Journey from sophisticated Chicago across the plains of the US to the Rockies
From cosmopolitan Chicago, home to the Yerkes Observatory and Fermilab, this trip heads west across the US stopping at Badlands National Park, Mt Rushmore and Devil's Tower before reaching Yellowstone and the Grand Teton for the solar eclipse.
Salt Lake City,
- United States
- Physical rating
- Group size
Arrive in Chicago and explore the city at your leisure. There’s a welcome meeting this evening and an optional group dinner to get to know your group before starting the adventure.
There are no meals included on this day.
Joining a walking city tour gives you a great insight into the city on the lake plus some fascinating insights off the tourist track when led by a local. Weave your way along the Lake Front Trail, stop for a spot of shopping on Miracle Mile and visit Chicago’s internationally recognised Planetarium: the Alder.
Today we depart Chicago for the college town of Madison. En route we visit two famous scientific institutions Fermilab, the home of high energy physics in the US and Yerkes Observatory the birthplace of astrophysics and the site of the world’s largest refracting telescope. The historic telescope has a 40" (1m) lens made by Alvan Clark and Sons.
En route to Sioux Falls, we’ll explore the serene scenery of Falls Park and the historic ruins of Native American and European settlers. Relax this evening in one of the city’s cafes and restaurants or get an all American experience at a minor league baseball game.
Moving further west, we cross the Dakota prairies to Badlands National Park. Witness the lunar-like landscape of the Park and discover a wide array of intriguing creatures before continuing to Rapid City.
This morning, depart for Mount Rushmore, home to one of the greatest artistic feats, the faces of four American presidents chiselled into the granite. Head back to Rapid City for an afternoon spent wandering around the many shops, galleries and restaurants.
Today we visit Crazy Horse Memorial, a tribute to one of N.America’s iconic Native American leaders of the Lakota tribe. Continuing we reach Devil’s Tower National Monument, a landmark made famous by the film 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' is a huge rocky outcrop composed of basalt columns rising nearly 400m above the surrounding terrain. We’ll finish the day in Gillette, a small mining community.
Explore Bighorn National Forest, a million acre expanse of untouched beauty. Relive some of the Wild West with a visit to the legendary Buffalo Bill Historical Center, perhaps take an optional tour of Old Trail Town or hang on tight at the Cody Nite Rodeo (optional).
A short drive this morning takes us to Yellowstone National Park, where grizzly bears, bison, eagles and elk are active. Explore the many erupting geysers such as Old Faithful and the impressive Grand Prismatic Spring.
Today we make explore more of Yellowstone’s extraordinary geology, wildlife and scenery. Much of this astonishing national park is part contained within a huge volcanic caldera and intriguing landscapes and inspiring views seem to appear around every corner.
Today’s drive takes us to through the stunning Grand Teton National Park. Tonight we will have an evening briefing with Dr John Mason and prepare for the eclipse tomorrow morning.
Eclipse day. After an early breakfast we’ll depart by coach to our chosen site to view the eclipse. The precise location will be selected following an assessment of the prevailing weather conditions. This afternoon, join an optional hike to Grand Teton and then gather for a post eclipse lunch.
Today we drive to Salt Lake City, the heart of the Mormon religion where there are many fascinating buildings around Temple Square. The tour comes to an end this evening.
There are no meals included on this day.
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Total eclipses are rare events that occur along a narrow track at a precisely calculated time. People who follow eclipses want to be at the location with the best chance of clear skies so we operate a range of tours that converge of the selected eclipse site for the days around the eclipse.
Essential trip information
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