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The Best of the West

Departing June 26 - July 9,
July 24 - August 6
August 21 - September 3 &
September 10 - 23, 2011



Day 1 - Sun.
Our travelers depart Chicago, Seattle, or Portland for Glacier National Park aboard the famed ‘Empire Builder’ train, a scenic overnight journey via the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company.
Day 2 - Mon
Guests arrive in East Glacier today aboard the ‘Empire Builder’ train and the hotel is a two-minute walk from the station. Overnight at Glacier Park Lodge, one of the great historic lodges built by the Great Northern Railroad and the largest log structure in the world.
Day 3 - Tues
We depart this morning aboard one of the famed red open-air ‘jammer’ buses for the stunning trip over the famed Going to the Sun Highway across the Continental Divide. Later today, shimmering Lake McDonald where a boat cruise is enjoyed. Many of our passengers rate this the prettiest day of the entire tour and you will soon see why. A second night to enjoy the storied Glacier Park Lodge. (B, D)
Day 4 - Wed
After breakfast we depart for the Gates of the Mountain Cruise, a lovely two-hour excursion in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains between Helena and Great Falls, Montana. Aboard an open-air boat (covered in case of rain), you’ll glide through magnificent country Meriwether Lewis would still recognize with great towering walls of limestone, Bighorn sheep, Mountain Goats and eagles.Today is a special treat and a relaxing coda after a few days of travel as we arrive at enchanting Fairmont Hot Springs, the perfect ‘Travelers Rest’ to borrow a line from Lewis & Clark on their epic journey through the same area. Nestled between Glacier National Park and Yellowstone this idyllic setting features a variety of soothing mineral pools (admission is included) and there is also golf and a fine spa with massage. The perfect refresher and a highlight for our guests that no other tour company offers. (B, L)
Day 5 - Thu
After breakfast, another beautiful day as we head off to Virginia City, Montana, a historic mining town of great charm and later today, arrive at Lake Yellowstone to begin our two-night stay.(B, L)
Day 6 - Fri
Established in 1872, Yellowstone National Park is America's first national park and after breakfast, we begin a day that is a visual feast. You will see Upper and Lower Falls, Hayden Valley, Old Faithful, Fountain Paint Pot and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Most tours offer one-night at Yellowstone, our lucky guests enjoy two nights, one of many elements that makes this holiday better than most offered by our competitors. Overnight at Lake Yellowstone cabins.(B)
Day 7 - Sat.
We drive south today to spectacular Grand Teton National Park, a spectacular landscape rich with jagged mountains, glaciers, pristine lakes and amazing wildlife including bison, moose and antelope. Here too, like in Yellowstone, our guests enjoy a two-night stay with plenty of free time. Overnight at the 49er Inn. (B)
Day 8 - Sun
Today we tour Jackson Hole with the highlight being an afternoon float trip on the Snake River. Grand Teton National Park protects stunning mountain scenery and a diverse array of wildlife. The Teton Range is the focal point of the park, the youngest range in the Rocky Mountains. An active normal fault, the Teton Fault, lies on the 40 mile long mountain front. Rock is jetted into the sky some 7,000 feet from the flat plains, with the highest peak at 13,770 feet, the Grand Teton. Happily, we have all afternoon and evening at leisure to enjoy this quaint and historic setting. Overnight at the 49er Inn. (B)
Day 9 - Mon
Departing Jackson Hole this morning we travel south, stopping at the Oregon Trail Historical Center and then traveling along the Great Salt Lake before an afternoon arrival in Salt Lake City. After our time in the National Parks, luxury awaits tonight in the Four-Diamond rated Little America Hotel in the heart of downtown. There is even time to visit Temple Square with all evening at leisure. (B, L)
Day 10 - Tues
Depart Salt Lake City for Moab and the Red Cliffs Lodge, possibly the best of all of our hotels and certainly the most stunning setting possible, overlooking the Colorado River. Our guests uniformly praise this as the highlight of a trip filled with many highlights and we enjoy a three-night stay in this extraordinary setting. All afternoon is free to enjoy the facilities, spa or nearby winery of this remarkable resort. (B)
Day 11 - Wed
We tour Arches National Park this morning, with the afternoon free to enjoy the resort. The forces of nature have acted in concert to create the landscape of Arches, which contains the greatest density of natural arches in the world, over 2100 amazing formations of varying colors. Throughout the park, rock layers reveal millions of years of deposition, erosion and other geologic events. (B)
Day 12 - Thu
Today’s highlight is a visit to Canyonlands National Park. Canyonlands preserves a colorful landscape eroded into countless canyons, mesas and buttes by the Colorado River and its tributaries. The rivers divide the park into four districts: the Island in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze and the rivers themselves, another spectacular day of scenery. Tonight is our Farewell Dinner, hosted by Train Holidays. (B, D)
Day 13 - Fri
All Aboard! We board the ‘California Zephyr’ this morning for the epic daylight passage through the Colorado Rockies over the storied Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad traveling through Glenwood Canyon for a journey described by the BBC as one of the top ten train rides in the World. The train has a full dining car and Sightseer Lounge car and later tonight, we pass through Denver en route to Chicago. Guests traveling home to the West will be transferred to Salt Lake City to board the train for the overnight journey to California. Overnight on-board. (B)
Day 14 - Sat
We cross the Mississippi River after breakfast and are soon speeding through the rich farmland of Illinois bound for Chicago with an afternoon arrival in the Windy City. West coast guests will cross the Sierra Nevada mountain range this morning for an afternoon arrival in Sacramento and the Bay Area.

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