Scenic Driving in CO/WY

Old May 28th, 2008, 05:17 AM
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Scenic Driving in CO/WY

In mid-August, my husband and I will be embarking on a vacation to Rocky Mtn. NP, the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. We will be flying in and out of Denver, so we will generally be making a loop as far as the interim travelling is concerned.

One of the things I'm most looking forward to (yes, call me strange) is the drive from RMNP to Jackson, WY...a drive in which we plan to do in one day. However, being from Ohio, I really want to experience as much scenery as possible on this trip. So, I wanted to use the route of driving through the Cache La Poudre N Scenic Byway, to I-80 W for about 130 miles, and finally up St. Rt. 191 through the Wyoming Centennial Scenic Byway. Is this drive worth it AND doable in one day?? We were planning on leaving the RMNP area by 7am.

And finally, any suggestions of must do's or see's in RMNP, Tetons or Yellowstone? We will be in the first two areas for 2 days each and Yellowstone for 4 days. Oh, and it will be my 3rd time to Ystone, but my husband's first.

Thanks!!!
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Old May 28th, 2008, 05:50 AM
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One of the most wonderful drives not to miss is the Chief Joseph Highway and Beartooth Hwy both can be started in Cody WY. You might want to consider staying a night in Cody start it there and it will take you into the northeast entrance of Yellowstone. Very spectacular scenery.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 07:41 AM
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You're talking about the area where I grew up so I have a couple of questions..most important for now...once you are done with the Cache LaPoudre byway..what ROUTE are you planning to use to get yourself to I-80 West????

Depending on that answer I have a couple of suggestions if you want some really "scenic" driving.

I thjink doing this whole thing in one day might be a bit optimistic...perhaps not.

Please respond.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 08:05 AM
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In order to get to I-80 from the Cache La Poudre by-way, we were going to continue north on State Routes 125 to 230 to 130 connecting with the Interstate at Walcott, WY.

Looking at a topographic/satellite map, it looks like we would be able to make really decent time from about Riverside, WY to Rock Springs, WY due to a change in the landscape. Yes, I'm optimistic, but I've always found that we make better time than the mapquest's of the world suggest.

It might also be useful to mention that I will be brining my portable GPS with us, in the case that we take the less-travelled paths to our destinations.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 08:46 AM
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When you get to the GTNP/YP area my favorites are:

Beartooth

Driving from Idaho to Jackson over the Teton Pass

From Cody to East Entrance

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Old May 28th, 2008, 08:12 PM
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Soooo..... let me get this straight. You want to leave RMNP at about 7 a.m, drive back down to Loveland, then up to Fort Collins, catch Hwy 14 and follow the Poudre River up to Cameron Pass, down to Walden, then up to Riverside Wy and Walcott? Then I-80 to Rock Springs and Hwy 191 up to Jackson?

Sure, it can be done in one day - but you're going to be sick of sitting in a car by 8 p.m.

The road from RMNP to Loveland, and Hwy 14 up the Poudre River are pretty, winding 2-lane highways. Plan on 30...maybe 40 miles per hour along those stretches. From Cameron Pass to Walden....maybe 50 mph. From Walden to Walcott, 50 - 55 mph.

From Walcott on I-80 all the way to Pinedale (on Hwy 191) there is a whole lot of nothing. Bring a book along for this stretch.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 08:54 PM
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You can make it, but plan on hurrying to the bathroom and back on those gas stops.

In RMNP, if you can get over to the Allenspark side, you can have a WONDERFUL evening at the Fawnbrook Inn, but you need reservations.

Have a great trip!

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Old May 29th, 2008, 12:12 AM
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Thanks for responding and yes, that route makes sense.

The reason I asked, and I am sorry you don't have more time....the even MORE scenic route but an out of the way loop for you would be to drive through the Snowy Range-Medicine Bow National Forest on route 130 but to do that t you would have to go to at least Woods Landing and cut over on Route 11 or all the way east to Laramie (my home town) and then west again on 230 through Centennial and up over the pass and by the various lakes to Encampment and beyond.

A wonderful drive but probably not practical for your purposes.

You can make very good time between Walcott and RS but as was stated upthread, that route takes you across the Great Divide Basin..wonderful vistas but arid and rather sparse on "scenery." Some of us actually like that sort of thing but I guess you have to have been born there.

Enjoy your trip.
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Old May 29th, 2008, 08:00 AM
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In response to Scarecrow: We will not be starting the La Poudre byway right at it's source, but rather where Stove Prairie Rd. instersects Hwy 14. We are staying just East of Estes Park, so we will actually cut up that way without messing with Loveland or Ft. Collins. I think Ft. Collins is a pretty cool town, but I just don't think we'll have time to fit it in on this trip since we want to get an early start on the long drive.

In response to Dukey: Yes, I'm quite familiar with the arid portions of Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Utah. As a teen, my parents carted me and my brother all over that area on our Great West vacations - which were ALL driving from St. Louis and back. Those spots aren't as beautiful if you are not accustomed to the area, but what I find really interesting are the drastic changes in landscape as well as the types of rocks. We'll survive! I'm just so excited to get out there!
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Old May 29th, 2008, 08:15 AM
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ANOTHER RESPONSE TO DUKEY: The comment you made about the Snowy Range Scenic Byway certainly peaked my interest. How long is the drive from Laramie to Walcott?? The reason I ask is because we have to drive BACK from the Yellowstone area to Denver at the end of our vacation. On our last night, I was planning on us staying in Lander, WY off of Hwy. 287 and then finishing the drive to Denver the next day. Our flight is not until 6:45pm, so as long as we get to the airport between 4:30 and 5pm, we have all day to complete the remainder of our drive. What do you think?? Could we do that drive in reverse (ending at Laramie)? Please respond! : )
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Old May 29th, 2008, 03:36 PM
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It's been many years since we drove this loop, but I remember also looking forward to driving from the Tetons to RMNP, and I was most disappointed--it was filled with grasslands, ranches. I expected the mountain vistas that we had driving from Yellowstone to the Grand Tetons--that's a beautiful drive.

I am not sure what routes we drove, but I'm sure we took the most direct.

Fortunately you won't have to do the drive from Denver to Ohio--now that drive is a real bummer.
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