This year marks the 100th anniversary of the U.S. National Park Service, making it an excellent time to explore some of the majestic, wide open spaces synonymous with the American West. Beginning outside of Denver, Colorado, and ending in Jackson, Wyoming—a 5-hour drive from Salt Lake City International Airport—Forever Resorts introduces “Visit the Real America: Cowboys, Native Americans and the Rocky Mountain West.” This extraordinary itinerary takes travelers along a 1,400-mile journey through the rugged and beautiful terrain of some of the United States’ most iconic public lands.
The adventure begins in Estes Park, Colorado, a 90-minute drive from Denver International Airport. From here, rent a car and drive to the Rocky Mountain Park Inn, located just outside Rocky Mountain National Park. This comfortable, family-friendly inn with an all-seasons indoor pool, onsite restaurant and bar provides the perfect base for embarking on Rocky Mountain National Park exploration. Enjoy hiking, coach tours, phenomenal wildlife viewing, geocaching and more in this spectacular region.
Continue the trek north to South Dakota. This state is home to nine tribes including the Oglala Sioux, whose members reside on the Pine Ridge Reservation located just south of the Badlands’ northern unit. Inside Badlands National Park, Cedar Pass Lodge—the only lodging accommodations inside the park—offers quaint eco-cabins outfitted with furniture made from locally sourced, reclaimed, beetle-kill lodge pole pine.
Famous for the savage beauty of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires resulting from the ravaging activity of wind and water, the Badlands offers stunning views from overlooks along Badlands Loop Road. Be on the lookout throughout this region for buffalo, big horn sheep, prairie dogs and the endangered black-footed ferret.
On to Signal Mountain Lodge, located in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, where guests enjoy the only lakeside lodging inside the park. Signal Mountain provides spectacular views of the Grand Teton Range in every direction, along with a variety of accommodations, from rustic one-room mountain cabins to suite-style accommodations with views and kitchenettes. Adventure and scenic beauty abound in local Jackson Hole and the National Park, while Jackson Lake and the Snake River provide popular water-based activities—fishing, scenic river trips, whitewater rafting, canoeing and kayaking.
While in the region, take a wild and scenic whitewater rafting ride or a tranquil, smooth-water float trip on the Bridger-Teton National Forest’s Snake River with Mad River Boat Trips. Just south of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the river winds through the Snake River Canyon, lined with trees, steep granite walls and small alpine meadows where wildlife abounds. Guests travel along this scenic Rocky Mountain river for a completely exhilarating or entirely relaxing rafting experience—the choice is theirs.
Finally, with experiences encompassing both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks as well as the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Scenic Safaris offers immersive outdoor recreation on its summer backcountry ATV tours, wildlife-viewing hikes and tours and fly-fishing trips. In winter, visitors can take guided tours into the parks aboard state-of-the-art snowcoaches and astride quiet, fuel-efficient snowmobiles. All Scenic Safaris equipment meets the National Park Service’s newest noise and emissions requirements.