Map of Great American West  including United States Of America

A showcase of National Parks, famous landmarks and indigenous culture

See natural wonders in South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana on a 12-day small group adventure that packs plenty of National Parks into a short space of time. Uncover the beauty of Badlands National Park, before you travel to Mount Rushmore, spot buffalo in Custer State Park and continue to Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. With two nights at Yellowstone National Park, you’ll have time to spot wildlife and watch Old Faithful spray water into the air. Then travel from Bozeman to Missoula via mountains, rivers, glaciers, and lakes. Learn about the customs and histories of the Blackfeet Native American culture and explore Glacier National Park on a vintage bus tour and a scenic river float trip. With easy to moderate walks, comfortable accommodation, and a knowledgeable leader, this nature-focussed adventure is big on beauty.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Rapid City, United States
Finish
Missoula, United States
Destination
United States
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
SSEAC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Enjoy the changing landscape of Badlands National Park as you explore the scenic viewpoints and a backcountry trail.

  • Visit Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument and join your Crow Nation Guide to learn about the history of the area.

  • Join an expert naturalist on a wolf tracking expedition at Yellowstone National Park.

  • Jump in a jeep with an expert guide to see buffalo up close and personal in Custer State Park along with pronghorns and elk.

  • Marvel at Mount Rushmore where a walk will take you up close to this famous mountain sculpture.

  • Hike Yellowstone National Park where grizzly bears, wolves and herds of buffalo and elk roam free.

  • Spend a day exploring the surrounds of Great Falls, learning about Native American history in First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park, hiking in Giant Springs State Park and discovering artwork of the Old West.

  • Follow in the path of Lewis and Clark exploring the “Gates of the Mountains” on a river cruise along the Missouri River

  • Sit back and take in the views from a vintage open-top bus in Glacier National Park where you’ll find wildflowers, rushing rivers, and mountains reflected in crystal clear lakes.

  • Take a scenic float on the serene middle fork of the Flathead River along Glacier's southern border.

Is this trip right for you?

  • There are walking opportunities throughout this trip. We recommend you bring good quality walking shoes if you're keen to enjoy a hike - or two!

  • Lunches will be simple picnic style so perhaps bring some of your own snacks if you think you’ll get hungry between meals.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2023 to 31 Dec 2023.
View the 2022 itinerary
Welcome to Rapid City! Your tour starts at 9am with a group meeting followed by a short drive to Badlands National Park. Have your camera handy to capture the sweeping prairie grass plains and dramatic rocky pinnacles. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, chirping prairie dogs and American bison. We'll take a short hike on one of the scenic trails before continuing to the nearby Wall Drug Store, drawing millions of visitors every year. It’s hard to believe this store won over customers in its early days by offering something as simple as free ice water. Take some time to wander around and grab lunch (at own expense).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Badlands National Park – Hiking
  • Badlands National Park – Scenic Drive
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting at 9am as we will be collecting insurance and emergency contact details at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

The total driving time is approximately two hours.
Drive to Custer State Park and wander through the State Game Lodge, a stately residence which was built in the 1920 and has played host to several presidents. Then it’s time to jump in a jeep and go wild on a Buffalo safari. Trek through the park in an open-air jeep as your expert guide shares historical and educational facts and helps you spot pronghorns, elk, and buffalo. Continue on to the famous Mount Rushmore to walk the Presidential Trail.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Black Hills - Mount Rushmore
  • Custer State Park - Buffalo Safari
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s total walking distance is approximately is 1km/0.6miles and the total driving time is approximately 2 hours.
It's an early start for the drive to the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. After a stop along the way for lunch, join your Crow Nation Guide for a three-hour tour which provides an Apsaalooke perspective on the conflict. With a tribal historian at your side, traverse the battlefield and learn how Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors defeated the US Army on the Greasy Grass at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. After the tour, drive to Sheridan where you might like to visit the Sheridan Inn for a drink and a chance to learn about the history of Buffalo Bill who auditioned new members for his “Wild West” show from the front porch of this historic inn.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument -guided tour with a Crow Nation Guide
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s total driving time is approximately 4.5 hours plus time on tour at Little Bighorn.
After breakfast, you’ll spend the day driving to Yellowstone National Park so settle back and enjoy the scenery, or perhaps listen to an audio book or your favourite tunes as the miles roll by. Along the way, your leader will choose the perfect scenic spot for everyone to stretch their legs and a enjoy a delicious picnic lunch.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Total driving today is 6 hours plus stops.
Spend the day exploring Yellowstone National Park where grizzly bears, wolves and herds of buffalo and elk roam free. Watch as Old Faithful sprays over 4000 gallons (14,000 litres) of boiling water into the air, then be hypnotized by the startling colours of the Grand Prismatic Pool. Other highlights include Yellowstone Canyon with its geysers along the north and south loop.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Yellowstone National Park - Hiking
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
In Yellowstone the walks options range from easy to moderate and 2 to 5 miles (3 to 8 km) in length. These are mostly on easy boardwalks. They are all optional and your leader will give options based on guest interest and abilities
You're up before the sun this morning, but we promise it's for good reason. We're heading back into Yellowstone to join a wolf-tracking expedition with an experienced naturalist guide. There's no better place than Yellowstone to see these magnificent animals in the wild. Your guide tracks the movements and behaviour of Yellowstone wildlife almost daily and knows the best places to find the animals. There will be top-of-the-line binoculars and high-powered spotting scopes for each person, so no one will miss out. After lunch, travel to Bozeman where your adventure ends at around 4pm.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Today’s total driving time is approximately two hours, plus time on the Wolf Tracking Expedition.
This morning, join your group for a meeting at 10am to welcome any new travellers joining you for the next leg of your adventure, then get ready to stretch your legs on a hike through Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park that’s easy on the legs and even easier on the eyes. After your hike, travel to the city of Helena, Montana’s capital and your base for the night. On arrival, you may like to head out for dinner with your group – your leader will be on hand with suggestions for where to grab a great bite to eat.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bozeman – Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park Hike
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s total walking distance is approximately 9.5kms/6 miles, with 490m/1600ft of elevation gain and the total driving time is 1.5 hours.
After breakfast, follow in the footsteps of the explorers Lewis and Clark and venture to the Gates of the Mountains on a scenic river cruise. You’ll sail alongside limestone cliffs to a set of towering stone walls which appear to open like a gate as your boat approaches. Little has changed since the two explorers first visited this stretch of the Missouri River and the region’s untouched beauty remains. After a picnic lunch, we will continue to Great Falls for our overnight stay. Tonight, enjoy a relaxing evening at your accommodation or perhaps share a meal together.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Helena - Lewis and Clark River Cruise
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Today's driving time is approximately 2 hours.
After an early breakfast, hit the road and drive from Great Falls to First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park, home to the largest buffalo jump in America, used as a hunting tool by Native American tribes for at least 1000 years. Get to know the landscape with a guided hike, then sit down and soak up the scenery over lunch. From here, head to the Lewis and Clark center to learn about their famous expedition, then take a short hike to the Giant Springs State Park. Next is a visit to the Charles Russell art museum to hear stories about his work from the Blackfeet perspective. Known as ‘the cowboy artist’, Russell created more than 2000 paintings and sculptures depicting Native Americans, cowboys and scenes of the Old West. Return to Great Falls for the evening.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Great Falls - Hikes with Blackfeet Nation guide
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
The total driving time is 1.5 hours. The hikes are classed as moderate, a good level of fitness is required.
Known as the ‘Crown of the Continent’, Glacier National Park offers an impressive array of activities for lovers of nature and the great outdoors. Tour the park in a vintage 1930s bus with a roll-back top that provides excellent views of the surrounding mountains and learn how this historic transport option fits into this national park's history. Along the way you might like to grab some lunch. Tonight we'll continue to the town of Whitefish.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Glacier National Park – Full Day Vintage Bus Park Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today's driving time is approximately 3.5 hours plus time on the vintage bus tour.
After breakfast, we'll take a stroll along the easy trails in Glacier National Park followed by a picnic with time to soak up the beauty of our surroundings. After lunch, we'll board a raft and enjoy an exhilarating (and splashy!) rafting experience down the Flathead River with an expert local guide. Tonight, you may like to drop into one of the local craft breweries or restaurants for dinner.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Glacier National Park – Scenic Whitewater Rafting & Nature Walk with Lunch
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
The rafting experience covers 8 miles of the Flathead River with 9 class II-III rapids near the end of the trip. This excursion is classified as moderate rafting and no experience is necessary to participate. Rafters can expect to get wet during this excursion, but wet suits and/or splash gear are avaialble at no additional charge. Helmets are mandatory and provided. You can choose to paddle with the crew or simply sit back and enjoy the adventure.
Enjoy a morning at leisure before hitting the road to Missoula, with a stop along the way for a walk alongside the serene waters of Flathead Lake. Stop off for one last lunch and perhaps take the time to look back with you group on all you’ve seen and done in the past week. Then, it’s onto Missoula where the trip finishes at 3pm and your Montana adventure will come to an end.
Included Activities
  • Flathead Lake State Park - Hike
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s total walking distance is 1.5m/2.4kms and the total driving time is 2.5 hours.

Meals

11 breakfasts, 6 lunches

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Hotel (11 nights)

Included activities

  • Badlands National Park – Hiking
  • Badlands National Park – Scenic Drive
  • Black Hills - Mount Rushmore
  • Custer State Park - Buffalo Safari
  • Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument -guided tour with a Crow Nation Guide
  • Yellowstone National Park - Hiking
  • Bozeman – Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park Hike
  • Helena - Lewis and Clark River Cruise
  • Great Falls - Hikes with Blackfeet Nation guide
  • Glacier National Park – Full Day Vintage Bus Park Tour
  • Glacier National Park – Scenic Whitewater Rafting & Nature Walk with Lunch
  • Flathead Lake State Park - Hike

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Great American West trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

Travellers on Intrepid trips that start on or before 31 December 2022 are required to produce proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. Learn more about Intrepid’s COVID-19 policy.

1. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 9am. Please make your own way to the Joining Point Hotel listed in the Essential Trip Information for this itinerary.
2. This trip is a combination of two of our most popular itineraries. As such the composition of your group and your leader may change on day 7.
3. This trip finishes at approximately 3pm in Missoula. No accommodation is booked for this evening. If departing this day, please do not book any flights before 6pm. if you would like to spend more time in Missoula, we can request additional accommodation for you post tour. Please speak to your booking agent.
4. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights on your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View Essential Trip Information

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