bring travelers face-to-face with terrific views of Liberty Bell Mountain as well as a panoramic view of the Methow Valley far below. The Pacific Crest Trail crosses the highway near Rainy Pass. If you prefer a slower pace for today, just stay close! The Methow Valley is a popular hiking and biking destination. The 125-mile Methow Community Trail system connects these towns of Winthrop and Mazama to the entire valley. Near Winthrop, this trail crosses the 275-foot Tawlks-Foster Suspension Bridge over the Methow River—look for harlequin ducks here in the winter. This pathway is a part of the Washington Birding Trail Cascade Loop.
Overnight – Winthrop
Winthrop to Spokane, Washington
Today head east on SR-20 over Loup Loup Pass or drive south towards Pateros on SR-153. Either way you will end up near one of the state’s recreational magnets, Lake Chelan. From there follow the Columbia River south then head towards Spokane, where you will spend the night. Much of Spokane’s history is reflected in its large variety of neighborhoods. Neighborhoods range from the Victorian-era style South Hill and Browne’s Addition, to the Davenport Arts District of Downtown, to the more contemporary neighborhoods of North Spokane. Spokane’s neighborhoods are gaining attention for their history, as illustrated by the city being home to 18 recognized National Register Historical Districts. The city’s name is drawn from the Native American tribe known as the Spokane, which means “Children of the Sun” in Salishan. Spokane’s official nickname is the “Lilac City”, named after the flowers that have flourished since their introduction to the area in the early 20th century.
Overnight – Spokane
Spokane to Whitefish / Glacier National Park
From Spokane head to Coeur d’Alene located on the north shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene, 25-mile (40 km) in length. Locally, Coeur d’Alene is known as the “Lake City,” or simply called by its initials: “CDA”. The city is named after the Coeur d’Alene People, a tribe of Native Americans who lived along the rivers and lakes of the region when discovered by French fur traders in the late 18th and early 19th century. The name Coeur d’Alene translated into English means Heart of an Awl, a reflection of the perception of the tribe’s traders as very tough businessmen. Barbara Walters called the city “a little slice of Heaven” and included it in her list of most fascinating places to visit. From here continue north – The Wild Horse Trail Scenic Byway, part of the International Selkirk Loop, starts on the northwestern shores of Lake Pend Oreille in the resort community of Sandpoint. Heading north along the eastern side of the Selkirk Mountains the roadway follows the Kootenai Tribe’s historic path to fishing grounds at Lake Pend Oreille. In 1808 the first white explorer David Thompson also utilized this trail. The “Wild Horse Trail” became more than a path in 1863 when gold was discovered in “Wild Horse Creek,” 120 miles to the north of Bonners Ferry, Idaho, in British Columbia. There was a large movement of men and pack animals along the “Wild Horse Trail”until the gold rush ceased circa 1880. Upon arrival of the Northern Pacific railroad to this region, David Thompson’s old route became a main freight line for the railroad. Just south of Bonners Ferry a stunning wide glacial valley comes into view. The rich soil deposits left behind as the glaciers receded formed fertile lands which even today support a wide variety of agriculture throughout the Kootenai Valley. In 1864 Edwin Bonner created a ferry crossing the Kootenai River to accommodate gold seekers as they made their way north; leading to the formal establishment of Bonners Ferry in 1893. Historic buildings in the downtown district remain today, reminding visitors of bygone eras. The evening finds you in Whitefish, The Great Northern Railway sparked development of the town in 1904. Early employers were the railroad and nearby logging industries. The community was named for its location near Whitefish Lake – and it was also called Stumptown as the area was cleared for the train station.
Overnight – Whitefish
Glacier National Park
Full day to explore Glacier National Park – a short scenic drive from Whitefish. The park encompasses over 1,000,000 acres (4,000 km2) and includes parts of two mountain ranges, over 130 named lakes, more than 1,000 different species of plants and hundreds of species of animals. This vast pristine ecosystem is the centerpiece of what has been referred to as the “Crown of the Continent Ecosystem”, a region of protected land encompassing 16,000 square miles (41,000 km2). The region that became Glacier National Park was first inhabited by Native Americans and upon the arrival of European explorers, was dominated by the Blackfeet in the east and the Flathead in the western regions. Soon after the establishment of the park on May 11, 1910, a number of hotels and chalets were constructed by the Great Northern Railway. These historic hotels and chalets are listed as National Historic Landmarks, and a total of 350 locations are on the National Register of Historic Places. By 1932, work was completed on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, later designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, which provided greater accessibility for automobiles into the heart of the park. It is the only road that crosses Glacier National Park, going over the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. It was completed in 1932. A fleet of 1930s red tour buses “jammers”, rebuilt in 2001 to run on propane or gas, offer tours on the road. The road, a National Historic Landmark and a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, spans 53 miles (85 km) across the width of the park. It’s one of the most difficult roads in North America to snowplow in the spring. Up to 80 feet (24 m) of snow can lie on top of Logan Pass, and more just east of the pass where the deepest snowfield has
long been referred to as Big Drift. The road takes about ten weeks to plow, even with equipment that can move 4000 tons of snow in an hour. The snowplow crew can clear as little as 500 feet (150 m) of the road per day. On the east side of the continental divide, there are few guardrails due to heavy snows and the resultant late winter avalanches that have repeatedly destroyed every protective barrier ever constructed. The road is generally open from early June to mid October, with its latest ever opening on 13 July. Once open we suggest you leave the driving to the professionals and enjoy a stress-free adventure onboard one of the red busses leaving from Lake McDonald Lodge inside the park.
Overnight – Whitefish
Whitefish to Helena
Travelling along another scenic route take the southern route along the edge of the park. Make sure to stop at the Izaak Walton Lodge where guests can stay in one of the authentic caboose cars! East of the park you are entering the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Following part of the Montana Scenic Loop and the Trail of the Great Bear brings you to small communities like Dupuyer, one of the oldest towns along the Rocky Mountain Front. A ways back, Dupuyer was a bustling little town when it was a stage stop on the bull-team freight route between Fort Benton and Fort Browning. Today, this small country town has approximately 40 residents who lead a quieter lifestyle but are steeped in the same scenery that brought travelers through the area 10,000 years ago. Another highlight of today of course is Helena, the capital city of Montana. Helena was founded with the July 14, 1864 discovery of gold in a gulch off the Prickly Pear valley by the “Four Georgians”. The city’s main street is named Last Chance Gulch and lies close to the winding path of the original gulch through the historic downtown district.
Overnight – Helena
Helena to Yellowstone National Park
Today you have to make a tough choice – many scenic roads lead into Yellowstone National Park! You can plan a visit to Nevada City and Virginia City, historic ghost towns from the state’s “golden years”. Both towns have been restored as outdoor living history historical museums, linked by railroad, with numerous historic buildings, artifacts, and furnishings. Or choose one of the other three roads leading into the park, each with its own characteristics and beauty. The highlight today of course is 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
Yellowstone National Park
Full day to explore the park
Overnight – Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park
Full Day to explore the park
Overnight – Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park to Jackson via Grand Teton 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. Populare 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 dear; 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 afternoon finds you 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 Saloon!
Overnight – Jackson
Jackson to Rock Springs
Today you’ll follow part of the Centennial Scenic Byway. From Jackson on through historic Hoback Canyon a gorgeous drive south and east towards the Wind River and Wyoming Range, you’ll find yourself deep in the heart of mountain man country. Stop in and get to know these beaver-pelted trappers at the Museum of the Mountain Man outside Pinedale. As you approach modern-day Rock Springs, you can almost imagine earlier travelers bouncing along the Overland Stage route toward the welcome stage station which was the beginning of this southwestern Wyoming town in 1862. Rock Springs is another of the southern Wyoming towns on the Union Pacific’s transcontinental line. And for years, the area provided millions of tons of coal to feed the nation’s locomotives. Today, the Rock Springs area continues to have a leadership role in the nation’s energy production. Killpecker Sand Dunes, just a few miles north of Rock Springs, are the largest in North America. Just south of Rock Springs is the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area – a boat and fisherman’s paradise. One of the best spots to see wild horses is in southwestern Wyoming, just a tad north of Rock Springs on a landscape of sagebrush, native grasses and rock. Here, on the mesa-like summit of White Mountain, the Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Loop Tour skitters roughly 23 miles along good, gravel-base roads. Travel this route and along the way you gain not only many chances to spy roans, blacks, paints, appaloosas and sorrels, but panoramic views of the Wyoming Range to the west, the Wind River Range to the northeast and the Uinta Range to the south. Galloping across the prairie with manes and tails flying and hooves kicking up dust, there is nothing more iconic in the West than a wild horse. Whether you spot them racing like the wind, clustered around a waterhole or grazing contentedly, wild horses evoke a bit of the Old West, erasing the 21st and 20th centuries and shuttling you back to the 1800s.
Overnight – Rock Springs
Rock Springs to Estes Park via Rocky Mountain National Park
A ride along Interstate 15 takes you past Fort Steele and south to Saratoga and Grand Lake before turning east towards Rocky Mountain National Park. Nowhere else in the United States of America high mountains are as accessible by car as in this park: Rocky Mountain National Park’s Trail Ridge Road is America’s highest continuously paved road and leads right through the heart of the park. The landscape reminds its visitors of the arctic vastness of northern Canada and Alaska. Scenic overlooks offer spectacular views of peaks ranging up to more than 4,200 m. 17 km along the route are above 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). Estes Park is located just east of the park.
Overnight – Estes Park
Estes Park to Denver International Airport
This morning, after taking a short drive, take a glimpse of Denver – a bustling area centred around a mile-long pedestrian promenade that is lined with outdoor cafes and flower baskets. Relax on your final day in the US with a coffee and a view of the mountain panorama before returning your rental car and checking in at Denver International airport.
Depart Denver – 20:45
Arrive London Heathrow – 12:35 (Next Day)
Journey time – 8 hours 50 minutes