Rapid City: the second-largest city in South Dakota and the start of your adventure. Known as the City of Presidents, it has life-sized bronze statues of America's presidents throughout its downtown area and is the gateway to Mount Rushmore National Monument. Collect your hire car and head to the historic Hotel Alex Johnson for your two night stay.
A full day tour takes you around the Black Hills region, where you'll view the Mount Rushmore National Monument to acquaint yourself with the former presidents, Custer State Park and the Crazy Horse Memorial. A herd of 1,300 bison roams freely throughout Custer State Park, which can be seen along the 30-kilometre Wildlife Loop Road. The herd is one of the largest publically-owned herds in the world. In the evening, we recommend you drive the short distance to Mt. Rushmore to watch the evening lighting ceremony.
Devil's Tower National Monument was prominently featured in Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind in 1977 and rises above Wyoming's eastern plains and the Belle Fourche River. It is considered sacred by the Lakota and other Native American tribes. Head on to Buffalo, and check into the Occidental Hotel for one night.
Today, head to Cody. The compact city is best explored by the Cody Trolley tour, which takes an hour. Sights to spot include the Buffalo Bill Centre of the West, Old Trail Town and the Cody Murals Centre. The evening holds a real treat in store: the Cody Night Rodeo, a professional rodeo held on summer evenings. Cheer on the riders executing daring displays of bronco riding, calf roping, barrel racing and bull riding, accompanied by a barbecue dinner. Lay your head at the quaint Chamberlain Inn.
Head east to the entrance of Yellowstone National Park, driving through the striking scenery to your lodge, where you'll spend the next three nights. Visit the Old Faithful geyser and walk along the boardwalks to see some of the other nearby geothermal features.
Your first day in the park will be accompanied by a private guide, so you can learn more about the geothermal features, wildlife and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, as well as the surrounding flora, fauna and geology on relaxing walks. Your second day is yours to explore the park at your own pace.
Spend the day leisurely travelling south through Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks to Teton Village, perhaps stopping for lunch at Jackson or Jenny Lake for an easy hike. You'll spend the next three nights at the splendid Four Seasons Jackson Hole.
Today sees an early start, but it's well worth it. Meet your private guide at daybreak to travel the nearby Moose-Wilson Road to view (appropriately) moose, elk, beaver and black bears, before following the Gros Ventre River and Antelope Flats to see buffalo and antelope. Jackson is a fabulous little town to explore, with many galleries and shops. Late afternoon we've arranged for a visit to the National Museum of Wildlife Art, which overlooks the National Elk Refuge, home to the largest elk herd in the world.
Wake up early to experience something truly special, a trip down the beautiful Snake River in a traditional wooden Mckenzie River dory. The early morning provides a wonderful opportunity to observe the area's diverse wildlife and enjoy the solitude of a private scenic float. The Snake River corridor is home to a myriad of bird and mammal species. You'll also see a wide variety of wildflowers and beautiful stands of mature trees. After the river float, you'll stop at the private riverside tipi camp and enjoy brunch.
Depart from Jackson airport where you will return your hire car and board your onward flight.