9 days in Badlands National Park, Mesa Verde National Park & Chicago Itinerary

9 days in Badlands National Park, Mesa Verde National Park & Chicago Itinerary

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Route & dates

9 days in Badlands National Park, Mesa Verde National Park & Chicago Itinerary

Start: New York City
+2
bus + Fly + Drive:  14​h 15​min
1
Badlands National Park
— 2 nights
+2
taxi + Fly + taxi:  6​h
2
Mesa Verde National Park
— 1 night
taxi + Fly:  7​h 30​min
3
Chicago
— 2 nights
Fly + bus:  4​h 45​min
End: New York City

2
nights
Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park ©
Although Badlands National Park's name might not be the most inviting, its landscape of pinnacles, eroded buttes, spires, and an expansive, pristine mixed-grass prairie remain enticing.
Get outdoors at Minuteman Missile National Historic Site and Badlands Wall. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Presidential Trail and Notch Trail. Step out of Badlands National Park to go to Custer and see Iron Mountain Road, which is approximately 1h 30 min away. The adventure continues: explore and take pictures at Loop Road, brush up on your military savvy at Delta-09 Missile Silo, take in the dramatic natural features at White River Valley Overlook, and explore the wealth of natural beauty at Yellow Mounds Overlook.

For reviews, more things to do, other places to visit, and more tourist information, refer to the Badlands National Park travel itinerary planner .

New York City to Badlands National Park is an approximately 14.5-hour combination of bus, flight, and car. You can also drive; or do a combination of bus and taxi. The time zone difference when traveling from New York City to Badlands National Park is minus 2 hours. Traveling from New York City in July, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be slightly colder in Badlands National Park, with lows of 60°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 4th (Thu) so you can travel to Mesa Verde National Park.

Things to do in Badlands National Park

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trips

Iron Mountain Road, Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, Presidential Trail, Delta-09 Missile Silo
Highlights from your plan
Iron Mountain Road ©
Iron Mountain Road
White River Valley Overlook ©
White River Valley Overlook

1
night
Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park ©
Whereas most national parks are primarily devoted to showcasing unique and special landscapes, Mesa Verde National Park focuses on ancient human habitation.
Kick off your visit on the 5th (Fri): explore the ancient world of Cliff Palace, explore the ancient world of Balcony House, then delve into the distant past at Spruce Tree House, and finally delve into the distant past at Far View Sites. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take in the dramatic natural features at Square Tower House, then take a memorable drive along Ruins Road, and then delve into the distant past at Long House.

To find maps, where to stay, and other tourist information, you can read our Mesa Verde National Park itinerary maker website .

Traveling by combination of taxi and flight from Badlands National Park to Mesa Verde National Park takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi, flight, and shuttle; or drive. In July, daily temperatures in Mesa Verde National Park can reach 90°F, while at night they dip to 56°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Sat) to allow time to travel to Chicago.

Things to do in Mesa Verde National Park

Historic Sites Scenic Drive Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Cliff Palace ©
Cliff Palace
Balcony House ©
Balcony House
Spruce Tree House ©
Spruce Tree House

2
nights
Chicago

Chicago ©
A huge and vibrant city, Chicago is home to top-notch theaters, shops, museums, galleries, and restaurants.
Chicago is known for museums, historic sites, nightlife, zoos & aquariums, and childrens museums. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: get to know the fascinating history of Millennium Park, take a leisurely stroll along Navy Pier, meet the residents at Shedd Aquarium, and admire the landmark architecture of 360 Chicago Observation Deck.

For other places to visit, more things to do, ratings, and more tourist information, read Chicago trip maker site .

You can do a combination of taxi and flight from Mesa Verde National Park to Chicago in 7.5 hours. Other options are to drive; or do a combination of taxi and bus. The time zone difference when traveling from Mesa Verde National Park to Chicago is 1 hour. When traveling from Mesa Verde National Park in July, plan for a bit cooler days in Chicago, with highs around 83°F, while nights are a bit warmer with lows around 67°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 9th (Tue) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Chicago

Parks Museums Zoos & Aquariums
Highlights from your plan
Millennium Park ©
Millennium Park
Lincoln Park Zoo ©
Lincoln Park Zoo
Museum of Science and Industry ©
Museum of Science and Industry

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