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Montana: Exploring Big Sky Country

About this tour.

Step outside, take a deep breath in, and look towards the mountains – you’re in the big sky country of Montana, now. Explore both the Northern and Southern Loops of Yellowstone National Park, and visit Old Faithful, Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon, and more. Venture to Helena, the “Queen City of the Rockies.” Cruise on the Missouri River through the Gates of the Mountains, named by legendary explorers Lewis and Clark. Spend time in the mountain town of St. Mary Village before heading in to explore Glacier National Park. Take an adventurous white water rafting trip or a calm, scenic float down the Flathead River. Meet a descendant of the last Kootenai chief and learn about the importance of the land in native life. Get a glimpse into the heroic and dangerous life of a Smokejumper. A land of wilderness, adventure, and beauty, Montana is waiting for you.

Your Tour Includes

  • 6 Handpicked Accommodations
  • 4 Choice on Tour Options

Included Highlights

  • Yellowstone
  • Old Faithful
  • Mammoth Hot Springs

Your Tour at a Glance

10 Breakfasts

Travel Style


Activity Level

  • Level This Tour

For specific details about this tour's activity level and other info to know before you book your trip, click here.

Extension Style

Travel styles, highlights and inclusions.

Must-See Inclusions:

Explore the wild beauty of Glacier National Park.

Spend time in the picturesque town of Whitefish.

Cruise along Lewis and Clark’s famous trail through the Gates of the Mountains.

Cultural Experiences:

Explore both the Northern and Southern Loops of Yellowstone National Park.

Learn about native culture at the Flathead Reservation.

Culinary Inclusions:

Dig into a mouth-watering barbeque dinner.

Sample traditional food of the Kootenai people.

  • Yellowstone Grand Canyon
  • Gates of the Mountains
  • Great Falls
  • Choice on Tour: Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center or C.M. Russell Art Museum
  • Glacier National Park
  • Going-to-the-Sun Road
  • Choice on Tour: White Water Rafting or Flathead River Float
  • Flathead Lake
  • Kootenai Traditions
  • Museum of Mountain Flying
  • Holt Heritage Museum

Book with Confidence

* With Insurance Purchased

  • *No Hassle Refunds
  • Traveling Well Safety
  • No booking fee, *no change fees
  • Top Rated Travel Protection

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Getting Prepared

Know before you go, travel tips, enhance your tour.

  • Choice On Tour

Pre and Post Night Stay

Unique Experience

Cultural Experiences

Enhance Your Trip

  • Tour Extensions

Visit the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center in Great Falls, where you can learn about the trials and travails of the legendary expedition and watch a movie.  Or, explore the exhibits of the C.M. Russell Art Museum during a guided tour. You’ll see the art of Charles Russell, a cowboy-turned-artist from the turn of the century, as well as his original home and log studio.

Grab a paddle and get ready for a white-water rafting adventure! Or, take the calmer, scenic route on a float down the Flathead River.

Hotel-AC Hotel Bozeman Downtown


Arrive earlier.

Pre Night: AC Hotel Bozeman Downtown From $220 per night

AC Hotel Bozeman Downtown

The ridgeline hotel at yellowstone, doubletree by hilton helena downtown, great bear lodge at st. mary village.


Grouse Mountain Lodge Whitefish

Doubletree missoula edgewater.

Nights 9-10

Trip Reviews

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  • Wyoming & Montana

Wyoming & Montana

  • Accommodation

With one of the world’s most famous places — Yellowstone National Park — explore unspoiltnature on the Old West frontier!

Yellowstone National Park is truly amazing! Spluttering geothermal geysers and colourful hot springs, including famous Old Faithful. This geographic marvel of mountains, forests and lakes is the perfect place to spot incredible wildlife like bears and bison roaming the plains.

The upmarket yet relaxed town of Jackson is the perfect base for Grand Teton National Park. Known for outdoor adventures including wildlife safaris and whitewater rafting on the Snake River. Jackson Town Square is a lively hub where you can enjoy a horse carriage ride or see an Old West–style shootout in the summer.

Take an unforgettable road trip and delve into cowboy culture. From the Buffalo Bill Center to rodeos, ranches and Old–West celebrations, discovert the rich western history in the towns of Cheyenne, Sheridan and Cody. Montana, also known as ‘Big Sky Country’, boasts Glacier National Park. A land of mountains, alpine meadows, waterfalls and glistening glaciers, you can hike along the 700 miles of trails or drive the 50 mile Going–to–the–Sun Road for breathtaking scenery. Have an authentic adventure on a guest ranch, putting you up close to the beauty of the natural environment.

North Dakota, South Dakota and Idaho round off the 5–state ‘Great American West’. This awe–inspiring region of wildlife, national parks and Old West towns also includes Native American tribes living in their reservation lands.

from £279 per night

  • Gourmet breakfast
  • Short drive to restaurants
  • Free bikes for exploring

from £455 per night

  • 327 rooms and cabins
  • No TV in rooms
  • Restaurant and 2 cafes
  • In-park location

from £156 per night

  • 154 spacious rooms
  • Buffet breakfast
  • Restaurant & bar/lounge
  • Indoor/outdoor pool
  • Massage treatments available
  • Short drive to Town Square

Prices on request

  • Horse riding
  • Biking, rafting and more
  • Cutomized packages
  • Open June–Sept

from £121 per night

  • 1 or 2 bedrooms
  • Sleeps up to 6
  • Flat screen TV
  • Kitchen facilities

from £234 per night

  • 212 rooms, cabins and suites
  • Short walk to Mammoth Hot Springs

from £239 per night

  • Open June–Sept
  • Fitness centre
  • Downtown location

from £175 per night

  • 12 rooms in the Mansion and Carriage House
  • Full breakfast
  • Fitness Centre
  • Garden hot tub
  • Dining and alcoholic beverages available

from £98 per night

  • Indoor swimming pool and spa
  • Complimentary hot breakfast
  • Restaurant and sports bar
  • Complimentary airport shuttle

Reservations Team

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We have travelled extensively in The West and are happy to help plan a trip just for you.

Call us on 01582 469662.

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  • Trip Styles
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  • Montana and Wyoming Hikes & Tours

Thunderstorm over Yellowstone National Park

  • USA Hiking Vacations


Some of the world's most famous mountains and national parks reside in these two magnificent states!

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More about montana & wyoming hiking vacations, why a montana or wyoming hiking vacation.

Montana and Wyoming offer adventurous visitors the chance to explore diverse, spectacular mountain ranges, national parks, and wilderness areas. Yellowstone National Park is world famous for its wildlife, geothermal features, waterfalls, rivers, lakes, and vast meadow systems. It is a stunning destination for a guided backpacking trip or hiking tour and one we heartily recommend! The Wind River Range, Jackson Hole Area, and the west side of the Tetons are characterized by towering mountain peaks, phenomenal views, wildlife, waterfalls, and more spectacular mountain scenery. Exploring any of our Montana or Wyoming destinations is an experience you won’t soon forget!


One way to categorize our Montana and Wyoming hiking tours is first and foremost by backcountry or frontcountry. Backcountry trips include backpacking trips and llama treks and are deep wilderness excursions with camping accommodations. We offer these trip styles at all of our Montana and Wyoming destinations. Frontcountry trips are inn-based and basecamp tours on which we combine adventurous day hikes with camping or inn/hotel/lodge accommodations, access to showers, wonderful cuisine, and expert natural and cultural history interpretation. We recommend first deciding whether you want a backcountry or frontcountry experience, and then determining which category (backpacking or llama trek, basecamp or inn-based tour…etc.) you’d like from there. All of our Northern Rockies trips are in amazing country, with spectacular scenery, hiking and wildlife, so it’s hard to go wrong!


When deciding which Montana and Wyoming hiking destination you’d like to explore, we recommend first asking what time of year you’d like to go. Yellowstone is great from June through October. The Jackson Hole Area and the Tetons are fantastic from July through September. The Wind River Range treks are great from August through September. Additionally, if you are mostly interested in a national park hiking tour, then Yellowstone is the best choice. If you want a remote mountain hiking trip, any of these destinations are great, although stick with backpacking and llama treks. For shorter trips (3-4 days) and moderate hikes, Yellowstone, again, is the best option. For longer trips (5-7 days), all of our Montana and Wyoming destinations are perfect. For more questions about what trip to do, feel free to call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453)!

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Wyoming Tours & Trips

Find the right tour for you through Wyoming. We've got 61 adventures going to Wyoming, starting from just 2 days in length, and the longest tour is 10 days. The most popular month to go is August, and the most popular destination is Yellowstone National Park .

61 Wyoming tour packages with 100 reviews

Yellowstone and Grand Tetons Adventure Tour

Yellowstone and Grand Tetons Adventure

Tim was a great tour guide. He was knowledgeable, helpful, and always upbeat. Time with the wildlife expert was phenomenal. the tour itself was excellent. The good ranking has to do with communications from Intrepid Travel, which were poor and lead to changed air flights and other headaches.

Yellowstone / Grand Teton 4 Day / 3 Night Wildlife Adventure Tour

  • Photography
  • Walking Adventure

Yellowstone / Grand Teton 4 Day / 3 Night Wildlife Adventure

Exceeded expectations!

American Parks Trail (Classic, End Denver, 9 Days) Tour

  • Coach / Bus

American Parks Trail (Classic, End Denver, 9 Days)

The trip was great! The tour director and the driver both were very knowledgeable.

Yellowstone Camping Explorer Tour

  • Mountain Hikes
  • Kayak & Canoe

Yellowstone Camping Explorer

4 day Yellowstone and Tetons in depth tour from Salt Lake City Small Groups Tour Tour

  • Hiking & Trekking

4 day Yellowstone and Tetons in depth tour from Salt Lake City Small Groups Tour

The entire experience was great!! Absolute value for my money. Right from the tour guide to the places chosen to my tourmates and the food and other arrangements, everything was perfect. Am planning to do many more with them. Thank you bindlestiff and tourradar
  • 5% deposit on some dates Some departure dates offer you the chance to book this tour with a lower deposit.

8 Day Grand Teton & Yellowstone Explorer Tour

8 Day Grand Teton & Yellowstone Explorer

The area was beautiful. Accommodations were excellent and the tour guide was superb. She knew the history of the area and people and modified the tour to make it the best possible for our group. Can’t say enough about her. She put our tour over the top.

5 Days Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Park Adventure Tour

5 Days Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Park Adventure

We experienced more of Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons with this tour, than we would have on our own. We enjoyed meeting new people, seeing all the sights, and not having to worry about driving and directions. Be prepared to do a lot of walking/hiking - but it is worth it!

National Parks Family Journey: Yellowstone and Grand Teton Tour

National Parks Family Journey: Yellowstone and Grand Teton

Yellowstone and Grand Teton Family Holiday Tour

Yellowstone and Grand Teton Family Holiday

National Parks of America\'s West Tour

National Parks of America's West

The tour agency made it so convenient for all of us. The driver, tour guide and tour director were all pleasant and helpful.
  • €100 deposit on some dates Some departure dates offer you the chance to book this tour with a lower deposit.

Yellowstone Base Camp Tour Tour

Yellowstone Base Camp Tour

The Yellowstone Base Camp tour was excellent. We covered a wide variety of Yellowstone sites from the popular attractions to beautiful but less frequented locations. Our guides, Chris Rapich and Ed Cochran, were great. They provided a lot of information about the park and wildlife, made great meals and did everything they could to make this a memorable experience. I'd travel with them anytime.

USA – 6 Days Yellowstone Grand Tetons Adventure Tour

USA – 6 Days Yellowstone Grand Tetons Adventure

Best of Yellowstone Tour Tour

Best of Yellowstone Tour

Yellowstone Discovery (Classic, 7 Days) Tour

Yellowstone Discovery (Classic, 7 Days)

5 Day- Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park in Depth- Hotel Based Tour

5 Day- Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park in Depth- Hotel Based

What people love about wyoming tours.

Although the tour was very expensive- over $2000 for 3 days is over the top- it wss a great experience, saw lots of wildlife and the guide was outstanding
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International Versions

  • Deutsch: Wyoming Rundreisen
  • Français: Circuits et voyages au Wyoming
  • Español: Circuitos y viajes por Wyoming
  • Nederlands: Wyoming Rondreizen

6 Days 726 Miles

The Montana & Wyoming Road Trip You’ve Been Dreaming Of

The Rockies

An Unforgettable Rocky Mountain Itinerary

Looking for more time with nature, moments of spectacular grandeur, and some of the most incredible scenery America has to offer? Montana and Wyoming are ready to deliver all of that and then some. Step away from virtual calls and the constant ding of incoming email — and step into one of the world’s most beautiful places. This is a trip you’ll never forget. There’s a lot to see, so we’ve mapped out the perfect itinerary to hit three National Parks, each offering distinct and unique landscapes, wildlife and experiences. We’ll start out with Glacier National Park and neighboring Whitefish, Montana. We then head down to Yellowstone National Park with visits to Gardiner and West Yellowstone, Montana. To close out this road trip of a lifetime, we’ll end with Grand Teton National Park.

Wintertime in Montana is a whole different experience, so this trip is best taken between June and September. Our ideal visit is right after Labor Day — the crowds diminish with school back in session, but the weather is still pleasant for hiking. The bison and elk ruts this time of year make September as good as it gets. Traveling with the family in the summer? The trip is still phenomenal, but it might require a little extra planning and flexibility.

Buckle up, we’re heading to Montana!

Day 1 & 2 – Glacier National Park

The beauty of Glacier National Park will leave you speechless. Glacier-fed turquoise lakes, ice-capped mountain peaks, roaring waterfalls, and northern wildlife are all pieces of this magical place — but it’s the fresh mountain air that stays with you. Breathe it in and enjoy every second.

Fly into Glacier Park International Airport in Kalispell, and rent your car from there. An SUV is great, especially if you’re traveling with a family, but a standard car makes parking a breeze and should also get you up and down the mountains just fine.

Glacier National Park sometimes feels like a combination of several epic national parks. Called the “crown of the continent,” it’s the type of experience that will stay with you forever. Ice rivers slowly carved this section of the Canadian Rockies, from mossy old-growth forests to glistening alpine meadows. With glaciers , lakes, and rivers in sparkling shades of blue surrounded by rugged mountains in every direction and over 700 miles of trails — it’s a hiker’s paradise.

Not a hiker? Not to worry. Take a scenic drive up Going-to-the-Sun Road . This spectacular 50-mile road spans the width of Glacier National Park, giving you a view of the park’s interior. Endless picturesque pullouts and viewpoints sit along the road, crossing the Continental Divide at Logan Pass . You’ll see large, crystal-clear glacial lakes, gorgeous forests, and alpine meadows — and on a good day even spot mountain goats, moose, and bears.

You need at least two days to really experience all Glacier has to offer. Take one day to explore Going-to-the-Sun Road from end to end, stopping to hike, grab lunch, and enjoy the beauty of this magnificent park.

On the second day, check out Two Medicine—take a boat trip around the lake with Glacier Park Boat Company or hit the trails on one of the area’s 14 hikes. When you’re done exploring this gorgeous section, head up to Many Glacier or the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1932, Glacier National Park partnered with Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada, to create the world’s first International Peace Park. (Bring your passport if you plan to cross into the Canadian side.)

Glacier National Park will take your breath away with stunning views and out-of-this-world vistas. It’s the ultimate first stop on an epic exploration of Montana and Wyoming.

The Pine Lodge on Whitefish River includes complimentary watercraft rentals, including kayaks, double kayaks and paddleboards.

Where to Stay Near Glacier National Park

The quintessential small mountain town, Whitefish offers restaurants, breweries, coffee shops, live music, shopping and nightlife year-round. If you don’t want to fly in, Amtrak’s daily Whitefish stop brings you right into the heart of the action of this perfect Glacier home base.

Among ample lodging in Whitefish, the Pine Lodge on Whitefish River has cozy rooms and tons of complimentary amenities with your stay.

Need a shuttle to downtown Whitefish? It’s included. Want to kayak the Whitefish River? That’s also included. Need to fill up with breakfast before you head into the park? Included. Looking to beat your travel partner at pool or shuffleboard? You guessed it — included. You get the point; there’s plenty to do at the Pine Lodge, and it all comes with your stay!

However, please be aware that there is a daily amenity fee required for certain activities during the summer months.

Day 3 – Gardiner, Montana

Now let’s head to Yellowstone! There’s some serious drive time between Glacier and Yellowstone, but plenty of amazing Montana locations to stop at along the way. Here are some of our favorite places to grab lunch, hit the trails, or just take in the scenery of Big Sky country.

Butte, Montana

Originally a gold and silver mining camp in the 1800s, Butte became the “richest hill on earth” when its copper deposits were discovered at the turn of the century. Butte is a charming city nestled in the Rocky Mountains of Southwest Montana, with natural hot springs, boating, fishing, trolley tours, and more. Don’t miss the Our Lady of the Rockies statue, standing 90 feet tall on the ridge overlooking Butte.

Bozeman, Montana

Whether you’re looking for dramatic mountains for hiking, rock climbing, and fly-fishing or a flourishing arts community featuring festivals, art galleries, live music, and farmers markets, Bozeman shines as America’s “most livable place.” Enjoy rooftop dining in what many call a foodie paradise, check out one of Bozeman’s many museums, or take a river rafting tour — there’s something for everyone in Bozeman.

Lewis & Clark Caverns

Montana’s first and best-known state park is Lewis & Clark Caverns. These unbelievable limestone caverns are filled with stalactites, helictites, and stalagmites; electrically lighted; and naturally air-conditioned. Informative and fun guided tours are available May through September. This is a super fascinating spot to view incredible underground scenery and cool off on a hot day.

Where to Stay Near Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is huge with multiple areas to explore (better), which is why this trip is best made over a few days in different locations. Let’s start with the wildlife (bison, wolves, and bears — oh my!) that make Gardiner a great spot to hunker down for the night before hitting the road early in the morning. Gardiner sits at the original entrance to Yellowstone, nestled between the Absaroka–Beartooth Wilderness and Gallatin Range. With no big-box stores and lots of local merchants, this full-service town has an Old West feel. Gardiner offers the easiest access to Lamar Valley (wildlife central) in Yellowstone, so you’ll want to rise early and catch the park’s most famous inhabitants.

There are a number of lodging options in Gardiner, but one of our favorite spots is The Ridgeline Hotel® at Yellowstone . Ideally located just minutes from the North Entrance (and the Roosevelt Arch), this hotel sits directly on the Yellowstone River.

It has an on-site restaurant, heated indoor pool and hot tub, casino/bar area, and Wi-Fi (to update your social media with photos from the trip). Super comfortable accommodations and instant access to the park equals a win for us!

Day 4 – Yellowstone National Park

Your first day starts with ALL the wildlife in Lamar Valley. The secret to seeing the most wildlife is driving in at dawn. Grab your continental breakfast to go from the hotel and jump in the car — don’t forget your binoculars.

Before heading through Yellowstone’s North Entrance, take a drive (or walk) through the Roosevelt Arch for a FOMO-inducing photo by the park sign. Yellowstone is America’s first National Park and the North Entrance is the original entrance, so take a minute to appreciate all the history that took place here.

The drive from the North Entrance into Lamar Valley is beautiful, and it usually doesn’t take long to encounter wildlife of some sort. Bison seem to be everywhere up here, and it’s a true thrill to get caught in a bison jam (which we’d take over a traffic jam any day)!

A fan favorite in Lamar Valley is Yellowstone’s wolf packs, and the best times to glimpse these beautiful predators is dawn and dusk. Keep your eyes peeled — it’s a rare and special moment to get to see wolves in the valley.

After taking Lamar in for the morning, head back toward the entrance and over to Mammoth. This section of the park has NPS Visitor Centers, a restaurant, an awesome gift shop, and more, so it’s a great place to stop for lunch and souvenirs before checking out Mammoth Hot Springs .

Take the afternoon to check out Mammoth, Norris Geyser Basin, and Artists Paintpots as you travel toward the West Yellowstone Entrance to the park. Want a full breakdown of our favorite locations? Click here.

When you’ve explored to your heart’s extent, exit into West Yellowstone, Montana… this is where we’ll be spending night two of our Yellowstone adventure.

The Explorer Cabins at Yellowstone are ideal for family and friends traveling together or a romantic getaway.

West Yellowstone is a gateway community filled with fun things to do — tons of restaurants, a ropes and ziplining course, and our favorite, Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center . The Discovery Center offers visitors an opportunity to observe, understand, and appreciate grizzly bears and gray wolves that are unable to survive in the wild. A fascinating, up-close look at some of Montana’s most incredible animals, it’s definitely worth a stop.

West Yellowstone has tons of lodging options for every type of traveler. Two of our favorites are the Explorer Cabins at Yellowstone and Yellowstone Park Hotel . The Explorer Cabins combine the charm of cabin lodging (CABINEERING™) with the joys of generational and dog-friendly travel. They’re ideal for family and friends traveling together or a romantic getaway. Each private cabin boasts stylish décor, fine linens, a flat-screen TV, and a kitchenette for whipping up your favorite meals. Wi-Fi is available in the cabins and throughout the property. Trust us, s’mores by the campfire at the Explorer Cabins will be a favorite road trip moment.

Yellowstone Park Hotel features well-appointed rooms, free Wi-Fi, a heated indoor swimming pool, and a hot tub, for the perfect opportunity to relax after a long day of exploring. Other rooms may include fireplaces and whirlpool tubs.

Day 5 – Yellowstone National Park

Our stars of the day are the geysers, springs, and thermal features Yellowstone is famous for. The West Yellowstone entrance can get backed up in the summer, so plan to hit the road early again. Sunrise in this section of the park is also spectacular, and you won’t be sorry you got up before the sun as you watch it peek over the mountains and fill the valleys below with golden light.

Today is all about Yellowstone’s lower loop. The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Old Faithful , and Grand Prismatic are some of the scenic spots you’ll be seeing, and we promise you… every stop is even more spectacular than the last.

Try to hit Grand Prismatic when the sun is high in the sky for the best view of the colors, and take the Fairy Falls trail to see it from above. It’s a relatively easy hike and the payoff after the short climb is worth every breath on the way up. Old Faithful goes off like clockwork and park rangers pinpoint when it’s expected, so you can time your arrival at Old Faithful Inn perfectly to grab lunch and then watch an eruption. The Upper Geyser Basin here is home to over 150 hydrothermal wonders you won’t want to miss exploring.

As you go along, one thing you’ll notice about Yellowstone is the phenomenal variety of destinations in the park. Every location is a different world and there’s so much to discover in this magical place.

At the end of the day, head back into West Yellowstone for one more night before heading down to Grand Teton first thing in the morning.

Mormon Row and Moulton Barn on Antelope Flats is the most photographed barn in Wyoming and quite possibly the world.

Day 6 – Grand Teton National Park

Dramatic scenery, stunning snow-covered peaks, and rivers meandering through unbelievable vistas — welcome to Grand Teton National Park . Coming from West Yellowstone, you’ll want to leave early (we know, this trip is full of early wake-up calls), and head south to the Yellowstone South Entrance. These two majestic parks are only 31 miles apart, so it’s only about half an hour from the South Entrance of Yellowstone to Grand Teton National Park. Coming this way, there’s actually no formal entrance station into Grand Teton.

On your way in, we highly recommend stopping at the Jackson Lake Overlook , an idyllic welcome into the park. Beautiful lake views and stunning rocky peaks offer a great taste of what’s to come in Grand Teton. As you explore, you’ll find endless spots to take in the views. Oxbow Bend is stunning every day, but catch it when the mountains and sky reflect off the river and you’ll get the photo of a lifetime.

Jenny Lake is a must-see location, with incredible hiking, water rentals, a store and visitor center, and more. We also recommend renting a canoe to experience this beautiful area from the vantage point of the water.

Take the day to discover this stunning park before heading into Jackson, Wyoming, for your last overnight stay.

On your second day in Grand Teton, explore the park further and hit some of the many photo-worthy scenic spots — there’s no shortage. Mormon Row and Moulton Barn on Antelope Flats is the most photographed barn in Wyoming and quite possibly the world. This place feels a little bit like stepping into a movie, so keep an eye out for Tristan from Legends of the Fall.

We’re willing to bet this week-long Montana and Wyoming road trip is one you’ll never forget. Drop your rental car in Jackson and fly out of the Jackson Hole airport to start your trip home (and start planning your next epic adventure).


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Montana Wyoming road trip – 6 day travel guide

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We packed our bags, loaded up the kid, the pup, and started our Montana Wyoming road trip early on Friday this past Labor Day weekend.

From Colorado, we drove through Wyoming, then visited Glacier National Park in Montana. On our way back, we drove through Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. And concluded the trip at home in Colorado.

Here is our 6-day road trip guide for your next Montana family vacations, including our suggestions for what to see in Montana, and in Wyoming. And where we stayed (mixed hotel and camping spots), and picture guide for each location.

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On map above:

  • A – Hotel for the night 1 – Townplace Suites Billings (Billings, Montana)
  • B – Camp site for night 2 – Big Larch Campground in Montana
  • C – Camp site for night 3 – Lost Johnny Point Campground in Montana
  • D – Glacier National Park in Montana – Logan Pass
  • E – Hotel for night 4 – SpringHill Suites By Marriot Island Park Yellowstone (Island Park, Idaho). Where my location was, at the time I took the screenshot of the route
  • F – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
  • G – Home – Denver, Colorado

Our 6-day Montana and Wyoming road trip timeline from Colorado

There are so many ways to explore Montana, and Wyoming, specifically Glacier National Park, and Yellowstone National Park. This is one way that we did, starting from Denver, Colorado.

Day 1 – Driving 8.5h from Denver, CO to Billings, MT

We started driving from Denver, Colorado around noon on Friday.

We made it to Billings, Montana late evening. It’s about an 8.5h drive from Denver. We stayed at Townplace Suites Billings for the night.

Day 2 – Driving 5h and setting up camp near Seeley Lake, MT

We had breakfast at the hotel, and did some shopping in Billings in the morning. Then we started heading towards the north-western part of Montana.

If you decide to go camping in Montana (or anywhere), I recommend finding a campground and setting up camp in the afternoon as soon as the check-in time allows. This gives you plenty of time to set up, pay the fee, find firewood, and get all your camping gear situated. Ideally, you want to do all of this before the sun goes down and the temperature drops. We were in a little bit of a rush trying to find an available campsite, but luckily were able to get set up before there was no more sunlight.

Day 3 – Glacier National Park and camping in Hungry Horse, MT

We packed up in the morning, and headed back to Seeley Lake town for coffee and breakfast. It’s just a quick drive back into town and I needed before the big day, so it’s worth the detour! We started driving north again towards West Glacier National Park for the day.

Before hitting the actual Glacier National Park, we wanted to find a spot for camping and set up the tent first, so we could just come “home” to a nicely set up tent in the evening.

If you can find a camp site inside of Glacier National Park, some suggested campgrounds are Apgar Village and Two Medicine . However, we knew to not even try during the busy holiday weekend.

We decided to find something close by instead. So we ended up passing Hungry Horse Dam, and found our spot at Lost Johnny Point Campground .

Now that our “home” for the night is set up and situated, we headed for West Glacier National Park at around 430pm, perfect timing to hit all the scenic spots at sunset. The rest of the evening was spent in Glacier National Park, sight seeing and exploring the park.

Day 4 – Driving 6h from Hungry Horse, MT to Island Park, ID

We are now on the second half of our trip, but we have big plans to hit one more national park to visit before heading back home. And you guessed it, we’re heading south towards Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. But the hotel we booked was in Island Park, ID. So most of day 4 was spent driving to from Hungry Horse to the next hotel in Island Park, ID.

We stayed at Springhill Suites By Marriot . A hot shower at the hotel after 2 nights camping was in order. We had dinner at Cafe Sabor just across the river from the hotel and it was such a lovely evening.

D ay 5 – Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Teton National Park

Today is the big day for visiting the national parks in Wyoming! Driving from Island Park, ID, we headed to West Yellowstone. We drove by West Thumb, and decided to stop to see the Old Faithful Geyser. We took our time driving through the park, snapped pictures, and stopped to see buffalos crossing the street.

After that, we drove into Grand Teton National Park. Here, not too many pictures were taken because the view was obstructed by smoke from the forest fires on the day we visited. I could somewhat make out the mountain views, but on camera, it doesn’t show.

After the Teton range, we visited Jackson Hole, WY for a quick lunch. My husband also wanted to stop at a spot just outside of the town to visit with a friend and go fishing.

Our last hotel on this trip was in Green River, Wyoming. We stayed at the Hampton Inn & Suites Green River for the night.

Day 6 – Driving 5.5h home from Green River, WY to Denver, CO

The title says it all. We took some time on our last day to wake up, have breakfast at the hotel. And headed home.

We got to Denver at a decent hour in the afternoon. I still had time to unpack, do laundry and prepare to settle back into our usual routine.

And that concludes our 6-day road trip.

What to see in Montana – locations that you can get to by car

We were able to visit the below Montana vacation spots by car. We had limited amount of time spent here, so we drove through these places and stopped for pictures or very short sight-seeing hikes. If we have an opportunity to come back, there are tons of other fun activities for the whole family that we’d like to do. Maybe that’s for another trip (and another blog post) later.

Glacier National Park paper map, visitor guide

These are some of the must see in Montana. We highly recommend if you visit to check out:

Lake Alva, Montana and other lakes along highway US-83

There are multiple lakes along highway US-83. I recommend checking out Seeley Lake, Lake Inez, and Lake Alva. These photos below were taken at Lake Alva.

If you have a state park pass, or would like to check out Salmon State Park for the day, that’s another beautiful option along this highway just right after the turn from Highway US-200.

Lake Alva, Montana

Lake McDonald – Glacier National Park

Lake McDonald is inside Glacier National Park. It’s the first thing you will see after you enter the park via the West Entrance Station. The lake is huge, you can walk down to the shore, go for a stroll, and take in the breath taking views.

If you keep driving up the road a little, you will see many water falls, as well as cascades. We stopped at Sacred Dancing Cascade, for sure one of the popular spots. Pictures to follow below.

Lake McDonald Glacier National Park

Going-to-the-Sun Rd

I highly recommend going through Glacier National Park via this scenic drive. The road is called Going-to-the-Sun Rd. This path takes you to the entrance of Glacier National Park, and to Lake McDonald. If you follow the road, you will also see some of the most beautiful mountain and valley views you’ve ever seen. There are many pull-outs on the sides of the road for you to park, come out and enjoy the views. Be sure to safely pull over, look both ways before crossing the road, and respect park rules and other park patrons.

Here are various photos along Going-to-the-Sun Rd in Glacier National Park (I changed outfits for blog outfit photoshoots, but this was all in one drive):

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Logan Pass – Glacier National Park

We made it to Logan Pass in Glacier National Park. Unfortunately we were reaching the end of the day by the time we made it here, so we turned around after this. The view here was spectacular. We wish we could have kept going further up into Glacier National Park. Maybe next time!

Some photos of Logan Pass:

Logan Pass - Glacier National Park

What to see in western Wyoming on a road trip

Old faithful geyser – yellowstone national park.

This is one of the most famous attractions known to Yellowstone National Park. Old Faithful is one geyser (of the nearly 500 geysers in Yellowstone) that erupts hot water from the ground into the air. The name Old Faithful is because it has not been common to be able to predict the eruption schedule of a geyser, but this one has lived up to its name.

When we were there, park rangers predicted the time of eruption time down to the minute, and we were able to catch a seat and watch the whole thing. It’s such a cool experience, and highly recommended.

Old Faithful Geyser sign

Lewis Lake – Yellowstone National Park

Heading south on Highway US-191, passed Old Faithful Geyser you will see Lewis Lake and its river running alongside the road.

Lewis lake, Wyoming

Our hotel and camping spots recommendations

We stayed a total of 5 nights on the trip, with a mix of hotels and camp spots located in various spots of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.

Night 1 – Townplace Suites Billings (Billings, Montana)

There are tons of hotels in Billings to pick from. Townplace Suites Billings is pet-friendly with a pet fee of $50 and there’s no pet weight restrictions. Their check out time is 12PM, amazing should we need to check out late. They also offer complimentary breakfast up till 10AM which is convenient when you’re on the road and need to get going quickly, so we went with this hotel.

Night 2 – Big Larch Campground (near Seeley Lake, Montana)

Big Larch Campground is about 5.5h driving from Billings, MT. Site fee was $20/night.

We actually weren’t sure where we were going to set up camp, we just know in the general direction, more north and more west from where we were of the state.

We asked a local what they’d suggest a good camping spot. Clearwater, Montana was the recommended spot. Once we got to Clearwater, we took US-83 North.

There are various camp grounds along the highway right after the turn. We were not able to find any vacancy due to busy Labor Day weekend here. But luckily Big Larch Campground further up the road, right after we passed Seeley Lake, had a few vacant camp sites.

This campground is close enough to the town, I had cell service while in my tent. It’s not a bad idea when you want to send friends and family beautiful pics of your trip. The campsite fee was $20 here (the fees may change, so this is meant to be a reference, not an exact number).

Big Larch Campground near Seeley Lake, Montana

  • Nearby suggestions for campgrounds: Salmon Lake State Park Campground
  • Nearby suggestions for hotels: The Lodges on Seeley Lake , Double Arrow Lodge , and further distance but beautiful luxury resort The Resort at Paws Up

Night 3 – Lost Johnny Point Campground.

This campground Lost Johnny Point is only a 2h drive from Big Larch Campground. Site fee was $18 here.

From Highway US-2, take a turn onto West Side Road / NF-895. There are several campgrounds along this road. Lost Johnny Point Campground was ~20 minutes (10 miles) from the turn.

Photos of our camp setup at Lost Johnny Point:

montana wyoming tours

  • Nearby suggestions for similar campgrounds: Doris Creek Campground , Lost Johnny Campground (to be different from Lost Johnny Point Campground where we stayed, they’re close by each other)
  • Nearby suggestions for hotels: Silverwolf Log Chalets Resort (no pet), Under Canvas Glacier (Safari-style tents)

Night 4 – SpringHill Suites By Marriot Island Park Yellowstone (Island Park, Idaho)

This hotel is a 6.5h drive from our previous night’s campground. It is pet-friendly, and offers complimentary breakfast. They only offer suites here (no room), and the suites are so spacious with a nice size walk-in closet. Pet fee is $75 per pet, and check out time is 11AM.

SpringHill Suites by Marriot Island Park, Idaho

Night 5 – Hampton Inn & Suites Green River (Green River, Wyoming)

The Hampton Inn & Suites Green River is a 5h drive from Island Park, and perfect mid-way point before home. Also pet friendly, with a pet fee of only $25. And it also offers complimentary breakfast.

I also suggest staying at Rock Springs, WY which is another town nearby. Some hotels great for travelers include Hampton Inn Rock Springs , and Holiday Inn Rock Springs .

And that is our Montana road trip guide, with a detour through Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. And by no means that I’m saying this is the only way (or the best way) for anyone to do Montana Wyoming road trips. I wanted to give you a reference guide on how we did it. But feel free to make as many changes as you need to suit your trip and family. If we (a family of four including a young child and a dog) could have this Montana Wyoming road trip, and had so much fun doing it, then anyone could do it! I encourage you to go out there and explore America, the beautiful. Hope I get to see you on your next trip, tag me on Instagram if you visit one of these spots I suggested!

Note : suggested time to visit is July-August. Actual time of visit was early September during Labor Day weekend.

Other trips we took:

  • Spring Break in Colorado with the Ritz-Carlton hotels
  • Colorado, Utah, and Arizona 5-day road trip in the winter
  • New Mexico and Taos family trip with Toyota Tacoma

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Yellowstone The Tetons and Glacier National Park

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Yellowstone The Tetons and Glacier National Park

7 Day Active Hiking Tour from Wyoming to Montana

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On this small-van group tour with maximum 17 travelers experience the best of Big Sky Country adventuring in Grand Teton and Glacier National Parks, hiking past Yellowstone's geysers, and picnicking on the banks of placid lakes. This off-the-beaten-path journey combines our one-of-a-kind experiences, access to more exclusive locations, overnights at boutique hotels.

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Where to Go in Montana and Wyoming

Both full of history, culture, and natural beauty, Montana and Wyoming combined make for a great travel destination. Start your trip planning today with this overview of the best places to go in and around each state.

Places to Visit in Montana

bright cloudy sky over mountains and a river

Billings and the Big Open

Eastern Montana is a vibrant amalgam of history, landscapes, and cultures. It’s home to the Little Bighorn Battlefield and four of the state’s seven Indian reservations, as well as the city of Billings and starkly beautiful Missouri River Breaks terrain. For travelers who are willing to take their time and let the state unfold slowly, eastern Montana is an ideal place to start a Montana road trip.

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument: This historic site is a moving tribute to one of the last armed battles in which Native Americans fought to preserve their land and way of life. An annual reenactment brings to life the terror and tragic meaning of the event.

Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge: Walk or drive through this stunning blend of glacial-drift prairie and shallow wetland to see hundreds of migrating birds.

Pictograph Cave State Park: The caves in this state park contain evidence of human habitation dating back more than 4,500 years, including pictographs of people, animals, and even weapons.

Great Falls and the Rocky Mountain Front

North-central Montana encompasses much of the geographical diversity that defines the state, with vast plains along the Hi-Line, rolling agricultural fields in Montana’s breadbasket, and the dramatic Rocky Mountain Front. Explore tiny towns like Choteau and Fort Benton or visit during the annual Red Ants Pants Music Festival in July to get a charming sense of community.

Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex: More than 1 million acres (404,686 hectares) of pristine wilderness straddle the Continental Divide in “the Bob.” The topography is dramatic, the wildlife is plentiful, and the opportunities to explore are endless.

Havre Beneath the Streets: Practically an entire city exists underneath the streets of downtown Havre. Guides show you around the 27-bed brothel, saloon, and opium den and the more genteel dentist’s office, cigar shop, and bakery.

Missouri River: America’s longest river attracts anglers from all over the world. The tailwater stretch between Holter Dam and Cascade serves up thousands of trout per mile.

Map of Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

Known as the “Crown of the Continent,” Glacier National Park embodies the Montana you’ve always imagined: rugged mountains piercing the sky, crystalline lakes and plunging waterfalls, abundant wildlife, gravity-defying roads, and miles upon miles of trails. Depending on the amount of time you have to spend in Montana, Glacier National Park could easily absorb all of it, but it is also a spectacular route to get from one side of the Continental Divide to the other.

Going-to-the-Sun Road: Stretching just over 50 miles (81 km), this phenomenal feat of engineering gives viewers an extraordinary overview of Glacier.

Grinnell Glacier: Since scientists anticipate that the glaciers in the park could disappear entirely by 2030, seeing Grinnell Glacier may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The ranger-led hike is especially worthwhile.

Lake McDonald: The largest lake in the park and arguably one of the most beautiful. Glacially carved Lake McDonald is easy to access. Pack a picnic for the rocky beach or cruise the waters on a boat tour.

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Missoula and western montana.

From the towering pines and massive cedars to the mountain of huckleberry ice cream clinging to your cone, just about everything is larger than life in western Montana. The area is steeped in Western history, from Lewis and Clark to the Nez Perce and the state’s earliest missions, and home to one of the state’s fastest-growing areas, the Bitterroot Valley, as well as the National Bison Range.

Jewel Basin: With 27 lakes, 35 miles (56 km) of trails, and no motorized vehicles or horses permitted, this is a hiker’s paradise.

St. Ignatius Mission: The jewel of a mission founded by Fathers Pierre-Jean De Smet S.J. and Adrian Hoecken S.J., this massive brick Catholic church from 1891 is still impressive, with 58 murals painted by Brother Joseph Carignano S.J.

Whitefish Mountain Resort: This phenomenal ski area has a view over Whitefish Lake and perhaps the best après-ski scene in the state.

Butte, Helena, and Southwest Montana

This corner of the state wears its history like a badge of honor in mining towns like Bannack, Virginia City, and Nevada City. Then there is the sweeping Big Hole Valley, with picturesque ranches and hot springs resorts, and the Big Hole National Battlefield, one of the most haunting battle sites in the state.

Big Hole National Battlefield: A memorial to the Nez Perce and U.S. Army soldiers who died in battle, this site is both gorgeous and moving. The tipi frames stand where they did the fateful morning of the attack.

Lewis and Clark Caverns: Montana’s first state park is a fine example of limestone caves.

World Museum of Mining: This museum, built atop the Orphan Girl mine yard, is packed with artifacts from more than a century of hard-rock mining.

Map of Bozeman, Montana

Bozeman and the Gateway to Yellowstone

The gateway to the nation’s first national park, south-central Montana is a playground bursting with mountains to climb, rivers to fish, and trails to hike. From skiing, fishing, and an abundance of outdoor adventures in the college town of Bozeman to the art and culinary scenes just over the pass in Livingston, the area’s culture is as rich as its landscape.

Beartooth Scenic Highway and Pass: This highway offers room for spontaneous adventures. Bring your bike, hiking boots, binoculars, and even your skis on this summit-topping stunner.

Chico Hot Springs Resort: Chico has all the trappings of a resort—hiking, riding, pool, day spa, and sumptuous cuisine—with none of the attitude.

Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture: A 1900s school rehabbed as an arts hub, the Emerson has more than 30 studios, a fab restaurant, and special events.

Montana and Wyoming: Yellowstone National Park

This magnificent park is constantly in motion. See abundant wildlife, including bison, elk, bears, and wolves; marvel at geothermal features like Old Faithful; and stay in historic lodges like the Old Faithful Inn and rambling Lake Yellowstone Hotel. Perimeter communities are also well worth a visit.

Boiling River: In a stretch of the Gardner River at the park’s north entrance, hot water flows over waterfalls and via springs, mixing with the river water to create a perfect soaking temperature.

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone: The sheer cliffs and dramatic coloring of this canyon have inspired millions of visitors. In the summer, get a rare bird’s-eye view of several osprey nests.

Mammoth and the Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces: The travertine terraces here look like an enormous cream-colored confection. Since the springs shift and change daily, a walk around the colorful terraces is never the same experience twice.

Places to Visit in Wyoming

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Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton packs a punch, particularly when it comes to mountain splendor. Twelve peaks in the Teton Range soar above 12,000 feet (3,658 m). While there are only 100 miles (161 km) of roads in the park, there are twice as many miles of trails, leaving hikers endless options for adventure.

Jenny Lake: Resting like a mirror at the base of the Tetons, this alpine lake is a gem for hikers, boaters, and picnickers.

Oxbow Bend: This hairpin curve of slow-moving backwater from the Snake River is perfect for novice boaters, wildlife watchers, and photographers.

Signal Mountain: Follow this exciting drive with expansive views of the entire valley.

Map of Jackson Hole, Cody, and the Wind Rivers, Wyoming

Jackson Hole, Cody, and the Wind Rivers

Wyoming’s northwest corner is far more than a gateway to its national parks. Jackson Hole is a destination in and of itself, with glitzy galleries and boutiques, gourmet eateries, luxe accommodations, and a sensational art scene in immediate proximity to world-class ski resorts and white-water rafting. The area has something for everyone, from lovers of the arts to history buffs to outdoors enthusiasts.

Hot Springs State Park: This park has fabulous limestone terraces as well as public baths in therapeutic waters.

Jackson Town Square: Surrounded by archways constructed entirely out of elk antlers, this is the heart of the community for shoppers, art lovers, and diners.

Snake River: The Snake winds through the valley, giving floaters unparalleled access to the area’s most stunning views.

Sheridan, Devils Tower, and Northeast Wyoming

Where the prairies meet the mountains, cowboy culture comes alive. This is where you’ll find dude ranches and Sheridan, one of the most charming and authentic Western towns in the state. Scenic drives and archeological sites are also not to be missed.

Cloud Peak Skyway Scenic Byway: This stunning road climbs over and cuts through the Big Horn Mountains, passing by beautiful spots and providing access to historic sites.

Devils Tower: Rising more than 1,200 feet (366 m) above the Belle Fourche River, the nation’s first national monument is a magnet for hikers and climbers.

Eatons Ranch: The oldest dude ranch in the world is certainly one of the most traditional.

Southern Wyoming

An enormous expanse of diverse terrain that includes everything from vast prairie and rugged mountain peaks to red desert and windblown dunes, southern Wyoming in many ways defines the state. It has celebrated events like Frontier Days (the big daddy of Wyoming rodeos), an important intellectual culture, and a wealth of historic sites. The southwest corner is also noted for fabulous recreational opportunities.

Casper Mountain: The skiing, hiking, camping, and fascinating local folklore give this area its own magical identity.

Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area: Fed by the Green River, this natural playground composed of cliffs and Technicolor desert rock formations surrounds a 91-mile-long (147-km) reservoir.

National Historic Trails Interpretive Center: Among the best museums in the state, this place gives visitors a sense of pioneer life on many of the historic trails that crisscross the state.

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Carter G. Walker

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Moon Montana & Wyoming: With Yellowstone, Grand Teton & Glacier National Parks

Moon Montana & Wyoming: With Yellowstone, Grand Teton & Glacier National Parks

by Carter G. Walker

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Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota Luxury Road Trip

Traveling through Wyoming to Montana to South Dakota, this road trip will immerse you in the best of the West. From an insider look at rodeos to bountiful wildlife sightings to hidden gem Western towns, this is a trip you won't soon forget.

Jackson and Grand Teton

The town of Jackson has a family friendly rodeo twice a week during the summer months. The first night, you’ll have the chance to get a “behind the scenes” look with one of the rodeo owners .

Whether you are looking for a scenic two hour float in a wooden Mckenzie Boat or a wild river rapid ride (or both!), your guide will lead you on your personalized adventure on the Snake River. The river runs the valley floor, bordered by groves of willow trees, a favorite moose haunt, and wide open sagebrush flats, home to herds of pretty pronghorn antelope and packs of sage grouse.  After you arrive at a riverside camp, you’ll be served appetizers and drinks in a spectacular spring creek setting, before enjoying a gourmet dinner in the private tipi camp.

At night, you’ll be joined by a private astronomer as you head to a dark site inside Grand Teton National Park. Take advantage of the thin, high altitude air and dark skies to marvel at deep space objects through their high-powered telescopes.

Yellowstone National Park

You’ll drive north through Grand Teton National Park to the southern entrance of Yellowstone . Along the way you’ll cross the Continental Divide and m ake your way through the park, stopping along the way. This may be for the spectacular falls (Lower and Upper) that cut through the dramatic Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone or a trip to Old Faithful and the geothermal geyser basins nearby. Your professional naturalist guide will ensure you are able to spot as much of the native wildlife as possible. Finish your last day here on the edge of the park in the town of West Yellowstone .

Paradise Valley

Next, you’ll travel north along the steep sided and beautiful Gallatin River Valley.  Near the mountain town of Big Sky, stop for a hike up into the Gallatin National Forest. Alternatively, meet a wrangler for a private trail ride into the Yellowstone backcountry. When passing  through Bozeman, be sure to pay a visit to the Museum of the Rockies , an excellent insight into the history of The West. 

You’ll be met by your guide in the morning and driven to a put in point on the Yellowstone River that meanders through the idyllic Paradise Valley. The Yellowstone River is one of the greatest trout streams in America and, even if you are not an avid fisherman, there is no better way to spend a day than floating a river. After the morning float, you’ll pull up to enjoy a picnic lunch on the bank.

Cody is one of our favorite towns in Montana and Wyoming .

To get there, your road trip continues west through classic ‘Big Sky’ country. The town of Livingston , more rugged and down to earth than its booming neighbor Bozeman, is home to an eclectic mix of artists, writers and authors. 

Located between two spectacular wilderness mountain ranges, the Beartooths and Absarokas, you’ll travel two of the most breathtaking roads in the West. After the dramatic switchbacks of the Beartooth Highway , you’ll continue along the Chief Joseph Butler Highway that threads its way through the Shoshone Forest. 

A visit to the  extraordinary Buffalo Bill Center of the West , with the best collection of its type in the world, is a must for anyone interested in the history of the region. In the evening, make your way to the rodeo grounds for the Cody Nite Rodeo, where you’ll get a chance to see some of the country’s leading cowboys and cowgirls in action.

Next, you’ll drive through Wyoming’s Bighorn National Forest to the town of Sheridan.

Sheridan and Big Horn National Forest

Drive to the Southern Black Hills. Stop to explore the little western town of Buffalo, before continuing west.  At the edge of Wyoming, you’ll have the chance to detour to Devil’s Tower National Monument , an otherworldly rocky sentinel and site of significance for several Native American tribes.

After crossing into South Dakota , drive the spectacular Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway and visit the historic gold rush towns of Deadwood and Spearfish .

The Black Hills and Badlands National Park

With Keystone as your homebase for the next few days, you’ll have plenty of options to explore the Black Hills, Custer State Park and Mt. Rushmore.  Nearby Hill City , is well worth spending some time wandering through as well. The forming mining town is now home to multiple art galleries, as well as the Museum at Black Hills Institute .

Head south to the beautiful Custer State Park . Drive the scenic wildlife loop, where bison, pronghorn, prairie dogs, and deer are plentiful. Stop at one of the historic lodges in the park for lunch or a drink. Drive the beautiful Needles Highway as it climbs through the hills and past the peaceful Sylvan Lake.

The twisted spires and pinnacles of the Badlands give it an eerie, otherworldly feel. Despite its barren appearance, the Badlands are filled with life. Home to bison, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, deer, fox, coyotes, burrowing owls, and other prairie animals, including the rare black-footed ferret, the Badlands are a wildlife wonderland.

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Best Road Trips in the Northern Rockies: Montana, Wyoming and Idaho

Updated : April 19, 2023

AAA Travel Editor, Katie Broome

montana wyoming tours


Best Montana Road Trips

The scenery in Montana is as impressive as it is varied. Thick forests, towering mountains, deep valleys and pristine lakes characterize the western part of the state, which includes the northern Rocky Mountains and the Continental Divide. It’s the topography of Montana’s west that inspired the name montaña, the Spanish word for “mountain” or “mountainous region.” Of all Montana road trips, this one is perhaps the most popular (and is sometimes referred to as Glacier National Park’s “Road to the Sun”). The 50-mile route cuts across Glacier National Park at an elevation of 6,646 feet and is open seasonally, so you’ll want to plan accordingly. To include the road as part of a longer trip, consider AAA’s , a 374-mile journey that starts in Kalispell, Montana, and ends in the capital city of Helena. (AAA members can take advantage of exclusive member benefits with car rentals from Hertz .)

A drive through the eastern portion of Montana will have you wondering, “Why is the sky so big in Montana?” It’s the prairie grasslands and wide-open vistas of the east that gave Montana the nickname “Big Sky Country.” To see these expansive, impossibly blue skies, consider the following road trips:

• Big Sky Country Road Trip : A scenic 425-mile journey that starts and ends in Billings, Montana, looping through southern Montana and a small section of northern Wyoming. You’ll see the cowboy town of Cody, snow-capped mountains and hairpin turns along Beartooth Scenic Highway , and important sites in Native American history like Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.

• Big Sky Back Country Scenic Byway : Farther east in Montana’s Great Plains region, this 111-mile journey takes you through badlands, buttes and rolling prairies.

For Montana drives under one hour, consider these additional trips:

• Flathead Lake West Shore Scenic Highway : Follows the shore of glacially formed Flathead Lake, said to be the largest natural body of freshwater west of the Mississippi River

• Bitterroot Valley Scenic Highway : Begins in rustic Darby, a filming location for the TV series “Yellowstone”

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Road Trips Around Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks

Established in 1872, was the first national park in the U.S. and continues to be one of its most-visited, with approximately 4 million visitors each year. If you want to be among those visitors and experience one of the best places for road trips in the U.S., here are a few things to know about Yellowstone:

• The park is big — very big. Based on total land area, Yellowstone is larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined.

• The vast majority of Yellowstone’s 3,472 square miles lie in northwestern Wyoming, but its boundaries also extend into Idaho and Montana. (Three of the five park entrances are in Montana.)

• Wildlife sightings are common from park roadways, so drive with caution; you may see grizzlies, black bears, elk, bighorn sheep, moose and bison.

• Most park roads are open May through October (weather permitting), but check the Yellowstone road status website for the most current information.

To see Yellowstone’s dramatic river canyons, geysers, geothermal pools and waterfalls in all their glory, take the road trip, a 400-mile journey from Bozeman, Montana, to Jackson, Wyoming, with plenty of national park stops along the way. You’ll enter through the park’s west entrance (in West Yellowstone, Montana) before making a scenic loop that includes the popular Yellowstone Grand Loop in the heart of the park. This Yellowstone drive includes a trip through Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, with magnificent views of Jenny Lake, the Teton Range and the valley of Jackson Hole.

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What Else to See on a Wyoming Road Trip (Besides Yellowstone)

Once you’ve done the scenic drives around Yellowstone National Park, what else should you see in Wyoming?Just outside Yellowstone’s northeast entrance is , a two-lane road that’s been called one of the most scenic American road trips. It rises to an elevation of almost 11,000 feet, with plenty of overlooks where you can stop for a photo. (If you’re starting from Cody, Wyoming, take the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway to reach Beartooth Scenic Highway; it offers more views of snow-capped mountains and deep canyons.)South of Yellowstone, you can explore the ski resorts and mountains around Jackson Hole and Star Valley. The Star Valley to Yellowstone Scenic Highway will take you from Yellowstone’s south entrance into Grand Teton National Park and then through Jackson Hole and a handful of small towns near the Idaho border. This trip is a good jumping off point for visiting Snow King Mountain and the National Elk Refuge in Jackson, Wyoming.North-central Wyoming near the Montana border offers many scenic drives and small towns worth exploring. From I-90 just south of the Montana–Wyoming border, you’ll have your pick of two scenic drives that start on US 14: the is a roughly 200-mile route across the Bighorn and Shoshone national forests on the way to Cody, while the Medicine Wheel Passage Scenic Highway heads toward Bighorn Lake on US 14A.The follows SR 120 past the vast prairies of Bighorn Basin to Thermopolis, Wyoming, a town known for its hot springs. Continue south on the Wind River Canyon Scenic Byway to Shoshoni for more views of canyons, rock formations and the Bighorn River.

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Best Idaho Road Trips

Breathtaking mountain scenery, diverse wildlife, raging river rapids and a ski town that rivals Aspen — it’s easy to see why the state of Idaho makes a great road trip destination.The west region of Idaho boasts the , a 90-minute drive that snakes along the Payette River, with frequent pull-offs to admire the view.Scenic drives in Idaho’s central region will acquaint you with the state’s remote wilderness and craggy granite peaks. The follows SR 75 through Sawtooth National Recreation Area, passing the popular resort towns of Hailey, Ketchum and Sun Valley along the way. You may see wildlife like pronghorn antelope, deer, elk and wolves in this area.Another must-do road trip in the central region of Idaho is the , which follows the Salmon River (also known as the River of No Return, due to its strong current) past waterfalls and spectacular areas for whitewater rafting. As you near the Montana border, you can put yourself in the shoes of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, who traveled through these mountain passes in 1805 on their journey west.In northern Idaho’s panhandle is a portion of the only International Scenic Byway in North America: . This 88-mile section of the Selkirk Loop offers great river scenery and wildlife watching opportunities around the Selkirk Mountains. (Make the full international loop — bring your passport! — by adding on Washington’s International Selkirk Scenic Loop to the west and British Columbia’s International Scenic Loop to the north.)Nearby is the Pend Oreille Scenic Byway , a two-lane road that follows the Clark Fork of the Columbia River from the Idaho–Montana border to Lake Pend Oreille (pronounced pond-ah-RAY), one of the largest freshwater lakes in the Pacific Northwest.

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Best Time of Year for a Northern Rockies Road Trip

June to September is the best time of year for a Northern Rockies road trip, with the best chances of sunny skies and mild temperatures occurring in summer. July is the hottest month on average in these states.

Given the ideal driving conditions in June, July and August, expect plenty of crowds when road-tripping through tourist-heavy areas like Yellowstone, Glacier and Grand Teton national parks in summer months.

If you plan to visit Yellowstone National Park in the fall or spring, keep in mind that roads may close for winter conditions as early as October and remain closed until mid-April. In Glacier National Park, roads at higher elevations (such as the alpine portion of Going-to-the-Sun Road) can close in October and remain closed until late June or early July.

Some roads in Grand Teton National Park may close from November through April or mid-May for winter recreational use.

Winters are particularly harsh in the Northern Rockies, and driving in winter months can be dangerous due to slush, frost, snow, ice and white-out conditions.

No matter the season, always be prepared for dramatic temperature changes and unpredictable weather in the Northern Rockies, especially at higher elevations.

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Start Your Next Road Trip with AAA

AAA Travel provides peace of mind for travelers — from the first mile of the journey to the last. Get inspiration for your next road trip and locate AAA Diamond designated hotels and restaurants with AAA’s TripTik Travel Planner , or browse pre-planned itineraries on . Estimating fuel costs for your trip is easy with the AAA Gas Cost Calculator , and if your car needs a quick tune-up before the trip, find a AAA Approved auto repair facility near you at . For printed maps, AAA TourBook guides and trip planning advice, contact your local AAA office .

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Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks

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Uniquely Tauck

Yellowstone Tours


TAUCK EXCLUSIVE – Insider stories about the national parks during filmed narratives by Ken Burns & Dayton Duncan



Stays at sought-after inside-the-national-park accommodations in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks

Rafting adventure along the Snake River, surrounded by the spectacular scenery of the Tetons

Visit to the Mormon Row Historic District inside Grand Teton National Park

Extensive exploration inside the world's first national park, Yellowstone National Park

Visits to the Crazy Horse Memorial and Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Guests should be able to easily walk one to two miles, which may include climbing one or two flights of stairs and walking over uneven pavement, groomed hiking trails or cobblestones. Standing up to one hour or more may be required.

Often robust – may include long days, active sightseeing, early starts, evening activities, significant travel times.

Legendary Journeys and Adventures

The soul of the American West... Naturally inspiring, the landscapes of the American West challenge the imagination with jaw-dropping canyons, gurgling mud pots, geysers, and wide-open spaces... while towering mountains are a study in contrast, harboring wildlife and man-made wonders. 

A day at ta guest ranch, a taste of the cowboy life at a working wyoming ranch.

Make your way through Wyoming's breathtaking Bighorn Mountains to an authentic (and fun) western ranch experience at TA Guest Ranch in Buffalo. Homesteaded in 1884, the ranch was once the site of a shootout during the infamous Johnson County War that pitched cowboy against cowboy in these parts in 1892 – you can still see some of the old bullet holes! But today's visit will be a peaceful one… where you can choose to meet a horse whisperer, learn roping techniques from real cowboys, ride in a horse-drawn wagon, or saddle up for a horseback ride... and enjoy a private lunch on the ranch.

A night at the rodeo

Attend the exciting cody nite rodeo (seasonal, june – august).

Way out here in Wyoming, nothing promises more real Western fun than an honest-to-goodness rodeo... especially in a town named for the legendary Wild West showman, "Buffalo Bill" Cody, and often called the "Rodeo Capital of the World." Established in 1938 and operating June through August, the Cody Nite Rodeo is the world's longest-running nightly rodeo. Get set for an evening filled with bull riding, saddle bronco riding, team roping, barrel racing, rodeo clowns, and a "calf scramble" for kids 12 and under.

Old Faithful Inn

Stay in a classic national historic landmark in yellowstone national park.

One of the largest log structures in the world, Old Faithful Inn was designated a National Historic Landmark. Built in 1904 of native lodgepole pine – and the epitome of the "National Park Rustic" architectural style – it is set within walking distance of Old Faithful Geyser, just one of Yellowstone's many natural wonders... including geysers, fumaroles and boiling hot springs.

This relatively untamed territory makes you proud of those who had the foresight to set aside the space for National Parks.

Dean Horton

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Jackson lake lodge.

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Cabins

Holiday inn® cody at buffalo bill village.

Cody, Wyoming

The Ranch at Ucross

Ucross, Wyoming

The Rushmore Hotel & Suites

Rapid City, South Dakota

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Travel Documents

Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks begins and ends in the U.S.

Real ID Act - Effective May 7, 2025

Beginning in May 2025, some state IDs will no longer permit you to board a domestic flight. Currently, some states are compliant, some have received extensions, and some are not compliant.  Click here  to see the status of your state. If your state license is not compliant, you can use a passport in lieu of a valid state ID. 

Please Note:  The federal government has extended the deadline to May 7, 2025 for domestic airline passengers to secure a Real ID driver's license for use as identification at the airport. Travelers without a verified license or ID card will also have the option of showing other identity documents, such as a passport or military ID to board a plane.

If you are a citizen of another country traveling internationally,   you should contact an embassy or consulate of the U.S. to determine what travel documentation is necessary. You may also log on to the U.S. State Department's Internet site by clicking  here.

If you are traveling by air to join and/or depart from this tour within the U.S., please read the section entitled Airline Security Measures under Additional Information to determine what travel documentation is required.

If you are a citizen of the U.S. or Canada who travels frequently between the two countries, you may benefit from the NEXUS program, which is a joint initiative between the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency and the Canada Border Services Agency that allows pre-screened and approved travelers faster processing at designated highway lanes in high-volume border crossing locations, at a NEXUS kiosk at several airports, and at certain marine reporting locations in the Great Lakes and Seattle regions. For further information, you may log on to the Nexus Internet website by clicking here . Please note that longer stays abroad for any purpose may require additional travel documentation.

We recommend that you make at least two photocopies of all the travel documents that you bring with you. Include copies of the photo page of your passport that contains the date of issuance, the date of expiration and your citizenship. Secure one set of copies in the safe in your room while traveling and leave one set behind with someone at home who will assist you in the event your documents are misplaced, lost or stolen.

To facilitate Travel Requirements, destinations are increasingly utilizing online forms that require digital proof that you've successfully completed your submission (via an email, QR code, etc.) To ensure smooth travels and peace of mind, we strongly recommend all guests carry a personal smart phone and sign up for international data plans before traveling overseas.

Note: For activities marked with an asterisk (*) in day-by-day descriptions, participation is at your own risk; a signed liability waiver will be required.

TRAVELING WITH CHILDREN AS A GUARDIAN: If you are traveling as the guardian of a child/children, we strongly suggest that you carry a letter from both parents of the child authorizing emergency treatment in the event of illness or accident. For travel abroad, many foreign countries have specific entry requirements for children under 21 who are traveling internationally without BOTH parents. (These requirements are in response to the increased incidence of children being abducted and taken abroad.) PLEASE NOTE THAT TAUCK IS NOT RESPONSIBLE for the disruption of travel caused by improper documentation for children traveling without both parents.

How to Book a Tour

See your travel advisor, or call Tauck at 800-468-2825 to make a reservation.

At the time of booking, please have the following information ready for all members of your party:

  • Tour Name and Departure Date
  • Traveler's Name: First and last names as they appear on your passport or driver's license
  • Traveler's Address(es)
  • Email Address*
  • Traveler's Phone Number(s)*
  • Emergency Contact Information: Please provide the name and phone number  of a relative or friend (not travelling with you) whom we could contact during the tour in the unlikely event of an emergency
  • Interest in purchasing a travel protection plan (US and Canada)
  • Interest in extending your trip by staying in a Tauck recommended hotel before your trip begins or after it ends
  • Interest in our specially negotiated airfares

* Required Fields

Deposit & Final Payment

The deposit and the fees for the optional Protection Plan or Cancel Fee Waiver [CFW] coverage are due at time of booking.

The deposit amount is $350 per person

Final Payment:

Final Payment is due to Tauck 60 days before departure for lands trips, and 120 days before departure for cruises and rail journeys. If your deposit was made by credit card, final payment will be automatic unless you opted out at time of booking. Bookings without full payment at this time may be subject to cancellation without notice. Failure to make payment will be a considered a cancellation by the guest and all applicable cancellation fees will apply.

Travel Protection Plan

Effective for plans purchased as of July 1, 2021:

Cancellation Waiver – Provided by Tauck:

Under Tauck's Cancellation Fee Waiver you can cancel your tour for ANY REASON up to the day before departure and receive a money-back refund (except in Extreme Circumstances*) on the land tour cost, based on your original method of payment.

*Extreme Circumstances:  In the event of an act of God, war (whether declared or undeclared), terrorism, accident, natural disaster, outbreak of disease, or other event or circumstance beyond our control that contributes to or results in cancellation rates above our historical cancellation rates in the absence of such event or occurrence, Tauck reserves the right to issue a credit to you in lieu of a money-back refund, applicable to a future Tauck journey.

Travel Insurance Benefits – Underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company.

  • Trip Cancellation –  If you must cancel your tour due to a covered reason, the plan provides coverage for the amount you paid for your travel arrangements. Since the non-insurance cancellation waiver takes care of the land package cancellation fees already, this benefit reimburses the airfare cancellation charges up to the value of your original airfare purchase.
  • Trip Interruption –  If you have to interrupt your tour for covered reasons, the plan provides reimbursement for up to $5,000 to catch up to your tour or return home.
  • Travel Delay –  Provides reimbursement for missed, prepaid travel arrangements if you are delayed by a common carrier, natural disaster, unannounced strike, or other reasons as cited in the plan.
  • Medical Expense –  Reimburses covered medical expenses incurred in the event you become injured or sick during your trip. 
  • Baggage / Personal Effects Protection –  Provides reimbursement in the event your luggage or personal effects are, lost, stolen, damaged or delayed during your trip.

Worldwide Emergency Assistance Services –  Provided by Carefree Travel Assistance; 24-hour emergency telephone assistance hotline for medical and travel related problems.

The cost of Tauck's Guest Protection is: $349  per person

This protection provides insurance coverage that applies only during the covered trip. You may have coverage from other sources that provides you with similar benefits but may be subject to different restrictions depending upon your other coverages. You may wish to compare the terms of this policy with your existing life, health, home and automobile policies. If you have any questions about your current coverage, call your insurer, insurance agent or broker.

This optional Guest Protection must be requested at time of booking and fee must be included with initial payment. Fees are based on costs as of July 1, 2021, and are subject to change. Details will be provided with written confirmation of your tour reservation. Guest Protection does not protect travel agent commissions. Reimbursements will be made according to original method of payment. The amount of any refund shall be reduced by any recoveries obtained by you from any third parties.

The Guest Protection plan waives cancellation fees outlined below, provided we are notified of cancellation before your tour departs. Tour cancellation fees are waived regardless of reason, without written notice, and Tauck will refund land tour cost.

To obtain your state-specific Certificate of Insurance that contains the complete terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions of the certificate, visit .

If You Have To Cancel

If you cancel within 10 days of initial deposit Within the first 10 days after you place your initial deposit, you may cancel your reservation for any reason with no cancellation fees. If you cancel more than 10 days after initial deposit Regardless of reason, cancellations result in costly charges from our travel and hotel providers covering penalties and fees incurred by canceling confirmed bookings. These fees vary from tour to tour. Therefore, the following fees apply.

Cancellation Fees with Tauck's Guest Protection Plan:

Loss of Guest Protection fee, per person

Cancellation Fees without Tauck's Guest Protection Plan :

60 days or more before departure = $350 per person

59-8 days before departure = $600 per person

7-1 days before departure = $900 per person

Time of cancellation  will be when notice is received in our Wilton Woods, CT office.

In the event of an unforeseen circumstance beyond our control,  Tauck reserves the right to amend the cancellation terms outlined herein.

Note:  All Guests, regardless of residency, who book a Tauck journey have the option of purchasing the Cancellation Fee Waiver provided by Tauck in the event they need to cancel their trip after making their reservations. Tauck's Guest Protection, which includes both the Cancellation Fee Waiver and the Travel Insurance Benefits and Assistance Services described above, is not available to residents of Puerto Rico.

Travel Terms and Conditions

Click here  to find Tauck's Travel Terms & Conditions.

Travel Requirements For This Tour

Air Information and Luggage Restrictions

AIRFARE: Airfare to and from this destination is not included in the journey cost. If purchasing your air elsewhere, it is very important to provide us with your confirmed arriving and departing flight information no later than 3 weeks before your arrival date. Flight information can be submitted to Tauck (or verified, if you've already provided it) in the My Account section of

TAUCK AIRPORT TRANSFERS are included at the start and end of the journey between the airport and the Tauck hotel. Airport transfers are available for any pre tour or post tour hotel stays immediately consecutive to the tour, providing flight information is received in the Tauck office no later than three weeks in advance. Details on locating your transfer upon arrival to the tour start city will be included in your final documents.

AIRLINES and CHECKED LUGGAGE: Due to space limitations during your Tauck journey, we ask that you please limit your checked luggage to one average-size suitcase per person. Besides complying with the Tauck restriction noted above, you should also be sure to research and comply with all airline baggage restrictions relating to your flights to and from your Tauck journey. Airlines have become much more strict in enforcing size and weight limits in recent years, and are free to revise luggage policies without notice. Researching and complying with airline luggage restrictions is the responsibility of the guest, and Tauck cannot be held responsible for any costs or disruptions to travel caused by the failure to research and comply with airline policies. PLEASE NOTE that if you are booked on a tour that includes on-tour flights, the checked luggage weight restrictions for these flights may be lower than the weight restrictions for your international flights.

Checked Luggage – General

Due to space restrictions, we ask that you please limit your checked luggage to one suitcase per person weighing no more than 50 pounds (23 kg) and with overall dimensions (length + width + height) not exceeding 62 inches (158 cm).

Besides complying with the Tauck restriction noted above, you should also be sure to research and comply with all airline baggage restrictions relating to your flights to and from your Tauck journey. Airlines have become much more strict in enforcing size and weight limits in recent years, and luggage exceeding airline standards for size or weight may result in expensive overage fees or other consequences.

Airlines are free to revise luggage policies without notice, and certain airlines have different baggage allowances for different classes of service. Researching and complying with airline luggage restrictions is the responsibility of the guest, and Tauck cannot be held responsible for any costs or disruptions to travel caused by the failure to research and comply with airline policies.

Tauck luggage tags will be provided by your Tauck Director on Day 1 of your itinerary. Please do not attach a Tauck luggage tag to any carry-on items, as the Tauck tags designate luggage that is to be handled and transferred by ground operators and hotel staff during your journey.

Carry-on Luggage - General

Although oversize bags and wheeled, carry-on luggage are popular for airline travel, they are often not convenient or appropriate for motor coach travel or for many on-tour flights. Most modern sightseeing motor coaches offer limited space for numerous or larger items. Space under seats or in the overhead rack is typically small, and designed to accommodate items like coats, hats, purses, and small camera bags, etc.

For your day-to-day travel while on tour, we recommend that you limit your hand luggage to a small, soft-sided carry-on piece, and that you bring only those items you need handy during the day such as make-up, medications, cameras, film, etc. Items too large to fit under the motor coach seat or on the overhead rack must be stored in the luggage bays beneath the motor coach, and may be inaccessible during daytime travel.

Health, Safety and Mobility


Please check with your health insurance provider to determine whether you are covered while traveling. If you will not be covered under your current policy, we strongly suggest that you arrange for adequate coverage while on tour.

If you have a medical condition that might limit your participation in activities, please consult your physician for pre-departure health advice and notify Tauck as soon as possible, if you have not already done so. We will advise your Tauck Director accordingly.


If you are a resident of another country traveling to or within the U.S., we suggest that contact your physician, the public health service in your area, or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to obtain information regarding vaccinations and medications for vaccine-preventable diseases and other diseases for which you might be at risk when you reach your destination in the U.S. The Travelers' Health Section of the CDC operates a 24-hour "Travelers' Health Hotline" at 800-232-4636 (toll-free in the U.S.). You may also log on to the CDC website by clicking here.

To enjoy this tour, you should be in good health and able to walk reasonable distances, often over unpaved and uneven surfaces. Some of the most memorable sightseeing can only be accomplished on foot. The amount of walking you do, however, is at your discretion.

Some of the excursions on this tour are:

  • Whitewater rafting on the Snake River, the journey is roughly 2 hours and requires stepping in and out of an inflatable raft
  • Guided horseback riding on a working cattle ranch, guests are required to show ability to mount/unmount and for safety reasons, a weight restriction of 225 pounds is in place. 

There are no elevators at The Ranch at Ucross or at the Holiday Inn® Cody at Buffalo Bill Village, and while none of the planned activities are especially strenuous or difficult, we urge caution when engaging in activities at high elevations. If you have a heart condition or lung ailment, please consult your physician before you book your trip.

PLEASE NOTE: We regret that we're unable to provide individual assistance to guests with walking difficulties or other personal needs. The responsibility of the Tauck Director who accompanies your trip is to ensure that the larger group enjoys a relaxing and informative journey, and he or she cannot be relied upon to provide ongoing individual assistance to any one guest. Guests requiring such individualized assistance must be accompanied by an able-bodied companion who can provide it. While drinking water is generally safe at all our hotels, bottled water will be available wherever the local water is not fit to drink. We also provide bottled water on the motor coaches.

The Jackson Lake Lodge, Old Faithful Inn and Lake Yellowstone Hotel are all non-smoking hotels and a very large fine will be assessed if it is determined that anyone has smoked while on property.


The restaurants, hotels, caterers and numerous other partners we work with all do their best to accommodate special dietary requests from Tauck guests. However, given the diverse nature of those food providers (from small wineries to grand hotels to world-famous restaurants in more than 70 countries worldwide), some of our partners are better able than others to accommodate such requests. We therefore cannot guarantee that all dietary requests can be accommodated at every meal. Also, please note that where dietary requests can be accommodated, choices will frequently be limited.

Reading List

We have compiled a reading list of recommended books to give you more information about the destinations you will be traveling to on your upcoming journey! You can view the reading list  here .

The high temperatures in the summer months average 70 to 90°F (21 to 32°C) and the lows average 40 to 60°F (4 to 16°C). The overnight temperatures can drop to the freezing point even during the summer at the highest elevations. Rainfall is light to moderate throughout the region. Salt Lake City receives the least amount of rain with an average of less than 1 in (25 mm) per month during summer; Jackson averages 1.5 in (38 mm) and Rapid City averages 2.5 in (63 mm.)

To read about current weather conditions, we suggest you log on to the Internet website, , by clicking here.

What To Pack

Bringing the right clothing for your trip is important – we've partnered with Necessary Gear who provide an "easy-to-use, one-stop shop" for your Tauck travel needs, specifically selected for this trip. Click here to visit their site .

Your journey is designed with leisure in mind. Dress for comfort and convenience with a wardrobe that is adaptable and allows for layering. Generally, during the day, casual, comfortable, cotton clothing is recommended. Cool weather at higher elevations or at night will require warmer, layered clothing. For the welcome and farewell receptions, casual resort wear is appropriate; formal wear is never required.

All of our hotels offer valet laundry service for a fee except for the Old Faithful Inn, Lake Yellowstone Hotel and The Ranch at Ucross.

We recommend that you pack an adequate supply of your prescription medication in its original container to last through your entire journey, together with a copy of your doctor's prescription or a letter from your health-care provider on office stationery explaining that the medication has been prescribed for you, a list of the generic names of your medication, your travel documents and a change of clothing in your carry-on bag to avoid any inconvenience in the event that your flight or luggage is delayed.

The national park lodges do not have televisions or Internet hook-ups, so bring along a good book to read!

Following is a list of recommended items to pack for your journey to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks:

  • Comfortable walking shoes (VERY IMPORTANT)
  • Casual daytime wear – shorts, slacks, long and short-sleeved shirts
  • Long pants or jeans (long pants and closed-toed shoes are required for the horseback riding)
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen, hat
  • A light sweater or jacket for higher elevations or a breezy night
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Insect repellent
  • Camera, lenses, batteries, memory cards and chargers
  • Lightweight, comfortable, sturdy walking shoes that have already been broken-in
  • Travel alarm clock/cell phone with alarm functions (many hotels do not have clocks in the rooms
  • Rain poncho and collapsible umbrella
  • Reusable zipper-lock bags or other waterproof bags
  • Daypack for camera equipment
  • Sundries and toiletries that may be difficult to find en route
  • A book or e-reader to read in the evening, or downloaded podcasts or video programs to watch during your free time.
  • Copies of your travel documents that should be secured in the safe in your hotel room while traveling

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Idaho, Montana & Wyoming Tourbook Guide

Including boise, jackson hole, yellowstone national park and grand teton national park.

Explore the rugged wilderness of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming with the AAA TourBook guide. From the impossibly blue skies of Montana's “Big Sky Country” to the diverse wildlife within Yellowstone National Park, America's West offers seemingly endless opportunities to explore the great outdoors. Plan your next trip with the help of AAA's TourBook travel guide, available now on mobile, tablet or desktop.

With the Idaho, Montana & Wyoming guide, you'll get advice from AAA travel experts about the best things to see and do, where to stay and how to plan the trip of a lifetime. You'll learn insider travel tips and answers to many top questions asked by travelers.

Here's a sampling of what you'll find in the Idaho, Montana & Wyoming TourBook:

  • Why Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons are worth a visit
  • What to see in Yellowstone and Glacier national parks
  • How to experience what life was like in the Old West
  • Why Montana's Going-to-the-Sun-Road is a bucket list adventure
  • Where to find one of author Ernest Hemingway's favorite fly-fishing spots in Idaho
  • How to follow in the footsteps of early explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
  • Where to camp, hike and fish in state parks and national public lands
  • Why astronauts trained for a lunar landing in Idaho
  • How to safely explore Hells Canyon, North America's deepest river gorge

What are some of the must-dos covered in this guide?

We know no two travelers are alike, so we've included a wide variety of things to do in each TourBook, from national parks and recreational activities to museums and theme parks.

We cover the top outdoor spots to visit in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, including Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Yellowstone and Old Faithful. Learn about local history at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman or the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody. Take the whole family to Silverwood, one of the largest theme parks in the northwest. Go behind-the-scenes on a Powerhouse Tour at Montana's Fort Peck Dam, or get up-close with wildlife at the Grizzly Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone or Yellowstone Bear World in Rexburg.

You'll find all these attractions and more in this destination guide.

Will this guide help me plan a road trip?

Yes, this digital TourBook guide includes inspiration for scenic drives in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. You can also use the high-quality maps to get started planning your own route.

Is national park information included?

The Idaho, Montana & Wyoming tour book includes detailed information and travel tips for Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park and Grand Teton National Park.

You'll also find travel information about popular public lands such as Devils Tower National Monument, Little Bighorn Battlefield, Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, Fort Laramie National Historic Site, Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.

Explore the Idaho, Montana & Wyoming AAA TourBook, and start planning your next travel adventure today!

A great American road trip through Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming

Clint Henderson

Talk about a great American road trip. I've been living at my father's ranch in rural Montana ever since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down our New York City offices in March 2020. While I miss my colleagues and New York City, being in the West has given me great opportunities to see parts of the country I'd never explored before. That includes some national parks and more of Montana and states I hadn't even been to, like the Dakotas and Wyoming.

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Today, I'll take you on a road trip from Bozeman, Montana, to Bismarck, North Dakota, to Rapid City, South Dakota, and then on to Cody, Wyoming, before heading for a stop in Yellowstone National Park back in Montana. Along the way, you get to see places like Mount Rushmore, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Devils Tower and, finally, Old Faithful.

Start your trip in Bozeman, Montana

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Bozeman was once a sleepy cow town, but that's history. It's a veritable boomtown -- one of the fastest-growing cities in the West. The town's charming Main Street offers tons of shopping, bars and restaurants.

The Museum of the Rockies is a must-visit. It's got the largest collection of dinosaur remains in the world, including a very impressive Tyrannosaurus rex.

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And there's been insane growth at the airport : Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN) bills itself as the "Gateway to Yellowstone." It's the busiest airport in Montana, with nonstop service to 19 U.S. cities.

American Airlines has been betting big on Montana and added four seasonal flights in 2020 and several more in 2021 . American flies to Bozeman from Los Angeles (LAX), Charlotte (CLT), Chicago O'Hare (ORD), Philadelphia (PHL), Phoenix (PHX) and Dallas Fort-Worth (DFW) nonstop.

I found tickets for between $239 and $425 in the main cabin. Award prices started at 12,000 AAdvantage miles in coach or 50,000 miles for first class, plus $11.20 in taxes and fees.

United Airlines flies to Bozeman from six of its hubs, and Delta Air Lines also flies from six hubs, including Salt Lake City (SLC). Alaska Airlines has flights from Portland, Oregon (PDX), San Francisco (SFO), San Diego (SAN), and Seattle (SEA), and Allegiant flies from four cities, including Nashville, Tennessee (BNA). Frontier flies from Denver (DEN) and Sun Country now flies from its Minneapolis hub. JetBlue flies from New York-JFK and Boston (BOS) and from Los Angeles (LAX).

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There are several brand-new hotels, including one of my favorites, the four-star Kimpton Armory hotel that opened in 2020. Rates range from $207 to $299 a night during August and September. If Marriott is more your speed, there's a nice newish Element Hotel as well.

Related: The new Kimpton Armory in Bozeman, Montana

A day in Billings, Montana

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Once you're done exploring Bozeman, your road trip begins in earnest with a just over two-hour drive to Billings in I-90 East. Billings is the largest city in Montana and is also experiencing rapid growth. This is really where the Great Plains begin. I'm not a huge fan of the town, but there are some things to see.

There are several walking trails you can do in the city and the surrounding areas, including ones that will get you some nice views of the cliffs surrounding the town or even on the cliffs.

There's also a park called the Shiloh Conservation Area that has turned an undeveloped 66 acres in West Billings into a wetland area to help control flooding and pollution in the Yellowstone River that flows through town.

If you want to spend the night, there are a ton of cheap hotels and motels in Billings. I stayed at Hampton Inn, which was fine. Rates for summer start at $136/night or 30,000 Hilton Honors points.

A side trip to Little Bighorn Battlefield National Park

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It's just over a one-hour drive from Billings to Little Bighorn Battlefield National Park and well worth going a little out of your way. You take Interstate 90 in a nearly straight shot all the way there.

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This national monument is a memorial to one of the last of the major battles between Native Americans and the U.S. military. It pitted the U.S. Army's 7th Cavalry against warriors from the Arapaho, Lakota and Northern Cheyenne tribes. This place is popularly known as Custer's Last Stand and the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876. More than 265 were killed and it was a major defeat for the U.S. Army. Now the site is preserved as a compelling tribute to those killed on both sides of the battle.

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Plan on a pit stop in the charming little cowboy town of Miles City, Montana. I got gas here last summer and stopped into the famous Montana Bar on Main Street. It opened in 1908 and is considered one of the best-preserved Western bars in the state.

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Theodore Roosevelt National Park

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It's a four-hour drive to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota on Interstate 94. You should probably plan on spending the night in nearby Medora, North Dakota, or even Dickinson, North Dakota, unless you don't mind a six-hour drive direct to Bismarck. That wouldn't get you much time in Little Bighorn or in Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Medora's Badlands Motel has basic rooms for between $119–$172 a night.

Related: State-by-state guide to coronavirus reopenings

The park is 70,400 acres in the badlands with a ton of hiking trails. You don't need more than a day here, in my opinion, though it's worth a visit. I spent about two hours on a small hike from the parking lot at the Painted Canyon Visitors Center. You could probably spend a few days at the park on various hikes if you are so inclined.

Bismarck, North Dakota

It's another two-hour drive to Bismarck, North Dakota, the state capital and where you can stay the night at one of many moderately priced hotels.

I enjoyed walking around the state capital building and exploring the historic downtown, including Camp Hancock State Historic Site built in 1872. There's a cool old train station nearby, and you can do the whole town in just a few hours.

Lots of mid-tier hotels to choose from, including a Radisson, Holiday Inn, a Courtyard by Marriott or a Home2Suites by Hilton. Prices range from $84-$127. That's not too bad for peak summer travel.

Rapid City, South Dakota

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It's a long five-hour drive from Bismarck to Rapid City, so you'll be in the car for much of the day. Your reward is the charming town known as the City of Presidents.

There are also five national parks within drives of Rapid City: Badlands National Park, Devils Tower National Monument, Jewel Cave National Monument, Wind Cave National Park, Minuteman Missile Silo National Park and Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

Also within reach? Crazy Horse Memorial, the Native American version of Mount Rushmore with the giant face of Oglala Lakota leader Crazy Horse carved into a mountain in the Black Hills.

You could spend a week based in Rapid City and do day trips to all these national parks and memorials if you have the time. There's also a thriving restaurant scene in the town.

I found midrange hotels for this summer from $85 all the way up to $250 a night. The Hilton Curio Collection Alex Johnson hotel in Downtown Rapid City looked charming, though it is already sold out on many dates this summer.

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You're less than a half-hour from Mount Rushmore in Rapid City, so plan on making the town your base.

Mount Rushmore

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No trip to the Dakotas would be complete without a stop at Mount Rushmore. It blew me away and was so much more impressive than I expected when I first went a few years ago. It should be on every American's bucket list.

Related: 11 of the best destinations in the United States

It's a short drive from Rapid City. Keep your eyes open for mountain goats on your drive to the park.

There's no entrance fee to visit, but there is a parking fee of $10 per vehicle or RV. It's just $5 for senior citizens. It's a bit of a hike from the parking area to walk around the base of the mountain, so keep that in mind. Wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-serve basis and are free.

Be sure to do the short hike around the monument to really get a sense of the scale and grandeur of the monument.

Deadwood, South Dakota and a drive through Sturgis

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On your way from Mount Rushmore, it's worth a stop or even a day or two in nearby Deadwood, South Dakota. It's about an hour and a half from Mount Rushmore on a beautiful drive.

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This charming little "Old West" town has lots of little shops and curiosities. It was established as a town in the 1870s during the Black Hills Gold Rush. The whole town is a National Historic Landmark. It's now more famous for another type of gold rush -- gambling has been legal here since 1989.

Related: Voyage to Mt. Rushmore

And if you don't mind absolutely zero social distancing, you can make a stop in Sturgis, South Dakota. If you really want to roll the dice, time your visit to coincide with the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. There's not much to Sturgis aside from lots and lots and lots of bars, but that's the idea of a good time for lots of folks.

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Devils Tower National Monument, Wyoming

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It's a 90-minute drive from Deadwood to Devils Tower. This was probably my favorite thing to see in all my Western road trips last summer -- what a spectacular natural wonder. You can spend a few hours on hikes around the massive rock formation. Many people go for either sunrise or sunset here. You can even do rock climbing on the steep face of the butte.

It was the first United States national monument in the country and it was dedicated by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. It was also where they filmed a famous scene in the 1977 movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." Indeed, it feels other-worldly here.

Cody, Wyoming

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It's a five-hour drive from Devils Tower to Cody, Wyoming, where you should probably spend the night before heading to Yellowstone. It's just an hour and 15 minutes from Cody to the east entrance of Yellowstone.

There is plenty to do in this rugged Wyoming town of fewer than 10,000 people. I highly recommend the Buffalo Bill Center of the West , which includes five museums. Colonel William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody helped found the town in 1896. He was one of the most famous men in the Old West, legendary for his buffalo hunting, cowboy skills and showmanship.

There is a Holiday Inn at Buffalo Bill Village with rates in June around $181/night, or you could use 47,000 IHG Rewards points.

There is also a Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton that looks pretty basic for about $185/night or 56,000 Hilton Honors points.

Yellowstone National Park

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If you stay the night in Cody, it will give you a full day to explore the park. You'll enter via U.S. Highway 14/20 and it's about 53 miles to Yellowstone's East Entrance. The route will take you through the eastern entrance of Yellowstone and around the beautiful Yellowstone Lake.

Related: Complete guide to Yellowstone National Park

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You'll have the opportunity to stop at the museum and visitors center near Lake Village and there are plenty of hikes or scene overlooks on the way. Once you're done exploring the Yellowstone Lake area, head on over to Old Faithful. It's a massive geyser that erupts reliably every 60 to 110 minutes. It's a cone geyser in the Upper Geyser Basin and easily accessible by road, and park rangers can tell you when the next eruption is during the day. Don't worry if you missed an eruption. It happens 20 times a day, and the plume of water and steam can be as high as 180 feet!

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Watch for buffalo that are frequently loitering around the area.

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If you want to stay the night, you can actually stay right at Old Faithful. I wrote a complete guide to where to stay in Yellowstone . Check it out for ideas, but try one of the very intimate little cabins if your party is not too large.

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The road from Old Faithful to West Yellowstone is filled with sites to see and a ton of spectacular geysers and hot springs too. There are hikes and lots of wild animals roaming around to boot.

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West Yellowstone, Montana

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The final stop on your road trip is West Yellowstone, Montana. You should plan on staying the night here before your long drive back to Bozeman (give yourself two and a half hours).

There's a decent Holiday Inn in West Yellowstone where last-minute rooms in August start at $370 a night. That's steep, but if you book early, you can certainly find better rates. A long weekend in September will set you back $306 a night, or you can use 33,000 IHG Rewards Club points per night. I stayed here in 2020, and it was very basic but clean. I'm not sure it's worth $300 a night. I wouldn't pay that much.

Related: Where to stay in and around Yellowstone National Park

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There's also the Days Inn by Wyndham West Yellowstone , staring at 15,000 Wyndham points per night. If you have Best Western Rewards points, you could try the Best Western Desert Inn or the Best Western Weston Inn , both from 28,000 points per night.

There's plenty to do in West Yellowstone too without even going back inside the park. The Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center comes highly recommended, where you can see live bears and wolves up close. There's also zip-lining and river rafting nearby.

And, check out the visitor information center in the town itself, explore the fun tourist-trap shops lining the streets and be sure to grab some huckleberry ice cream. It will be just one of the many memories you make on your road trip.

USA - Montana & Wyoming: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem - ()

Usa - montana & wyoming: greater yellowstone ecosystem.

  • Dates, Leaders and Pricing
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There is nowhere in North America as iconic as Yellowstone National Park. Towering mountains, spewing geysers, vast forests and valleys harboring the highest megafauna density on the continent make this a must-visit destination for anyone wanting to experience the classic American West. But the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, as it is known by locals and researchers, is much more than what is found within the National Park’s borders, despite its enormous size. The ecosystem includes huge, pristine prairies, alpine crags and meadows, near-arid desert, and the most diverse and lovely scenery one could hope for.

For birders, a visit to the Yellowstone region means Longspurs parachuting over Mountain Plover chicks, Western Tanagers at the same feeders as Red Crossbills, Black Rosy Finches foraging at the feet of Mountain Goats, Brown-headed Cowbirds on the back of the original bovine of the continent – the Bison. Yellowstone means time spent observing wolves and bears foraging, hunting, in their natural habitats, otters and Barrow’s Goldeneye frolicking in the Lamar River, and some of the most spectacular geothermal sites on Earth.  Any visit to Yellowstone is memorable and unique, but there is so much more to be seen and enjoyed than most visitors could conceive.

Day 1.  Arrive Bozeman, transfer to Hotel in Livingston.  Day 2.  Prairie Birding all AM, return via Cottonwood Reservoir and Shields Valley. Overnight Gardiner. Day 3.  Paradise Valley Birding AM, PM birding and wildlife in Yellowstone National Park. Overnight Gardiner. Day 4.  All day wildlife and birds in Yellowstone National Park. Overnight Cooke City.  Day 5.  All day wildlife and birds in Lamar Valley. Overnight Cooke City.  Day 6.  Beartooth Pass to Red Lodge. Overnight Red Lodge.  Day 7.  West Rosebud and Bridger Creek en route to Bozeman. End Tour in Bozeman.

Day 1 - Arrival Day.

Guests will arrive to the quaint Bozeman Airport where they will be met by YellowstoneWild staff for transport to their accommodations in Livingston. The group will convene for introductions and a nice meal, as well as discuss the upcoming adventure. 

Day 2 - Bridger Range, Shields Valley, and Paradise Valley. 

The day will begin at Battle Ridge campground, high in the mountains, where we will look for Three-toed Woodpecker, Williamson's Sapsucker, Pine Grosbeak and other montane birds. This site is one of the few semi-reliable spots for Great Gray Owl outside of Yellowstone National Park, and both Saw-Whet Owl and Northern Goshawk are frequently seen here, though all of these require a bit of luck. Depending on recent sightings, we might skip Battle Ridge and head directly towards Cottonwood Reservoir in the Shields Valley. The ecological diversity in the Shields River Valley is impressive, and worth a full morning! We will no doubt encounter our first Sandhill Cranes, Golden Eagles, Trumpeter Swans, Mountain Bluebirds, and Pronghorn of the tour here, but we will first focus on the Sage habitats looking for Sage Thrasher and Brewer's Sparrow. We will also make brief stops for Marsh Wren, Virginia Rail (sometime responsive, not always), and always have our eyes open for Gray Partridge. Cottonwood Reservoir is an amazing place! We will spend time here enjoying the displays of Eared and Western Grebes, huge American White Pelicans, as well as an exceptional array of breeding waterfowl including Barrow's Goldeneye, before heading South to Livingston for lunch. The early afternoon will be spent at a nice local riparian area on the Yellowstone, and visiting a spectacular feeder setup for breeding birds like Calliope and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatches, Evening Grosbeak, Black-headed Grosbeak, Lazuli Bunting, Red Crossbill, Cassin's Finch, Northern Waterthrush, Western Tanager and Bullock's Oriole. We will finish the day with a stop up Tom Miner Basin, where we might get our first views of Moose or Grizzly Bears! 

Days 3, 4 & 5 - Yellowstone National Park.  

These days will be devoted to exploring and enjoying Yellowstone National Park to the fullest. We will visit a few of the famed geothermal sites during the slower parts of the day, but focus primetime viewing hours on what the park is best known for: charismatic megafauna. While there will plenty of great birds to search for, including Harlequin Duck, Common and Barrow's Goldenye, Dusky Grouse, Williamson's Sapsucker, Three-toed Woodpecker, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Northern Saw-Whet Owl, Great Gray Owl (rare), Pine Grosbeak, Audubon's and MacGillivray's Warblers, Ovenbird, and American Dipper, we will spend much of our time soaking up the scenery and observing the behaviors of the amazing wildlife here. We will dedicate a fair amount of time to locating and observing the famous Wolves of Yellowstone, hoping to come across a carcass, or perhaps even a pack hunting. Every year there are wolf dens staked out, so with luck we should see some pups, too! Bears are, of course, the other big predators of Yellowstone. On our route we should have several good opportunities to watch both Black and Grizzly Bears foraging, often with cubs in tow. Other exciting predatory species we often encounter include Coyote, Red Fox, River Otter, and Badger, while Mink and Ermine are less commonly seen though possible. Those are just the predators...the multitude of Yellowstone visitors are content simply watching the massive herds of Bison that thrive in the park. We will be at the right time of year to see the youngsters at their cutest and the herds will often be strolling right down the road creating the all too common "Bison Jam". It's an incredible experience to have a huge bull Bison stroll past within inches of the vehicles! Majestic Elk are also a common sight in the park. Depending on the time of year (Aug-Oct) the Bison rut and Elk rut offer some unique experiences ranging from the classic Elk bugling in the crisp morning air, to bull Bison in flat-out combat for dominance. Always exciting to watch these huge creatures! Photographic opportunities will be countless, so bring plenty of memory cards. And while this description of our time in Yellowstone is relatively brief, the steam and colors of Mammoth Falls, incredible sight of Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and stretching views down the Lamar Valley are but a few of the peaceful yet inspiring things we will experience, aside from the wildlife and birds. 

Day 6 - The Beartooth Pass, Hellroaring Canyon, and Red Lodge.  

Today will be one of the most dramatic and exciting days of the tour. By most testimonials, in fact, the drive from Cooke City to Red Lodge is one of the most dramatic and breath-taking days of the visitor's entire life. Starting near Cooke City in search of Wilson's Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, Lincoln's, White-crowned, and Fox Sparrows, we begin in the beautiful high montane forest dominated by Englemann's Spruce and Subalpine Fir trees, with a high likelihood of encountering Moose. Shortly after breakfast, we will begin the ascent towards Beartooth Lake, Beartooth Plateau, and ultimately over the second-highest paved road in North America: Beartooth Pass. Climbing through beautiful meadows, dense stands of Subalpine Fir and White Pine, we will make our way across the most spectacular scenery in the lower 48. Fields covered in dozens of species of flowers, Mountain Bluebirds, Clark's Nutcrakers, Canada Jays, and finally we will pass above treeline, leaving the wind-swept, stunted firs (limbs growing from just one side of the trunk known as the "krummholz" effect) behind, with endless views of peaks, steep glaciated valleys, rock walls, and rolling alpine grasslands before us. It truly is something to behold! At these elevations (nearly 11,000 feet) there is understandably little diversity. The conditions here in any month can be erratic and harsh, and we will undoubtedly be standing in snow at times, even in Mid-Summer. But the lifeforms that have adapted to the difficult climate here are all the more impressive for it. Enter the Mountain Goat. While, by now, we have surely seen our fair share of Bighorn Sheep which are duly impressive, Mountain Goats are their own level of hardiness. Balancing on tiny ledges and effortlessly jumping and pelting themselves through rockfalls and across cliff faces, the Mountain Goats of Beartooth Pass are some of the most beloved by locals. Approachable, relatively docile, and seemingly unperturbed by almost everything around them (save a Grizzly or Wolverine) the two herds of Mountain Goat that frequent the Pass are a highlight of any visit to the region. That's just the goats! Don't get us started on how cute American Pika and Yellow-bellied Marmot are. The birds here are certainly special, too. At this elevation and habitat, there are two principal species to be sought. One is the American Pipit. While relatively drab in color, and not uncommon in Winter, to see the males hovering high above flower-covered meadows skylarking, singing endlessly in flight, is a spectacle that paints them in a different light. Black Rosy-Finch is the other. With a breeding population restricted to the highest elevations of just six mountain ranges, this is one of the most desired birds for enthusiasts and "hardcore" birders alike. The fact that they breed behind rocks on vertical cliffs that must be mostly snow-covered as a requisite is, alone, an incredible behavior the species has evolved! We will end the day in the adorable mountain town of Red Lodge, which has to be one of the nicest and most exemplary "mountain towns" of the region. The Hotel Pollard is centrally located on Main Street, and we will arrive in time for folks to take a stroll through town before convening for a fine dining experience. 

Day 7 - Prairies, Woodpeckers, and a fond farewell. 

We will set out fairly early, though not necessarily as early as previous days, for our final day's sights and sounds. We will make our way directly out of the mountains North into the prairie country that dominates Central and Eastern Montana. Focusing out time near Harlowton, the first thing most visitors notice on the prairie is the sounds: Sparrows, Longspurs, and Pipits dominate the scene! Special sights of the day will include parachuting McCown's and Chestnut-collared Longspurs by the dozens. Sprague's Pipits will grace the sky, singing loudly as they hang suspended midair to broadcast for a mate. Ferruginous Hawks and Golden Eagles will be cruising the fields in search of Ground-Squirrels and Cottontail, while Long-billed Curlew and, with luck, Mountain Plovers will make themselves known as they defend nesting territories. Both Grasshopper and Baird's Sparrows are thankfully common here, and often sit up to sing, sometimes very closeby. We will spend a bit of time talking about this very special, disappearing habitat, as these native grasslands are considered the most imperiled ecosystem on the continent. It will be a treat to enjoy the scarce and localized birds that call it home. After enjoying our time in the prairies, en route back to Bozeman we will make a special side trip into an old burn. Burns are very important events in the mountain west, and they allow for certain species to survive in areas they otherwise would not. This especially applies to cavity nesters. Before calling it quits, we will spend a bit of time at a special site in search of the stunning Lewis's and Red-headed Woodpeckers! This particular site is about the easternmost for Lewis's, and the westernmost for Red-headed. The fact that they occur side by side is astonishing. Other species here include Ponderosa specialists like Plumbeous Vireo and Pygmy Nuthatch, while the gorgeous Lazuli Bunting is common. It will provide an interest, colorful, final day to our sweeping tour of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem." 

This tour is perfectly designed to see the rarest and most desirable species for birders, at a pace anyone would enjoy. There will plenty of time for bird and wildlife photography, as well as downtime and wonderful options for cultural and shopping alternate activities, should any guests request an afternoon off.

Gardiner - , Cooke City - , Red Lodge -

We’ll begin the day around 4:45am, as the sun rises early in Montana. We’ll have a light field breakfast at our first destination, after coffee and snacks in the accommodations before departure. Birding and Wildlife observation is great throughout the day, though we will plan to have a two-hour break, after lunch, during the heat of the day when activity is lowest. We will head back out again around 15:00 or 15:30, continuing to seek out the specialty birds and wildlife experiences we desire, until dusk. Owling is optional, and will be available on two of the six nights of the tour.

Great driving conditions and easy through some of the best scenery on the continent.

Hot Spring soaking, flyfishing, hiking, shopping, horseback riding, rafting.

Please note: these prices are subject to foreign exchange fluctuations. Prices include water, non-alcoholic drinks associated with meals, all meals starting dinner on the Arrival day in Bozeman (MT) - ending Lunch on Final Day of services, all guides services, administrative costs, all transport costs, National Park entrance fees, and accommodations. The quoted prices do not include beverages other than water outside of mealtimes, alcoholic beverages of any kind, or consumptive charges incurred at accommodations outside of room charge.

Black Rosy Finch, Sprague’s Pipit, Thick-billed & Chestnut-collared Longspurs, Mountain Plover, Dusky Grouse, Three-toed Woodpecker, Williamson’s Sapsucker, Sagebrush Sparrow, Baird’s Sparrow.

Top Mammals

Gray Wolf, Grizzly Bear, Bighorn, Mountain Goat, American Bison

Habitats Covered

shortgrass and mixed-grass Prairie, Riparian Deciduous Forest, Sagebrush Steppe, Lake and Marsh wetlands, Montane Coniferous Forest, Alpine grassland

Expected Climate

daytime temperatures typically range 65 -80F, with cool evenings in the 50s – 60s. Though the odd afternoon thunderstorm is likely, weather is typically very enjoyable with little precipitation.

Max Group Size

6 with 1 Rockjumper Leader and local leaders where necessary

Tour Pace & Walking

tour pace is relaxed, with a few short hikes that are best for species like Black Rosy-Finch and Grouse. Overall, easy and pleasant walking conditions on road and trails.


3-4 star accommodations throughout the tour, with Chico Hot Springs and the Pollard being highlights.

Ease of Birding

generally easy, though sometimes species like Northern Pygmy Owl or Gray Partridge can be a little tricky to pin down.

Number of Species Expected

Other attractions.

wildlife and photography, of course, are amazing. Soaking in Chico Hot Springs, viewing Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park, driving the beartooth highway over the second-highest drivable pass in the country, art galleries and shops in Livingston, visit the Yellowstone Film Ranch.

Photographic Opportunities

incredible photo ops of dozens of bird species and some 14 species of mammal, minimum

What our clients say about us

Stephan Lorenz

LP, Texas 2021

This being my first Rockjumper tour, it far surpassed my expectations. Stephan was a fantastic guide, attentive to the entire group and making sure everyone had a good look at the bird in front of us (sometimes, several birds!) The depth of his knowledge along with his raport and friendly/kind demeanor made him feel more like a good friend on a bird walk - with tons of knowledge and ability on top of a love for birds. Thanks Stephan/Claudia and Rockjumper for providing an amazing experience!

JB - Colorado 2022

Thanks for an outstanding tour! Stephan is an excellent leader: great at finding and getting everyone on the birds, sharing information about the birds and the areas where we travelled, and handling the tour logistics. We had a few logistical difficulties, which Stephan handled beautifully. Both he and Claudia were excellent travel companions, and I would be happy to bird with them anywhere.

Forrest Rowland

EL, Montana, USA 2022

Forrest Rowland led the tour, he was very good spotting birds and getting participants on the birds. Very friendly and professional, I would sign on to another tour with him.

Adam Walleyn

JW & JW, California 2021

Luke & Adam did a great job. This tour was the perfect US specialty tour (will be interested to see more of these)... We covered tons of environments in a fairly small territory. Luke is a LA-area expert and aimed us exactly where we needed to be.

NM, Texas 2021

The group saw 24 warblers (me 21) & I was elated!! Not to mention all the other quality birds. Stephen was superb. There were 13 of us & tho a high count of clients by RBT standards, it worked very well-we were lucky too-a fallout. Thanks Stephan thanks RBT.

USA - Montana & Wyoming: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem 2024

23 Jun 2024 - 30 Jun 2024 (8 days)

USD4,595 - No Spaces Available


Tour Leader: Forrest Rowland

Tour price (Per person): USD4,595 * GBP3,641 * EUR4,244 * AUD6,993

Single Supplement: USD670 * GBP531 * EUR619 * AUD1,020

USA - Montana & Wyoming: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem I 2023 - June 2023

USA - Arizona: Southeast Specialties & Nightbirds 2023 - May 2023

USA - Texas: Spring Migration & Hill Country 2023 - April 2023

USA - Colorado: Prairie Chickens, Grouse & More 2023 - April 2023

USA - Texas: Winter: Whooping Cranes and the Lower Rio Grande 2023 - February 2023

USA - Arizona: Southeast Specialties, Monsoon Breeders & Hummingbirds 2022 - August 2022

USA - Arizona: Southeast Specialties & Nightbirds 2022 - May 2022

USA - Florida: Spring Migration & Specialities 2022 - April 2022

USA - Texas: Spring Migration & Hill Country 2022 - April 2022

USA - Colorado: Prairie Chickens, Grouse & More 2022 - April 2022

USA - Montana & Wyoming: Greater Yellowstone in Winter 2022 - February 2022

USA - Texas: Winter: Whooping Cranes and the Lower Rio Grande 2022 - February 2022

USA - Texas: Winter: Whooping Cranes and the Lower Rio Grande II 2021 - December 2021

USA - California: Southern Specialties 2021 - December 2021

USA - Arizona: Hummingbird Migration, Monsoon Breeders & Night Birds II 2021 - August 2021

USA - Arizona: Hummingbird Migration, Monsoon Breeders & Night Birds I 2021 - August 2021

USA - Arizona: Southeast Specialties & Nightbirds 2021 - May 2021

USA - Texas: Hill Country Specialties and Wildlife 2021 - April 2021

USA - Texas: Migration Spectacle along the Upper Texas Coast 2021 - April 2021

USA - Texas: Spring Migration & Hill Country 2021 - April 2021

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Swan Mountain Outfitters

Montana Wilderness Horseback Pack Trips

montana wyoming tours

Why Choose a Wilderness Pack Trip?

Ride into the backcountry and embrace the ultimate calm and pristine beauty of the wilderness. Our guides, camp jacks, and camp cooks take care of the packing, set up, and chores associated with camp life and horse care. This leaves you to let all your cares melt away as you enjoy life’s simple pleasures and the blessings of mother nature. Travel by horseback is a deep-rooted piece of American heritage.

For most folks, the wilderness is no longer accessible as they are born into and wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of city life. For some even, the idea of entering the wilderness is intimidating. This is where Swan Mountain Outfitters comes in- we are passionate about providing all folks (even beginners!) a route into the wilderness in a way that showcases its rugged beauty and builds a new rapport with nature. We believe the more people who can share this experience, the better chance America’s lands have of being protected for future generations to enjoy, appreciate, and get back to their roots.


“Your staff was excellent and the camp comfortable. I felt safe at all times. The food was tasty and plentiful. I not only had a great time but learned a great deal about everything from horses and mules to fishing, hunting and just plain sightseeing and relaxing. The trip was so perfect I cannot stop talking about it! -Howard Pyles”

What to Expect on Our Wilderness Pack Trips

Your trip begins in Northwest Montana’s Swan Valley . An often-overlooked gem, the Swan Valley has all the beauty of glacier country, but is nestled quietly apart from the nearby big attractions of Flathead Lake, Glacier National Park, and the big city of Missoula.

From our “base camp” in the Swan Valley, you’ll greet your guides and they’ll begin packing up your duffel onto mules. Our guides will match you to a mountain savvy trail horse and provide some basic horsemanship instruction. Group sizes tend to be six to eight guests, so unless you’ve got a private pack trip, there may be some new faces to greet too. You’ll then hit the trail and make the 14 mile journey following Lion Creek up from the valley floor to our “upper camp” which rests just on the very border of the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

Upper camp, being 14 miles from the nearest road, electricity, or plumbing, offers a quiet and serene camping setting. Camp is located right on the bank of Lion Creek, and although there is no fishing allowed in the creek you are more than welcome to jump in and cool off! Breakfast and dinner are served family style in the cook tent, while lunch is enjoyed on your daily excursion. You will stay in wall tents (large canvas tents that a person can stand and move about easily inside) with cots and foam mattress’s await you for a good night’s sleep. There is a shower tent in which you can enjoy a hot shower from heated creek water, and two latrines just out of camp for privacy.

Daily Excursions

The next morning, awaken to birds chirping and head to the cook tent to get a hot cup of coffee. After a hot breakfast and some time to gather your things for the day, you’ll get back on your horse and hit the trail!

The Bob Marshall Wilderness: The beautiful Bob is hard to beat! There are endless views and several mountain lakes to fish at and enjoy. To get there you will leave camp and continue up the trail to Lion Creek pass. The pass into the Bob is 9 tight switchbacks over a mountain ridge, but have no fear! Your horse has been doing this all summer, most have been at it for years and know how to keep you safe. Please note that as this trail is so steep we must walk back down the switchbacks. Once at the bottom of the switchbacks you may get back on your horse and continue the ride back to camp.

Swan Ridge: This adventure features beautiful views and quite often mountain goats! You will enjoy a different trail that takes you up to a high mountain ridge awash with wildflowers. You can either go for a short walk to enjoy the views or push yourself and reach up to 9’000 feet in elevation! This trail is also quite steep and will require walking down as well. This gives you time to truly enjoy your surroundings and pick as many huckleberries as you would like!

No matter where the day takes you, you’ll return to upper camp each night. Having a home base like this is a great advantage to be able to explore at your own pace each day, and, you only have to unpack your duffel once!

On your last day, we will enjoy breakfast around 8:00AM, after which you will hand your packed duffel to the packers. While they get the mules ready enjoy a cup of coffee and say goodbye to beautiful upper camp! Once the packers head out it will be your turn to mount up and ride back to civilization.

Additional Information

A backcountry pack trip is an exciting adventure. Even if you have had the opportunity to saddle up and head out for a few days before, the more you know the easier it is to just relax and enjoy! Here are some additional materials that will help you pack and plan for your trip.

SMO Summer Pack Trips-Packing List – We recommend printing out the Packing List so that you can check each item as you pack! Nothing is worse than forgetting your water bottle or your favorite hat.

SMO Summer Pack Trips-FAQ – This document will answer frequently asked questions about our pack trips. As it says at the bottom though, feel free to give us a call if you’re still wondering about something!

SMO Summer pack Trip-Meals – Here at Swan Mountain we understand that having a good time is dependent on feeling well fed, so take a look though this document describing the amount and type of meals you can expect on your trip.

Be sure to scroll down to find pack trip options.

Current Trip Rates

Group Discount Rates: 10% discount available for groups of 10+

3% Administrative Fee : All multi-day trip rates will have an additional 3% administrative fee added per reservation. If you have any questions please feel free to call us at (406) 387-4405.

Cancellation and Refund Policy: For all overnight trips, a 25% non-refundable and non-transferrable deposit for each participant is required to reserve a trip. For daily trips that are prepaid in advance, all amounts paid are non refundable within 48 hours of the activity. There are no refunds due to weather or fires or unforeseen changes in your travel schedule. We highly recommend the purchase of trip insurance!

Wilderness Drop Camp

Wilderness Drop Camp

Drop camps are a unique way for back-country savvy guests to experience the wilderness on their…

Epic 6-Day Wilderness Pack Trip

Epic 6-Day Wilderness Pack Trip

The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex is one of the most spectacular natural settings imaginable. Though our…

Classic 5-Day Wilderness Pack Trip

Classic 5-Day Wilderness Pack Trip

Our most popular horseback wilderness adventure is the 5-day pack trip. Fit this trip neatly into…

Weekender 3-Day Wilderness Pack Trip

Weekender 3-Day Wilderness Pack Trip

Northwest Montana pack trips are reminiscent of a different era, when all you needed was a…

Custom Montana Horseback Pack Trips

Custom Montana Horseback Pack Trips

Each year we have guests contact us who want help in creating a custom or private…

Guided Trips

Guided Trips

Click here to view all of our current list of trip offerings at Swan Mountain Outfitters.

Featured Videos

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Foreigner Brings THE FAREWELL TOUR To Ford Wyoming Center This October

With ten multi-platinum albums and 16 Top 30 hits, FOREIGNER is universally hailed as one of the most popular rock acts in the world.


Foreigner is bringing “The Farewell Tour” with special guest Loverboy to Ford Wyoming Center on Tuesday, October 1.

About Foreigner

With ten multi-platinum albums and 16 Top 30 hits, FOREIGNER is universally hailed as one of the most popular rock acts in the world with a formidable musical arsenal that continues to propel sold-out tours and album sales, now exceeding 80 million. Responsible for some of rock and roll's most enduring anthems including “Juke Box Hero,” “Cold As Ice,” “Hot Blooded,” “Waiting For A Girl Like You,” “Feels Like The First Time,” “Urgent,” “Head Games,” “Say You Will,” “Dirty White Boy,” “Long, Long Way From Home” and the worldwide #1 hit, “I Want To Know What Love Is,” FOREIGNER still rocks the charts more than 40 years into the game with massive airplay and continued Billboard Top 200 album success. Streams of FOREIGNER's hits are approaching 10 million per week.

Founded in 1976, FOREIGNER‘s debut album produced the hits “Feels Like The First Time,” “Cold As Ice” and “Long, Long Way From Home.” The album Double Vision followed, as did a string of hits including “Urgent,” “Juke Box Hero” and “Waiting For A Girl Like You.” Those songs helped give FOREIGNER‘s next album, 4, its impressive run at #1 on the Billboard chart. At the zenith of 80's sound, FOREIGNER‘s fifth album, Agent Provocateur, gave the world the incredible #1 global hit,” I Want To Know What Love Is.” This musical milestone followed the record-breaking song “Waiting For A Girl Like You.”

More about FOREIGNER — including individual bandmember bios, tour dates, merchandise, and more — can be found on the band's official website, .

About Loverboy

For more than 40 years, Loverboy has been “Working for the Weekend” (and on the weekend), delighting audiences around the world since forming in 1979, when vocalist Mike Reno was introduced to guitar hot shot Paul Dean – both veterans of several bands on the Canadian scene – at Calgary's Refinery Night Club.  Along with Reno and Dean, Loverboy still includes original members Doug Johnson on keyboards and Matt Frenette on drums, with Ken “Spider” Sinnaeve replacing the late Scott Smith on bass.

With their trademark red leather pants, bandannas, big rock sound and high-energy live shows, Loverboy has sold more than 10 million albums, earning four multi-platinum plaques, including the four-million-selling GET LUCKY, and a trio of double-Platinum releases in their self-titled 1980 debut, 1983's KEEP IT UP and 1985's LOVIN' EVERY MINUTE OF IT. Their string of hits includes, in addition to the anthem “Working for the Weekend,” such arena rock staples as “Lovin' Every Minute of It,” “This Could Be the Night,” “Hot Girls in Love,” “The Kid is Hot Tonite,” “Notorious”, “Turn Me Loose,” “When It's Over,” “Heaven In Your Eyes” and “Queen of the Broken Hearts.” In September of this year, the group was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto, ON.

Tickets start at $46.50 plus applicable fees and go on sale Friday, April 5 at 10:00 a.m. at . 

Join Team BroadwayWorld

Are you an avid theatergoer? We're looking for people like you to share your thoughts and insights with our readers. Team BroadwayWorld members get access to shows to review, conduct interviews with artists, and the opportunity to meet and network with fellow theatre lovers and arts workers.

Interested? Learn more here .

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    Tauck's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Park tour, explore Yellowstone's geothermal features, visit Mount Rushmore, and view the iconic western landscape of Grand Teton National Park. ... Way out here in Wyoming, nothing promises more real Western fun than an honest-to-goodness rodeo... especially in a town named for the legendary Wild West ...

  18. Idaho, Montana & Wyoming Tourbook

    The Idaho, Montana & Wyoming tour book includes detailed information and travel tips for Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park and Grand Teton National Park. You'll also find travel information about popular public lands such as Devils Tower National Monument, Little Bighorn Battlefield, Craters of the Moon National Monument and ...

  19. Montana Train Vacation Packages

    Wyoming and Montana tours present the opportunity to visit Yellowstone National Park, which straddles the border between the two states. As the first national park in the world, Yellowstone is widely beloved for its geysers and dramatic scenery. These splendid destinations highlight Montana vacation packages, though they may also be combined ...

  20. Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands, & Yellowstone

    Day 3 - Jackson, Wyoming Day 4 - Snake River Float Trip. Day 5 - Grand Teton National Park. Day 6 - Yellowstone National Park. Day 7 - Buffalo Bill Center of the West Museum ... It was a wonderful trip, with the tour guide Sally Bell and bus driver Alex Hess being the best part. . All the museums, animals, and scenery were fantastic. The raft ...

  21. A great American road trip through Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota

    Today, I'll take you on a road trip from Bozeman, Montana, to Bismarck, North Dakota, to Rapid City, South Dakota, and then on to Cody, Wyoming, before heading for a stop in Yellowstone National Park back in Montana. Along the way, you get to see places like Mount Rushmore, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Devils Tower and, finally, Old ...

  22. Montana Birding Tours

    End Tour in Bozeman. Day 1 - Arrival Day. Guests will arrive to the quaint Bozeman Airport where they will be met by YellowstoneWild staff for transport to their accommodations in Livingston. The group will convene for introductions and a nice meal, as well as discuss the upcoming adventure. ... USA - Montana & Wyoming: Greater Yellowstone in ...

  23. Montana Wilderness Pack Trips

    Group Discount Rates: 10% discount available for groups of 10+ 3% Administrative Fee: All multi-day trip rates will have an additional 3% administrative fee added per reservation.If you have any questions please feel free to call us at (406) 387-4405. Cancellation and Refund Policy: For all overnight trips, a 25% non-refundable and non-transferrable deposit for each participant is required to ...

  24. Foreigner Brings THE FAREWELL TOUR To Ford Wyoming Center This October

    With ten multi-platinum albums and 16 Top 30 hits, FOREIGNER is universally hailed as one of the most popular rock acts in the world. By: A.A. Cristi Apr. 02, 2024. Foreigner is bringing "The ...