Western US

Sep 27th, 2018, 04:07 AM
  #1  
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Western US

My family of 4 (2 adults and 2 teen boys) are planning on visiting several Us Parks and landmarks. We only have a short amount of time, but I want to expose them to as much as possible in hopes that they will want to bring their families back one day. We will have a lot of driving, but we r ok with that. We will arrive at Mt Rushmore between noon and 2pm in the first day. We plan to drive Needles Hwy and possibly Iron Mtn Rd prior to visiting Mt Rushmore later in the day and have the night viewing as well.
Day 2: drive to Devils Tower and then on to either Cody or Red Lodge for the night.
Day 3: drive into Yellowstone via East or Northeast entrance (depending on which area we choose to stay the night) and tour more of YS Stay the night at Canyon Lodge
Day 4: Yellowstone - Stay Canyon Lodge
Day 5 Yellowstone - Old Faithful area - stay between YS and Grand Teton
Day 6: Grand Teton
Day 7: drive to Estes Park
Day 8: Rocky Mtn National Park
Day 9: Start the drive home with maybe a stop at Pike’s Peak or Garden of the Gods

Does this seem like a feasible itinerary? If not, what would you leave off? Any suggestions?
Thanks in advance for your responses.
jphall97 is offline  
Sep 27th, 2018, 05:13 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
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Where are you coming from and what month is this planned for?

I would skip Mt. Rushmore and Devils Tower unless it is somehow on your way (which I doubt). You're dedicating two days to those stops and that's the least interesting part of your itinerary. There are some pretty diverse attractions in the Black Hills area, and a quick stop at Mt. Rushmore and driving a scenic highway wouldn't whet their appetite to return and visit something like Badlands, or Wind Cave or Jewel Cave.

In general, I think the trip could be more frustrating than exciting - one day in RMNP in summer could mean a lot of time waiting for park shuttles and dealing with crowds rather than enjoying the sights. 2 days in Yellowstone would be a lot of driving past cool things and saying, no we don't have time to stop. Not sure that's the type of memory that will inspire them to return later in life.
WhereAreWe is offline  
Sep 27th, 2018, 06:53 AM
  #3  
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Thx for your response. We will be coming from North MS and were just gonna make the big block. We were going to drive into Sioux Falls and lodge there (I didn’t include my travel to and from on the original itinerary) and then the next morning, head towards Mt Rushmore area. My husband and I have done RMNP and the Colorado Springs area years ago. We did plan on spending 3 days in YS before heading to GTNP. Any suggestions you have would be great.
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Sep 27th, 2018, 07:52 AM
  #4  
 
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Don't know where home is, but I just imagined you're in Oxford MS, which would let me come up with a possible route for you to consider. Here's a map - https://goo.gl/maps/rpRzbbHAgvF2 .

What this includes:

Take the time to stop at a couple of iconic "weird" roadside places, in this case the Corn Palace in Mitchell SD, then on the way back (in lieu of Rocky Mountain NP) stop at Carhenge in northwestern Nebraska before taking Nebraska Hwy 2 through the fabulous Nebraska sandhills down to Lincoln and on to home.

The map also includes a short and incredibly scenic loop through Badlands National Park, a don't-miss destination if you're passing through South Dakota, and a stop at Deadwood in the Black Hills, in particular a visit to the Mt. Moriah cemetery with its side-by-side graves of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. In general I'd give the Black Hills more time which I'd "borrow" from other parts of your plan, especially the swing through Colorado.

Just some thoughts.

Badlands loop -



Carhenge -

Gardyloo is online now  
Sep 27th, 2018, 09:40 AM
  #5  
 
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The drive from Grand Teton to Estes will be very long, at the very least 8 hours. You might consider leaving Teton and, for example, adding a Green River Formation fossil quarry visit (dig your own) and then an overnight in Vernal with an a.m. visit to Dinosaur National Park on the way to Estes.
Your first afternoon ( in Keystone, I presume) could include your visit to Rushmore (both in daylight and evening). No need to drive Needles and come back.
sylvia3 is online now  
Sep 27th, 2018, 09:45 AM
  #6  
 
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BTW, if the season permits, staying in Red Lodge and taking the Beartooth Highway into YNP (leading to bison viewing in the Lamar Valley) is an awesome way to enter the park.
sylvia3 is online now  
Sep 27th, 2018, 03:52 PM
  #7  
 
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I would consider entering RMNP from the west side after GTNP. Or skip RMNP entirely and stay a night in Vail or Breckenridge. They won't be as crowded as Estes and you'll still get great scenery. I suspect Estes has gotten a lot busier since your previous visit so you might not be ready for that. CO Springs can be skipped. If you decide to do the Vail or Breckenridge idea, drive up Mt. Evans as an alternative to Pikes Peak.
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Oct 3rd, 2018, 02:02 PM
  #8  
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What is everyone’s opinion about where to stay? We have now decided on 4 nights in or near the park. As of now, there are only openings at Grant Village and Canyon Lodge. Would you do two night each or would u opt for a West Yellowstone?
jphall97 is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2018, 03:01 PM
  #9  
 
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When is your trip? I'd grab whatever is available currently. Canyon is a great location. I would prefer the Old Faithful area over Grant but you can always keep checking for cancellations.
Patty is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2018, 03:38 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Patty View Post
When is your trip? I'd grab whatever is available currently. Canyon is a great location. I would prefer the Old Faithful area over Grant but you can always keep checking for cancellations.
July 2019
jphall97 is offline  
Jan 5th, 2019, 12:15 PM
  #11  
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So our plans have been altered just a bit and I would like more suggestions. We will do the Badlands Loop, visit MT Rushmore day & night time, and stay the night in Keystone. We will then ride either Needles or Iron Mtn and then head to Devil's Tower. From there, we will overnight in Laurel, MT. The next morning we will head to YSNP via the Beartooth Hwy. After this, would the recommendation be to do the top section and cover over to Mammoth and lodge in Gardiner or head toward Canyon and overnight there? I have two nights in Gardiner and one night in Lake currently booked, but Canyon and Grant still have availabilities. I have tried daily to get OF for one night, but so far, no luck. The Gardiner lodging was a bit less expensive, but now that I have read "Yellowstone Treasures" and am focusing on a daily itinerary, I seem to find there is way less that we are interested in near Mammoth. Also, I would love to try to make it to OF area and the Grand Canyon area early morning, so that would require lodging a night near each area. To do OF in the early morning, would you recommend keeping the night at Lake or moving it to Grant Village. Thanks again for all of the responses.
jphall97 is offline  
Jan 6th, 2019, 06:54 AM
  #12  
 
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Grant is a little closer, but if you plan on being up and out early anyway, the Lake is not a long drive from OF, and IMO more scenic (and there are interesting thermal features in that area, too). Earliest at OF is a good idea (frankly, it's a zoo).
sylvia3 is online now  
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