Itinerary – Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains
Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska

National Parks and Beyond Denver | Canon City | Vail | Grand Junction
Rock Springs | Yellowstone National Park | Billings
Medora | Rapid City | Hot Springs | Scotts Bluff | Estes Park


About this itinerary

Driving distance: 1,926 Miles
Recommended travelling time: 20 Nights
Recommended travel season: Summer
This self-drive itinerary covers the great outdoors of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska. Experience the vibrant cities and spectacular scenery of these vast states.


Denver, Colorado

 

Denver has plenty on offer across the city, from Larimer Square, the city's first block, to downtown LoDo, home to the Rockies baseball stadium. The Denver Beer Trail follows the early craft brewing movement and now is home to 20 breweries. The city also has an eclectic art scene, from the Denver Art Museum with an outstanding collection of Native American art, to the Golden Triangle Museum District, which houses over 50 galleries.
Length of leg: 0 miles| Total distance travelled: 0 miles

 

Denver, Colorado to Grand Junction, Colorado
via Canon City, Colorado and Vail, Colorado

Head out of Denver towards Canon City and then Vail and Grand Junction for several days, exploring the stunning countryside including the sandstone formations at Pikes Peak and the 181-foot waterfalls at Seven Falls. Spend some time in the picturesque luxury ski-resort of Vail (though attractive at any time of year!) before enjoying white water rafting, local vineyards, and delicious, local food in Grand Junction.
Length of leg: 396 miles | Total distance travelled: 396 miles


Grand Junction, Colorado to Yellowstone National Park, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming via Rock Springs, Wyoming

From here head north passing through Dinosaur National Monument, McKeen Springs, and the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area before carrying on to the incredible Grand Teton National Park. Spend several days over this wonderful journey, including hiking, scenic drives and local heritage tours as you travel through Jackson Hole Valley, as well. Enjoy Yellowstone National Park and watch Old Faithful erupt into the sky and wildlife such as wolves, elk, bison and bears.
Length of leg: 489 miles | Total distance travelled: 885 miles

 

Yellowstone National Park, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming
to Medora, North Dakota, via Billings, Montana

Explore Montana by journeying through Gardiner to Livingston, a pretty town with art galleries and museums, before heading to Billings, Montana's largest city. Nestled between seven mountain ranges, Billings is a haven for those who love the great outdoors. After some time here, head to North Dakota to see Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, site of the famous 1876 battle led by Lt. Col. George Custer and Custer National Cemetery, before taking in the majestic Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the town of Medora. Be sure to take the Scenic Loop Drive, where you might spot bison.
Length of leg: 413 miles | Total distance travelled: 1,298 miles


Medora, North Dakota to Rapid City, South Dakota

Rapid City is a great base to see the surrounding area including the old mining town of Deadwood, the Black Hills, sun rise over Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, Badlands National Park, and Evans Plunge Mineral Springs. Explore galleries, museums and restaurants in the cosmopolitan Rapid City, too.
Length of leg: 235 miles | Total distance travelled: 1,533 miles

 

Rapid City, South Dakota to Denver, Colorado via Hot Springs,
South Dakota, Scotts Bluff, Nebraska & Estes Park, Colorado

Travel south over a few days to complete the loop back to Denver. On the way visit the historic Fort Robinson State Park, where Crazy Horse died in 1877 and where the Cheyenne Outbreak of 1879 was. Hike some of the original Oregon Trail at Scotts Bluff National Monument or drive to the summit for amazing views of the North Platte River. Afterwards, visit Cheyenne, Wyoming, for a quintessential Old West experience before discovering Estes Park, gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, a natural delight. In the park, enjoy magnificent views of Sundance Mountain and Tombstone Ridge. Other highlights include Grand Lake, Lake Granby and Winter Park Resort.
Length of leg: 393 miles | Total distance travelled: 1,926 miles

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Some map icons by Scott de Jonge, used under CC 3.0 BY  Train vector by Freepik

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