Stretching through Canada and the States, the ancient Rockies offer a breathtaking array of outdoor experiences, from the expansive Wyoming Plains and deep river canyons of Idaho to the towering mountains of Colorado and the rugged vastness of Montana.
The Great Plains divide the USA into east and west, flanked by the spectacular Rocky Mountains, covering seven states, from North and South Dakota, across Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. Because of this, the region offers everything from impossibly deep canyons to vast plateaus of grassland. Many of the USA's most well-known National Parks are found here – Yellowstone perhaps top of the list, its geysers and colourful pools a magnet for tourists.
Yellowstone National Park
Epic Road Trips
One of the best ways to appreciate the vastness of the Great Plains is by road. Through Wyoming, the Cloud Peak Skyway Scenic Byway offers the best view of the Bighorn Mountains and Cloud Peak Wilderness. Meanwhile, the 31.5-mile Badlands Loop National Scenic Byway in South Dakota is punctuated by 14 overlooks from where you can enjoy the dramatic landforms of the prairies and pinnacles. And at Canyonlands, the scenic drive to the Island in the Sky mesa provides the best views, with overlooks perched 1,000 feet above the surrounding terrain.
Badlands, South Dakota
Of course, the cragged peaks of the Rocky Mountains make for some of the most arresting scenery in the region; there are hills and jagged mountains linking all these states. The alpine terrain and winding Snake River at the foot of the Teton Range in Wyoming is a highlight. Similarly, Montana's Saint Mary Lake offers picturesque hikes and the chance to spot native wildlife on the lake's pristine shores. Whichever mountain chain you come across, you're bound to see something spectacular.
Saint Mary Lake, Montana