Chicago to San Francisco Road Trip

Highlights

Camp along the Mississippi River, hike the Badlands, marvel at Yellowstone's geyser, meet the wildlife of Grand Teton National Park, explore the streets of San Francisco

Tour description provided by G Adventures

Remember the country they sing about in 'America the Beautiful'? The one with the spacious skies, gleaming alabaster cities and majestic purple mountains? It’s still out there. Come see it with us. Ideal for wildlife enthusiasts and outdoorsy folk who want to see the country by day and revel downtown by night, this trip takes you across the Great West, from the City of Big Shoulders through Yellowstone and Yosemite and past herds of grazing bison to the City by the Bay. In a word: Perfect.

Itinerary

Day 1 Chicago
Arrive to our joining hotel at any time. Welcome meeting in the evening. This group tour departs the city early on Day 2. We recommend booking pre-tour accommodation in Chicago if you'd like to spend any time exploring the sites this city has to offer.
Day 2 Wisconsin/Winona (1D)
Stop in Milwaukee and take a tour through America's oldest major brewing company, Millers. Explore the history and brewing process, don't forget to try some before you leave! Later visit Madison, the capital of the US state of Wisconsin. Pass by the capital itself and enjoy downtown Madison with its unique shopping and entertainment district. Continue to our campground located along the bank of the Mississippi River. Approximate Distance to Winona: 535 km Estimated Travel Time: 9 hrs (including stops in Milwaukee and Madison)
Day 3 Sioux Falls/Kennebec (1B,1L,1D)
Leaving the "cities" behind we cross native American Sioux terrain and America's original western frontier, the Great Prairie. Take a break in Sioux Falls. Drive past Garretson, famous for Devil's Gulch, a footbridge that crosses the "Mini-Canyon" where Jesse James jumped to prevent being captured. Approximate Distance to Kennebec: 710 km Estimated Travel Time: 9 hrs (including stops in Sioux Falls)
Day 4 Badlands NP (1B,1L,1D)
Before we continue our short journey to Badlands National Park, stop at the Original South Dakota 1880's Town for an optional visit and envision life on the prairie. Admire the many props that were used in Kevin Costner's famous movie "Dances with Wolves". In the early afternoon explore the spectacular, bizarre and moon-like landscape at Badlands National Park. The Lakota gave this its name, "mako sica," meaning "land bad." Discover the park on short hiking trails and enjoy the feeling of true isolation, where you can look for miles and see no sign of civilization. We spend the night camping while witnessing an incredible sunset or sunrise over the Badlands! Approximate Distance: 185 km Estimated Travel Time: 5 hrs (including stops)
Day 5 Custer (1B,1L,1D)
It all started in the 1930's with free ice-water for thirsty tourists coming from the east that made "Wall" such a famous place to visit. Discover Wall Drug, an American roadside wonder before we reach the famous Black Hills in the heart of South Dakota. This historic area is filled with American history. Black Hills are known to be one of the best places to discover the legend of the old west. Next we take the scenic route to Custer State Park, named after the (in)famous General George Armstrong Custer. Custer State Park is home to the world's largest free-roaming bison herds (about 1,500). Explore this fascinating terrain on short hikes. Horseback riding is also available. Approximate Distance to Custer: 250 km Estimated Travel Time: 6 hrs (including stops in the state park)
Day 6 Custer (1B,1L)
In the morning visit Mount Rushmore National Memorial, one of Americas most inspiring symbols of democracy and freedom. Be amazed at the impressive granite faces, each head as tall as a six-story building, of four of the most influential presidents of the United States including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Visit the "City of Gold" Keystone, once a gold mining boom town in the 1870's. Keystone was also the adult home of Carrie Ingalls of “Little House on the Prairie” fame. In the evening visit spectacular Crazy Horse Memorial. "My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know the red man has great heroes, too". These were the words of Chief Standing Bear convincing sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski in 1939 to create a Memorial for the Lakota people. Witness the fantastic Laser-Light Show "Legends in Light".
Day 7 Deadwood/Devil's Tower (1B,1D)
Visit historical Deadwood and take a self-guided walking tour into the past of the Wild West. Be a part of the famous shoot out at the Old Style Saloon #10 as you witness the shooting of Wild Bill. Then enter the fabulous Midnight Star, Kevin Costner's Casino and try your luck at one of the slot machines. On our way to Devils Tower we take the most scenic highway in the Black Hills, Spearfish Canyon. Enjoy spectacular scenery that was the location for several scenes in the movie epic, “Dances With Wolves.” In the evening arrive at America's first national monument, the Devils Tower! It rises over 1200 feet into the air! Approximate Distance to Devil's Tower: 215 km Estimated Travel Time: 5 hrs (including stops in Deadwood)
Day 8 Cody (1B,1L,1D)
With crystal-clear lakes, alpine meadows and glacial carved valleys, the Bighorn National Forest is one of the most scenic drives in Wyoming towards Cody, "the rodeo capital of the world"! The town is named after "Buffalo Bill Cody" and has long been a symbol of the old American West. Optional visit to Buffalo Bill Historical Center to discover the real story of the old west. In the evening optional experience of an authentic Rodeo (depends on the season, check with your CEO for details). Approximate Distance: 500 km Estimated Travel Time: 7 hrs (including stops)
Day 9 Yellowstone NP (1B,1L,1D)
Discover the wonders of Yellowstone, the world's first National Park! Yellowstone is beyond special. Geysers, waterfalls, wildlife and scenic beauty are around every corner for you to explore. In fact, Yellowstone National Park is a super volcano with the world’s largest active geyser field, boasting more than 10,000 geysers. The Park is also home to more wild animals than almost anywhere else in the U.S., including roaming bison, gray wolves, elk, black bears and of course the famous grizzly bear! Travel to the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone and explore the Northern Loop which features beautiful scenery, exciting wildlife and spectacular hydrothermal features. Admire Mammoth Hot Springs, Norris Geyser Basin and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone! Approximate Distance: 320 km Estimated Travel Time: 8 hrs (including stops)
Day 10 Yellowstone NP (1B,1L,1D)
More highlights await you as the South Loop goes through some of the most famous landmarks of Yellowstone, including Old Faithful and Lake Village. Estimated travel time: 4 hrs within the park
Day 11 Grand Teton NP/Jackson (1B,1L)
Drive to Grand Teton National Park and view more than twelve peaks at elevation greater than 12.000 feet! Stop at beautiful Jenny Lake and take an optional boat ride across the lake to discover Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. Grand Teton National Park highlights are numerous and each offers a better understanding of this natural phenomenon. In the late afternoon we reach Jackson, where we marvel at the town square’s elk antler arches. The area offers unique mix of boutique and country and western shopping opportunities. Wildlife watching is easy here; elk, deer, and many other small mammals can be found throughout the valley. In the evening step back in time and enjoy a night out with a true Wild Western atmosphere at the One Million Dollar Bar, known world wide for its western dancing and live entertainment! Approximate Distance to Jackson: 230 km Estimated Travel Time: 6 hrs (including stops in Grand Teton NP)
Day 12 Salt Lake City (1B,1L,1D)
Optional guided wildlife and whitewater rafting trip down the snake river in Jackson. Leave Yellowstone National Park behind as we continue to Salt Lake City. Orientation tour of Salt Lake City including a visit to Temple Square for views of the world's largest Mormon Temple. Approximate Distance: 440 km Estimated Travel Time: 8 hrs (including stops)
Day 13 Tonopah (1B)
One of the best ways to to experience Nevada is to travel on the "Loneliest Road in America", a fascinating scenic and historic area through a land seemingly untouched by man. In the evening experience Tonopah's night sky, considered among the best in the country for stargazing. After the long drive to Tonopah trade in the camping gear in favor of a night in a hotel. Approximate Distance: 656 km Estimated Travel Time: 9 hrs (including stops)
Day 14 Yosemite NP (1L,1D)
Marvel at the spectacular views of Yosemite National Park's magnificent peaks and granite domes as you enjoy one of most scenic drives in California: Tioga Pass! Take short hikes to majestic waterfalls, clear lakes, beautiful meadows and walk amongst giant sequoias. With a keen eye, you may be lucky enough to spot black bears, deer or coyotes. Approximate Distance: 385 km Estimated Travel Time: 8 hrs (including stops)
Day 15 Yosemite NP (1B,1L,1D)
Full day to explore Yosemite National Park. Hike the many trails Yosemite has to offer and be inspired by this beautiful and amazing landscape. Option to rent bikes in Yosemite Valley. Estimated travel time: 2 hrs within the park
Day 16 San Francisco (1B)
Arrive to one of the most iconic cities in the world: San Francisco. Your CEO will point out some popular sites on the drive into town–perhaps you'll catch a glimpse of the stately Golden Gate Bridge, a marvel of engineering and deco design. Go back in time and take an optional cable car ride over the steep hills or rent a bike to explore the city on wheels. In the evening, take an optional sunset sailing trip. For our final night of the tour in San Francisco, we stay close to the action in a hotel in the city center. Approximate Distance: 225 km Estimated Travel Time: 6 hrs (including stops)
Day 17 San Francisco
Depart at any time. There's a lot to see and do in San Francisco, and we recommend spending extra time here if you'd like to explore the city; speak to your sales agent to book extra accommodation. Haight-Ashbury, Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf and the city's famous cable cars await you.