Itinerary

Planned activities and optional extras to enjoy during the trip.

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2017 National Parks of the American West Total Solar Eclipse Southbound Overview

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Tuesday August 15 Rapid City, SD Pre-Night Option
Day 1
Wednesday
August 16
Arrive Rapid City, South Dakota
Day 2
Thursday
August 17
Mount Rushmore - Crazy Horse – Sheridan, Wyoming
Day 3
Friday
August 18
Yellowstone National Park
Day 4
Saturday
August 19
Grand Teton National Park & Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Day 5
Sunday August 20
Jackson Hole
Day 6
Monday August 21
Total Solar Eclipse
Day 7
Tuesday
August 22
Salt Lake City, Utah
Day 8
Wednesday
August 23
Salt Lake City
Day 9
Thursday
August 24
Bryce Canyon & Zion National Parks
Day 10
Friday
August 25
Grand Canyon National Park
Day 11
Saturday
August 26
Glenn Canyon Dam - Lake Powell
Day 12
Sunday
August 27
Lowell Observatory – Sedona - Scottsdale
Day 13
Monday
August 28
Travels Onward
Important: TravelQuest, working with our partners, makes every effort to follow the published itinerary. However, please keep in mind that it is subject to change depending on weather and other local conditions.
national-parks-map
national-parks-map

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Arrive Rapid City, South Dakota

After you land at Rapid City, South Dakota airport (code: RAP), your TravelQuest representative arranges the easy transfer to our hotel. For the balance of the day you’re free to relax and explore on your own. Plan to arrive by 4:00 p.m. so you’ll have time to settle in before joining us for a welcome dinner..

Meals: Dinner

Overnight: Hilton Garden Inn, Rapid City or similar


Day 2 – Thursday, August 17, 2017
Mount Rushmore - Crazy Horse - Sheridan, Wyoming

Mount Rushmore, with giant likenesses of four presidents carved into its granite face, is one of the most famous U.S. landmarks. It’s a great place to begin your journey through the West – as is the nearby Crazy Horse Monument, a memorial to the earliest inhabitants of the nation’s heartland. Here you can learn more about the region’s original nations and talk to Native Americans about their culture, customs and sacred rituals. Your day ends with a stroll and dinner in the Old West town of Sheridan, set against the dramatic backdrop of the Bighorn Mountains.

Meals: Breakfast / Dinner

Overnight: Hilton Garden Inn, Sheridan or similar
D12MountRushmore
D12MountRushmore

Day 3 – Friday, August 18, 2017
Yellowstone National Park

Continuing westward across Wyoming, you journey through the scenic Bighorn National Forest en route to Cody. Here we visit the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, which pays tribute to one of the most colorful figures of the American frontier: William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody, renowned as a wilderness scout, hunter and showman. And then, carrying on through spectacular landscapes, you soon come to the first of our national parks: Yellowstone, where your home for the night is an acclaimed lodge within the western gates. Among the many highlights of America’s original national park is Old Faithful, the geyser whose fountain of water and steam regularly rises more than 90 ft (27 m) in the air.

Meals: Breakfast

Overnight: Yellowstone National Lodges or similar

D10Yellowstone
D10Yellowstone

Day 4 – Saturday, August 19, 2017
Grand Teton National Park & Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Heading south from Yellowstone, we enter Grand Teton National Park, navigating by its namesake – the majestic mountain that rises more than 5,000 ft (1,525 m) straight up from the valley floor, reaching an altitude of 13,770 ft (4,200 m). At least nine other peaks in the Teton range soar past 12,000 ft (3,660 m), while the deep valleys between them are filled with massive glaciers. Although the Tetons form the youngest range in the Rockies, they expose some of the oldest rock in North America, creating a treasure trove for geologists¬ and a paradise for anyone inspired by stunning mountain scenery. Your day ends in the charming frontier town of Jackson, set in a beautiful valley – Jackson Hole – ringed by Rockies peaks.

Meals: Breakfast / Dinner

Overnight: Hampton Inn & Suites, Jackson or similar (3 nights)

jackson-hole-2
jackson-hole-2

Day 5: Thursday, August 20, 2017

Jackson Hole

In the morning, take some time to explore Jackson, where you’ll find plenty of shops offering local arts and crafts. Then after lunch, venture deeper into the mountains on a half-day float down the Snake River, taking in the views and watching for wildlife – including moose, deer, river otters and various species of waterfowl – beneath the snowcapped peaks of the Tetons. In the evening, join us before dinner for a briefing on the next day’s eclipse activities.

jackson-hole
jackson-hole

Day 6 – Monday, August 21, 2017
Total Solar Eclipse

Rise early this morning for the journey to our unique eclipse-viewing site, where you’ll stand in the Moon’s shadow for approximately 2 minutes and 20 seconds. Later, after the historic event – the first visible total solar eclipse in the continental US in almost three decades – join your fellow travellers for an eclipse celebration.

Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
SE2017Aug21T
SE2017Aug21T
Jackson Weather Prospects for Total Solar Eclipse Viewing

by Eclipse Meteorologist Jay Anderson

Tucked into a spectacular valley in the Rocky Mountains, Jackson is protected from moist Pacific flows by the numerous mountain ranges extending across Oregon and Idaho, and therefore enjoys a semi-arid climate with large amounts of sunshine. While climate data for the area are limited, August is one of the drier months of the year, with a 70% frequency of clear skies. A typical summer morning dawns cloudless, with cumulus formations appearing on the high slopes by early afternoon. If the day’s conditions are unstable, these mountain clouds may grow to shower and even thundershower size and drift out across the valley. But the eclipse’s morning timing, as well as the cooling associated with its approaching shadow, will help to tame such buildups. And even when the peaks host clouds during the day, the valley below often remains flooded with sunshine.

The high altitude of the Jackson town site makes for cool morning and warm afternoon temperatures, with daily averages ranging from 40°F (4°C) to 81°F (27°C) – a wide span compared to lower-altitude communities nearby. On the peaks above town, daily temperatures are lower and winds may create conditions cool enough to require a jacket.

Watch an eclipse video


Day 7 – Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Salt Lake City, Utah


Departing Jackson Hole, our route takes you past the famed Bear Lake Summit and winds on through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the West. Your destination is Salt Lake City, “City of Saints” and spiritual capital of the Mormon Church (more properly, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). The heart of the city is dominated by the six spires of the Salt Lake Temple, a magnificent granite edifice set in a beautifully landscaped 10-acre square that is one of Utah’s most visited attractions. Also here is the domed Tabernacle, famed for its massive pipe organ and, of course, the world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir. You can spend the afternoon exploring from our comfortable central hotel.

Meals: Breakfast / Dinner

Overnight: Radisson Hotel, Downtown Salt Lake City or similar (2 nights)

D5ColletteSaltLakeTemple3_CVO_11184
D5ColletteSaltLakeTemple3_CVO_11184

Day 8 – Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Salt Lake City


Enjoy a morning tour of Salt Lake City, including the state capitol building, the city’s premier residential area and the shores of the Great Salt Lake. In the afternoon, learn why the Mormon Church’s spiritual hub took 40 years to build as you tour Temple Square with volunteer Sister Missionaries who have come to the city from all over the world. Your tour includes the historic Tabernacle and Assembly Hall, and you also have a chance to begin exploring your roots at the Family Search Center, benefiting from the Mormon Church’s devotion to researching our ancestral history. As this fascinating day comes to an end, enjoy dinner at a restaurant with panoramic views of the city.

Meals: Breakfast / Dinner
D6SaltLakeCity
D6SaltLakeCity

Day 9 – Thursday, August 24, 2017
Bryce Canyon & Zion National Parks


After breakfast we travel to Bryce Canyon National Park, where the haunting rock formations known as Hoodoos have been shaped by wind and water erosion over the eons. Iron oxidizing within the rock creates the surreal orange and red hues of these natural sculptures. Our final destination today is Zion National Park, with its distinctive red-and-white sandstone cliffs. For the spectacle and sheer magnitude of its natural beauty, Zion may be one of the most awe-inspiring wilderness preserves on the planet.

Meals: Breakfast / Dinner

Overnight: Majestic View Lodge, Springdale, UT or similar

D4_Parks
D4_Parks

Day 10 – Friday, August 25, 2017
Grand Canyon National Park


Journeying southward from Zion, we arrive at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, one of the world’s true natural wonders. Carved by the Colorado River, this massive chasm – more than 275 mi (443 km) long, 18 mi (29 km) across at its widest point and in some places more than a mile (1.6 km) deep – never fails to exceed expectations. Enjoy the afternoon on your own, hiking or relaxing in one of the many public areas above the immense, multi-hued rock walls. Dinner this evening is in the historic Grand Canyon Lodge, which offers magnificent views from the North Rim.

Meals: Breakfast / Dinner

Overnight: Grand Canyon Lodges North Rim or similar

GrandCanyon
GrandCanyon

Day 11 – Saturday, August 26, 2017
Glen Canyon Dam - Lake Powell


This morning we cut back northeast toward Lake Powell, passing through beautiful Marble Canyon. You have a unique opportunity to explore Antelope Canyon with a Navajo guide, who explains the area’s rich natural and human history while pointing you to unique photo opportunities. And then we carry on to Lake Powell and its excellent visitor center, which offers panoramic vistas of Glen Canyon Dam and the expanse of sparkling water beyond. At day’s end, enjoy equally memorable views over dinner at Lake Powell Resort, your home for the night.

Meals: Breakfast / Dinner

Overnight: Lake Powell Resort & Marina, Page, AZ or similar

AntelopeCanyon
AntelopeCanyon

Day 12 – Sunday, August 27, 2017
Lowell Observatory - Sedona - Scottsdale


Your day begins with a journey north into the red-rock country around Sedona. As we leave the Valley of the Sun, the Sonoran Desert landscape is dotted with an incredible variety of cacti, while ahead you begin to see the amazing rock formations that reveal different shades of pink, crimson, orange and umber with each turn in the road. After a photo stop in historic Sedona, we carry on through Oak Creek Canyon, renowned as one of the most scenic drives in America, to historic Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, where Percival Lowell studied Mars, Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto, and Vesto Slipher measured the redshifts of galaxies. Our tour will include a visit to the Observatory’s stately rotunda – Percival’s library – and a glimpse at Lowell’s famous 24-inch Clark refractor, with which he observed the “canals” of Mars.

In the afternoon we journey on through Oak Creek Canyon along one of the most scenic routes in America, among spectacular rock formations that reveal different shades of pink, crimson, orange and umber with each turn in the road. After a photo stop in historic Sedona, we cross the Sonoran Desert, its stark red-rock landscape dotted with an incredible variety of cacti, arriving in Scottsdale for a celebratory farewell dinner with your fellow National Parks explorers.

Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Overnight: Courtyard by Marriott Old Town, Scottsdale, AZ or similar

D2Sedona2ak
D2Sedona2ak

Day 13 – Monday, August 28, 2017
Travels Onward


Your American West adventure draws to a close today, but you’ll carry great memories with you for years to come. After a morning transfer to the Phoenix airport (airport code: PHX), catch your flight homeward – or on to the next adventure.

Meals: Breakfast
Add-on: Rapid City, South Dakota Pre-Night Option
Tuesday, August 15, 2017

If you’d like to arrive in Rapid City, South Dakota a night ahead of our Eclipse tour, TravelQuest has reserved a limited number of standard rooms at Hilton Garden Inn, Rapid City or similar.

Meals: Breakfast

Cost: $210 USD per person, per night double occupancy. $420 USD per person, single occupancy. $200 USD per person triple occupancy. Rate includes arrival (RAP) airport-hotel transfer, daily breakfast and tax.
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