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driving Yellowstone to Denver

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Nov 11th, 2013, 07:02 PM
  #1
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driving Yellowstone to Denver

We will be visiting USA in August 2014 and have booked accommodation in Grand Teton and Yellowstone. Please advise me whether from Yellowstone we should drive to Cody then on to Rapid City to see Mt. Rushmore and then on to Denver, or just go straight to Denver from Cody. We have also booked accommodation in Estes Park and have 3 nights once we leave Canyon Lodge in Yellowstone before we need to be in Estes Park. Any advice would be appreciated, we are two Australians in our early 60's, both fit and active and have hired a SUV for our travels.
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Nov 11th, 2013, 10:01 PM
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My $0.02 is that Rushmore is a bit of a touristic letdown after Yellowstone and the Tetons. I'd save some driving and just start heading for Estes.

There are some quirky off-the-beaten path places in Wyoming that could interest you for those travel days: Pinedale, Lander, South Pass, Laramie, all sites of interesting American West history. Cody itself is worth a couple of days.

Have a great trip whatever you decide.
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Nov 11th, 2013, 10:16 PM
  #3
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Thanks Nelson, any driving saved is worth it, as we are not used to driving on your side of the road! I had heard that Mt. Rushmore was a bit of a tourist trap, and as we prefer to enjoy scenery and history, I think we shall take your advice. I will check out the towns you have mentioned. We have had two trips to the States over the past 12 months and thoroughly loved it, however the tipping system takes a bit of getting used to!
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Nov 12th, 2013, 04:13 AM
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You could also drop south to Salt Lake City and then west through the heart of the Rockies to the west entrance of the RMNP to get to Estes. Beautiful drive.
There is a very scenic drive from Jackson to SLC also. It has been referred to here so maybe do a search for it.
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Nov 12th, 2013, 07:40 AM
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Gretchen's idea is also good, and you could look at Dinosaur National Monument for some totally different scenery.
http://www.nps.gov/dino/index.htm

The places I mentioned in Wyoming would not necessarily make a top ten list, but they really have interest, and even charm. For example, things near Lander:
http://www.landerchamber.com/visit/m...ric-sites.html

Sinks Canyon, right outside of Lander is fascinating. Some nice waterfalls and the Popo Agie River (pronouced "Puh-Po Shuh") flows underground for a few hundred feet, very strange.
http://sinkscanyonstatepark.org/

Lander has a nice brewpub too, but then there are our strange tipping customs.

South Pass and Atlantic City are definitely worth a stop and much more authentic than Rushmore.

People think of central Wyoming as driving across I-80 and hundreds of miles of nothing. Some truth to that, but lots of history and scenic beauty to be found as well.

Fort Laramie, for example:
http://www.nps.gov/fola/index.htm

Or the Snowy Range driving over Highway 130 west of Laramie. I took this picture the last week of July this year, just a few feet from the car:
http://nelsonchenkin.zenfolio.com/p9...3077#h68aa365a

Lots of easy hikes right there, hard to beat.

Anyway, have a great and safe trip!
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Nov 12th, 2013, 10:10 AM
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I wouldn't classify Mt. Rushmore as a tourist trap by any means. That brings to mind people selling cheap trinkets at an overpriced attraction. There are certainly touristy areas in the vicinity area and some of them are traps, but Mt. Rushmore itself is really not at all a tourist trap.

Having said that, I wouldn't make that drive with only 3 days. There are so many great things in the Black Hills area that it just doesn't make sense to go there with only maybe 1.5 days to look around.

I think Gretchen's idea makes a lot of sense. 3 days of scenic driving to get to Estes Park would be great.
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Nov 12th, 2013, 06:40 PM
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Thank you so much for all your advice, we have now worked out trip for 3 weeks as follows, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Zion NP, Bryce Canyon, Salt Lake City, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Cody, Lander, Laramie, Estes Park, Denver and back to Australia. Looking forward to another great holiday in your beautiful country. BTW I was not being critical of Mt. Rushmore, I just wanted to make sure it was worth the long drive, but now will take it easy and just drive south from Cody. Regarding your tipping, in Australia we pay much higher wages and therefore only tip for good service, we found the USA system of low wages and big tips a bit strange, but soon got used to it after our daughter (who lives in Chicago) explained how to work it out and tip enough to keep everyone happy. A lot of people in Australia never tip at all but it is not a problem, on the downside customer service in Australia is not fantastic because they are not expecting a tip.
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Nov 12th, 2013, 06:43 PM
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Nelson your photographs of the wildflowers are beautiful, will there be flowers like that in August (when we visit)
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Nov 12th, 2013, 07:52 PM
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The drive from the Tetons to Denver is really just a single long day (same to Estes). The Black Hills+Deadwood+Rushmore is a worthwhile destination, but I'd probably skip it with all the other stuff you're planning.
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Nov 13th, 2013, 07:56 AM
  #10
 
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Jane, Good luck on your trip. You will visit some amazing scenery at a decent pace.

Glad you liked the flower photos, but easy to take a good photo of a scene like that.

Typically the alpine wildflowers peak around the last two weeks of July and into the first week of August. But it can vary by several weeks from year to year. This year they were running late. In general there should still be plenty of flowers around in August, but they may be past their prime. I just uploaded this photo as an example.
http://nelsonchenkin.zenfolio.com/p4...6782#h213f6782

It was taken August 15, 2007 in Wyoming's Wind River Range. There are still lots of flowers but they are starting to fade. However, not too shabby. Depending on elevation or even just north / south facing slope there could be a lot more or less on the same day and same vicinity.

Good luck!
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Nov 13th, 2013, 08:10 AM
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P.S. Don't know if you have any interest in this but in Laramie on the University of Wyoming campus is a fantastic collection of rare books.
http://www.uwyo.edu/ahc/about/

They always have something interesting on display and you can go into the library and rare book room and browse all kinds of amazing stuff.
http://www.uwyo.edu/ahc/collections/rare-books.html

I went there because they have the famous explorer H.W. Tilman's diaries and manuscripts and I wanted to look through them with my own hand, which was fascinating. Someone else had Leonard Bernstein's original handwritten score to West Side Story on the table!

An interesting place to spend an indoor hour or two if that strikes your fancy.
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Nov 14th, 2013, 02:32 AM
  #12
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Nelson your photos are amazing, Morning Light at Mt. Hooker is my favourite. I gather from your photos that you are a professional photographer. Thank you also for all your advice.
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Nov 14th, 2013, 03:59 PM
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Thanks for your comment Jane, but I'm just an amateur enthusiast photographer. Having scenery like that does help.

Have a great trip.
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Mar 6th, 2015, 03:12 PM
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great tips, thanks
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