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Bison, Custer State Park

The Great American West: self-drive through the USA Rockies

17 days from £6,350pp

Bison, Custer State Park
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Tour highlights

  • Explore South Dakota's amazing Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse national monuments.

  • Experience the geothermal wonderland of Yellowstone National Park on a tour with a naturalist guide.

  • Get up close with nature on a privately guided wildlife tour in Northern Yellowstone with a local expert.

  • Learn all about the native inhabitants of this region, as well as the cowboy way of life in Cody at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

  • Marvel at the majestic mountains in Glacier National Park during a private guided hike through the high mountain passes.

Price includes:

  • Scheduled international flights
  • Fully insured vehicle hire
  • Activities and excursions as detailed
  • All accommodation
  • 24-hour support while you travel
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Itinerary idea in detail

Includes international flights from a choice of UK airports, including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

  • Today you begin your journey by boarding your international outbound flight to Rapid City. Today, you will arrive at Rapid City Airport, then collect your hire car and make the short drive south to stay in Custer State Park for the next three nights. This way, you'll have a chance to thoroughly explore the area's natural and man-made wonders. We also offer accommodation in Rapid City for the night if you don't fancy driving straight off the plane.

  • Custer State Park is surrounded by numerous attractions and activities in the Black Hills region of South Dakota. We highly recommend you set off early for a drive through the park, watching out for bison in the long grass. Some of the most scenic drives are the Wildlife Loop Road, Needles Highway, and Iron Mountain Road. There are also some fantastic hikes in the park and numerous large lakes for water recreation.

  • Another day in Custer allows you to visit two famous monuments in the area, Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial. The two are often visited in tandem to tell a wider story. For more information on the Native American creation story, be sure to visit Jewel Cave and Wind Cave while you are in Custer.

  • Leaving Custer today, you may wish to visit the old Wild West town of Deadwood and Devil's Tower National Monument before continuing to Sheridan, which is around a three-hour drive, where you'll stop for the night. On arrival, take a leisurely stroll through Sheridan's historic downtown district, which is filled with charming shops, art galleries, and historic buildings.

  • Leave Sheridan and continue north to the historic Western town of Cody, which is another three-hour drive. Stop off in Bighorn National Forest along the way and Antelope Butte Mountain Recreation area for some great hiking and scenic viewpoints. Once in Cody, step back in time as you wander through the authentic log cabins, saloons, and shops and learn about the town's connection to famous Western figures like Buffalo Bill Cody and Butch Cassidy. Be sure to invest in some cowboy boots or a hand-crafted belt or buckle, while here.

  • A highlight of the town is the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, which was originally founded in 1912 and comprises several distinct museums, including the Buffalo Bill Museum, Whitney Gallery of Western Art, the Plains Indian Museum, the Cody Firearms Museum and the Draper Museum of Natural History.

  • Cody is the gateway to Yellowstone National Park, and your drive today takes you down the Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway and into Yellowstone National Park. The scenery gets ever more spectacular as you approach Yellowstone Lake. Make sure you keep a lookout for wildlife that thrives here and the marvels of the geothermal landscapes.

  • Enjoy a full day in Yellowstone. Be sure to visit 'Old Faithful', the park's renowned geyser, as well as the colourful lakes, boiling mud and sulphurous springs. Keep your eyes open for an abundance of wildlife while in the park. In the evening, kayak on Lake Yellowstone with a small group and enjoy the serene ambience of the area as the sun sets over the lake.

  • Drive north out of the park to the small town of Gardiner, which is the northern gateway of Yellowstone National Park. While in the park, there are plenty of scenic drives and points of interest for you along the way. One stop not to be missed is the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. When you arrive in Gardiner, there are fantastic natural hot springs, which are great for an afternoon of relaxation.

  • Today, you're up bright and early to join your experienced naturalist guide for a private, wildlife-focused tour of Yellowstone National Park. Your knowledgeable guide knows all the best spots to view wolves, bison, elk, smaller mammals and birds of prey. Wildlife sightings are, of course, variable, but your guide will show you how to use the best spotting scopes and give you tips on photographing these majestic animals, coupled with information on the history and geology of the area.

  • Spend another day in northern Yellowstone, hiking in the park or exploring the region's geothermal wonders. There are plenty of great hikes in the Lamar Valley and scenic drives throughout the national park. We can also recommend visiting Mammoth Hot Springs to view these incredible natural spring formations.

  • Leaving Gardiner and Yellowstone National Park, drive north for around four hours to reach the university town of Missoula. The drive through western Montana is very scenic, passing some natural monuments, such as the Lewis and Clark State Caverns. On arrival in Missoula, there are many easily accessible shops, breweries, and restaurants. End the day with a sunset stroll along the Clark Fork River.

    Stay at The Wren   
  • Leave Missoula today for the two-and-a-half-hour drive through Western Montana's Glacier Country. Along the way, the drive is exceptionally scenic and there's a chance to explore Lolo National Forest and Flathead Lake before reaching charming Whitefish.

  • Embark on a private hike in Glacier National Park with your experienced guide. As the hike is for your group only, it can be fully tailored to your fitness levels. You'll begin by heading into the park and following trails with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. Your guide will share insights about the park's ecology and history as you hike through Glacier's pristine wilderness.

  • Today is your own to explore Glacier National Park. Please be aware that this national park is subject to timed entry restrictions during the summer months, and it's necessary to speak to your Country Specialist about the possibility of securing these when you enquire. However, there are some parts of the park that are accessible without a permit through the east entrance. Alternatively, there is the option to add a Red Bus Tour to different parts of the national park if you would prefer a guided experience.

  • Sadly, your Rockies adventure has come to an end. Depart Whitefish today and drive down to Kalispell to return the hire car and catch your onward flight.

  • Arrive home today to complete your journey.

Accommodation options

While the itinerary price reflects the suggested accommodation, Audley trips are 100% tailor-made, and a specialist can help you select the option best suited to your tastes and budget.

What our clients say about us

Audley Travel specialist Dani
Contact a USA specialist

The specialist who designs your trip to the USA will have explored the country many times and, in some cases, lived there. Their first-hand knowledge gives us the belief that no other travel company can match our expertise in helping you plan your trip.

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When to go

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Place Daily max temperature (°C) Monthly rainfall (mm)
Rapid City
Yellowstone National Park
Glacier National Park

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