This is a one-way tour from Denver, Colorado to Seattle in Washington State. We will ride by glacier-rimmed volcanoes, through river gorges, over some of the highest (and most beautiful) mountain passes in the world, travel through some of the most spectacular National Parks in the USA and experience the beauty that draws 400,000 motorcyclists to the Sturgis, South Dakota motorcycle rally every year.
Do these locations sound familiar? Yellowstone National Park, Grand Tetons, Mt. St. Helens, Custer's Last Stand at Little Bighorn, Devils Tower, Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Black Hills, Badlands, Rocky Mountains? They all feature in this tour. We ride through FIVE National Parks: Mt. Rainier in Washington State, Glacier National Park in Montana, Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons in Wyoming, Rocky Mountains in Colorado with an optional ride to the Badlands National Park in South Dakota. In addition you will see THREE National Monuments: Little Bighorn Battlefield in Montana, Devils Tower in Wyoming, and Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota.
We pick up the motorcycles in the Mile-High City of Denver, Colorado and head for the Colorado Rocky Mountains. We ride north on the Peak to Peak Highway along the Front Range of the Rockies until we link up with the Trail Ridge Road - the highest continuous motorway in the USA at a maximum elevation of 12,183 feet through the Rocky Mountain National Park.
We cut across south eastern Wyoming and continue our motorcycle ride through the Black Hills of South Dakota that regularly draws over 400,000 motorcyclists during the famous week-long Sturgis Rally. Thankfully, we enjoy the great sights, scenery, and roads of the region in a calmer time. We will stay in the colourful old mining town of Deadwood. We walk Deadwood’s cobblestone streets and imagine some of the Wild West legends such as Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane who once frequented this town. From the Deadwood area will spend the next three nights and two days exploring this rugged area of the USA. We ride to Mount Rushmore to view the iconic sculpture of the four presidents hewn out of the rock face. Since its completion in 1941, Mount Rushmore Memorial has joined the Statue of Liberty and the Stars & Stripes as America’s most inspiring symbols of democracy. At over 500 feet tall and 400 feet wide, it is both awesome and impressive. Not to be outdone, the Indian Crazy Horse Memorial is a work-in-progress that sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski began carving in 1948 and his family continues the dream and work progresses on the world's largest mountain sculpture. When finished, Crazy Horse will stand 641 feet long and 563 feet high!
We ride Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway where the view is always close and always upward. The narrow canyon walls rise sharply from Spearfish Creek as the highway follows the sculpted bottom. In this area there are many other great roads that we can ride on our motorcycles through the Black Hills. The seventy-mile Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway has been named as one of the ten Most Outstanding Byways in America. The Needles Highway, Iron Mountain Road, Horse Thief Lake Road and Sylvan Lake Road make up an oval-shaped route through this most rugged real estate in the Black Hills.
Leaving the Black Hills, we ride "North by North West" to experience more of this corner of America. Devils Tower National Monument is a unique and striking geological wonder steeped in Indian legend. The Tower is a solitary, stump-shaped granite formation that looms 1,267 feet above the tree-lined Belle Fourche River Valley, like a skyscraper in the country. If you have seen “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” this will be familiar! We explore the Little Bighorn Battlefield and walk over the ground where the United States Seventh Cavalry led by Lt. Col. George Custer was defeated by the Sioux and Cheyenne under the leadership of Sitting Bull.
We stay for two nights In Yellowstone National Park and we stop our motorcycles to see the "Old Faithful" geyser spew hot water hundreds of feet into the air and marvel at the geological topography of boiling mud pots and thermal features as we explore the inner regions of this volcanic cauldron. Just south of Yellowstone are the dramatic peaks of the Grand Tetons National Park. These sharp and jagged mountains jut right up out of the surrounding flat plains. Here we witness exotic wildlife in abundance - elk, buffalo, bald eagles, maybe even a bear, all from the comfort of your two-wheeled steed!
Our motorcycle tour continues into Montana, up the magnificent "Going to the Sun" Highway and across the Continental Divide at Logan Pass into Glacier National Park. For motorcyclists, Beartooth Pass in Montana is probably the most famous pass in the USA. The road winds its way up and down the Beartooth Mountains and crosses the Pass at 10,947 feet amid hundreds of little lakes. Meandering through the meadows at the Pass it is easy to see why Montana is called “The Big Sky” State. Onward to Idaho where we stop to photograph one of the best motorcycling road signs in the world: "Winding Road Next 99 Miles" as we prepare to ride our motorbikes through the sweeping turns over Lolo Pass and down alongside the Lochsa River.
Now we enter the last leg of our North by North West Adventure and traverse the Pacific Northwest State of Washington. As we ride our motorcycles up into the Cascade Mountains, several of its volcanoes become visible as we approach and we aim for the biggest of them all - Mt Rainier the 14411 feet high vocano that dominates the Emerald City of Seattle. At Paradise Lodge on the far side of Mt Rainier we see brave climbers making their way down from the summit. We leave the adventurous climbers and prepare to complete our own adventure having traversed from Denver to Seattle riding across America North by North West...
Makes Route 66 look like a picnic... This is a REAL USA motorcycle riding holiday! Total mileage around 3200!
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Ian went on our 2015 tour and these are his own words:
This is an experience not to be missed, a fantastic route through mountains and plains made special by the friendliness and professionalism of the Tour guides who took us along roads and towns we would never have found ourselves and an experience which will live with me for the rest of my life.
Ian Wright, Derby.
This was a full-on high mileage tour, which was impeccably well researched , organised and guided. The content of the tour includes iconic American places, sights, lunch and stopover venues, plus incredibly spectacular scenery, delivered on a daily basis. An unforgettable experience.
Helen & Paul, Cumbria