Great American West

Great American West

365 Views
12 Days
From

$6650

$6467

Great American West

12 Days Starting in Rapid City and ending in Missoula

Visiting: Rapid City to Custer, Custer, Billings, Yellowstone National Park, Yellowstone Wolf Tracking / Bozeman, Bozeman to Helena, Helena, Great Falls, Glacier National Park / Whitefish, Missoula

Tour operator:

Intrepid Travel

Tour code:

SSEAC

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

1 - 12

Physical rating:

Low, Medium

Age range:

18-99 years

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians

Tour operated in:
English
Trip Styles:

Adventure Tours

Activities:

4WD, Boat/Cruise Excursion

From:
$6650
$6467 (USD) The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$183
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Tour Overview

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 amount 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 guided hike and a scenic river rafting trip. With easy to moderate hikes, comfortable accommodation, and a knowledgeable leader, this nature-focussed adventure is big on beauty.

Highlights

  • Enjoy the changing landscape of Badlands National Park as you explore the backcountry on one of the park’s best hikes.

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

  • 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 hike 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

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Itinerary

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Day 1: Rapid City To Custer
Location: Rapid City to Custer
Accommodation: Lodge
Meals Included: dinner

Welcome to South Dakota! Your adventure starts at 10 am with a welcome meeting in Rapid City. After, take a short drive to the iconic 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 some lunch before heading 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. Take a short hike on one of the scenic trails before continuing to your lodge in Custer. Your home for the next two nights will be a game lodge, established in 1920, where you can see bison wandering the property grounds and immerse yourself in the Western feel of this historic-style accommodation. Tonight, you’ll have a group dinner at the lodge to settle in and get to know your fellow travellers.

Included Activities:
-Badlands National Park – Hiking
-Badlands National Park – Scenic Drive

Day 2: Custer
Location: Custer
Accommodation: Lodge
Meals Included: breaksfast

Enjoy breakfast at State Game Lodge – your residence 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 Custer State Park in an open-air jeep as your expert guide shares historical and educational facts and helps you spot pronghorns, elk and buffalo. After, you’ll visit the Crazy Horse Memorial – the largest mountain carving in the Black Hills (widely considered the Eighth Wonder of the World in progress). Then continue to the famous Mount Rushmore to walk the Presidential Trail – a bucket list location, this is a great spot to grab a photo! Tonight, you’re free to grab dinner at your accommodation or a nearby local restaurant.

Included Activities:
-Black Hills - Mount Rushmore
-Custer State Park - Buffalo Safari
-Black Hills - Crazy Horse Memorial

Day 3: Billings
Location: Billings
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

It's an early start this morning as after breakfast you’ll drive to the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. After a stop along the way for lunch, join your Crow Nation Guide for a tour that provides an Apsaalooke perspective on the conflict. With a tribal historian at your side, you’ll 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, head to Billings, where you’ll spend the night.

Included Activities:
-Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument -guided tour with a Crow Nation Guide

Day 4: Yellowstone National Park
Location: Yellowstone National Park
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

This morning after breakfast, depart Billings and drive west towards Yellowstone National Park – one of the country's most popular, expansive, and beautiful national parks. Stop in Cody along the way – a western town in Wyoming famously named after Buffalo Bill Cody. Enjoy some free time for lunch and to explore Cody, and then carry on to the park. When you arrive at Yellowstone, you’ll head straight for a visit to the Old Faithful Geyser – a must-see for any trip to the park, Old Faithful is a cone geyser with striking colours and a predictable geothermal eruption (hence the name). Watch as it sprays over 4000 gallons (14,000 litres) of boiling water into the air, then be hypnotised by the startling colours of the Grand Prismatic Spring. After, you’ll check into your hotel in West Yellowstone.

Included Activities:
-Yellowstone National Park - Southern Loop Featuring Old Faithful Geyser & Grand Prismatic Spring

Day 5: Yellowstone National Park
Location: Yellowstone National Park
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast, lunch

Today after breakfast, you’ll continue to explore the gorgeous Yellowstone National Park, looking out for grizzly bears, wolves, buffalo and elk roaming free. Visit The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone (a great spot for photos) and then explore the Norris Geyser Basin – the hottest and oldest geyser in the park. Along the way, you’ll enjoy a picnic lunch with your group, giving you some free time to sit down and relax or wander and take photos. Tonight, you’re free for dinner, so maybe get your group together and say a pre-final day goodbye over a couple of drinks.

Included Activities:
-Yellowstone National Park - Northern Loop Featuring Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone & Norris Geyser Basin

Day 6: Yellowstone Wolf Tracking / Bozeman
Location: Yellowstone Wolf Tracking / Bozeman
Meals Included: breaksfast, lunch

You'll be up before the sun this morning, but it's for a good reason! After breakfast, you’ll head 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 for everyone and high-powered spotting scopes, so no one will miss out. After an included lunch, travel to Bozeman, where your adventure ends at around 4 pm this afternoon. If you’d like to stay in the area for longer, just speak to your booking agent.

Included Activities:
-Yellowstone - Wolf Tracking Expedition

Day 7: Bozeman To Helena
Location: Bozeman to Helena
Accommodation: Hotel

There'll be a meeting at 10 am to welcome new travellers joining the next leg of your adventure. After your meeting, visit the Museum of the Rockies, a Smithsonian Affiliate Museum that’s famous for its world-class dinosaur exhibits. After a bit of culture to get you going, you’ll head to Helena, where you spend the night. When you arrive in the capital of Montana, you might like to head out for dinner with your group.

Included Activities:
-Bozeman – Museum of the Rockies

Day 8: Helena
Location: Helena
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

After breakfast, you’ll 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. Your night is free in Helena to rest and recharge or find a good dinner spot – your leader is always on hand with suggestions.

Included Activities:
-Helena - Lewis and Clark River Cruise

Day 9: Great Falls
Location: Great Falls
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast, lunch

After an early breakfast, hit the road and drive 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. This is a special and unique experience to learn about the history of the land firsthand. Get to know the landscape with a member of the Blackfeet tribe, who will take you on a full day experience including hikes, walks, talks and a cultural exchange on their homelands. Then, sit down and soak up the scenery over an included lunch where you can ask questions and learn more. Spend the night in Great Falls, where you’re free for dinner.

Included Activities:
-Great Falls - Hikes with Blackfeet Nation guide

Day 10: Glacier National Park / Whitefish
Location: Glacier National Park / Whitefish
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

This morning, you’ll hit the road again after breakfast. Known as the ‘Crown of the Continent’, Glacier National Park offers an impressive array of activities for lovers of nature and the great outdoors. Today, you’ll board a raft and enjoy an exhilarating (and splashy) rafting experience down the Flathead River with an expert local guide – a must-do in this area! Then head into the town of Whitefish, where you’ll spend the night. After an action-packed day, feel free to relax and recharge, or chat with your leader for the best dinner recommendations in town.

Included Activities:
-Glacier National Park – Scenic Whitewater Rafting

Day 11: Glacier National Park / Whitefish
Location: Glacier National Park / Whitefish
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast, lunch

After breakfast this morning, you'll take on a full day locally-guided nature hike in Glacier National Park – a wilderness area in Montana’s Rocky Mountains, with glacier-carved peaks and valleys running to the Canadian border. First, we'll drive the iconic Going to the Sun Road to the trailhead where we'll begin our hike. Meander through sun dappled forests to the base of two waterfalls as you hear from your guide about the history of the people who have called Glacier National Park home. Stopping for a homemade picnic lunch with your group, soak up the beauty of your surroundings before making your way back along the trail. Tonight, you may like to drop into one of the local craft breweries or restaurants for dinner.

Included Activities:
-Glacier National Park - Full Day Guided Hike with Lunch

Day 12: Missoula
Location: Missoula
Meals Included: breaksfast, lunch

Enjoy a morning at leisure before hitting the road to Missoula. When you arrive, enjoy one last meal with your group to celebrate all you’ve done in this jam-packed adventure. Head to a local brewery and taste some local Montana huckleberry beer over an included lunch. Your adventure will end at around 3 pm.

Included Activities:
-Missoula - Local Brewery Tasting & Lunch

What's Included

  • Accommodation
    Lodge (2 nights), Hotels (9 nights)

  • Meals
    10 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 1 dinners

  • Badlands National Park – Hiking

  • 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

  • Helena - Lewis and Clark River Cruise

  • Bozeman – Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park Hike

  • Glacier National Park – Full Day Vintage Bus Park Tour

  • Flathead Lake State Park - Hike

  • Great Falls - Hikes with Blackfeet Nation guide

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What's Not Included

  • Tipping and Gratuities

  • Airport Transfers at Destination

Transport

  • AIRPORT TRANSFERS IN THE USA & CANADA
  • We recommend taxis and rideshare services like Lyft and Uber when traveling to and from hotels in the USA and Canada. These services are widely available across North America, offering convenient and accessible transportation options. Private transfers in North America incur high costs and present an increased risk of missed connections due to their fixed schedules. In contrast, taxis and rideshares offer both cost-effectiveness and flexibility, ensuring a smoother journey. With transparent pricing, GPS tracking, and on-demand availability, we believe that taxis and rideshare apps not only offer a reliable alternative to private transfers but also provide a secure, trustworthy, and budget-friendly transportation option for our customers.

Accommodation

  • Lodge (2 nights), Hotels (9 nights)

Important Information

  • 1. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 10 am on Day 1 in Rapid City. Please make your own way to the Joining Point 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.
  • 5. June Departures: Glacier National Park roads do not fully open to vehicles until all snow is cleared from the high alpine passes. This usually happens in early to mid-June but can extend later into the month during especially snowy years. On departures that travel before the park roads fully open to cars, we will include guided e-biking on Going to the Sun Road. The e-biking typically lasts 4-5 hours and we ride 16-42 miles depending on road conditions. The minimum age to ride an e-bike is 18 years old.

Check out our Q&As

  • Are all entrance fees included in the price?

    Yes, except optional activities

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes

  • Are flights included in this tour?

    No

  • Are all the relevant entry visa’s included in the price of the tour?

    Yes

  • Is this trip right for you

    This trip involves a whitewater rafting experience in which you will be required to manoeuvre in and out of a raft, and a guided hike with a distance of 10.5 km (6.5 mi). While the included activities do not require any special physical preparation for most travelers, at least a moderate level of fitness is needed to make the most out of the trip.

    June departures may include a guided e-biking experience on Glacier National Park's iconic Going to the Sun Road instead of the full day hike if the high passes are not yet fully cleared of snow.

    This trip includes time spent travelling in a private vehicle with your group. Extra space can be tight, and conditions may feel a little cramped. It’s all part of the adventure and a great way to get to know your fellow travellers. Please read the itinerary carefully for travel time estimates.

  • Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

    Yes, if age 15+ are accompanied by an adult

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    No

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Please contact us for latest COVID-19 policies

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Intrepid Travel has been taking travellers around the world for over 30 years

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Yes

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Since 2002, The Intrepid Foundation has supported over 130 organisations across the world. We’re creating positive impact through the joy of travel, community and connection.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Over 50% of traveller travel solo with Intrepid. You can choose to share a room with another solo travelle of the same sex for no additional charge, or choose to pay a single supplement if you’d like your own room. Please request this when booking, and we will secure you a single supplement wherever possible. Please note, if you are booking a last-minute trip, it may be harder for us to secure a single room

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Dates & Availability

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Sunday - Thursday

Jul 21, 2024 - Aug 01, 2024
$6650 $6467 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$183 (USD)

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Sunday - Thursday

Jul 28, 2024 - Aug 08, 2024
$6650 $6467 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$183 (USD)

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Sunday - Thursday

Aug 18, 2024 - Aug 29, 2024
$6715 $6530 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$185 (USD)

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Sunday - Thursday

Aug 25, 2024 - Sep 05, 2024
$6650 $6467 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$183 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Thursday

Sep 01, 2024 - Sep 12, 2024
$6650 $6467 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$183 (USD)

Book with Confidence

  • Free Date Changes

    Intrepid Travel allows you to make 10 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 56 days before the start of the tour.

  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    Intrepid Travel allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform intrepid travel, 56 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    Intrepid Travel requires a minimum deposit of 400 USD per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 56 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of intrepid travel charges.

    Up to 56 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 55 days before tour starts: Forfeit 30% of booking price.

    At 30 days before tour starts: Forfeit 60% of booking price.

    At 14 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

  • COVID Protection

    Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
    From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19.

    However, we continue to strongly recommend that all travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and other Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

    This policy excludes all Polar trips and select adventure cruises, where testing and vaccination remains a requirement. Please refer to the Essential Trip Information of your chosen tour for more details.

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