Begin your authentic two-week Western RV trip in Denver. As a gateway to the Great American West states of Wyoming and South Dakota, Denver will whet your appetite for the adventure to follow. Stock-up on Western gear, discover some stunning red rock scenery and indulge in great food and craft beer to fuel your journey.
Once you’re on the road, you will discover the pioneer spirit is alive in the wide open spaces of Wyoming and South Dakota. Visit iconic Mount Rushmore with its carved stone heads of four US presidents, alongside Crazy Horse, commemorating the Native American legacy, and contrast the stump of Devils Tower (featured in Close Encounters of the Third Kind) with Deadwood, a town straight out of High Noon. With museums and interpretive centres along with way, taking you a hands-on journey through Old West history and Native American cultures, and real-life cowboys, rodeos and country music venues, this trip is as much about the present as it is the region’s fascinating past. Marvel at nature in Custer State Park to get up close to buffalo/bison, ride the trails, wonder at star-studded night skies, and underground in Wind Cave National Park for astonishing mineral formations.
Day 1 | Arrive in Denver and stay one night in a hotel
Denver is known as the Mile High City - visit the State Capitol Building where you will find the marker that shows you exactly one mile above sea level! Denver has a diverse range of attractions, museums, arts and entertainment and shopping. After all that why not experience the nightlife of LoDo (Lower Downtown Denver), a 26-square block of bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Thrill seekers could try the city’s Elitch Gardens theme park. Alternatively venture just outside the city to the stunning Red Rock Park and Amphitheater.
Day 2 | Collect your RV and begin your road trip!
Drive to Cheyenne, approx. 100 miles and stay one night.
The capital of Wyoming was named after the Cheyenne Indian people who inhabited present-day South-Eastern Wyoming. In Cheyenne's early days, city dudes mingled with mule skinners, soldiers, rail-roaders, lawmakers, sheriffs, rustlers, stage drivers and outlaws. The city is situated in the midst of rich, nutritious grasslands which have always been excellent natural forage for cattle.
Day 3 & 4 | Drive to Fort Laramie, approx. 110 miles
Spend two nights in the Fort Laramie area
Drive the Deadwood Stage route to Chugwater, Guernsey and on to Fort Laramie. Fort Laramie was located at the crossroads of the nation moving west. In 1834 a fur trading post was created and by the 1840s, wagon trains rested and re-supplied here, bound for Oregon, California, and Utah. Today you can tour the 12 restored buildings from 1849 to the late 1880's period and explore numerous other ruins throughout the grounds. Take the trail that leads from the "Old Iron Bridge" to the confluence of the Platte and Laramie Rivers. Spectacular views and a variety of birds and other wildlife can be seen along the rivers.
Day 5 | Drive to Devil’s Tower, approx. 210 miles
Stay one night in the Devil’s Tower area
Drive via Lusk to Devil’s Tower. The Tower is an astounding geologic feature that protrudes out of the prairie surrounding the Black Hills. It is considered sacred by Northern Plains Indians and indigenous people. Hundreds of parallel cracks make it one of the finest crack climbing areas in North America. Hiking at the Tower is a popular way to experience the park and you can take the Tower Trail, a paved 1.3-mile loop around the base of the formation, while other trails offer a more secluded and traditional hiking experience.
Day 6 & 7 | Drive to Deadwood, approx. 75 miles
Stay two nights in the Deadwood area
Head through Spearfish Canyon to the Black Hills and Deadwood. In 1874 the Black Hills Gold Rush and gave rise to the town of Deadwood, which quickly reached a population of around 5,000. The town attained notoriety for the murder of Wild Bill Hickok, and Mount Moriah Cemetery remains the final resting place of Hickok and Calamity Jane, as well as slightly less notable figures such as Seth Bullock. Discover the town’s historic main street. Shop at the dozens of stores and boutiques, stop in to the Franklin Hotel and head up to the balcony to get a marvellous view of downtown Deadwood or pop in to the #10 Saloon to see where Wild Bill Hickok played his last hand of poker.
Day 8 | Drive to Mount Rushmore, approx. 70 miles
Stay one night in the Mount Rushmore area
Visit the iconic Mount Rushmore, with its 60ft carvings of four of the US Presidents, and neighbouring Crazy Horse Memorial, commemorating the Native American legacy.
Day 9, 10, 11, 12 | Drive to Custer State Park, approx. 30 miles
Stay four nights in Custer State Park
The area is full of fascinating history relating to Custer and his expedition to find gold and the ensuing battles. Custer State Park itself offers an endless amount of outdoor recreation with hiking, kayaking, canoeing, swimming and fishing, plus fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities, including the buffalo/bison herds. At the end of the day relax at your camp-ground and marvel at star-studded night skies. Jewel Cave National Park and Wind Cave National Park are also close by. The Custer downtown area has a great collection of boutiques and galleries, as well as some good local restaurants.
Custer State Park
Day 13 | Drive to Mitchell, approx. 190 miles
Stay one night in the Mitchell area
Today you head into Nebraska. Stop at the Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, home to one of the world's most significant Miocene Epoch mammal sites, discovered in the late 1890s. The landscape reflects many influences—from early animals roaming the valleys and hills, to tribal nations calling the High Plains home, to explorers passing through or settling in the American West.
Alternatively past Mitchell is Scotts Bluff National Monument which preserves and protects over 3,000 acres of mixed-grass prairie, rugged badlands, towering bluffs, historic trail remnants and riparian area along the North Platte River. The bluff served as an important landmark for pioneers on the Oregon, California, Mormon Pioneer and Pony Express Trails.
Scotts Bluff National Monument
Day 14 | Head to Fort Collins, approx. 140 miles
Stay one night in the Fort Collins area
Spend your final night in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Fort Collins, offering fabulous recreational opportunities, diverse cultural attractions, a vibrant nightlife scene, and plenty of family friendly activities. Explore the city’s 50 parks, 280 miles of trails, or go for a white-water adventure on the Cache la Poudre.
Day 15 | Return to Denver, approx. 65 miles
Drop-off your RV before heading back to the airport