Self Driven Tours: Minneapolis, Yellowstone & the rockies
Packed with epic mountain peaks and glorious natural wonders, free-ranging wildlife, wide-open plains and orb-stretching big sky, Wild West towns and the iconic expression of American democracy ... this journey through the Midwest presents the perfect opportunity to discover extraordinary places and pleasantly surprise your senses.
Day 1: MINNEAPOLIS ARRIVAL
Welcome to Minneapolis. Nestled in the upper Midwest, Minneapolis is the perfect blend of natural beauty and urban sophistication. No other American city has a chain of lakes, the mighty Mississippi, and 200 miles of walking, biking and cross country ski trails within its city limits. Minneapolis is also home to one of the most vibrant arts and music scenes outside New York City, some of the nation's finest museums, and the longest continuous skyway system in the world. Upon arrival, pick-up your rental car and transfer independently to your hotel
Day 2: MINNEAPOLIS - SIOUX FALLS
Traveling through a series of small towns, your journey today takes you to South Dakota's largest city and the "Heart of America," Sioux Falls. Conveniently located on the banks of the Big Sioux River, Sioux Falls is chock full of attractions, fine cuisine and culture. Falls of the Big Sioux River is the natural beauty that gave the city its name, and, like a lot of places in South Dakota, it has a long history. At Falls Park visitors can see the city's namesake, some of the first buildings built in Sioux Falls, and enjoy the sites of the waterfalls which dump 7,400 gallons of water over the 100-foot course each second.
Day 3: SIOUX FALLS - MOUNT RUSHMORE - RAPID CITY
Today's east-to-west trip to Rapid City brings you face to face with a number of classic roadside attractions. Consider stops at the world's only Corn Palace, Al's Oasis where an extra-large bison statue announces your arrival to western South Dakota, or Wall Drug Store, South Dakota's favorite roadside attraction - all before arriving at one of America's most iconic attractions, Mount Rushmore National Monument. A shrine of Democracy, Mount Rushmore features 60-foot faces of four great American presidents who stand for hope, determination, and the spirit of a nation. Once in Rapid City be sure to search out all of the U.S. presidents standing on downtown street corners in the form of bronze statues
Day 4: RAPID CITY - BIG HORN MOUNTAINS - CODY
Today's drive takes you through the northern Black Hills town of Sturgis, famous for the world's largest motorcycle rally, before crossing into Wyoming. You'll travel through Bighorn National Forest where rolling hills, alpine lakes, craggy cliffs, thick pine forests and the snowcapped peaks of the Bighorn Mountains dominate the landscape before arriving in Cody. Founded in 1896 by the living legend "Buffalo Bill," Cody offers visitors a taste of the real American West. Upon arrival we suggest visiting the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. In the evening, enjoy attractions that include rodeos, gun fight re-enactments and Western dinner shows.
Day 5: CODY - YELLOWSTONE
Today, take an unforgettable journey into America's first national park and nature's wonderland - Yellowstone. Here, the Earth is in action with geysers, mountain ranges and rivers, waterfalls, and ancient volcanoes. The iconic spots - Old Faithful, Mammoth Hot Springs and Yellowstone Canyon - will be familiar from photographs, but seeing them in person is a humbling experience. They're not just as good as you've heard - they're better. In addition to its superb scenery, the park is one of the world's principal wildlife preserves. Home to eagles, grizzly and black bears, buffalo, elk and much more, you're bound to see wildlife wherever you go.
Day 6: YELLOWSTONE
Spend the day experiencing more of Yellowstone's natural wonders. Marvel at a volcano's hidden power rising up in colorful hot springs, mudpots, and geysers. Explore mountains, forests, and lakes to watch wildlife and witness the drama of the natural world unfold, and get active by hiking along park trails or boardwalks. Whether you delight in the challenge of a strenuous hike or prefer to sit quietly and watch the sunset, Yellowstone offers a great diversity of activities for you to enjoy.
Day 7: YELLOWSTONE - BIG SKY - FLATHEAD VALLEY - WHITEFISH
Leave the wonder of Yellowstone behind as you make your way north to Big Sky's endless views and wide-open skies that give this Montana town its name. Further on, pass through Butte and Missoula before making your way alongside the impressive Mission Mountain Range, beautiful shores of Flathead Lake and Kalispell to Whitefish. Located in the Northwest corner of Montana, in the heart of the spectacular northern Rocky Mountains, Whitefish is the gateway to Glacier National Park and home to the friendliest Montana folks that you'll ever meet.
Day 8: WHITEFISH - GLACIER NATIONAL PARK - WHITEFISH
Rise early this morning so you'll have ample time to discover the "Crown of the Continent," Glacier National Park. Inside the park your options for things to do are endless. Choose from short walks where you can slowly savor the natural world. Take a comfortable boat cruise on one of the pristine lakes. Fish a clear mountain stream. Embark on a historic driving tour of the famed Going-to-the-Sun Road, or, hike miles of well-marked trails perfect for exploring mountain lakes, glaciers, plant life, and glimpsing some of the full-time residents such as grizzly and black bears, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, moose, deer, and more
Day 9: WHITEFISH - GREAT FALLS
This morning, travel from West to East Glacier along Highway 2 before heading to Great Falls. Winding along the southern border of the park, Highway 2 offers the chance to stop at Goat Lick Overlook where mountain goats come to lick the mineral-laden cliffs. Resting on the high plains along Montana's Rocky Mountain Front Range, Great Falls is located at the confluence of the Missouri and Sun Rivers. This genuine Montana city marks one of the most difficult legs of Lewis and Clark's journey west and is home to the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center. This Center inspires awe, brings to life the daily experiences of the expedition, and celebrates the indomitable spirit of human discovery.
Day 10: GREAT FALLS - LITTLE BIGHORN – BILLINGS
During today's journey through Central Montana you'll experience plains and mountains, pioneer and Indian life, and orb-stretching big sky. Just south of Billings, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument memorializes the site of the Battle of the Little Bighorn which took place in 1876 between the United States and the Sioux and Cheyenne. Drive the tour road to retrace the steps of the Battle, relive the drama as you walk along the graves of veterans of the nation's wars, and try to imagine what happened here years ago at the top of Last Stand Hill. Return to Billings in the evening.
Day 11: BILLINGS - THEODORE ROOSEVELT NATIONAL PARK – BISMARCK
Today's journey east takes you through North Dakota's wide open plains to the small town of Medora, gateway to the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. A major feature of the South Unit you won't want to miss is Scenic Loop Drive where pullouts and interpretive signs explain park features and allow visitors to enjoy scenic views and wildlife. Just east of Medora, you'll get your first real glimpse of North Dakota's rugged Badlands from the overlook at the Painted Canyon Visitor Center. Here, one is greeted with unparalleled panoramic views as the canyon stretches as far as the eye can see. Continue to the capital of North Dakota, Bismarck, where the scenery is distinctive, the hospitality is warm, and you'll enjoy an authentic experience that most cities twice its size can't offer.
Day 12: BISMARCK - FARGO – MINNEAPOLIS
Continue east to Fargo, North Dakota's largest city with a small town feel that gained a certain measure of modern fame with its 1996 movie namesake. From Fargo you'll cross the Red River into Minnesota, ultimately arriving back in Minneapolis.
Day 13: MINNEAPOLIS DEPARTURE
Return your rental car at the airport prior to your departure.
Big horn mountains
Glacier national park
Theodore Roosevelt national park