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Traveling with Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Traveling with Rheumatoid Arthritis

This year, for the first time, I've hired a driver/guide to take me to Yellowstone and some other parks for an extended US trip. I feel like this opens up a travel world for me, but don't know where to go, besides the obvious national parks.

Can anyone provide me with ideas for Wyoming, Montana, and South Dakota must-see sights, where I don't have to walk much? Also, especially good dining spots?

N. Idaho
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1. Re: Traveling with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Welcome to Trip Advisor!

For Yellowstone here is a link to the accessibility page on the Yellowstone website. Some is geared to wheelchairs, but it also tells you where there are steep grades and stairs.

nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/accessibility.htm

The great thing about Yellowstone is the wildlife is visible from your car along the main figure 8 road. The geyser basins would have the most walking, but you can see quite a bit from the 2nd floor deck of the Old Faithful Inn. Both the Upper and Lower Falls are visible from overlooks with a short level walk out to them along the South Rim.

On the Yellowstone forum we usually recommend a minimum of 4 nights, 3 days to see the park. That does not really include hiking time! It will take that long just to drive the 300+ miles of roads and stop to see the things you can easily access. Do remember Yellowstone is very high in elevation. The Mammoth area and the West Yellowstone area is over 6,000'. Old Faithful is closer to 8,000' as is Canyon.

Dining is so-so in Yellowstone. If you go to Grand Tetons you will find very nice dining in the Jackson area.

Depending on how many days you have, you might also want to include a drive over Beartooth Pass which is out the NE entrance to Yellowstone between Cooke City MT and Red Lodge MT. Beartooth goes up to 10,000'. The Chief Joseph Scenic Highway between Cooke City and Cody is also very nice, but does not have the alpine areas that Beartooth has.

Cody WY has a very nice 5-museum complex, Buffalo Bill Historical Center, but it is pretty large and might be more walking than you would like. There in an area near Cody where you can see wild horses from the car if you are interested.

Are you driving to MT from Western WA? I-90 is actually a very scenic interstate.

If you do have the time, you might want to drop down I84 from Ellensburg and take US 12 across SE WA and Idaho. This follows the Lewis and Clark route thru the mountains, more or less. You would head to Walla Walla WA and Lewiston ID. From there you could go east on US 12 over Lolo Pass. Just E. of Lewiston is the Visitor Center for the Nez Perce National Historical Park if you have an interest in Native American history. As you travel east on US12 there are several Lewis and Clark and Nez Perce sites along the highway. Above Kooskia ID this road follows the wild and scenic rivers of the Selway and the Lochsa. At Lolo Pass is a nice Visitor Center.

Continue east to Missoula and rejoin I90 there. Just West of Butte you can jog south off the Interstate on the Pintler Scenic Loop which goes by the old Anaconda mine (superfund site, lol) and thru the mountains. It rejoins I90 just before Butte. Butte is an interesting old mining town. If you have an interest in rocks there is a mineral museum on the Montana Tech campus and a small mining museum on the west side of the football stadium. Continue east and approach Yellowstone either by passing Bozeman (nice Museum of the Rockies there with dino exhibits...haven't been there in years so not sure about the accessibility) or by heading south thru Ennis to West Yellowstone. Just west of West Yellowstone there is Quake Lake which was formed by the 1959 earthquake that brought a whole hillside down. Kind of gut wrenching especially in view of the slide in Oso.

On the way to the Black Hills you can stop at Devil's Tower. There is a mile walk around the base, but you can see really well from the parking lot. I took my parents there when they were in their mid-80s and we just looked from there. Still very impressive. There is also a cool prairie dog town near the entrance to the park.

You could consider looping back thru N. Dakota. Theodore Roosevelt NP is an easy drive thru park. Do be aware of the oil boom in that area, so you would need some planning for lodging. Well, you need plans for lodging for all the National Park areas. editing to add: Altho I have not been by there, many enjoy the short Enchanted Highway in North Dakota altho that may be further afield than you want to venture. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enchanted_Highway

I'd welcome you to post on the Wyoming forum for further ideas as well as the Montana and South Dakota forums. Montana is not as active except for the Glacier forum.

tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g28973-i480-Wyomin…

tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g28947-i982-Montan…

tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g28962-i673-South_…

I'm not sure what time of year you are considering, but be aware of the Sturgis Motorcycle rally the first part of August which can make for big crowds of bikers around the Black Hills area.

Pam

Edited: 02 April 2014, 19:36
Atlanta, Georgia
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2. Re: Traveling with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Totally agree with Pam on the Yellowstone info. I have hip problems and so cannot do steps and have a lot of trouble walking on any kind of an incline but walking around Yellowstone and touring from the car is perfect for me. The people at Xanterra have always been great at helping me with in park reservations for lodging where I do not have to do steps. The state of Wyoming has an excellent tourism website and you can order a travel guide for the state there. https:/…vacationguide

In South Dakota. It is very easy to access the Mt. Rushmore exhibit. There are ramps you can take and do not have to take the stairs. In Custer State Park you can drive to just about everything and see the areas from your car. The State Game Lodge has a few steps but is a great place to eat for their lunch buffet. Crazy Horse is also easy to access. Deadwood is another story. The town itself can be accessed but the famous Mt. Moriah cemetery is in a very steep area and is difficult to walk to the famous grave sites. There are also caves in the area but we are not cave type people and it has always been difficult for me to walk in these areas. Check out the online travel guide at www.travelsd.com.

We try to travel to the west each September and we love the national parks. Our favorite place to visit is Yellowstone. We were just there last September and have been multiple times. Cannot wait to plan another trip for next year. You will have a great trip- good luck with your travel plans and let us know if you have other questions!!

Savannah, Georgia
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3. Re: Traveling with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Hello Leonard,

I , too, have arthritis, but it's been very mild so far , affecting mostly the fingers in my right hand and left shoulder. Whenever on vacation, just don't forget to take a full supply of medication (aspirin helps me ), and

gear yourself to rest or stop for a short break when you feel yourself getting tired. Soaking in warm Epson Salt baths may make you feel better too.

Virginia Beach...
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4. Re: Traveling with Rheumatoid Arthritis

I second the opinions of the others that say Yellowstone is fine for someone who does not want to do long walks. You can tour to the main attractions in the car then walk around for a short time – most places are accessible in the summer.

Glacier National Park in Montana has some stunning drives – the scenery is amazing and while this park is not as well-known as Yellowstone, you can see a lot from the car and it is worth a visit.

Buffalo Bill Center of the West is a must-see in Cody, Wyoming, in my opinion. You don’t have to walk around all of it if you don’t want to – seeing a small part is enough.

N. Idaho
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5. Re: Traveling with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Well, Leonard has not been back since his original post so doubt he will see the suggestions.

Pam

Essex
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6. Re: Traveling with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Send him a PM regarding your questions, but....

Hmmn, did he just want to promote something???

Makes me wonder....

Edited: 14 May 2014, 21:17
N. Idaho
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7. Re: Traveling with Rheumatoid Arthritis

I didn't get the sense he was really promoting a service as it would be difficult to put together. He did post on another thread on this forum a couple weeks after his first post. I just figured he either didn't remember where he posted or couldn't find his way back.

Pam

Windham, Ohio
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8. Re: Traveling with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Your responses to Leonard have been quite helpful to me for future planning. I am currently getting ready to leave on An Alaskan trip. Both us have arthritis. I have tried to build in a great deal of flexibility as to activities. Finding accomodations with only a few steps has been challenging. We rented a Mini Van for ease of access. Planing a trip for people with limited accessibility is a challenge.

Adelaide, Australia
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9. Re: Traveling with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Good information for me here also....many people read these forums and gain from your knowledge...thanks to all ♡

10. Re: Traveling with Rheumatoid Arthritis

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