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An entertainment oasis surrounded by dry desert with a reputation almost as big as the fortune's many have made (and lost) here, Sin City is a place unlike any other. The entertainment capital of the world, Vegas is famed for its glittering casinos, all you can eat buffets and shot gun weddings ordained by none other than Elvis himself, so you really are starting as you mean to go on by kicking off your trip here! After settling into your hotel and meeting up with your Travel Director this afternoon, the bright lights and bizarre antics of Vegas will undoubtedly lure you in. Take a walk down 'The Strip', where the city's finest hotels and grandest casinos can be found, or head over to the Downtown area to explore the artsy Freemont East district.
Leaving Vegas a little lighter in the pocket but rich in memories, we have one question for you - are you ready to get your kicks on Route 66? If the answer's yes, today's the day to do it as you journey along this former iconic named highway in the direction of the Grand Canyon. One of the world's 7 natural wonders and a UNESCO World Heritage site, we'll forgive you for being lost for words as you take your first look at this 2 billion year old marvel of nature. Want to make your visit extra special? Why not treat yourself to a once in a lifetime experience that could see you flying in a helicopter or aircraft over the North and South rims. Feeling distinctly in awe you'll then visit the Grand Canyon Village, before finishing up this evening in the Arizonan escape town of Flagstaff, a laid back outpost on historic Route 66.
Get a taste of Flagstaff's pioneering beginnings at an Iconic Breakfast this morning, then it's on to visit a Hollywood great, Monument Valley. Immortalised as the setting for countless movies and TV shows, Monument Valley is an emblem of the wild west, its rusty red spindles and grand buttes thrusting 1200 feet skyward from the barren valley below. Named the 'Valley Between the Rocks' by the Navajo people who arrived here centuries ago, you'll likely feel very small and insignificant here as you learn about the geology and history of the area from your private Navajo guide. Tonight you'll spend the evening in Page, gateway to sparkling Lake Powell, America's second largest man made reservoir.
Your first stop today will be Zion National Park, where the soaring red and white cliffs and vast canyons stand in stark contrast to the soft wildflower meadows and hanging gardens that can also be found here, a result of the park's lower elevation.
Bryce Canyon National Park, where you'll likely stand in puzzlement in front of the multicoloured 'hoodoos' and vast amphitheatres that signify the environment of this region. Take a stroll along one of the many juniper lined trails to one of the viewpoints hugging the rim of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Salt Lake City awaits you today, Utah's small town feeling capital city. Arriving here you'll visit Temple Square, the city's most famous sight which boasts an impressive six-spired Temple, and is also home to the world renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir, who broadcast live every Sunday. This evening why not head to the relaxed and friendly Downtown area where the city's spirit permeates through its coffee houses and laid back bars.
Travelling through vast, rugged Wyoming this morning, enjoy the dramatic scenery as snow covered mountain ranges rise and fall before arriving into Jackson. Take a stroll around Town Square and admire the famous elk antlers that serve as the gateway to George Washington Memorial Park, or perhaps visit the famous Million Dollar Cowboy bar, known for its western memorabilia and genuine saddles for bar stools.
Living up to its impressive sounding name, Grand Teton National Park boasts a series of 12 imposing, glacier carved summits that are sure to impress. Home to bears, moose and elk, the hiking through the park is second to none experience as you search for alpine lakes surrounded by wildflowers. For something more relaxed, you could choose to float a 10 mile stretch of Snake River, accompanied by an experienced guide who will teach you the geology of the area and point out wildlife along the way. You'll also stop by Moran Lookout and glacially carved Jenny Lake today, before heading back to Jackson. Tonight why not grab your chance to join a real cowboy cookout, travelling by horse drawn wagon to beautiful Cache Creek Canyon, where you'll be treated to a delicious Dutch oven dinner.
Spot the snowy peaks of the Teton Range this morning as you follow the path of Snake River towards Yellowstone National Park. A place that needs little introduction, Yellowstone is home to a staggering 60% of the world's geysers that randomly erupt with boiling water and steam, much to the delight of crowd's who travel the world over to watch the spectacle. Hot springs, bubbling mud pots, vast canyons and lush forests as far as the eye can see also typify the Yellowstone landscape, whilst grizzly bears, wolves, bison and elk all roam free here. Take your time exploring as you visit key sites including the biggest crowd pleaser of them all, Old Faithful, so named for the fact that it loyally erupts every 44 - 125 minutes.
We couldn't leave without a second visit to Yellowstone, and this morning will take you to Mammoth Hot Springs. Said by many to resemble a cave turned inside out, the soft limestone of this area has resulted in the growth of travertine, creating a spectacular terraced effect which needs to be seen to be believed. Stopping by the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, a twenty mile long canyon of up to 4000 feet wide and 1200 feet deep that bedazzles in colours of yellow, red, white and pink, you'll then head on to the frontier town of Cody. A lively place with rowdy saloons and nightly rodeos.
If you've ever wondered how Montana earned its nickname 'Big Sky Country', you'll realise this morning that it's because everything here is big. Big mountains, big lakes, big stretches of uninterrupted skyline. Enjoying the view you'll then arrive at the sobering Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, the place of the 1876 battle between the US Army's 7th Calvary and the Lakota and Cheyenne warriors. Take your time learning about the history of the battle before venturing on to Sheridan, the launch pad resort for the multiple of adventure activities that take place in the Big Horn mountains.
The stunning Black Hills region is first up today, an area of outstanding natural beauty that bridges the Wyoming / South Dakota border and lures visitors with its vast canyons and towering 7000 foot peaks. Garnering its nickname from the dark ponderosa pines that cover the hillsides, be sure to enjoy the drive as you head towards the much publicised Crazy Horse monument, a structure that has been under construction for over 70 years (and still isn't finished). 563 feet tall, the monument recognises the great Sioux leader astride his horse, who you can gain more of an understanding of Native American history by paying a visit to the nearby Indian Museum of North America.
Saving one of the biggest icons to last, today's visit to Mount Rushmore will be one you're unlikely to forget. The largest statue-monument in the world, where else are you able to see the stony faces of four of America's most revered presidents carved 60 feet tall into the granite hillside? You'll also have the chance to take part in our Badlands National Park Excursion, learning more about the 244,000 acres that make up the unique geology of this region, and this evening why not enhance your visit to Mount Rushmore, learning more about the nation's history through the 20 minute film 'Freedom: America's Lasting Legacy".
Bid farewell to your fellow travellers and take a complimentary transfer to Denver International Airport. For guests extending their stay, optional overnight accommodation will be available at the Best Western Plus Denver Airport.
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