Wyoming, The Wide Open West

June 29-July 10, 2009 



This summer we traveled through some of the West's most stunning landscapes.   This new tour featured some of Wyoming's most significant historic sites and two of our most magnificent National Parks: Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.  We celebrated a Frontier Fourth of July at Fort Laramie; we toured ghost towns and abandoned ranches; we spotted wild mustangs in the Pryor Mountains; learned about the historic Oregon, Mormon and Bozeman Trails; and floated down the Snake River.  The highlight was the day we spent touring a private ranch by hay wagon to see the site of the final defeat of the Cheyenne.


June 29, Monday.  Gather in Sheridan, WY.   Join Ed and Marty at our welcome dinner at the historic Sheridan Inn.   Please plan to arrive in Sheridan by 5:30 pm.                                                                                 Overnight at the Wingate Inn, Sheridan(R,D)

June 30, Tuesday.   Explore the beautiful Big Horn Mountains with stops at Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Range, several abandoned ranch sites, and visit the site of the Heart Mountain Relocation Center where over 10,000 Japanese Americans were interned from 1942-1945.                                                O/N Wingate Inn, Sheridan (B,L)

July 1, Wednesday.  Red Cloud’s War (1866-1868) erupted when thousands of white settlers racing for Montana's gold fields, streamed across the Bozeman Trail that cut through the last of the Lakota’s hunting grounds.  Visits will include Fort Phil Kearny, the Fetterman battlefield, the Wagon Box Fight, and the Connor battlefield. We will tour the Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum, one of the finest small museums in the American west.  Following a tour led by the owner, we will dine at the beautifully-restored Occidental Hotel whose guests have included Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, and Calamity Jane.                                                              O/N Comfort Inn, Buffalo (B,L,D)

July 2, Thursday.  Today we will tour one of the most pristine Indian Wars battlefields: the site of the Dull Knife Battle, located on  Ken and Cheri Graves' remote ranch.  After the Battle of Little Big Horn, Dull Knife and his Cheyenne band fled; in November 1876, they camped here on Bates Creek. General Ranald Mackenzie's expeditionary force discovered the Indians and wiped out their village, essentially ending Cheyenne resistance. En route to Casper, we’ll pause at the site of the Teapot Dome Oil Fields, the namesake of the infamous bribary scandal that erupted during President Harding’s administration.                                                                        O/N Hilton Garden Inn, Casper (B,L)

July 3, Friday.  Nearly all major routes West crossed the North Platte River at Casper. We’ll visit Fort Caspar and the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center to learn about traveling the Oregon, California, Mormon, Bozeman, Bridger trails and the Pony Express.  We will also see Ayers Natural Bridge, the Wyoming Pioneer Museum in Douglas and several of the isolated pioneer graves that dot the prairie.

O/N Hilton Garden Inn, Casper (B,L)

July 4!, Saturday.   Fort Laramie was a very significant stop on the emigrant trails, marking the end of the plains and the gateway to the Rockies. The fort provided supplies and protection for emigrants on the Oregon and Mormon Trails and during the Indian Wars, two treaties (1851 and 1868) were named for this army headquarters.  We'll join in the Fort's annual "Frontier Fourth of July Celebrations."   Near Guernsy, WY we’ll see an excellent example of Oregon Trail ruts and the graffiti of early pioneers etched into the soft limestone of Register Cliffs.  Enjoy Casper's Fourth of July fireworks display tonight.                                O/N Hilton Garden Inn, Casper (B)


July 5, Sunday.  In 1856, five hundred Mormons left Iowa City dangerously late in the autumn in an attempt to reach Salt Lake City. At Martins Cove, WY, scores of Mormons died in a brutal winter storm. Try your hand at pulling a Mormon handcart at the museum that commemorates these brave pioneers.  Stop at Independence Rock, a famous landmark on the Oregon Trail. Emigrants tried to reach the rock by July 4 to be on schedule for Oregon.  Explore the gold rush towns of Atlantic City and South Pass State Historic Site.                                                                       O/N Best Western, Lander (B,L)

July 6, Monday. Learn about the fur trade and the famous Green River Rendezvous at Pinedale's Museum of the Mountain Man.  Drive along the scenic Wind River Range to the stunning Grand Teton National Park.  Spend two nights in rustic cabins at Colter Bay.                                                                          O/N Colter Bay cabins, Teton N. P. (B,L)

July 7, Tuesday.  Take a guided tour of the spectacular collection of American Indian art and artifacts at the Colter Bay Museum.  Soak up the spectacular scenery on an optional 10-mile float trip on the Snake River through the heart of Teton National Park.  Our guides will provide in-depth information on wildlife, geology and history.  Enjoy free time in the town of Jackson, with dinner at Jackson Lake Lodge.     

                                                                                              O/N Colter Bay cabins, Teton N.P.  (B,D)

July 8, Wednesday.  We'll spend the day exploring Yellowstone National Park: seeing Old Faithful, Yellowstone Lake, and the Mud Geysers.  Drive the road through the Wapiti Valley to Cody that Teddy Roosevelt called "the most scenic 50 miles in the World."   Tonight you may wish to attend the Cody Rodeo.   O/N The Cody, Cody.  (B,L)

July 9, Thursday.  The Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody has been called the "Smithsonian of the West." Spend the day visiting this world-famous museum complex that includes the Buffalo Bill Museum, the Whitney Gallery of Western Art, the Plains Indian Museum, The Draper Museum of Natural History and the Cody Firearms Museum.  Return to Sheridan this evening. Toast our western adventure at tonight's farewell dinner.                                                                         O/N Wingate Inn, Sheridan. (B,D)

July 10, Friday. Depart Sheridan at your leisure. (B)

PLEASE NOTE: If it is more convenient for you to fly into Billings, MT, you can ride our coach to Sheridan (approximately a two-hour drive). Our coach will depart Billings Airport for Sheridan the afternoon of June 29 and will return to Billings early on the morning of July 10. Call us for more details.


* Historian: Ed Bearss

* Tour Manager: Marty Gane

* 11 nights hotel accommodations

* one wine/beer welcome reception; 11 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 4 dinners

* all taxes, baggage handling and gratuities; pre-trip notes, reading list and map book


Per Person Double Occupancy:   $3,095

Per Person Single Occupancy:    $3,595

Arrive Early or Join Us Late....

Would you like to arrive a day or two early; perhaps to attend the Wild West Buffalo Bill Show on Saturday, June 27?   Let us know as we have booked a limited number of rooms at the Wyngate Inn.   Prefer to join us a day or two late?  We realize that at 12-days, this tour is longer than most. Have you already done the Fetterman Massacre three times with Ed?  Or perhaps you can't be away from your home and office for twelve days.   We are suspending, for this tour only, one of the "golden rules" of group tours.  We are willing to let you miss part of the Sheridan portion or even join us in Buffalo or Casper. Let us know when you'd like to arrive and we will quote you a pro-rated cost. 

To enroll on this tour, print & complete the attached registration form and mail it with a $200 per person deposit check to:   South Mountain Expeditions, P.O. Box 204, Keedysville, MD, 21756.  Or call us at (301) 988-1852 or toll free at 1 (866) 914-1862. We accept VISA, Mastercard and American Express.