Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting in the hotel lobby at 6pm. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. Your evening is then free to do as you wish. If you arrive in Denver earlier in the day, perhaps take a walk to the impressive building of the Colorado State Capitol. Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Today you'll venture north into Wyoming and Sinks Canyon State Park, a trip that will take around six hours. Sinks Canyon is a rugged canyon at the base of the southern Wind River Mountains in Wyoming. Located on the eastern slope of the mountains, the canyon is named for its unique geologic formation, “The Sinks”, where the river vanishes underground near the mouth of the canyon.
Take a 3.5 hour drive to Jackson, a cute mountain town with a cowboy feel. Soak up the easy-going vibes with a visit to the Million Dollar Cowboy bar, or get your heart bumping on a rafting adventure on the Snake River.
Prepare for a jaw-dropping drive through Grand Teton National Park, a wonderous place where snow-capped mountains stand watch over golden plains and fast-flowing rivers. The spectacular national park will serve as the entree to Yellowstone's main course. Yellowstone National Park, America's first national park, is a stunning 9,000 square kilometre tract of wilderness home to bison, bears and grizzly grey wolves, who were only reintroduced in 1995. The day will be split between the two parks, depending on the wishes of the group.
Return to Yellowstone National Park for a driving tour. See all of the park's main highlights, such as serene lakes, tumbling waterfalls and volcanic geysers. There will even be a visit to the famous Old Faithful geyser, so named for its predictable eruptions that take place every 35 to 120 minutes. If you're lucky enough you may even come across a herd of bison along the way.
Buckle up for a longer drive today as you leave Yellowstone and head to the Devils Tower National Monument in eastern Wyoming, a journey that takes around 8 hours. The Devils Tower is an imposing laccolithic butte composed of igneous rock in the Bear Lodge Mountains. The Kiowa refer to the monument as the 'rock tree' due to its height. Spend a night under the stars, camping in the shadow of the Devils Tower. Listen out for coyotes howling in the distance.
Today there is a short drive (approximately 2.5 hours) to South Dakota and Mount Rushmore National Memorial. See the famous sculptures of former presidents that are carved into the face of Mount Rushmore and visit the nearby Crazy Horse National Monument, a giant Native American Indian sculpture in progress. Learn about the incredible Mission of Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation and the work they are doing to protect and preserve the culture, tradition and living heritage of the Native American Indians. Admissions support advancements in Mountain carving, the museums, and the developing of Indian University of North America.
Drive approximately two hours this morning to Badlands National Park. Witness the lunar-like landscape of the park and discover a wide array of intriguing creatures on a short hike. Continue approximately four hours across South Dakota to the Sioux Falls area.
Drive from Minnesota to neighbouring Wisconsin (approximately 5-6 hours). Your destination tonight is the mighty Mississippi River and Goose Island. Along the way you may stop at the Spam Museum (they have free samples!) There is an opportunity this evening to rent canoes and go for a paddle on the world-famous river.
In the morning travel east into the state of Illinois to the ‘City of Skyscrapers’ (also ‘The Windy City’ and ‘Chi-Town’) – Chicago (approximately 5-6 hours). Laidback, lakeside and with a famously friendly local vibe, Chicago is a regular highlight of many a trip to the States. Located on Lake Michigan and with over 45 kilometres of lake-front paths, Chicago is one of the world's most walkable (or bikeable) cities. Amble up N Michigan Avenue to check out the shops, pass the beautiful downtown buildings along the ‘Magnificent Mile’, or drop by the Art Institute. Perhaps connect with the locals, who will be happy to tell you about their favourite restaurants, cafes, blues bars, or where to find the best slice of the city's legendary deep dish pizza. The city is also great for experiencing music in the evenings, so possibly head to Chicago Blues for a memorable night.
Today is a full free day in Chicago. Perhaps hire a bike and cycle around the city or walk the lakefront paths. For a panoramic view of the city, scale the Willis Tower (with a Skydeck that has huge glass panels and a glass balcony) or head up the John Hancock Centre. Alternatively, check out one of the city's museums such as the Art Institute of Chicago or experience the rides on Navy Pier. Take a river cruise to see the soaring buildings and numerous bridges, and don’t miss the Bloomingdale Trail (‘The ‘606’), the city’s answer to New York’s High Line – a 4.3 kilometre old freight train route turned into a park.
Leave the state of Illinois and head east into Michigan and Detroit (approximately 4.5 hours). The city is gritty and urban, but it also has an undeniable energy that its recent bankruptcy hasn't been able to dim. More recently, Detroit has been reinvented with young artists and entrepreneurs moving in, as well as the opening of quirky bars, urban farms, and street art installations like the Heidelberg Project. You could also pay a visit to the Detroit Institute of Arts for a look at one of America's most significant art collections. Alternatively, head to the Motown Museum and Ford Museum for an insight into two of the city's famous exports. The balmy evenings in the city are also perfect for strolling riverside paths and sitting on brew pub decks.
Skirt the edge of Lake Erie and cross the Midwest into Ohio, with Sandusky as your destination (approximately two hours). Make your way to Cedar Point Amusement Park, the so-called ‘Roller Coaster Capital of the World’. Cedar Point also features the Millennium Force, which has been voted the greatest roller coaster in the world, making it the place to be if you love an adrenaline hit. If the thrill of the ride gets too much for you, head to the nearby beach and simply stretch out on the sandy shoreline. In the late afternoon, set up camp near Lake Erie and wander down to the lakeshore for a memorable sunset.
Visit one of the country's greatest natural attractions – Niagara Falls. Follow the edge of Lake Erie all the way up to this famous sight, which sits sandwiched between the borders of the United States and Canada (approximately 4.5 hours). There are numerous viewpoints from which you can appreciate the power of this amazing set of falls, but there's no better way than to approach them from the water. Don a blue poncho and experience the full force of the falls with an optional Maid of the Mist cruise. A word of warning though, prepare to get a little wet. For the ultimate show, head to the falls at night and see them lit up in all of their glory.
Cross into upstate New York and drive to the town of Seneca Falls on the Finger Lakes (approximately three hours). This area is named for its 11 finger-like lakes that stretch north to south between Lake Ontario and the state boarder. As New York’s largest wine producing region, the Finger Lakes region has over 100 wineries to discover (just don’t try and visit them all today!) Perhaps indulge in a wine tasting session or head out on a hike to a nearby waterfall. Taughannock Falls State Park is home to a 215-foot waterfall, 33 feet higher than Niagara Falls itself! The park's walks are dotted with little waterfalls along the way and the surroundings are just beautiful. Set up camp for the night in the state park.
Leave the natural setting of the Finger Lakes and head to the urban jungle. This journey usually takes around five hours, but as the traffic can be really busy, please be prepared for delays. This adventure comes to an end on arrival in Newark, just across the river from New York City. There is no accommodation included tonight. From iconic landmarks to hidden gems, the possibilities are truly endless in the global city of New York, so why not stay a few days longer. We’ll be happy to help you book additional accommodation (subject to availability).