The Great American West Fly-Drive Holiday

15 nights

This fly-drive holiday explores the great National Parks of the American West combined with a ranch stay so that you can not only see the West but experience its lifestyle.  

On your travels you will be able to visit Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore and Cody where a visit to the Cody Nite Rodeo which takes place every evening between June 1 and August 31 is sure to be a highlight of your American holiday.  The creation of the National Parks took place 100 years ago; the first of which was Yellowstone.  


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The Breakdown

Here's a day-by-day guide to your itinerary. Feel free to ask us to add other days or ideas and excursions by adding them to your wishlist, so we can give you the best price.

Day 1


Arrive in the Mile High City of Denver, collect your car and drive into Denver.

The Gold Rush boom created Denver back in the 1800s but today it is a thriving and busy city with elegant Victorian buildings, museums, good restaurants, sports bars and nightclubs.  Spend two nights here to acclimatise to the height and time change.

2 nights in Denver

Day 2


While in the city, Frontier America would recommend a visit to the pedestrian only 16th Street and the LoDo in Lower downtown for shopping and restaurants.  Denver strongly supports Farm to Table cuisine and you will find interesting pavement cafes as well as fine dining. Get into the spirit of the West with a visit to the Buffalo Bill Museum, alternatively the Denver Art Museum or the powerful abstract art of Clyfford Still might appeal. 

Day 3

Denver to Laramie River Dude Ranch

It is a three hour drive to The Laramie River Dude Ranch in Glendevey which you can reach either via Cheyenne, the capital of Wyoming, or your first National Park which would be  the Mountain National Park whose 415 square miles include spectacular mountain scenery. If you are a skier, you might well have driven through it on your way to Steamboat Springs or Breckenridge.  You have to arrive at the ranch on specific days depending on your length of stay.  For three nights, you need to arrive on a Sunday. 

3 nights at Laramie River Dude Ranch.

Day 4

Laramie River Dude Ranch

Whilst on the ranch, some of your time will be spent horseback riding. It does not matter if you have never ridden, the ranch will help you, find you a kind horse and you will soon be out on a trail ride. 

Day 5

Laramie River Dude Ranch

Other outdoor activities are available; including hiking, fly fishing and orienteering. There is a full children's programme, a warm welcome, good home cooked food and a comfy bed at the end of an action packed day. 

Day 6

Laramie River Dude Ranch to Custer State Park

Today is a long day in the car (5 & ½ hours) and there is no obvious overnight spot. You could break the journey in Lusk but there is nothing very much there and Frontier America would recommend going all the way to Custer. The driving is easy and the scenery beautiful.  Not much traffic disturbs the view of the rolling hills. Spend a couple of nights in the State Game Lodge, the first of your Park accommodations. This one is in Custer State Park, is on the National Register of Historic Places and was visited by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953. If you prefer to be in the town, you can drive on to Rapid City and stay in the Alex Johnson Hotel.

2 nights in Custer State Park/Rapid City

Day 7

Custer State Park

If you have chosen to stay in Rapid City, you are still in the perfect location for exploring the spectacular 71000 acres of Custer State Park. Discover the hot springs, Wind Cave National Park or drive the 18-mile Wildlife Loop Road. On this scenic driving route you are extremely likely to encounter some of 1300 bison that reside within the park. You can also visit the world famous carvings of Mount Rushmore and the South Dakota badlands. 

Day 8

Custer State Park to Sheridan

You have about a four-hour drive but we suggest you break your day at Devils Tower National Monument. This striking geologic feature rises 1267 feet out of the rolling prairie that surrounds the Black Hills. The site is sacred to the Lakota and other tribes in the area and there are some splendid local names such as Aloft on a Rock, Bear's House and Bear's Tipi.  You will overnight in historic Sheridan at the Sheridan Center.  

1 night in Sheridan

Day 9

Sheridan to Cody

A great 3-hour drive today as you cross the Big Horn Mountains and overnight in Cody.  

Cody was founded in 1896 by the living legend, Colonel William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody. Back then, at the age of 41 Buffalo Bill was one of the most famous men in the world. Experience the west with attractions that include nightly rodeos, gunfight re-enactments, cowboy music and the world-class Buffalo Bill Center of the West as well as several really interesting museums. Try the Plains Indian Museum and the Whitney Gallery of Western Art.

If you are an outdoor adventure enthusiast, you might want to stay an extra night here to enjoy some of the rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, fly-fishing, horseback riding or river rafting. Three scenic byways offer opportunities to view wildlife and see some of the most beautiful landscapes anywhere.

Your hotel will be the historic Hotel Irma built by Buffalo Bill in 1902 or the Ivy Inn & Suites.

TIP: Don’t miss the summer nightly rodeo

1 night in Cody

Day 10

Cody to Yellowstone National Park

Cody is only 50 miles from the edge of Yellowstone National Park, which is bound to be one of the highlights of your holiday. We would suggest staying near Old Faithful, the famous geyser, close to the centre of the Park and a good base from which to explore.  Driving around the park is slow due to traffic both vehicular and four legged and the 20 mph speed limit.  The length of time you stay in the park will depend on how much you would like to explore and if you enjoy walking.  Two nights are essential; three are better.

2 nights in Yellowstone National Park

Day 11

Yellowstone National Park

You can drive the Grand Loop Road and see a lot of the park from the comfort of your car but to do this is to miss much of the glorious views and scenery. Many of the key sites are just a short walk from any car park but there are thousands of miles of trails from day hikes to backcountry explorations. Please ask us for information if you would like a camping experience; tours last for anything from an overnight to a week in the wilderness.

Day 12

Yellowstone National Park to Grand Teton National Park

From one great park to another!

Today you will drive south along the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway towards the majestic Grand Teton National Park; these mountains truly have to be seen to be believed.  Rising in great jagged peaks, they run parallel to the road and if you are lucky, the sky will be blue and there will still be some snow on the ridges and their beauty will blow you away.

Your home for the next 2 or 3 nights will be in Jackson Hole in the valley.  There are plenty of excellent hotels to choose from here from the superb Amangani just outside the town, the Four Seasons in Teton Mountain Village, the splendidly named Rusty Parrot or Rustic Inn in town or one of the Park properties - the Jenny Lake.

2 nights in Grand Teton National Park  

Day 13

Grand Teton National Park

There is a lot to do in the area both sightseeing and activities.  Whether you choose to take a boat on Jenny Lake, take a gentle hike up to Hidden Falls, take the Aerial Tram up to Teton Village or really stretch your legs up to Phelps Lake, you will enjoy yourselves!

Day 14

Grand Teton National Park to Salt Lake City

A 4 and a ½ hour drive will take you into Salt Lake City; do take the time to stop at the extraordinary Great Salt Lake.  Known for its white sandy beaches, turquoise waters and outstanding scenery and especially for its colourful sunsets. The nearly flat terrain assaults the senses after the mountains of yesterday.

2 nights in Salt Lake City

Day 15

Salt Lake City

Two nights in Salt Lake City which will give you time to explore the Mormon city, Capital of Utah. Be sure to see Temple Square, This is the Place Heritage Park or the Olympic Cauldron Park. For nature lovers a trip to Hogle Zoo may be in order. The Natural History Museum of Utah is also well worth a visit.

Day 16

Salt Lake City

Depart from Salt Lake City airport.

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The View

A selection of images representing the areas and places you will be visiting to give you a glimpse of what lies in store during your holiday.

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This is a selection of hotels for this itinerary. Some areas have many more choices; please use the search function above if you wish to find an alternative hotel.

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