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Western Trails

Montana Rapid City Wyoming Utah and Colorado

National Parks Glacier National Park crosses the Continental Divide at Logan Pass, offering breathtaking views and opportunity to see wildlife, the rugged terrain along the way and the many unspoiled lakes on a wooden boat, kayak or canoe, a guided horseback ride, or hiking some of the 700 miles of trails.

Small Towns and Downtowns Bozeman in 1864, John Bozeman led a wagon train over Bozeman Pass into the Gallatin Valley, where his friends W. J. Beall and D. E. Rouse staked out the town site for the city of Bozeman. It is considered one of the most diverse small towns in the Rocky Mountains, with a mix of ranchers, artists, professors, ski enthusiasts and entrepreneurs drawn here by Montana’s world-class outdoor recreation.

Western History and Culture

Ranch Vacations the state has many unique guest ranches of different types: dude, working, or luxury resort ranches that offer a diverse array of activities from horseback riding to fly fishing, spa treatments to gourmet meals, hiking to rafting. 

Rapid City South Dakota

The Black Hills Mount Rushmore the Crazy Horse Memorial Custer State Park and the Badlands

Rapid City is centrally located to visit the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park and the Badlands.

Western and Native American Heritage throughout the city you will find Native American history exhibits, fine art displays and interactive museums like the: 

The Journey Museum takes you from the formation of the Black Hills over 2.5 billion years ago to the continuing saga of the Western frontier. Interactive exhibits and displays present the geography, people and events that shaped the history and heritage of this region. 

Rapid City has two historic districts for your enjoyment. The first is the historic downtown with notable buildings such as the 1914 First National Bank building at 7th and Main. Across the street you will find the 1911 Lions Head Fountain, which was once a watering station for horses. The West Historical District is residential in character; portions of 18 blocks contain examples of the city’s finest late 19thcentury and early 20th century structures. 

Wyoming Trails Cowboys Rodeos Railroad Towns Guest Ranches and two National Parks

Wyoming is the ninth largest state of the Union and includes two National Parks, Yellowstone and Grand Teton, Fossil Butte National Monument and the Jackson Hole area. Traveling along its western border through scenic Star Valley to visit the historic town of Jackson, known worldwide for challenging and exciting winter sports, spectacular Teton Mountain Range, Old Faithful and the Lower Falls in Yellowstone. Wyoming is divided into five regions:  
The Northwest has two iconic National Parks, spectacular scenery and welcoming towns with vacation options ranging from rugged backcountry escapes to serene, luxurious retreats.
The Southwest outdoor enthusiasts, amateur paleontologists, wildlife lovers and history buffs prefer this region with beautiful landscape and national treasures such as Fossil Butte National Monument and the Pilot Butte Wild Horse Loop.
The Central Region the North Platte River flows through this long, wide swath of the state. Discover Wyoming’s pioneer story, from scars in the earth left by the Oregon Trail wagons to fascinating history museums.
The Northeast is home to Devils Tower, the first national monument, and acres of public land with sagebrush plains and rolling hills as background for family outings as well as solo adventures.
The Southeast is home to the Wyoming State Capitol, recreational and cultural activities. 

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Salt Lake City Utah Flanked on all sides by dramatic granite cliffs, Salt Lake is a world-class alpine destination with outdoor recreation, a remarkable history, and an economy that has transformed a pioneer town into a sophisticated metropolitan city.

Salt Lake Skyline, with Oquirrh Mountains

Big Cottonwood Canyon and the world-famous Snowbird Aerial Tram with vistas from the top of 11,000-foot Hidden Peak of over 100 miles. Also, a breathtaking backcountry as you horseback or bike ride in the Wasatch Mountains. Thrill seekers can ride down the alpine slide, a new addition to the Snowbird experience. 
The Great Salt Lake renowned for its high salinity which varies between 10 and 25%, second only to the Dead Sea, offers much in the way of recreation and relaxation. Antelope Island is ideal for a bike ride along the causeway or experience the trails as you hike, bike and animal watch: deer, bobcats, coyotes, many varieties of birds and waterfowl, and a small herd of elk call the island home. The Island’s American Bison were introduced in 1893 and now number some 600 animals. 

Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region

Nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains, visitors to Colorado Springs can enjoy commanding views of Pikes Peak from just about any part of town. The multiple recreational opportunities afforded by the nearby mountains include everything from hiking to taking in the breathtaking geological wonders at Garden of the Gods Park, Cave of the Winds and the Paint Mines Interpretive Park.

Colorado Springs has a Thriving Arts and Cultural Scene

History the area’s first inhabitants were American Indian people. The Ute, Cheyenne, Arapaho and other tribes gathered at the base of Pikes Peak, near its abundant springs. During the 18thCentury both French and Spanish flags flew over the region. But with the Louisiana Purchase more Anglo-American explorers and settlers began to venture west. In 1859, Colorado Springs history is marked with the founding of Colorado City which became the first settlement in the Pikes Peak region. It was the territorial capitol for a short period and served as a supply camp for miners traveling to the mining camps west of Denver.

By 1871, the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad facilitated visits to a Victorian spa resort town at the base of Pikes Peak. The stunning scenic beauty was not the only thing that attracted people to the area. The sunny conditions and dry, mild climate of Colorado Springs made these communities popular for people suffering from poor health, especially tuberculosis.

Gold was discovered on the western slope of Pikes Peak, one of the richest gold strikes in American history. Almost overnight, the Cripple Creek Mining District grew from an isolated cattle pasture to the home of more than 50,000 people. By the turn of the 19th century, Colorado Springs was called the city of millionaires.

Since the 1940s, Colorado Springs has been home to major military installations including Fort Carson, Peterson Air Force Base, the U.S. Space Command, NORAD, Schriever Air Force Base and the United States Air Force Academy.

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Dodge City Kansas

frontier town gunfights saloons cows and western trails

Dodge City LonghornHistory Fort Mann was the first settlement of non indigenous people in the area that became Dodge City. It was built by civilians in 1847 to provide protection for travelers on the Santa Fe Trail. In 1865, the army constructed Fort Dodge which remained in operation until 1882. The town of Dodge City can trace its origins to 1871, when rancher Henry J. Sitler built a sod house west of Fort Dodge to oversee his cattle operations located near the Santa Fe Trail and the Arkansas River.

Hanging TreeDodge City was staked out in 1872 on the 100th meridian and the legal western boundary of the Fort Dodge reservation. The early settlers traded in buffalo bones and hides; with the arrival of the railroad, Dodge City soon became involved in the cattle trade. The queen of the cow towns resulted from the new Western Trail that branched off from the Chisholm Trail.

Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson 1876Frontier town Dodge City had more gunfighters working at one time or another than any other town in the West as well as saloons, gambling halls, and brothels, led by the Long Branch Saloon and the China Doll brothel. By 1886, the cowboys, saloon keepers, gamblers, and brothel owners moved west to greener pastures, and Dodge City became a sleepy little town in western Kansas.

Dodge City sits above one of the world’s largest underground water systems

Front Street ShopsCulture Starting in the 1870s, the early city history fueled public perceptions of frontier turmoil in the public consciousness. Gunfighters and lawmen such as Wyatt Earp became celebrities, and sensationalized versions of their activities entered period popular culture as the subject of dime novels. This trend continued into the 20th century, as the rowdy Old West frontier town was the setting for many films and television series such as Gunsmoke, the longest-running prime-time TV drama in American history. In the Smallville TV series, Clark Kent’s hometown is 200 miles (320 km) west of Wichita and Metropolis is southwest of Dodge City.

Boot Hill MuseumExperiential Tourism in Dodge City

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