Wyoming Itinerary: The MONUMENTAL Route – Rushmore to Devils Tower
The Itinerary at a Glance
Visit Mount Rushmore, Devils Tower and Yellowstone – three of the top attractions in the American West all in one trip. Plus, a two-night stopover in Gillette, Wyoming to tour a gigantic surface coal mine, a working buffalo ranch, a working cattle and sheep ranch, or just to rest up and refuel at over 70 restaurants, plus local brew pubs and Wyoming’s first authentic meadery.
4 Unique Experience on This Trip
- Mount Rushmore National Memorial
- Devils Tower National Monument
- Durham Ranch
- Yellowstone National Park
Duration: 5 Days
This Itinerary is Ideal For: All
Talk about a “bucket list” trip. The MONUMENTAL Route stretches from Mount Rushmore to Devils Tower to Yellowstone and encompasses everything your guests expect in a great Western vacation.
Day 1 Mount Rushmore
Nothing brings history to life like seeing it in person, and the tour starts off with a bang at Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Encourage your guests to find their state flags on the Avenue of Flags, a flag-lined approach to the monument. Then stump them with the fact that there are actually 56 flags—one for each state and territory of the U.S. Seeing the faces of our most influential presidents that paved the way for the country’s future will remind everyone of how hard the path had been for those before us. George Washington took the reins even though he didn’t feel comfortable being a leader, and Abraham Lincoln essentially rid the country of slavery; Jefferson and Roosevelt also contributed greatly to a country that has led the world. These were men who did what was right in spite of their shortcomings, and it was inspirational. The topic will fill the short 130-mile trip to Devils Tower the next morning to start the next phase of your tour.
Day 2 Devils Tower
Devils Tower National Monument juts 1,267 feet out of the flat land surrounding the Black Hills in Wyoming, where magma intruded through the layers of sedimentary rock in the earth. Step-on guides and ranger-led tours are available at the Tower. Or, your group might want to do it themselves on the 1.3-mile paved trail that encircles the Tower. They can learn about the many Indian tribes, including the Lakotas, that considered this place sacred. The Lakota tribe actually held their sacred Sun Dance during the summer solstice at Devils Tower, while others are geographically tied to the place. Your guests will be fascinated that so many tribes had such a strong spiritual connection to this raw place in nature. Next, pack up and to head to the next stop—Gillette, Wyoming. Be sure to make the drive that evening and stay in a hotel in Gillette before the next monumental phase of the tour.
Day 3 Gillette, Wyoming
Plan two-nights in Gillette. First, schedule a group tour of one of the largest surface coal mines in the world. All coal mine tour participants are consistently amazed to learn how something as elemental as coal is produced to aid in something as advanced as energy. They will not believe how large the machines are that essentially move materials under the earth. The mine runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. That night, hit the Big Lost Meadery. Your guests will love the recycled wood interior, diverse types of tables and the engaging conversation with the employees, who will end up feeling like their friends. Guests will enjoy drinks out of real cow horns!
Day 4 Durham Ranch
End your time in Gillette with a tour of Durham Ranch, one of the world’s largest and oldest working buffalo ranches, which includes 55,000 acres and more than 3,000 bison. Your guests will learn about the history of bison in the Western U.S. and how Durham Ranch manages resources sustainably to provide a home for bison today and far into the future. There are awesome photo opportunities in an open field with a group of bison, hundreds strong, close enough to hear them snort and snuffle. A delicious barbecue after the tour will be the perfect way to complete the experience.
Day 5 Yellowstone
The final destination is Yellowstone National Park. Leave Gillette early in the morning and arrive in Yellowstone seven hours later. Your guests may become overwhelmed by the unspoiled nature of the land if this is their first visit to the park. In a world where everything is moving forward faster than most people can keep up, it will feel surreal to your guests to walk through a land that is mostly untouched by technology and the human hand. Be sure to take them to Lower Falls, Yellowstone Lake and Old Faithful. For the final night in the park, enjoy an Old West cookout.