Planning a Western Trek…

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 – – 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!

Downtown Rapid City – gateway to the Black Hills and the start of our journey.

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.

Easy to get lost in the Badlands!

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.

Four Presidents…can you name them?
Saloon #10 where Wild Bill was shot holding Aces and Eights.

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!

The legend of the Sundance Kid began with a robbery of the Sundance State Bank.
Just outside Sundance, Devil’s Tower projects upward a thousand feet. Let’s climb it…NOT!

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.

Custer’s Last Stand – also the last stand of the American Indian.

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.

Cody sits in the western foothills of my favorite mountain range – the Bighorn Mountains.
Did I mention the Bighorn Mountains? I did.
Yellowstone National Park is a highlight of our trip!
Jenny Lake at Grand Teton National Park will be a “must stop”!

Heading evermore southwest, we will cross into Utah and drive by Bear Lake, Salt Lake City, and the Great Salt Lake.

Few know about the magic serenity of Bear Lake just north of Salt Lake City.

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.

Yes those are people! And yes that is “Delicate” Arch!
Can you see John Wayne? Right in the middle of Monument Valley riding on the Red Roan!
The Petrified Forest National Park will be an interesting stop. I count seven scorpions in this photo!
We won’t let Grand Canyon slip by.

Leaving Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest, we will drive through White Sands National Monument on the way to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico.

Not snow! Pure white sand!
Our next to last afternoon, will be exploring the depths of Carlsbad Caverns.

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.

Hueco Tanks got its name from the hidden spring pools that provided thirsty travelers with water in the very dry West Texas landscape.

Guadeloupe Peak is the remains of an ancient coral ridge in an ocean that once covered the Southwest.

The highest point in Texas!
In the west Texas town of El Paso…

…And then back to reality and North Georgia. Thank you for planning our trip with me… let me know your favorite spot!

1 thought on “Planning a Western Trek…

  1. Looks like Tons of Fun to me!



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