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.


Start
Chicago, United States
Finish
Salt Lake City, United States
Country
United States
Style
Original
Theme
Astronomy
Code
EXUC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 14
Group size
Min 10, Max 51

Why we love this trip

  • Total Solar Eclipse

  • Fermi Lab and Yerkes Observatory

  • Devil's Tower

  • The Geysers of Yellowstone

Itinerary

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.
Meals Included
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.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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).
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • 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.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

11 breakfasts, 1 lunch

Transport

Private Coach

Accommodation

Hotels

Dates & availability

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Important notes

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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