North America Vacations
Montana / Wyoming | Western Adventure | Family
Experience western culture in the iconic landscape Austin Adventures proudly calls home.
6 days / 5 nights
Activity Level Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.
Beginning and ending in Billings, Montana – home to Austin Adventures – this western vacation takes you to where “we locals” love to play. Experience the history of the Little Bighorn Battlefield where Custer took his last stand. Follow in Buffalo Bill’s footsteps as you discover the “Old West” in Cody, Wyoming. Explore our world’s first national park checking off sights like Lamar Valley, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River and Lake Yellowstone. Overnight in quiet Cooke City before making your way over the relatively undiscovered Beartooth Pass to our favorite mountain town: Red Lodge! This western adventure will show you a side of Montana and Wyoming that not all visitors to Yellowstone are lucky enough to see!
- Raft Cody’s Shoshone River through rapids with names like Colter Falls and Plenty Coups
- Experience the history of Custer’s Last Stand on the Little Bighorn Battlefield
- Hike past through wildflower meadows, past peaceful geothermal lakes and through a hydrothermal area in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
- Step back into the Old West in Cody, Wyoming, a town named after the legend, Buffalo Bill Cody
- Explore the best place in the world to see gray wolves in the wild as well as grizzly bears, black bears, elk, and pronghorn
- Horseback ride along the scenic Rock Creek in the foothills of the Beartooth Mountains
A few more reasons why you've gotta go:
Billings: Visit the trailhead of Montana nestled between Yellowstone National Park and the heart of Crow Country.
Rodeos: Cheer for bull and bronc riders in the Wyoming city famous for being the rodeo capital of the world.
Yellowstone Lake: Picnic with fantastic views of North America’s largest high alpine lake framed by a backdrop of the Absaroka Mountains.
Billings, Montana BIL
Billings, Montana BIL
Billings / Little Bighorn Battlefield
Pick-up in Billings, Montana – the Magic City (and home to Austin Adventures!). First we’ll head to the Little Bighorn Battlefield and walk on the grounds of Custer’s Last Stand. After taking in this historic battlefield, enjoy a lunch in the heart of Crow Country. In the afternoon, hike the iconic Rim Trail on the cliffs that divide Billings. After hiking the Rims, check into your hotel before enjoying dinner at the best fine dining experience in Billings.
About the Northern Hotel
The Northern Hotel’s enduring story began in 1902 when P.B. Moss and Colonel Henry W. Rowley began construction on what was to be the most modern hotel in Montana. The hotel was completed in 1904, and enjoyed over three decades of prosperity, until the fall of 1940 when it burned to the ground in a sudden fire. But like a phoenix from the ashes, the Northern Hotel Rose again, more sophisticated and beautiful than ever. Today, the hotel’s interiors are warm, contemporary and accented with a lot of Montana charm. The Northern is much more than just beautiful interiors; the highly trained team will personalize your stay to create lasting memories.
Billings / Cody
This morning, we go behind-the-scenes at Zoo Montana, the only zoo in the state! After enjoying a picnic lunch, we drive past the foothills of the Beartooth Mountains on our way to Cody. In Cody, we take a short hike along the Shoshone River and nearby bluffs. After checking into your hotel, you’ll have the opportunity to explore Cody and dine on your own.
About The Cody Hotel
Located just across the street from the famed Cody Stampede Arena, The Cody Hotel provides the best luxury lodging in this quaint town. Rooms decorated in classic western style and a host of warmly-given amenities await you when you check into the second hotel on our journey. Get to know your fellow adventurers in one of the many plush communal areas surrounding the hotel lobby, eat a first-class dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, and make memories by the cozy firepits as you rest up for the coming adventures!
Shoshone River / Cody
After breakfast, gear up to get wet rafting Cody’s Shoshone River. This class II and III section of the river showcases the unique geology of the Lower Canyon and will have you hootin’ and hollerin’ through rapids like Colter Falls and Plenty Coups. Picnic lunch followed by a visit to the famous Buffalo Bill Center of the West. In addition to documenting the life and interests of Buffalo Bill, the museum’s collection interprets the history of the American cowboy, dude ranching, western conservation, frontier entrepreneurship and the source of our concepts about the West. Tonight, you will enjoy dinner in town and then head out to the local rodeo.
Lake Yellowstone / Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
Eat breakfast before we hit the road on a drive through the wildest way into Yellowstone. Hike to Storm Point on Lake Yellowstone’s shoreline. Picnic with fantastic views of North America’s largest high alpine lake framed by a backdrop of the Absaroka Mountains. Hike the Wapiti Trail near the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Hike past awe-inspiring waterfalls, peaceful lakes and a hydrothermal area. Journey to Cooke City via Dunraven Pass and check into our hotel in this tiny town of just over one hundred residents!
About the Super 8 Cooke City
While it’s no 5-star luxury hotel, Super 8 Cooke City provides simple, clean lodging in the northeast gateway town to Yellowstone National Park. Located in Cooke City, a town with only 100 year round residents, you’ll find it just as likely that you can walk from one side of town to another in less than 5 minutes as you might see a bison walking outside your bedroom window in the evening. With comfortable beds and a friendly staff, the Super 8 Cooke City is the perfect base for any wildlife watching escapade in Lamar Valley!
Lamar Valley / Beartooth Pass / Red Lodge
This morning, we wake early to be among the first in the Lamar Valley for a chance to see some of the wildlife that call the “Yellowstone Serengeti” home. Lamar Valley is one of the best places in the world to see gray wolves in the wild as well as grizzly bears, black bears, elk, pronghorn and many other species. After a morning wildlife viewing adventure, we enjoy brunch together. Then we journey up and over one of the most beautiful mountain passes in the United States: the Beartooth Scenic Highway. We’ll have plenty of time to stop for photos of the dramatic views…and maybe even a snowball fight at 10,000 feet! Tonight, we dine together in our favorite charming ski town: Red Lodge, at the base of the Mountains.
About Yodeler Motel
The Yodeler building was built in 1909 as apartments for working European families in the area. It then became a Bavarian-themed roadside inn around 1961, giving this motel a history that predates many other businesses in town! The Yodeler is the perfect spot for those who seek adventure in the national forests just outside of town. With a location just steps from downtown, you can easily access the quaint shops, delicious restaurants, and cute streets of the mountain town of Red Lodge. Be sure to take advantage of the in-shower steam sauna in your room or the hot tub on site!
Beartooth Mountains / Billings
We enjoy our final breakfast at the hotel, before embarking on a horseback ride along beautiful Rock Creek. On our way back to Billings, we will journey along the farmlands irrigated by the Yellowstone River. Drop-off at the Billings Airport or your hotel around noon.
Arrival & Departure
Please plan on arriving at least one day prior to your trip departure. Day one of your itinerary starts in Billings, MT at 8:30 or 8:50 am, depending on your hotel. Your trip ends with a drop-off at either the Billings airport (12:00 pm) or your Billings hotel (12:30 pm).
Hiking: 1 to 3 mile hikes, easy to moderate terrain
Whitewater Rafting: Class I to III rapids, no experience necessary
Horseback Riding: 2 hours, no experience necessary
Check off the wildlife on your list as you cruise through Lamar and Hayden Valley on the lookout for bears, wolves, elk, bison, pronghorn, coyotes, bald eagles, and much, much more. Throw a snowball at the top of the “the most beautiful drive in America” along the Beartooth Highway. “Walk on the moon” as you hike the white covered rock section of Wapiti Trail, listening for the hiss of a fumarole. Discover why wildfire is an important part of Yellowstone’s ecosystem and how its lodgepole pine forests are adapted to such extreme conditions. Stare 1,000 feet down at the frothing, whitewater of the almighty Yellowstone River in the V-shaped chasm of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Explore Cody, Wyoming, a small western town with a big city attitude. Get to know the Buffalo Bill Cody of a century ago with his familiar trademark mustache and goatee, his flowing white hair, his Stetson hat, his buckskin jacket and his leather boots. Come play in Big Sky Country in Montana and Wyoming with the experts in adventure travel!
Austin Adventures guides are experienced facilitators and regional experts. They will take the time to explain the details of each activity, answer any questions, and demonstrate the use of all equipment. Each activity has been carefully planned to include options for all levels. Most importantly, your guides will help you select the distance that’s right for you.
The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. All meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, refreshments and receptions are included as indicated by itinerary. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner). Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities are not included in the trip price.
After receiving your reservation and deposit, we’ll send you a pre-trip planner with general information about the area you’ll be visiting, a packing list, exercise guidelines, a guest information questionnaire and a liability release agreement for you to sign and return within 10 days.
Included in the Trip Price
- Double occupancy rooms with private baths.
- All meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, refreshments and receptions.
- Fully trained, first-aid certified professional guides and knowledgeable local partners.
- Any necessary equipment – all safe and well maintained.
- Vehicle support and land transportation during the trip.
- Austin Adventures T-shirt, water bottle, luggage tags and luggage service.
- Pre-departure and packing information.
- Incidental expenses such as taxes, dining and housekeeping gratuities, local partner and expert gratuities and national park entrance and permit fees.
Not Included in the Trip Price
- Gratuities to Austin Adventures guides.
- Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities.
- Pre-and post-trip accommodations and associated expenses.
- Air and land transportation to/from host cities.
- All types of personal insurance.
- Personal expenses.
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.1 Easy (1)
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.2 Moderately Easy (2)
As President at Austin Adventures, Kasey Austin can tell you the logistical ins and outs of every single trip. More than that, though, Kasey has lived and breathed most of the company’s featured destinations and will eagerly share her contagious passion for the transformational power of active travel. Kasey grew up in the adventure travel business; she knows the positive, lifelong impact of family travel, a quality that earned her the distinction of being named top family travel guide by Outside Magazine in 2014.