Day 1 – Travel today to Kansas City and check into your hotel for an overnight stay. Dinner on own this evening.
Day 2 – This morning, tour the National Frontier Trails Center. This museum, interpretive center, and research library is dedicated to telling the rich history of America’s principle western trails. One of the most fascinating epics in American History is the story of the overland migrations across the western American wilderness during the mid-nineteenth century.
This afternoon you stop in St Joseph, MO and tour the Pony Express Museum. Built in the original stables it stands as a tribute to the legend and legacy of the Pony Express. You will see educational, state-of-the-art exhibits conveying the need, creation, operation and eventual termination of the Pony Express.
Travel to Lincoln, NE check into your hotel for an overnight stay. Tonight, dinner is included at a local restaurant.
Day 3 – This morning stop in North Platte, NE and visit the Great Platte River Road Archway. Built over the top of I-80 this is best described as a splashy, brassy history museum that uses film, computer graphics, light and sound, life-size dioramas, re-enactors and classic cars to document over 150 years of transportation and communication across America.” The Archway brings the westward migration to life.
Then you will visit Ogallaga, NE and the Boot Hill Cemetery, the final resting place for cowboys, drifters, and settlers, who helped make Ogallala a booming cow town. There will also be time to explore Front Street.
Next, you will stop at Chimney Rock National Historic Site for a photo opportunity. Discover one of the wonders of the West. Feel the awe and curiosity the pioneers experienced when they saw the most famous landmark on the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails.
Then you have another photo opportunity at Scotts Bluff National Monument. Towering 800 feet above the North Platte River, Scotts Bluff has served as a landmark for peoples from Native Americans to emigrants on the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails. Check into your Scotts Bluff, NE for an overnight stay. Dinner is on own this evening.
Day 4 – First stop this morning is a visit to Fort Laramie National Historical Site. Originally established as a private fur trading fort in 1834, Fort Laramie evolved into the largest and best known military post on the Northern Plains, before its abandonment in 1890. This “grand old post” witnessed the entire sweeping saga of America’s western expansion and Indian resistance to encroachment on their territories.
Continue travel to Cody, WY. Check into your hotel for a two night stay. Tonight, dinner is included at a local restaurant. Followed by the Cody Night Rodeo. For 90 plus years, starting officially in 1919, the Cody Stampede Rodeo has been held every summer. Cody has not only one of the longest running successful professional rodeos, but also the only place in the country that has a rodeo performance nightly. Every rodeo performance is approximately 2 hours long with all rodeo events from bronco riding to bull riding and team roping to barrel racing for adults and kids.
Day 5 – Enjoy a full day tour of Yellowstone National Park with a local guide. America’s first National Park, spans an area of 3,468 square miles, comprising lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges. It is home to a large variety of wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, bison, and elk. Preserved within Yellowstone National Park are Old Faithful and a collection of the world’s most extraordinary geysers and hot springs, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. You will see Norris Geyser Basin, filled with steam vents and geysers and explore Mammoth Hot Springs, featuring an amazing staircase of hot spring pools, known as “terraces”. Heat, water, and limestone have combined to form these unique geologic formations. The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is roughly 20 miles long, measured from the Upper Falls to the Tower Fall area.
Day 6 – Travel today to Deadwood, SD and check into your hotel for a three night stay. Dine tonight at Kevin Costner’s Diamond Lil’s restaurant.
Day 7 – Meet the guide for a full day of Black Hills touring. Arrive at Mt. Rushmore in time for lunch on own. You will have plenty of time to walk around, photograph and explore the monument.
Then, take a jeep tour at Custer State Park. Drive past herds of free roaming buffalo, antelope, prairie dogs and more. The wildlife in this park is beautiful. Next, visit the Crazy Horse Memorial, the still unfinished mountain carving dedicated to Native Americans. You will also visit Hill City with thanks to the Crazy Horse Memorial it is a rejuvenated arts community, featuring funky shops, galleries, and boutiques. Dinner is included here in the Laughing Water Restaurant.
Day 8 – Enjoy a second full day of Black Hills Sightseeing. Visit Tatanka the incredible life size sculpture of a buffalo jump and learn the ‘Story of the Buffalo. Then tour the Days of 76 Museum one of the most complete collection of historic wagons, antiques and native artifacts in the Black Hills.
The afternoon features a tour the Black Hills Gold Factory. Watch up-close and learn the details of how gold jewelry is made. You’ll see what it takes to make Black Hills Gold jewelry, the history of the company, and You’ll see the ancient process of lost- wax casting and how diamonds are cast in molten gold!
There will also be free time in Deadwood for Ramblin & Gamblin and to enjoy the Mount Moriah Boot Hill Cemetery, where Hickok, Calamity Jane and many of the famous former residents are buried.
Tonight, dinner is included at a local restaurant. After dinner, you’re in for a Wild Bill Evening. See the shooting in Old #10 Saloon, then watch as Jack McCall is run down in the street and put on trial for the murder of Wild Bill Hickok. It’s possible members of your group could be on the jury.
Day 9 – Depart Deadwood this morning and stop at Wall Drug Store, America’s most famous roadside stop.
Then you will visit Badlands National Park. These striking geologic deposits contain one of the world’s richest fossil beds. Ancient mammals such as the rhino, horse, and saber-toothed cat once roamed here. The park’s 244,000 acres protect an expanse of mixed-grass prairie where bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, and black-footed ferrets live today.
Travel to Mitchell, SD and visit the original Corn Palace. Called “The Corn Belt Exposition,” it was established in 1892. Early settlers displayed the fruits of their harvest on the building exterior in order to prove the fertility of South Dakota soil. Check into your Mitchell, SD Hotel for an overnight stay. Dinner is on own this evening.
Day 10 – Travel to Kansas City and check into your hotel for an overnight stay. Tonight, dinner is included at a local restaurant.
Day 11 – After breakfast, depart for home.