Top summer activities in the Great American West
This article was created in partnership with the Great American West
Summer is one of the best times to visit the Great American West; the warm weather means you can take part in a diverse range of outdoor activities while the sun shines down on you. The states of Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming all offer thrilling outdoor experiences, like white water rafting, horse riding, biking, Native American pow wows, rock climbing, stargazing and camping. And that’s just some of the activities you can enjoy!
Idaho is ranked #1 in the U.S.A. for white water adventures by outdoor magazines. Summer is the perfect time to try white water rafting on scenic rivers like Payette River. Or head to Mystic Saddle Ranch where you can go on a guided trail ride at Redfish Corral, which has panoramic views of the towering Sawtooth Mountains. Enjoy a relaxing soak in the various pools at Lava Hot Springs Olympic Swimming Complex and Water Park where you can swim, jump off diving platforms or speed down a water slide.
Why not stay active in the summer by going bike riding at Makoshika State Park, where you can view the huge Badlands formations and spot wildlife like mustangs, mule deer, prairie falcons and golden eagles. Summer is also one of the best times to go camping in Montana. Camping near Missouri River you can see a spectacular sunset before settling down for the night surrounded by nature. There are many Native American experiences held over summer, like the Crow Fair Pow wow and Rodeo from 14-19 August. Here, you can see parades showcasing traditional beadwork, Native American dancing and drumming, a rodeo and Indian-Relay horse races.
Soak up the summer sun while enjoying a day fishing with friends and family at top spots in North Dakota. At Lake Oahe, you can catch walleye, northern pike, crappie, catfish and white bass. Another fantastic summer water activity is canoeing at Lake Metigoshe where you can have a relaxing ride on the lake while enjoying incredible scenic views. Visiting one of North Dakota’s state parks, like Little Missouri State Park, is sure to be an unforgettable experience as it contains rugged and picturesque Badlands terrain with over 70 kilometres of trails for horseback riding and hiking.
If you’re a thrill seeker, you will love the South Dakota summer. There are a variety of outdoor rock climbing areas such as Palisades State Park which is lined with Sioux quartzite formations, including 50-foot vertical cliffs! Those who want a more relaxing activity can go hiking at the striking Sica Hollow State Park where there are streams, rustic bridges, powerful waterfalls and gurgling red bogs. To see the herd of over 1,200 bison, as well as bighorn sheep and elk, drive along the 29-kilometre Wildlife Loop Road that winds around the southern part of Custer State Park.
A top experience throughout the summer in Wyoming is Jackson Lake Scenic Cruises where you will have incredible views of the Tetons while enjoying a delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner. If you want to relax in the sun then head to Green River and go swimming, kayaking or fly fishing while taking in the beautiful scenery of rock formations and diverse wildlife. These fun summer activities continue into the night with stargazing tours at Grand Teton National Park run by Four Seasons, where you can enjoy wine and desserts before viewing galaxies, comets, planets and the moon through an11-inch telescope.