Need help nailing down the details

Apr 9th, 2017, 12:23 PM
  #1  
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Need help nailing down the details

Flights bought...some hotels booked...still nailing down the details. Traveling in July- Idaho, Yellowstone and Rushmore/Badlands are our three primary stops. Traveling with our two boys ages 15 and 14 who love adventurous activities. Here are the parameters and where we are staying that night:

Day 1 - arrive Salt Lake at 10am and travel to Idaho.
Day 2 - Idaho
Day 3 - Idaho
Day 4 - hotel booked in Jackson Hole
Day 5 - hotel booked Old Faithful Lodge
Day 6 - hotel booked Old Faithful Lodge
Day 7 - hotel booked Canyon Lodge
Day 8 - hotel booked Canyon Lodge
Day 9 - stay in Gardiner overnight after spending final day in Yellowstone? Or drive to South Dakota?
Day 10 - South Dakota
Day 11 - South Dakota
Day 12 - South Dakota
Day 13 - South Dakota
Day 14 early flight home out of Rapid City


Things we must do during the trip: , atv rides in st Anthony's dunes, craters of the moon, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, visit rushmore and missile silo. I need to nail down where we are staying in ID and SD and where we are going to incorporate horseback ride and whitewater. Obviously hiking will be a big part of the trip. Our boys are ACTIVE. Goal is to see and do as much as possible - I prefer to not move hotels every night and don't mind having to drive an hour or so each day to get to that days location.

Thanks in advance!
capecod73 is offline  
Apr 9th, 2017, 02:10 PM
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If I may ask, how much is your drop fee on the rental renting in SLC and dropping in Rapid City?
Day 9 you might want to stay in Cody instead of Gardiner.
A couple of things you might want to see in Idaho is the town of Rigby where television was invented and Arco which was the first town powered by nuclear power.
While in the Mt. Rushmore area, see Badlands and Wind Cave National Parks. Also see Custer State Park
tomfuller is online now  
Apr 9th, 2017, 02:50 PM
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We loved the Badlands. Also, make a stop at Devil's Tower on the drive.
rizzo0904 is offline  
Apr 9th, 2017, 04:48 PM
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We have a Hertz family/friend discount...so rental is actually really inexpensive

Cool suggestions - hadn't heard of either of those Idaho spots!
capecod73 is offline  
Apr 10th, 2017, 10:45 AM
  #5  
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Rizzo - where do you recommend we stay in SD - does rapid city make sense as a home base?
capecod73 is offline  
Apr 11th, 2017, 04:09 AM
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Agreed on staying in Cody instead of Gardiner. Will save you time as you head to South Dakota.
jayne1973 is offline  
Apr 12th, 2017, 08:17 AM
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My suggestion is Stanley for your whitewater rafting stop, if you need one for that. They had record-setting (the most since 1922!) snow this year, so the rafting on the Salmon River should be amazing this summer. There are several outfitters in tiny, but beautiful, Stanley.
musicfan is online now  
Apr 12th, 2017, 12:18 PM
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I would look at Hill City as opposed to Rapid for possible lodging.

Agree about the stop at D's Tower; also agree about Cody as opposed to Gardiner.
Dukey1 is offline  
Apr 19th, 2017, 01:50 PM
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I'm a CPA so I've neglected thanking everyone for the advice! Now that taxes are done I'm back focused on this trip

So I am definitely going to incorporate Stanley as the white water rafting stop...great to hear about the snowfall. Love that kind of information that I can get on this forum that I would have been clueless about otherwise!

My thought on Gardner was to get one more day from Yellowstone if we stayed there overnight (all day Friday at the park) and then drive all day Saturday to Badlands. Would Cody still work for this scenario?

As for Badlands now looking at Hill City as our "home base". One day for Badlands, one day for Custer State park/Black Hills (atv rental is a must on this day) and another for Missile Silo and Keystone? I'm seeing that the lighting of Mt. Rushmore at night is very cool - is that the recommended time to visit there? Also saw an aerial park that had ziplines and other adventurous type activities at Keystone - anyone visit there?

Looking forward to this trip - thanks for the advice!!!
capecod73 is offline  
Apr 19th, 2017, 02:01 PM
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If you can get lodging at Mammoth instead of Gardiner (note spelling). At the south end of the town of Gardiner, is the Roosevelt Arch which was the main entrance to the park for many years. The US Army guarded the park for years before the Park Service. There is a hidden cemetery not far from Mammoth.
Staying in Cody saves many hours on the way to Devil's Tower and Rapid City.
Several of the buildings at Mammoth Hot Springs were built by the Army as barracks.
tomfuller is online now  
Apr 19th, 2017, 07:56 PM
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check out my trip reports for Yellowstone and Jackson with kids-includes stops in Idaho Falls. I absolutely love whitewater rafting the Snake out of Jackson. Rafting out of Stanley could be amazing!!
StantonHyde is offline  
Apr 19th, 2017, 11:42 PM
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I would recommend staying in Hill City or Custer, SD - both would be centrally located/very easy driving to attractions in the area. (These towns are less than 1/2 hr apart). As for time allocations: The SD Badlands are roughly 1 hr East of Rapid City on I-90. The Missile Silo tour is near the Wall, SD entrance to the Badlands. You could drive over & take the tour (perhaps call for reservations), continue on the Badlands scenic loop, stopping at your leisure and when finished, exit returning to your "base" easily in time for an evening meal. (Wall, SD is a small town, but has the famous "Wall Drug" tourist shops/eateries - worth a quick stop).
I would definitely spend a 1/2 day touring Jewel or Wind Cave (stop early & buy tickets in advance)- lots of steps, but worth it to see the caverns/colors)!! The other half of the day could be spent at Crazy Horse Monument & Museum (think Mt. Rushmore, native-style; still being carved) or driving thru Custer State Park/Needles Hwy. You could finish by having evening meal at Mt Rushmore & stay for the night lighting - or spend a morning for a different view & ranger talks. (Be sure to view the informative short movie in on-site museum). As far as Keystone - it's another tourist town with mainly just souvenir shops; not much of note there. We also enjoyed Mammoth Dig Site in Hot Springs (easy drive thru lower Custer Park)- site is an excavated prehistoric sinkhole full of Mammoths, housed in an enclosed site/museum.
There are horseback-riding opportunites, helicopter rides, buffalo herd jeep rides, chuckwagon meals, etc in these areas also, if interested. (Blue Bell Lodge has stables/meals - State Game Lodge jeep rides, both within Custer State Park).
Of Note - Alpine Lodge in Hill City is famous for Bavarian desserts & lunches - evening meal is Steak/wedge salad/baked potato ONLY, but is so tender, people line up for reservations each day around the building!!
HotWheels is offline  
Apr 20th, 2017, 07:09 AM
  #13  
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StantonHyde - love your trip reports (I ended up reading a bunch!).

HotWheels - thank you - that's exactly what I've been trying to figure out for the SD portion of the trip and now I have a tentative schedule - just need to book lodging.

Love this forum and all the helpful people here!
capecod73 is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2017, 03:13 PM
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We've had nice stays at Holiday Inn Express in Custer, SD - PROS: Large breakfast area to accommodate visitors/good free breakfast choices - hillside firepit lounging area near pool for relaxing - basic, clean rooms. CONS: Need to drive several blocks to get to restaurants, but not really an issue, as one usually enjoys dinner before resting at the "base" anyway.
There are several common hotel chain accomodations in Hill City. Some are only a year/two old, on the outskirts of this very small town. Restaurants are a 5-10 minute drive into town; very easy driving, with fun shops to explore along Main Street.
Just a note: In July, it doesn't get dark until around 9-10 PM. You could explore elsewhere, take an early evening meal break to recharge, then go to Mt. Rushmore & explore the area until the lighting. It will be a full day, but memorable.
HotWheels is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2017, 01:01 PM
  #15  
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Hot wheels - took your suggestion and booked Holiday Inn - going to book another hotel in rapid city for our last night (flights at 6:30 am) and make that last day our missile tour/badlands day. Thanks so much - you literally planned our SD portion of the trip lol.
capecod73 is offline  
May 1st, 2017, 06:15 PM
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Glad I could help & will look forward to your trip report.
(Good move to do Badlands last day/book room nearer to airport). Have a have wonderful time!!!
HotWheels is offline  
May 2nd, 2017, 12:03 PM
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Capecod73, The zipline in Keystone looked great. We had a blast watching the show at the Red Garter Saloon. When it rained we visited the wax museum, which was appreciated down time. I would recommend the Big Thunder Gold Mine if you're into that. All those places are in Keystone.

HotWheels, where are the buffalo herd jeep rides? Sounds great. We will be in Yellowstone in June and returning to MN through SD.

tomfuller, where is the hidden cemetery near Mammoth.
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May 2nd, 2017, 03:33 PM
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Does anyone have thoughts on the beartooth highway? I'm wondering if it's worth incorporating on the drive to SD from Yellowstone...
capecod73 is offline  
May 7th, 2017, 11:47 AM
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The buffalo herd jeep rides are held in Custer State Park (SD)- you can check out their website or inquire at the State Game Lodge (has lodging/dining) within the park for details.

Beartooth Hwy (Yellowstone) has spectacular views & is definitely worth the drive - but it's a winding, slow mph road with multiple turnoffs, high up in the mountains. It will take at least 1/2 day to drive/enjoy. If you left Gardiner EARLY AM you could drive it, then make your way to I-90 to head for SD. It will be a long travel day - perhaps you could find time during your Yellowstone stay to take the drive?
HotWheels is offline  
May 7th, 2017, 01:27 PM
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I agree Bear Tooth on your way to South Dakota would be long. We did it on our way into Yellowstone, which was fun. The visitors center at Red Lodge has some good information that will help you make the most of the drive.

On the other hand, maybe you could do part of Beartooth on your way to Cody, if you decide to stay there on the last Yellowstone-area night. I think you could drive Beartooth until you hit Chief Joseph Highway, which is also supposed to be spectacular, and take that into Cody.
jayne1973 is offline  

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