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Great Plains

Travel Guide North America Great Plains

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Introduction

Wagons at Scotts Bluff National Monument, Nebraska

Wagons at Scotts Bluff National Monument, Nebraska

© All Rights Reserved jengelman

The Great Plains form an extensive region in North America, divided between both the United States and Canada, with the majority of the area located in the USA. It's a land of rather monotonous landscapes, but also a land of imagination, a land which many people may recognize from photos or even some famous movies. Although there are few cities and spectactular landscapes, there are quite a few places of interest and this is a great area to drive around and experience the ultimate American roadtrip!

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Geography

The total area covers a massive 500,000 square miles (about 1.3 million square kilometres) and is about 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometres) from north to south and averages about 500 miles (800 kilometres) in width. It is a broad expanse of flat land, much of it covered in the famous prairie, steppe and grassland, which lies west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada.

North Dakota Landscapes

North Dakota Landscapes

© All Rights Reserved Rhombus


This area covers parts of the U.S. states of Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North- and South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming, and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

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Sights and Activities

Mount Rushmore

Mt. Rushmore, S.D.

Mt. Rushmore, S.D.

© All Rights Reserved vegasmike6

Mount Rushmore is the iconic monument to US political history that is carved into the side of a solid granite mountain. It consists of the faces of four famous US presidents. They are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. In fact the statue is a compromise as the original design also included the upper bodies of the presidents. The design is by Gutzon Borglum, who also was the supervisor on the project, but it was his son Lincoln Borglum, who finished the project in 1941, which is also the year in which his father died. There is a visitor center, named after Lincoln Borglum near the mountain, where more information about the construction of the monument can be found. In the evening Mount Rushmore is illuminated for two hours after sunset.

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Weather

DSC_1016

DSC_1016

© All Rights Reserved hayden111

The weather here is as diverse as you could wish (or not wish!). As it extends from the Mexican border all the way north well into Canada, temperatures can range from 45 °C in summer (June to early September) in states like Texas to -45 °C during cold winter nights in the north of the US and southern Canada (December to February). Although not all of the Great Plains region falls within "Tornado Alley" (and part of Tornado Alley in turn is located east of the Great Plains), there can be some heavy tornadoes during the season (usually late February to early June, peaking in March and April). Rain is mostly in the form of heavy downpours (thunderstorms) in summer and can be persistent throughout spring and fall, but most areas are relatively dry. In general, it gets drier the more south you go. Snow and frost is common in winter, especially in Canada and the northern half of the USA, occasionally even in Texas.

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Getting There

By Train

There are possibilities to reach the specific states or provinces by train. Check Canada's ViaRail website or Amtrak for routes in the USA.

By Bus

Check Greyhound US and Greyhound Canada for details about routes, prices and schedules.

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Getting Around

By Car

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National.

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Sleep

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This is version 3. Last edited at 12:47 on Apr 11, 11 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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