PRE TOUR CONNECTION - Not included in the price of tour*.
America by Rail will arrange for Yellowstone / Black Hills / Mt. Rushmore tour participants from Southern California to travel to Sacramento the day prior to DAY ONE.
Tour participants from Southern California will board the Pacific Surfliner for Los Angeles. Members will board in San Diego (6:10 a.m.), Oceanside (7:01 a.m.), Santa Ana (7:57 a.m.), Anaheim (8:06 a.m.), Fullerton (8:15 a.m.) and arrive in Los Angeles at 8:50 a.m.
Southern California tour members will board the Coast Starlight for its 10:20 a.m. departure. There is comfortable seating on this double-decker train. You’ll want to go to the glass-walled Sightseer Lounge car for spectacular viewing.
Snacks, sandwiches and beverages are available. Full course lunch and dinner are optional. Additional tour member will join in Santa Barbara (12:48 p.m.), San Luis Obispo (3.43 p.m.) and San Jose (8:27 p.m.). Arrival into Sacramento is scheduled for 11:59 p.m. The Tour Director will greet you and transfer you to your home for tonight in Sacramento*.
Day 1: En Route
This morning you will transfer to the Sacramento Amtrak station for the 11:09 a.m. departure of the California Zephyr.
Members from the San Joaquin Valley will board a northbound San Joaquin train in Bakersfield (4:55 a.m.), Fresno (6:50 a.m.), Merced (4:55 a.m.), Modesto (8:28 a.m.), Stockton (9:01 a.m.) and arrive into Sacramento at 9:35 a.m. and board with the rest of the members.
Relax in your comfortable private Roomette or Bedroom sleeping accommodations. Go to the glass-walled Sightseer Lounge car for spectacular viewing. All tastefully prepared full-course dining car meals are included.
As we travel eastward we leave the lush landscape and palm trees of California and enter the rugged terrain dotted with pine trees of the high Sierra Mountains. We’ll pass through the famous Donner Pass this afternoon.
Meal(s): L & D
Day 2: En Route / Glenwood Springs / Craig
You’ll continue through the desolate landscapes of Utah this morning. You will enter the western canyons of Colorado.
Our arrival into Glenwood Springs is scheduled for 12:50 p.m. We’ll board our deluxe motorcoach and travel north to Craig, Colorado, where we’ll spend the night at the Hampton Inn.
Meal(s): B & L
Day 3: En Route / Jackson Hole
This morning we’ll enjoy a hot Continental breakfast before setting off for Wyoming.
By mid-afternoon we’ll arrive in the ranching and resort center of Jackson, Wyoming. Our comfortable lodging is at the Best Western Lodge at Jackson Hole. We’ll enjoy an included dinner.
Meal(s): CB & D
Day 4: Grand Teton Range
Enjoy a full breakfast in your hotel this morning. No mountain skyline is more impressive than that of the Grand Teton Range. Peaks rise abruptly with no foothills. We’ll visit the Chapel of Transfiguration, a rustic log church with fantastic views of the Tetons. Lunch is included at the Jackson Lake Lodge. At the Colter Bay Visitor Center we view Plains Indian art and exhibits and learn more about Grand Teton National Park. Later, we continue into Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone was established in 1872 as America’s first national park. This is the world’s most extensive region of geothermal activity. Thousands of hot springs dot the thermal basins. Old Faithful is the most famous geyser in the world. We will spend two nights at the Best Western Desert Inn, West Yellowstone.
There are a variety of evening activities available including the Playbill Theatre (Broadway-style musicals and dramas), an IMAX Theater featuring a 45-minute presentation about the Yellowstone Park area and the Yellowstone Historic Center.
Meal(s): B & L
Day 5: Yellowstone
A Continental breakfast is included each morning in our hotel. Today we begin to explore Yellowstone National Park, a two-million acre national jewel. We’ll journey through Madison Junction, Norris Geyser Basin, Mammoth Hot Springs, Tower Junction and Tower Falls. Following an “on-your-own” lunch, we’ll continue on to Artist Point, Inspiration Point and the Upper and Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River. Return to our hotel by late afternoon.
Day 6: Yellowstone / Cody, WY
We’ll begin our second day of awesome Yellowstone National Park experiences. A scenic drive takes us through the Hayden Valley, a region of lush forest meadows. Look for bison and other wildlife! Have a camera ready to capture awesome views. Old Faithful Geyser and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone are highlights of the day. We’ll also view the paint-pots and bubbling hot springs mixed with clay. Our travelers will continue east to Cody, where we’ll spend the night at the Holiday Inn at Buffalo Bill Village. We’ll stop for an included dinner at the Yellowstone Valley Inn.
Meal(s): CB & D
Day 7: Buffalo Bill Historic Center to Rapid City
We will spend the morning at the Buffalo Bill Historic Center, which has five museums in one easy-to-navigate location. Museums at the site include the Buffalo Bill Museum, exploring the famous life of “Buffalo Bill” Cody, the Whitney Gallery of Western Art, the Cody Firearms Museum, and the Draper Museum of Natural History. The Plains Indian Museum features art and artifacts of the Plains Indians, including the Arapaho, Crow, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Comanche, Blackfeet, Sioux, Gros Ventre, Shoshone, and Pawnee. At noon we will depart via deluxe motorcoach on an extensive trip to Rapid City, South Dakota. We will make a stop for an included dinner in Gillette, Wyoming, at the Chop House Restaurant and continue to the Grand Gateway Hotel in Rapid City for the next two nights.
Day 8: The Black Hills
This morning we will enjoy a guided sightseeing tour including a visit to the Stav Kirke Norwegian Chapel in the Hills. We will travel scenic Skyline Drive and Dinosaur Hill and enjoy a guided tour of the Black Hills Gold factory.
After an “on-your-own” lunch in Hill City, we’ll the visit Crazy Horse Memorial, an in-progress monument to the famous Chief, and enjoy a ride to the base of Crazy Horse Mountain.
We will continue to Custer State Park where we’ll tour the Park on the 18-mile Wildlife Loop Road. Located in the Black Hills, Custer State Park is populated with over 1,500 hundred bison, pronghorn sheep, elk, and numerous other animals. Keep your camera ready for incredible photo opportunities!
There are a variety of dinner options near our hotel.
Day 9: Deadwood and Custer State Park
This morning we’ll travel to Hill City where we’ll ride the Black Hills Central Railroad. This 1880 train takes you past some of the Black Hills most amazing scenery. The narrated tour is about an hour and travels near Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore. The train ride terminates in Keystone where we will go to the Gutzen Borglum Museum and Mt. Rushmore. Here you will learn about the man who made one of the country’s most famous monuments, the incredible Mt. Rushmore.
We will have time for an “on-your-own” lunch. This afternoon we will travel to Deadwood where we’ll visit the legendary Wild West. You’ll see Main Street, a historic restored street, and the Black Hills Mining Museum.
Dinner is included this evening at the Silverado Grand Buffet.
We’ll transfer to our hotel, the Holiday Inn Express, in Sturgis, South Dakota.
Day 10: Minot, ND
Following a Continental breakfast in our hotel, we’ll travel from Rapid City to Minot, North Dakota, via motorcoach. An “on-your-own” lunch stop will be made. Dinner is included en route. We’ll transfer to the Comfort Inn for the night.
Meal(s): CB & D
Day 11: En Route
Following a Continental breakfast we’ll transfer to the Minot Amtrak station where we’ll depart on the westbound Empire Builder at 9:05 a.m. Relax in your comfortable private Roomette or Bedroom sleeping accommodations. Go to the glass-walled Sightseer Lounge car for spectacular viewing. All tastefully prepared full-course dining car meals are included. This afternoon we will roll across the remote flat lands. At about 5:00 p.m. a dramatic panorama of Rocky Mountain peaks will begin to rise above the horizon of eastern Montana as we approach Glacier National Park. The scenery is striking as we wind past waterfalls, river gorges and other sights. The glass-walled lounge and dining car are excellent vantage points.
Meal(s): CB, L & D
Day 12: En Route
A boxed breakfast is provided as we travel along the scenic Columbia River. The Empire Builder is scheduled to arrive in Portland at 10:10 a.m. Enjoy an “on-your-own” lunch. At 2:25 p.m. depart on the southbound Coast Starlight for home destinations.
Meal(s): B & D
Day 13: En Route
The Coast Starlight will arrive in Sacramento at 6:35 a.m. and Martinez at 7:34 a.m. The San Joaquin Valley travelers will disembark and transfer to a San Joaquin Valley train at 8:19 a.m. They will arrive at Valley home destinations throughout the morning and afternoon.
Other members will stay on the Coast Starlight until they arrive at home destinations. The Coast Starlight is scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles at 9:00 p.m. Southern California passengers will transfer to the Pacific Surfliner at 10:10 p.m. and arrive home later this evening or early tomorrow morning.