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The Rockies


Wyoming conjures images of cowboys, mountains, rodeos and wide open spaces. Soaring peaks and plunging valleys dominate the horizon. This is the home of Yellowstone National Park where bubbling geysers and colourful hot springs can be found. Grand Teton National Park's range rises 7000 ft into clear blue skies providing a stunning landscape.


Colorado has been dubbed the 'highest state to heaven' due to its 54 mountain peaks soaring to 14,000ft. Colorado's Rockies provide a bounty of recreational adventure - white water rafting, cave tours, wildlife viewing, hiking and golfing to name but a few. The history of the Native Americans is especially strong in South West Colorado where cities were built in sandstone and the Ute Indians farmed, hunted and still live. The cliff dwellings of ancient pueblo people are showcased at Mesa Verde National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Eerily abandoned these ghostly ruins are said to be over 700 years old.


New Mexico blends cultures of Native Americans, Spanish and Anglo. The ‘Land of Enchantment’ lives up to its name, decorated with Indian Pueblos and lush forested mountains contrasting with stark, barren deserts or the eerie stillness of an Indian Reservation. In the south are the amazing lava fields which the Spanish called ‘mai pai’ or badlands - lonely and desolate it is an amazing spectacle to see the black lava contrast with the azure blue skies.


Explorers William Clark and Meriwether Lewis and the Corps of Discovery spent more time in what is now North Dakota than any other place on their journey. The State is home to more wildlife refuges than any other state, so wildlife viewing and birding opportunities are abundant including at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, known for its scenic beauty. Fields are bright with sunflowers, one of the major crops, and local bees take advantage of this to produce fine honey.


Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer died on the battlefield at Little Bighorn but Custer State Park is still very much alive with roaming buffalo in its 71,000 acres. South Dakota is home to the ‘world’s greatest sculpture’, Mount Rushmore. The faces of four presidents of the United States gaze out over their surroundings, while nearby the Crazy Horse Memorial scans the horizon as a tribute to the American Indian Chief. Deadwood has a colourful heritage of lawless legends such as Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane who are buried here. Old West saloons, dance halls and card parlours were filled with outlaws and racketeers and thanks to historic restoration you are transported back to the heady Gold Rush days.


Idaho is big enough to have two time zones – wide open spaces and fresh mountain air define the State. Lakes of the deepest sapphire blue are shrouded by deep forests and the recreational activities are abundant. This is where The Horse Whisperer was filmed and grand sweeping vistas of prairie, burnt gold during summer months, highlight the landscape. The mighty Salmon River flows through spectacular gorges and natural hot springs but its fearsome white waters provide adrenaline pumping rafting trips through Hells Canyon. The Sawtooth Mountain Range pierces the sky in south central Idaho with its jagged mountain peaks and over 300 crystal clear alpine lakes nestled beneath.


Glacier National Park is frequently called ‘Little Switzerland’ with exquisite views of sparkling waterfalls, azure lakes and meadows carpeted with wildflowers. The Going to the Sun Road snakes through dense green forests and lakes and there are 37 glaciers within the park. Bison roam on ranges of grassland much as they did before the ‘New World’ existed. Classic views of western plains sweep Charlie Russell Country named for the artist that so brilliantly portrayed the Badlands, buttes, rivers and prairies in his oils watercolours and bronzes.


Utah is a state of vibrant colours – azure blue skies, rich green forests and rocks that change colour with the sunlight. The north of the state boasts excellent recreation including boating, sailing and fishing. South Utah’s ‘Famous Five’ National Parks are incredible and recognisable from many feature films. Their unique, fiery landscapes and iridescent colours are an amazing spectacle and are scattered with twisted natural sculptures.

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