Next June, my wife and I will trek westward and travel over mountains, deserts, and grasslands in search of wildflowers, fossils, grizzly bears, and good times. We plan to visit a dozen National Parks and Monuments, a few scenic rivers, and plenty of historical out-of-the-way towns. If you have been to any of the spots I will highlight or any I have missed, please let me know either by email – firstname.lastname@example.org – or by remarking on this blog article. We can’t visit everywhere but we will pick and choose a few of America’s best.
To maximize our effective time, we will fly from Atlanta to our starting point – Rapid City, South Dakota. Our terminus and return flight will be from El Paso, Texas. A whole world waits between!
Our first park stop will be the Badlands National Park about an hour east of Rapid City. I have never been there so it will be a unique experience to see these fabled, eroded hills.
From there, we will head overland to Mt. Rushmore and spend the evening and night roaming the bars and saloons with the ghost of Wild Bill Hickock in Deadwood, South Dakota.
From Deadwood, we will will short hop to Sundance, Wyoming, where I lived for almost two years. Around the corner and over the Bear Lodge Mountains is America’s first National monument…. Devil’s Tower!
Leaving a night in Sundance and the famous “Dime Bar”, we will head across the grasslands to the site of George Custer’s demise at the hands of the Sioux, Little Bighorn Battlefield in the Crow Indian Reservation of Montana.
Cody, Wyoming, is home to the Cody Western Museum – a fitting tribute to one of our last, great cowboys. Cody is located Southwest of Custer’s battlefield and is also an gateway to Yellowstone.
Heading evermore southwest, we will cross into Utah and drive by Bear Lake, Salt Lake City, and the Great Salt Lake.
As we head South, we will devote a morning hiking up to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park before heading to Monument Valley in northern Arizona.
Leaving Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest, we will drive through White Sands National Monument on the way to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico.
On our drive to El Paso we will visit little known Hueco Tanks State Park in west Texas and pass underneath the highest point in Texas – Guadeloupe Peak.
Guadeloupe Peak is the remains of an ancient coral ridge in an ocean that once covered the Southwest.
…And then back to reality and North Georgia. Thank you for planning our trip with me… let me know your favorite spot!