The untamed wild west spirit of eastern Wyoming is where stories of the American West whisper through the pines and the nation's first national monument, Devil's Tower, looms over sacred grounds. In the Bighorn Mountains, you'll discover a land that time has forgot, and wildlife in abundance. As you explore the state, each town offers a lesson in the history and lore of the region. You’ll discover what Wyoming was really like in in the days of Wild Bill Hickok and the Sundance Kid.
Combine that with South Dakota’s prehistoric dinosaurs and the Native Americans that first called this land home and you’ve got a holiday extraordinarily rich in history and culture. Mount Rushmore will have you in awe – especially when you consider it was completed in 1941. By contrast, the world's largest in-progress mountain carving at Crazy Horse Memorial continues and most definitely worth a visit.
There's more to Denver though than an amazing backdrop. It is one impressive city, full of interesting neighbourhoods and people, must-do attractions and a superb array of year-round events.
The city's hip and historic district - LoDo (lower downtown) has the country's highest concentration of Victorian buildings and is full of quirky shops, brewhouses, cafes and al fresco dining. Stroll around the museum of Contemporary Art or the Colorado History museum or the "Unsinkable Molly Brown" House. Every month of the year, there are festivals and activities taking place - most open to the public and free of charge.
Distance: 243 miles
Home to the only university in Wyoming, Laramie is a vibrant college town brimming with western history, modern art and quaint accommodations.
History buffs can step into the past at the Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site, where the infamous outlaw, Butch Cassidy, was once held. Go back further in time at the University of Wyoming’s Geological Museum, Wyoming’s very own “Jurassic Park.” Outdoor enthusiasts can explore Laramie’s picturesque surroundings of Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest and the Snowy Range Mountains.
From hiking, high mountain lakes, and camping in the Snowy Range to climbing gravity-defying rock formations in Vedauwoo Recreation Area, Laramie offers bountiful options for outdoor adventure. Be sure to explore Laramie’s historic downtown with a walkable brewery or mural tour; downtown Laramie features brilliant full wall murals created by local artists. Then, grab a bite to eat at any foodie hotspot, such as Sweet Melissa Café, Altitude Chophouse and Brewery or Roxie’s on Grand.
Saratoga, Wyoming is one of the state’s hot springs destinations, offering a few options for those wanting to relax in these healing waters.
Head to Hobo Hot Springs for a free experience in a natural setting near the North Platte River, or book a stay at Saratoga Hot Springs Resort to soak under teepee-covered pools. More than just hot springs, Saratoga offers plenty of outdoor activities, with Elk Mountain, the Snowy Range Mountains and the Sierra Madre Mountains surrounding this quaint town.
Hundreds of miles of hiking trails are scattered throughout the area’s Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, and anglers can enjoy premiere blue-ribbon trout fishing along freestone rivers flowing throughout the Platte Valley. Fish on your own or hire one of many outfitters to be your guide. Peruse unique shops and dine at local restaurants downtown before spending the night. Lodging in Saratoga ranges from the natural Silver Lake Campground to the Historic Hotel Wolf and luxurious Brush Creek Ranch. No matter your travel style, you’ll be sure to find something to enjoy in Saratoga.
Distance: 147 miles
Rawlins, Wyoming is where western hospitality and history come together to bring a true Wyoming experience like no other.
Founded on the Union Pacific Railroad line, Rawlins was historically a major passenger and freight station stop along the Transcontinental Railroad route. Head to Rawlins’ award-winning downtown, where you will find ample boutique shopping, fine dining and western artwork. Step in the Carbon County Museum for a trip back in time. They collect, conserve, interpret, and disseminate regional history to inspire Carbon County cultural entities and all learners-today and tomorrow. Their museum features the story of the outlaw, Big Nose George Parrott and the intriguing disposal of his remains. For those looking for an outdoor escape, be sure to take the short drive to Seminoe State Park, where there is excellent fishing, camping, hiking and wildlife viewing.
On the drive you'll encounter Register of the Desert, or better known as Independence Rock. This is part of the areas pioneering history and as part of the Oregon Trail, it is the most-noted landmark of the Wagon Trails west of Fort Laramie. It it you'll discover over 5,000 signatures and inscriptions left by pioneers.
In Casper, you can discover the past while taking in picturesque scenery and modern amenities. This town in central Wyoming marks the only point where the Oregon, California, Mormon and Pony Express Trails intersected during the westward expansion of the mid-1800s. Step into the shoes of these western travellers with a wagon ride from Historic Trails West..
Check out the Garden Creek Waterfall Loop to see waterfalls and beautiful wild flowers. And don’t leave hungry; the restaurants in Casper are some of the best in the state, including Racca’s Pizzeria Napoletana and Firerock Steakhouse. End your day by perusing shops downtown, hanging out at David Street Station, and checking out the local music scene.
Want to stay longer? Just outside of Casper - Fremont Canyon, a beautiful location for fishing, hiking, rock climbing, boating and swimming. Take a boat ride from Alcova Reservoir to Pathfinder Reservoir and marvel at the towering red canyon walls along the way.
Distance: 147 miles
Buffalo, Wyoming is tucked away between the rolling plains of the Old West and the towering peaks of the Bighorn Mountains.
Whether it’s beautiful scenery, wide open spaces, outdoor recreation or getting a sense of history through local museums, Buffalo and its surrounding communities are places you’ll love to visit. Enjoy the Western hospitality of restaurants from family fare to fine dining, in addition to shops, art galleries and a wide selection of lodging. Sit down for breakfast at the Busy Bee Cafe, a name you might recognize from the hit book and television series, Longmire, which took much of its inspiration from the Buffalo area.
Make sure to visit the Historic Occidental Hotel while you are downtown. When you step through the front door of this grand hotel, you are truly stepping back into the Old West – standing on ground trod by the likes of Teddy Roosevelt, Butch Cassidy and Calamity Jane. In addition, everywhere you look, you will see the way it really was in frontier days. The stunning embossed ceilings in the lobby and the saloon are the original ceilings. The magnificent back bar in the Saloon is the original back bar. Even the chairs you will sit on are likely to be antiques original to the hotel.
Or experience the Western lifestyle yourself at one of the area’s guest ranches, like Paradise Guest Ranch. Head into nearby Bighorn National Forest to enjoy fishing streams and alpine lakes, hiking among breathtaking scenery and camping in serene areas like the South Fork Campground. Take a trip where the Old West and New West meet at the TA Guest Ranch. An authentic ranch in the heart of Buffalo, site of the Johnson County Cattle War.
A breathtaking vision of the New West, Sheridan is Wyoming’s emerald city. Historic downtown doors swing open to extend warm hospitality as legendary as the icons that once roamed these parts, while dramatic vistas of the Bighorn Mountains meet the serenity of wide-open spaces. Gaze at the neon lights lining Main Street in Sheridan’s historic downtown, including that of the bronc rider above the saloon-style Mint Bar. Book a stay at the Historic Sheridan Inn Hotel to spend time where author Ernest Hemingway put the finishing touches on A Farewell to Arms. Explore the Brinton Museum to discover Native American history and Western art. Then venture outdoors to take on a multitude of activities within the surrounding Bighorn National Forest.
Hike the legendary peaks of the Bighorn Mountains or one of the many trails. Epic events, breweries, live music, remarkable ranches and hotels, wilderness hikes and more live at the base of the Bighorns in Sheridan, Wyoming.
Distance: 165 miles
On the drive today encounter UCross Foundation Art Gallery. Located in the historic Big Red Barn at the heart of the Ucross Foundation’s historic 22,000-acre cattle ranch, the gallery presents work by contemporary artists and historical exhibits of regional interest; visitors may also tour the adjacent 1880s ranch house.
Anchored in Wyoming’s northeast corner, Gillette is the gateway to Devils Tower National Monument, the nation’s first national monument, and the perfect midway stop between Yellowstone National Park and South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
Home to CAM-PLEX, the largest multi-event facility in the western U.S., Gillette offers countless opportunities to experience live music, rodeos, theatre and much more. Once you arrive, head to the Rockpile History Museum, which is aptly named as it is next to a massive pile of sandstone-coloured rocks. The space tells the history of the Powder River Basin with an impressive firearms collection.
You can also stroll down memory lane at Frontier Auto Museum, seeing the way Americans used to travel on the open road. Relive the nostalgia of the full-service gas stations, mechanic shop, 1930’s barber shop and their general store. For those looking to avoid the crowds, take a short drive to Durham Buffalo Ranch, one of the largest privately owned bison ranches in the county.
Summer tours are available to see the nearly 3,000 bison that reside on the ranch. Your trip wouldn’t be complete until you experience Gillette’s growing culinary scene. With more than 70 restaurants and Wyoming’s first meadery, you’ll surely find something to satisfy your taste buds.
Sundance is a small Western town in Wyoming’s beautiful Black Hills and conjures images of rowdy cowboys from the days of the Wild West. After all, Sundance is where a member of Butch Cassidy’s notorious Wild Bunch gang, The Sundance Kid, got his name after being jailed for stealing a horse. Be sure to take your picture with this infamous outlaw at the Crook County Museum & 1875 Gallery. Take in even more of the town’s Native American and Wild West history on a Sip n Walk Historical Tour, where you can meet historical figures while sipping on wine, beer or lemonade.
Sundance, is also considered the gateway to Devils Tower National Monument, as the town sits less than 30 miles from this otherworldly rock formation. In fact, Sundance is in an ideal central location to a handful of the area’s must-sees, including Keyhole State Park, Vore Buffalo Jump and the Aladdin General Store Here enjoy quaint restaurants, bars, retail stores and more as you experience the Old West.
Distance: 32 miles
The midway point between Devils Tower National Monument and Mount Rushmore National Memorial, you’ll find this town brimming with adventure, serene beauty, and family delight. Spearfish began its life as a mining town, today it offers museums, historic attractions, an active downtown, gorgeous parks, dining, shopping and more.
Must-sees while exploring in and around Spearfish include the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery, the Termesphere Gallery, and of course, Spearfish Canyon. This canyon scenic drive has three waterfalls, miles of hiking trails and some of the most crystal-clear streams you will see during your trip. Make a stop at the Spearfish Canyon Lodge for a great meal and/or overnight stay.
Distance: 15 miles
When you think about Old West towns, Deadwood is exactly what you imagine. Its roots go back to 1876 when outlaws, gamblers and gunslingers like Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and Poker Alice came to town looking for a good time. Watch reenactors performing shootouts and plays daily on the famous Main Street and head up to Mount Moriah Cemetery to see the final resting places of some of the Wests most famous figures.
Nearby you can visit Sturgis, home to the world’s largest motorcycle rally, which takes place every August. Each year between 400,000 and 800,000 motorcycle enthusiasts come for the 10 day event. If you are there outside of August, you can still check out some amazing attractions like Bear Butte State Park, Belle Joli’ Winery Sparkling House and the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame.
Distance: 41 miles
Conveniently located within an hour’s drive of six national park sites, Rapid City is close to outdoor adventure while offering plenty of big-city comforts and attractions. Stroll through downtown’s Main Street Square and colourful Art Alley to really get a feel of the culture of South Dakota’s 2nd largest city. Check-out the life-sized bronze statues of every past president of the United States on every street corner downtown. You will also discover Prairie Edge, a museum and store that tells the story of the Native American population in South Dakota.
While in Rapid City you can also explore museums such as the South Dakota Air and Space Museum and the Museum of Geology . Visitors of all ages will also get a thrill at wildlife attractions such as Bear Country USA and Reptile Gardens .
Distance: 60 miles
Try to beat the sun this morning to catch one of the most beautiful sunrises you have ever seen, at Badlands National Park. This National Park is home to striking landscapes and wildlife throughout the park’s 244,000 acres. You’ll see the breathtaking rock formations and native grasslands filled with numerous species of plants and animals. Plan plenty of time to stop to take photos along the way.
There are 16 designated scenic overlooks that provide plenty of chances to pull over and enjoy the views. The beauty doesn’t stop when the sun sets, Badlands National Park is a designated Dark Sky location, at night the beauty of the galaxy lays out in front for all to see!
After exploring some of the great hiking and biking trails, unwind with a nice South Dakota authentic meal and some western shopping at the Famous Wall Drug Store. To hear authentic native Lakota stories told by Lakota people, check out the Oglala Lakota Living History Village near the entry of the Badlands.
Overnight back in Badlands National Park at Cedar Pass Lodge or head back to your Rapid City Hotel from the previous night.
Distance: 60 miles
South Dakota’s larger-than-life attractions are on the docket for today. If there’s one part of South Dakota that’s recognized across the world, it’s Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The 60-foot faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln have been featured in so many movies, television shows, and other pop culture mediums that the men may be more famous now than when they were presidents.
Surrounded by the beauty of the Black Hills, the iconic monument has earned the name “America’s Shrine of Democracy” for representing the birth, growth, development, and preservation of the United States. Visitors who visit the site will be treated to great hiking opportunities, museums and Thomas Jefferson’s famous ice-cream.
Crazy Horse Memorial is a short 20-minute drive from Mount Rushmore Memorial and is is the World’s Largest Mountain carving in progress. It is more than just rock and stone, its purpose is to protect and preserve the culture and living heritage of all North American Indians. Visitors get a chance to witness Native American artists and performers tell their story though song, dance and art.
Distance: 40 miles
Hit the road early to witness Custer State Park, one of the few truly wild places that remain in the USA. Nearly 1,500 wild bison wander the park’s 71,000 acres, which they share with pronghorn antelope, elk, mountain goats and a band of burros. Trail rides, scenic drives (Iron Mountain Road, Wildlife Loop and Needles Highway), bike rides and jeep safari tours are perfect ways to explore this unique park. Visitors can see wildlife up close and safely by taking one of the Jeep Safari Tours located next to the State Game Lodge.
Near Custer State Park lies the mountain community of Custer. With a unique charm and great restaurants, lodging and bars this is a perfect place to stay the night. Nearby check out two of the longest caves in the world Jewel Cave and Wind Cave.
Overnight in Custer State Park or the City of Custer. For a unique offering we can offer the State Game Lodge.
Distance: 40 miles
On the way from Custer to Hot Springs you will be driving above on of the largest cave systems in the world. Above ground Wind Cave National Park is home to Bison, elk, and other wildlife that roam the rolling prairie grasslands and forested hillsides of one of America's oldest national parks.
Below the surface sits Wind Cave, one of the longest and most complex caves in the world. Named for barometric winds at its entrance, this maze of passages is home to boxwork, a unique formation rarely found elsewhere.
Your last stop in South Dakota will be Hot Springs, this charming town is home to natural mineral springs as well as a mammoth sized attraction. The Mammoth Site is an active paleontological dig site, which boasts the largest concentration of mammoth remains in the world! You can watch as scientists unearth these prehistoric giants! Currently they have unearthed over 60 mammoths and are still digging! Visitors can check out the museum and learn more about the importance of the discovery during a tour of the facilities.
Distance: 252 miles
Settled in Wyoming’s eastern plains, Torrington is where the Oregon, Mormon and Texas Cattle trails once met on the North Platte River.
Take a glimpse into the past by visiting Torrington’s Homesteaders Museum, where you’ll see the area’s first automobile, a one-room schoolhouse and a settler’s shack. From there, take the short drive to Fort Laramie National Historic Site. Established in 1834 as a fur trading post and transitioned into the largest military post in the Northern Plains, Fort Laramie National Historic Site now preserves the history of the westward expansion and the Treaty of Fort Laramie. Once you’ve had your fill of western history, explore Torrington’s charming downtown, brimming with local cuisine and boutique shopping.
When you hear ‘Cheyenne’ surely images of cowboys and rodeos pop in your head? Settled by rugged pioneers following the path of the transcontinental railroad, the capital of Wyoming beckons to you as it did to settlers all those years ago. During the last full week of July, stomp your boots and wave your Stetson at Cheyenne Frontier Day, the world’s largest outdoor rodeo and Western celebration or check out their museum any time of the year. Breathe in the comforting scent of leather at The Wrangler while you outfit yourself in the latest western wear.
Challenge yourself by mountain biking at Curt Gowdy State Park or simply take a hike and drink in all the natural beauty surrounding you. Cheyenne’s Street Railway Trolley can take you to the city’s most interesting sites and historical buildings; allowing you to hop off and explore. You can even stop into one of the breweries around town and relax. With so much to see and do here, you can live the legend of Cheyenne through its storied history and thriving present.
Distance: 102 miles
On your way back to the 'Mile High City' today consider a stop at Terry Bison Ranch, home to America’s only Bison Train tour. This 50 minute tour on a custom built train that takes you on both the Wyoming and Colorado sides of the property. You learn a bit of Ranch History and stop in the middle of the herd to feed the Bison.
You've another night to explore Denver and the surrounding area. Ask your Bon Voyage consultant to look at who might be performing at the incredible Red Rocks Amphitheatre - just west of downtown Denver. We've never experienced a more amazing venue anywhere in the world.
Not ready to leave this incredible area? Want to extend your road trip through Wyoming and South Dakota? Perhaps include a visit to Yellowstone National Park and The Grand Tetons? All Bon Voyage holidays are tailor-made to your exact requirements. Contact our team to start planning your next adventure.