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Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, South Dakota Road Trip

Felinheli
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Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, South Dakota Road Trip

We've been researching a road trip in the US for a while and the Wyoming area is a possibility. I've been using google maps to plan a route but we don't quite know what we should aim to see. We'll have 2 to 3 weeks and will have to fly into Denver or Salt Lake City due to the price of flights from the UK. Our budget (hopefully!) will be around £5000 - £6000 total including flights (about £1000-£1500). We are a couple in our mid 30s and we did a road trip a few years ago of the south west and loved the National Parks, especially Zion.

One route I've come up with is Denver-Jackson- Yellowstone-Billings-Deadwood-Denver. This is just a route and not necessarily destinations. Is it worth going west after Yellowstone and going back to Denver Via Idaho and Utah?!

Quite possibly this will be the only time we ever visit this area so the trip has to be comprehensive.

Would definitely like to stay on some kind of ranch somewhere along the way.

Initially we we're going to go for the Southern states but due to liking the NPs so much last time we thought that this area might be more up our street!

Atlanta, Georgia
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1. Re: Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, South Dakota Road Trip

Have done fly and drive road trips out of Denver multiple times. Here are some suggestions-

Day 1- Denver

Day 2- Drive to Black Hills of SD

Day 3- Badlands NP

Day 4- Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Custer SP, Deadwood

Day 5- Drive to Cody- stop by Devils Tower

Day 6- Cody- Buffalo Bill museums and rodeo during summer months

Day 7-8-9-10- Yellowstone NP- stay in park at two locations is best or stay 2 nights in Gardiner, MT and 2 nights in West Yellowstone, MT. The park is huge and there is so much to see and do- over 300 miles of paved roads!!

Day 11-12- Grand Tetons NP- stay in park or in Jackson Hole

Day 13-14- Stay on a ranch- TetonBill who posts on the Wyoming forum can give you suggestions

Day 15- Stop in Lander and visit Independence Rock and Sinks Canyon SP- eat at Gannett Grill

Day 16- drive toward RMNP

Day 17-18-19- Rocky Mt. NP

Day 20- Denver

Day 21- fly home

If you like wildlife, diversity of scenery, mountains, etc. you will love Yellowstone. It is our favorite national park. We also love national parks!!

PS. When you get ready to do the south we will be glad to help you. We actually have national parks in the south- many of them are tied to the Civil War and are called military national parks but also have the Great Smoky Mts. NP and many other unique parks such as the Okefenokee and Cumberland Island.

N. Idaho
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2. Re: Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, South Dakota Road Trip

What is your timing for the trip? I see in your older RT thread regarding doing the Southern states you were doing that thru the month of September. If you are going to add this section after, I will tell you that October can start to be wintery in this section of the country. It would be better placed in Sept with your Southern swing in October.

Just for interest, here is a link to a Trip Report from folks who were traveling the first weekend of October 2013.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g28973-i480-k69158…

Pam

Tacoma, Washington
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3. Re: Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, South Dakota Road Trip

The tradeoff of PeachBelle route....

You could switch out Badlands/Black Hills for Moab Area. Late September in Colorado (ASpen, Ouray, Breckenridge), and Grand Tetons get peak fall color the last week of September.

If you use Salt Lake city as a base instead of Denver, then you trade Rocky Mountain and Black Hills for southern Utah.

You need to do Tellowstone and Grand Teton by the end of September. Transition starts the end of september from being nice in the upper 60s/low 70s for highs to being cold and highs in the low 40s.

For Yellowstone by the first day of fall much of the lodgng in the park has closed or will close that upcoming weekend.

Edited: 27 May 2014, 06:21
Norwich, United...
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4. Re: Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, South Dakota Road Trip

With three weeks, Glacier NP in northwestern Montana would be possible (in additional to the Tetons and Yellowstone) and that is a superb place.

…wikimedia.org/wikipedia/…St_Mary_Lake.jpg

It wouldn't be possible with only two weeks though - too much driving.

Edited: 27 May 2014, 07:45
Felinheli
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5. Re: Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, South Dakota Road Trip

Thanks all for your responses! The trip would be in September - instead of the southern states - as opposed to as well as. We're planning the trip for my 40th birthday in 2015 so plenty of time to research everywhere (and possibly change our mind about destination again!). We would be flying out at the beginning of September/last few days of August and returning around the 20th September.

Felinheli
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6. Re: Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, South Dakota Road Trip

Also, we don't necessarily have to fly home from the same city. It would only cost us about $300- $400 to drop our rental car off in another airport. Then we could see as much landscape/culture as possible.

Norwich, United...
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7. Re: Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, South Dakota Road Trip

> Also, we don't necessarily have to fly home from the same city.

In that case, it might be worth considering Seattle > Canadian Rockies including the Icefields Parkway > Waterton Lakes (Alberta) > Glacier (Montana) > Yellowstone > Tetons > Denver - in that order I would suggest so you'd be following the autumn (fall) south.

Lewes, United...
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8. Re: Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, South Dakota Road Trip

Hi

In my view, even if you are happy - or perhaps especially if you'd prefer - a one way road trip, to do the route outlined in post 7 without driving too many miles, I'd say you'd need every single day of a 3 week trip, and longer would be better. A couple of years ago we had a family planning exactly that route, but in an RV it has to be said. It was clear from the brief TR that was posted after the event that while the scenery was absolutely magnificent for the whole trip, the high mileage and need to keep moving nearly ruined the trip, and was the cause of some heated discussions!

For a landmark birthday celebration trip, it would be wonderful, but the multi city airfares (even bought at sale prices) and the one way drop fee will make it noticeably more expensive than a loop trip. As long as you understand that, fine.

Oh, and John's outline does miss out Badlands, Black Hills, Mount Rushmore and Custer SP if they were high on your list.

In terms of airports, places like SLC cannot be reached from the UK on a non stop flight. Weirdly, despite this, it can be cheaper to fly to than some of the airports where you can get non stop flights from the UK, especially where the only airline is BA and there's no other competition. This used to be the case for SEA, for example, but now that Delta have a non stop flight, I'm seeing some great deals out of season to there, and this may actually increase next year with a full season of competition on that route. Do take care with connection times for some flights where there's a change of plane, some US airports certainly currently have very long lines for immigration for non US passport holders.

SWT

Felinheli
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9. Re: Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, South Dakota Road Trip

Thanks again for your posts - driving doesn't bother us - in 2011 we took a 21 day trip driving from Santa Fe - Flagstaff - Grand Canyon - Monument Valley - Bryce - Zion - Vegas - Death V. - Mammoth Lakes - Yosemite - San Francisco. The 21 days included 3 nights in Santa Fe at the beginning and 6 nights in San Francisco (too long!) at the end so the driving was done in 12 days. It's as much about the road trip as it is the stops in between!

10. Re: Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, South Dakota Road Trip

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