Trace the historic paths and natural splendors in the great national parks of the American West, filled with resplendent scenery, abundant wildlife, and captivating stories and traditions.


  • Traverse the beautiful scenery of the western plains and mountains while staying in historic landmark lodges that are national treasures themselves.
  • Enjoy a chuck wagon cookout after a visit to Custer State Park, a wildlife reserve with scenic lakes, dramatic granite spires, and lush grasslands where bison herds roam.
  • See the grandeur of Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, and the world’s largest mammoth site, where scientists are excavating remains of Columbian and wooly mammoths from 26,000 years ago.
  • Experience the dramatic effects of Yellowstone’s volcanically active caldera and visit otherworldly geothermal sites, including Old Faithful.

Itinerary at a Glance

August 14 Depart gateway city | Arrive Rapid City
August 15 Badlands National Park | Custer State Park
August 16 Custer State Park | Hot Springs
August 17 Custer State Park | Spearfish Canyon
August 18 The Ranch at U-Cross | Cody
August 19 Yellowstone National Park
August 20 Yellowstone National Park
August 21 Grand Teton National Park
August 22 Jackson
August 23 Return flight

Optional Extension(s)

Post-tour: Jackson

Trip Scholar

Stephen Pruett-Jones

Steve Pruett-Jones is an associate professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago. His research focuses on evolutionary biology and animal behavior, primarily involving studies of wild birds. For more than 40 years he has conducted fieldwork in Australia and New Guinea on birds of paradise, bowerbirds, and fairy-wrens. During the academic year, he teaches classes in animal behavior and field ecology at UChicago and is also actively involved in the study of introduced parrots in the United States. Steve has previously led alumni trips to Greenland, the Galapagos Islands, Alaska, and New Zealand.