Day 1: Depart Chicago
Six National Treasures tour members will meet the Tour Director in Chicago’s Union Station. Early this afternoon we will board Amtrak’s Empire Builder for the 1620-mile journey across five states to Whitefish, Montana. Departure is scheduled for 2:15 p.m.
Relax in your comfortable reclining coach seat with leg rest. Roomettes or Bedrooms are available at an additional cost.
Go to the glass-walled Sightseer Lounge car for spectacular viewing. All tastefully prepared, full-course dining meals are included, starting with dinner tonight. We’ll have a short stop in Minneapolis - St. Paul at 10:31 p.m.
Day 2: En Route / Whitefish
During the day we will roll across the remote flatlands of North Dakota and eastern Montana.
Arrival in Whitefish is scheduled for 8:56 p.m. We will transfer to our hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn in Kalispell, our home for the next two nights.
Meal(s): B, L & D
Day 3: Glacier National Park
Following breakfast in our hotel we’ll depart on an all-day tour of one of America’s most beautiful attractions. Our group will travel over the spectacular Going-to-the-Sun Highway, acclaimed as one of the outstanding scenic roadways of the world. The drive affords magnificent views of the mountain scenery. Dense forests, picturesque lakes, brilliant flowers and abundant wildlife enhance the awesome views. We’ll stop for a leisurely “on-your-own” lunch at Lake McDonald Lodge and return to our hotel in Kalispell by late afternoon. Dinner is included this evening at the Garden Grille in our hotel.
Meal(s): B & D
Day 4: En Route / Yellowstone
Today we will board our deluxe motorcoach for the drive to Yellowstone National Park. An included lunch stop will be made en route.
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 three nights at the Kelly Inn, West Yellowstone. A variety of evening activities are available, including the Playbill Theatre.
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 to Artist Point, Inspiration Point and the Upper and Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River. We’ll return to our hotel by late afternoon.
Day 6: Yellowstone
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, which are bubbling hot springs mixed with clay. We return to our hotel for a final night.
Day 7: Grand Tetons / Jackson Hole
Following breakfast in our hotel this morning we’ll board our motorcoach for Jackson Hole.
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.
We will continue to the ranching and resort center of Jackson, Wyoming. Our comfortable lodging for the night is at the Rustic Inn at Jackson Hole (2016), The Lodge at Jackson Hole (2017).
Tonight we’ll travel a few miles outside the city for a chuck wagon dinner. A Western musical group will entertain us.
Meal(s): CB, L & D
Day 8: Jackson Hole
Today is free to relax and set your own pace. You may want to explore Jackson Hole, ride the tram to the top of Rendezvous Mountain, or take a leisurely rafting or canoe trip.
Enjoy the unique shops and restaurants in Teton Village, around Town Square and throughout Jackson Hole.
Day 9: En Route / Salt Lake City
Following an included breakfast we’ll board our motorcoach and travel to Salt Lake City. An “on-your-own” lunch stop will be made en route.
On arrival we’ll check into the DoubleTree Suites for two nights. You’re free this evening to rest and relax or to explore this exciting city.
Day 10: Salt Lake City
Following breakfast this morning, we’ll set out on a sightseeing tour of Salt Lake City. Our local host takes us to a series of major attractions. You’ll see the Mormon Temple and Tabernacle, Brigham Young’s Monument and private burial ground, Beehive House, Lion House, Eagle Gate, University of Utah, Fort Douglas and Trolley Square. You’ll also visit Utah Olympic Park and Tracy Aviary.
There will be “on-your-own” lunch and dinner opportunities available. We will return to our hotel tonight.
Day 11: Bryce Canyon National Park
This morning, following an included breakfast at our hotel, we will board our deluxe motorcoach and travel to Bryce Canyon National Park.
We will stop for an “on-your-own” lunch.
Bryce Canyon includes some of Earth’s most colorful rocks, which have been sculpted by erosion into pillars called “hoodoos” and other fantastic forms. Iron oxides give red, yellow and brown tints to the limestone, while manganese oxides lend a lavender hue.
We’ll travel with a local guide on a road that follows the high rim to many major vantage points, such as Inspiration Point and Sunset Point.
We will check into Ruby’s Inn, our home for the night. Dinner is included at the Inn’s Cowboy’s Buffet and Steak Room.
Meal(s): B & D
Day 12: Zion National Park
Following an included breakfast, we’ll continue to another of the West’s treasures, Zion National Park. You’ll find desert terrain and huge, sculpted rock formations, coexisting with waterfalls and hanging gardens.
Just north of the southern entrance is the beginning of Zion Canyon, a spectacular gorge carved through strangely-colored sandstone and shale by the Virgin River. About a half-mile deep and a half-mile wide at its mouth, the canyon narrows to about 300 feet at the Temple of Sinawava, the narrowest portion of the canyon accessible by car and about eight miles from the park entrance. We will take the tram ride in Zion.
The gigantic stone masses of the West Temple and the Watchman guard the southern entrance to the park. From a multicolored stairway, the red-brown Watchman looms 2555 feet above the canyon floor. The 7810-foot West Temple is one of the most prominent formations in the southern section.
We will continue on to Page, AZ, where we’ll spend the night at the Lake Powell Resort (2016), Holiday Inn Express and Suites (2017).
Day 13: The Grand Canyon
Following breakfast, we’ll travel by deluxe motorcoach to the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon of the Colorado River is one of the world’s outstanding spectacles. In form, size, flowing color and geological significance, it is unsurpassed.
We will view the Canyon from several observation areas. We will stop at Mather Point.
We will check into the Comfort Inn Flagstaff Hotel, our home for the night.
Meal(s): B(2016), CB (2017)
Day 14: En Route
We’ll transfer the short distance to the Flagstaff Amtrak station to board Amtrak’s famous Southwest Chief prior to its early morning departure for Chicago. You’ll again enjoy your reclining coach seat with leg rest, all train meals and other amenities experienced on the westbound train.
Sleeping accommodations are available at an additional cost. Breakfast will be served in the dining car.
You’ll want to take advantage of the fascinating scenery of Arizona and New Mexico our train passes through.
Meal(s): B, L & D
Day 15: En Route to Chicago
The Southwest Chief is scheduled to arrive in Chicago mid afternoon.
Many of our tour members will conclude their fabulous America by Rail vacation by transferring to other Amtrak trains bound for home cities. Some will spend the night in Chicago and continue home by air tomorrow.
Meal(s): B & L