101 USA Holidays

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Mike Gerrard Donna Dailey
Award-winning travel writers Mike Gerrard and Donna Dailey.

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Best of the National Parks

Mike & Donna's verdict:

The western National Parks are truly spectacular - to see so many in a grand circular drive adds up to one awesome holiday. We've explored these fascinating landscapes, from the Rocky Mountains to wide open ranges and sculpted canyons, towering rock formations, ancient cliff dwellings and Yellowstone's geysers.

Recommended tour operator: Audley Travel

yellowstone national park - the emerald pool with bison roaming in backgroundWildlife sightsGrand CanyonCuster State Park

Audley Travel says

This three-week fly drive tour takes you through the best of the west’s awe-inspiring National Parks in a circular tour from Denver through Arizona, Colorado, South Dakota, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

After a couple of nights in Denver, head past the Roosevelt National Forest to Cheyenne for a taste of the Wild West.

The Custer State Park in South Dakota is next, with the chance to see bison in the Thunder Basin National Grassland en route – and Mount Rushmore.

There’s more of the Wild West in Deadwood and Sheridan before you head up to the wide open spaces of Montana. Stay in Billings and watch the wild horses in Bighorn National Park and visit the site of Custer’s Last Stand, Little Bighorn Battlefield.

There are two days in Yellowstone National Park – go walking, canoeing or mountain biking, visit the Old Faithful Geyser and look out for elk, bison, antelope and wolves.

Next stop is Jackson and the Grand Teton National Park – we recommend you join a guided wildlife trip into the park itself.

There’s a night in Salt Lake City from where you can go hiking in Big Cottonwood Canyon and explore the city.

The spectacular red rocks of Bryce Canyon National Park make for the most incredible sunsets – head on towards the Zion National Park – there are excellent walking trails here and the Emerald Pools are worth a visit.

While in Monument Valley, don’t miss a Navajo-guided tour to learn all about Navajo history and the native flora, fauna and geology. You will also see the extraordinary ancestral Pueblo Indian dwellings in the Mesa Verde National Park.

Your last couple of days take you through Colorado’s Rio Grande National Forest, Alamosa and Colorado Springs before returning to Denver.

The National Parks USA Explored fly-drive holiday costs from £2,520 per person including international flights, car hire and mid-range hotel accommodation. Our knowledgeable team can tailor make your itinerary with upgraded hotel accommodation and add-on visits to the Grand Canyon, the Glacier National Park or a stay on a working ranch, for example.

See more USA fly-drive holiday ideas.

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