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Journey from Yellowstone to Denver through the mighty states of Montana, Idaho, Utah, Arizona and Colorado. Explore some of the world’s finest National Parks and Navajo Indian Reservations, capturing North America’s most spectacular and extraordinary scenery, coupled with an exhilarating scenic train journey on the new Rocky Mountaineer USA style.
Arrive at the airport for your flight to Bozeman (via Denver) in southwest Montana, arriving later the same day.
This morning expectation mounts as our spectacular adventure begins. We journey south, passing the majestic rock walls of Gallatin Canyon, as the road winds along the Gallatin River for more than a hundred miles from Yellowstone to the Missouri river. Its mesmerising course weaves a dramatic route fringed by sheer cliffs, its waters alive with trout and on its banks, bighorn sheep, black bears, elk, mule deer and moose roam whilst eagles patrol the skies above. We break our journey at the mighty Ousel Falls, surrounded by thick cool pine forests, later in the day arriving at West Yellowstone. Established in 1862, the USA’s finest national park nature reserve, the legendary Yellowstone National Park is also the world’s first national park, covering an area of 2.2 million acres within the states of Northwest Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. A vast wild space, geologically active, with a stunning mountain backdrop and an incredible ecosystem, this world-famous park boasts the largest concentration of wildlife within the USA’s 48 states.
Wilderness is the theme of the day as we head into the park to fully immerse ourselves in the natural beauty and wonder of this extraordinary place. The breathtaking scenery is incredibly special: gaze in awe at the stunning Lower Falls, twice the height of Niagara, a huge curtain of water tumbling between sheer forested slopes, the awe-inspiring Yellowstone Grand Canyon, wonderful bubbling mud pools, steaming rivers and hot springs, including the most famous geyser of all, Old Faithful. See Steamboat Geyser, the world’s tallest currently active geyser and magnificent Yellowstone Lake, 136 square miles of crystal-clear water teeming with marine life, and on its tranquil shores there are opportunities to catch sight of the park’s strikingly diverse wildlife, such as herds of elk and bison – it is estimated the park is home to approximately 5000 - or if you’re lucky, grizzly bears!
This morning we continue our scenic journey south through the state of Idaho passing through a fascinating landscape of jagged peaks, emerald-green slopes of thick pine, twisting rivers, frothing rapids and pristine lakes. We take a stop at the city of Idaho Falls, straddling the mighty Snake River that weaves a course of over 1,000 miles from Wyoming to the Columbia River before heading into the Mormon state of Utah to bustling Salt Lake City the state capital. Later in the day we explore Temple Square, a five-block area encompassing several religious buildings and visitor centres, at its centre the six soaring spires of the fine 19th-century Salt Lake Temple that took forty years in construction. If time allows, we will visit Beehive House built in 1854, one of the two official residences of the first Church leader, Brigham Young.
Continuing south through the heart of this fascinating state, we head to the picturesque town of Fillmore, once the territorial capital of Utah. The original Statehouse building survives today as the oldest existing governmental building in the state, and is now a historic site and museum providing a fascinating insight into the lives of the early pioneers here. Explore Rock School House dating from 1867 or simply meander through the museum’s pleasant garden, one of the All-American Rose society gardens. Later our route takes us into the Dixie National Forest from where the extraordinary Red Canyon comes into view – its unique vermilion-coloured rock formations soaring skyward, with a scattering of Ponderosa pines on the valley floor, and as the day draws to a close, we enjoy the sunset over this bizarre and magnificent landscape.
Located almost 8,000 feet above sea level, today we enjoy one of Utah’s best national parks, the world-famous and other-worldly Bryce Canyon, a surreal landscape that looks and feels as if you’ve stepped onto another planet. Named after Ebenezer Bryce, an early Mormon settler who made his home in the area in 1874, gaze in wonder at its eery hoodoos - tall, spindly spires of alien-like rock protruding up from the ground, created by thousands of years of erosion. Today we have plenty of time to explore this quite exceptional, strange and exotic topography with its uniquely fragile quality and intoxicating atmosphere.
With so much to see we’ve an early start today as we enter the state of Arizona and head to one of the most famous slot canyons in the world, Antelope Canyon - a Navajo National Park, located on the Native American Reservation. Surrounded by epic Navajo desert scenery, with countless hues of red and orange, one is confronted with vast rock formations at every turn and huge water-worn ravines that run deep into the earth, known as slots. Discover the most ethereal formations, carved from the red sandstone that seemingly change colour as you pass. Characterized by very narrow and deep channels, a slot canyon differs from vast open sites like the Grand Canyon, but you’ll find it just as spectacular. Antelope’s upper part has 120 feet walls that tower over the narrow passages below; this upper section which was created over the centuries by flowing water cascading into the canyon, dredging grit and sand with it, is known as ‘Tse Bighanilini’ by the Navajo Indians which means ‘the places where water runs through rocks’. It is certainly a sight to behold as you marvel at the famous celestial sunbeams striking the canyon floor, creating a magical almost heavenly ambience in this unique place.
Today experience one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. A UNESCO world heritage site, 277 miles long, 18 miles wide and one mile deep, history records that the Grand Canyon was carved by the Colorado river over 5 million years ago, with some recent studies suggesting as long as 70 million years ago! Fascinating as it is, the Grand Canyon exposes nearly 2 billion years of the Earth’s geological history within its eroded walls. With a mind-boggling series of shapes, colours and glaring desert light, contrasted with jet black shadows, formed by pinnacles of rock interspersed with stark promontories it’s a sight to take your breath away. The southern rim extends for 14 miles, and we visit some of the best viewing points, each one providing a different perspective over the ever-changing panorama.
This afternoon or tomorrow morning you have the option of taking a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter flight for the ultimate panoramic view of the Grand Canyon, a truly magical display of natural beauty! As the light changes, the crisp shadows rapidly shorten, and the greys and blues change to reds, yellows and ochres in a kaleidoscope of intensive colour.
Located on the border of south-eastern Utah and north-eastern Arizona, we enter the vast 16 million acre Navajo Indian Reservation and into the lowland basin of Monument Valley - one of the most iconic landmarks in American cinema, famed as the back drop in many a John Wayne Western movie. Marvel at the incredible flat-topped towers of red sandstone and limestone buttes and messas that rise so dramatically from the surrounding barren desert, with the softer light affording ideal photographic conditions. What you see began the foundation within an ancient mountain range that was created 300 million years ago and then slowly eroded away.
To experience the Valley from a different perspective and gain a greater understanding of its historic significance we have the option of an insightful guided 4x4 jeep tour by a local Navajo Indian.
Nestled between Canyonlands and Arches National Park, towering 2000 feet over the Colorado river’s majestic gooseneck bend is Dead Horse Point State Park, one of Utah’s most spectacular. Here you’ll find a magnificently dramatic landscape of foreboding jagged valleys of sedimentary rocks, with immense canyons, desert woodland and mile upon mile of scenic trails. Have your camera at the ready for jaw-dropping 360-degree views of these incredible rock formations - millions of years of geologic activity creating a blazing panorama of sculptured pinnacles and buttes, shadowed by distant cool blue mountains. The park covers 5,362 acres and in more recent times this spectacular backdrop has been featured in various films including Thelma and Louise, as well as both Mission Impossible films and The Lone Ranger in 2013.
This morning, when the light is at its best, we visit another tour highlight, Arches National Park. A red rock wonderland, boasting the world’s largest concentration of natural sandstone arches within a relatively small area, there are around two thousand colossal sandstone arches, soaring spires, monoliths and balanced rock formations, making the landscape utterly unique and a photographer’s paradise. This Mars-like topography, with its changing colours of oranges and deep reds, is sure to leave an indelible mark on the memory. An area with over 2000 natural stone arches, soaring pinnacles, massing rock fins and giant balances rocks, we stop at some of the most famous landmarks so have your camera at the ready! Options to enjoy include a 4x4 off-road tour in the backcountry of Canyonlands National Park. Alternatively, today or tomorrow morning take a once-in-a-lifetime scenic flight over Canyonlands Island-in-the-sky (pre-book only).
After a morning at leisure, this afternoon we set off on one of the most epic train journeys in the southwest United States. On boarding the world-famous Rocky Mountaineer, you’ll be led to your assigned seat with plenty of legroom to stretch out. Your assigned train coach has a small open sided view area, perfect to capture a panoramic scenic photo as you take in the incredible views. Sit back and relax whilst you’re immersed in a dazzling display of incredible rock formations, crimson stained and desert cliffs, and jaw-dropping mountain vistas. Gaze in wonder at the Book Cliffs, Mount Garfield towering to 6700 ft, La Sal Mountains, Debeque Canyon, Ruby Canyon, as well as the world’s largest flat top mountain, the Grand Mesa. As we journey through an ever-changing landscape into the state of Colorado, on board you’ll be served a complimentary selection of beverages (non-alcoholic and alcoholic). As the evening sunset draws in, a three-course dinner is served in the comfort of your coach car seat before arriving to in Glenwood Springs, famed for its healing waters. Our overnight stay is in a selection of hotels in Glenwood Springs.
Today we enjoy on-board breakfast and lunch as the journey comes to an end in the early evening in the mile high city of Denver. Our spectacular route follows the Colorado River whose tributaries over 1000s of years, have naturally carved out canyons inaccessible by car. Journeying above and into the heart of these canyons, we pass through awe-inspiring scenery, including Glenwood Canyon, Gore Canyon, Byers Canyon, towering cliff walls on one side and the rushing Colorado River on the other before we reach a marvel of engineering created by the Colorado railroad pioneer, David Moffat. The Moffat Tunnel cuts through the continental divide - 6 miles of hand blasted rock - through one of the most iconic and important mountain ranges in the Americas. Climbing 9000 feet to the Gross Reservoir Dam home to the Denver water supply the views are ever-more magnificent. The final highlight of the day is the ‘big 10 curve’ an engineering marvel, named for its sharp 10-degree radius curvature. Build in 1902 by the Denver, North-Western and Pacific Railway this is an innovative s-shaped curve which impressively arcs around the base of the foothills where the Denver Great Plains meet the Front Range of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
Take the morning at leisure or join a walking tour of downtown Denver. Transfer to the airport for your early evening direct return flight.
The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a room. Single rooms are subject to availability at the relevant supplement. The price includes:
Along with your experienced and knowledgeable tour manager and local experts, you’ll discover so much on our award-winning Classic tours, offering the best value for money way for you to explore the world.
Our tour managers have been rated as the best in the business for their knowledge and experience and will go above and beyond to ensure every aspect of your holiday runs smoothly – so all you need to worry about is your packing.
Monument Valley 4x4 tour with a Native American guide - from £79pp
Enjoy nature’s marvellous sandstone creations and see the places where ancient Anasazi families once lived among the enormous red buttes. On this 2.5 hour tour in 4x4 vehicles, expert Navajo guides share fascinating insights into the history, culture and plants of this extraordinary landscape.
Grand Canyon Dancer helicopter flight - from £239pp
Experience an unforgettable flight from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. During this 25-minute flight, you’ll enjoy views of some of the oldest exposed rock in the world. Your helicopter provides forward-facing seating for six.
Canyonlands 4x4 tour of the Island-in-the-Sky - from £129pp
Enjoy this 4-hour excursion in 4x4 jeeps outfitted with comfortable seats and air-conditioning. This trip explores the area known as “The Island in the Sky,” a high plateau rising 2,000 feet or more above the rest of Canyonlands National Park – the vistas from this plateau are sublime. Please be advised that this excursion involves driving over rugged terrain and it can get quite bumpy.
Scenic Flight over Island-in-the-Sky - from £159pp
Take an early morning, 40-minute flight, over Canyonlands National Park and witness the beauty of the park from above with a fascinating narration from the pilot. The aircraft could be a 9-seater Caravan, 5-seater or 3-seater Cessna – depending on number of guests and availability. Each seat is a window seat.
Rocky Mountaineer SilverLeaf Plus - from £349pp
An enhanced dining experience served in the comfort of your coach car seat, with exclusive access to a single level coach lounge car with complimentary beverage service with premium drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic). Enjoy this once in a lifetime experience from a different perspective and in the utmost luxury and comfort.
Please contact us to add any of the above experiences to your booking.
Along with a valid passport, UK citizens must have an ESTA visa waiver or a visa in order to travel to the USA. For the most up-to-date passport and visa information visit
ESTA cost is US$14 per person. Full details of how and when to apply will be sent with your booking confirmation.
We are unable to accept responsibility if you are unable to travel because you have not complied with any passport/entry/immigration requirements.
Please note that visa costs may be subject to change.
We want to ensure you make the correct choice before you book your holiday with us. If you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility we would encourage you to call us to discuss these concerns. General information on mobility in connection with our tours can be found here.
There are no current health requirements for travel to the USA, however, whilst the travelling schedule shall pose no problems for people of any age in normal physical health, we would point out that we often enjoy walking tours (sometimes over unmade paths) so this holiday may not be suitable for clients of greatly impaired mobility. Please bear this in mind when considering this holiday.
All transfer times listed here are approximate, and dependent on traffic. If you have a question regarding transfer times please don't hesitate to contact us.
|Arrival airport||First hotel location||Transfer time||Final hotel location||Departure airport||Transfer time|
|Bozeman||Bozeman||20 mins||Denver||Denver||1 hour 15 mins|