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Please comment on new Itinerary

Sydney, Australia
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483 posts
9 reviews
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Please comment on new Itinerary

Firstly I apologise that it is so long. Please comment on any aspect of the itinerary. I may still have ONE day up our sleeves

To help you with your comments.

Our original 12 day cruise was cancelled so picked up extra days.

We love rafting, and have experience on grade 4-5 rapids, hence 3 days set aside specifically for rafting.

Hubby loves Dinosaurs(Thermopolis) and wants to go to the Aquarium in Vancouver (he saw this on a travel show recently).

I prefer hiking ( I have done Angels landing, hubby not so keen, so will probably drop him off on the Alpine Lakes circuit and head out to one of the two lakes and pick him up on the way back).

I have added Badlands to our itinerary as suggested by Tet, just not sure the best place to fit it in given the other stuff we were doing in the area. I also thought about going to the Bear park, not sure if we have enough time for this to be added?

Originally had planned to stay in Canyon, then head to Mammoth and then OF before heading south to the Tetons but only expensive accommodation was available on the dates I wanted.

Our full itinerary

Day 1 Fly out of Sydney to LAX then onto Vancouver

Day 2 Vancouver Aquarium

Day 3 Vancouver Stanley Park (if required), Gastown & Seawall

Late pm flight (1955 Delta) to Seattle

Day 4 -14 10 day Alaskan Cruise Departs/Arrives Seattle

Day 14 Fly to SLC ?1130 or 1310

Drive to Moab

Day 15 Westwater rafting (Moab 2 nights)

Day 16 Hike Delicate Arch (This is the only hike we have NOT done in ArchesNP)

Drive to Canon City (Canon City 1 night)

Day 17 Royal Gorge rafting

Drive to Vail

Day 18 – 22 Timeshare exchange (Vail 5 nights)

Day trips to: Glenwood Springs, Keystone, Breckenridge, Buena Vista(rafting). Any other suggestions

Day 23 Drive to RMNP via Trail Ridge Rd if open (RMNP 2 nights)

Day 24 Hike Alpine Lakes circuit

Day 25 Drive to South Dakota via Cheyenne & Fort Laramie ? directly to Badlands (Wall 1 night)

Day 26 Drive the loop road Badlands head to Custer state park pm (Custer 3 nights)

Day 27 Custer state park - Wildlife Loop Road, Garden of Eden Cave Tour Wind Cave, Mt Coolidge Firetower, Needles Scenic Highway to Sylvan Lake, ?Mt Rushmore evening ceremony

Day 28 Custer state park - Iron Mountain Road, Mt Rushmore Presidential Trail, CRAZY HORSE MEMORIAL, Scenic Tour Jewel Cave

Day 29 Deadwood/ Tatatanka/ Devils Tower Monument (? Overnight)

Day 30 Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

Drive to Thermopolis (Thermopolis 1 night)

Day 31 The Wyoming Dinosaur Centre, Hot Springs State Park

Drive to Cody Rodeo or Mock gun fights outside the Irma Hotel (Cody 2 nights)

Day 32 Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Dam

Drive to Old Faithful Yellowstone (2 nights)

Day 34 Mammoth (1 night)

Day 35 – 37 Canyon (1 night)

Day 38 – 39 Tetons (2 nights)

Day 40 Drive to SLC

Day 41 Afternoon flight to LA then home

I will post this on the Colorado and Wyoming sites as well.

Thanks for any and all comments. J

Chicago, Illinois
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683 posts
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1. Re: Please comment on new Itinerary

You are covering alot of ground and could probably add that extra day to almost any area you are planning to see. However, from our experience, I would think about adding the extra day to South Dakota. We used to drive through the Black Hills on our way to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, not realizing what we were missing in SD. Now that we have discovered the Black Hills, it has become our favorite destination. We have had more wildlife sightings in Custer State Park than any other area we have visited, other than bear and moose which are not found in the Black Hills. The hiking trails, especially in Custer State Park, are among the best we have hiked.

You mentioned your husband loves dinosaurs. He would probably find the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs very interesting. It is a current dig of a sink hole in which numerous wooly mammoths were trapped and died. We spent about 3 hours there and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Since you enjoy hiking, there are some wonderful trails in the Badlands and in Custer State Park. I would highly recommend any of the trails in the Black Hills but especially the Sunday Gulch Trail, the Harney Peak Trail and the Little Devil's Tower Trail, all in the Sylvan Lake area. The Sunday Gulch Trail has some strenuous parts but is absolutely gorgeous and is our favorite hike of all we have done anywhere in the US. These trails will take anywhere from 2 1/2 hours to 6 hours to hike, depending on which you choose. You can pick up trail maps almost anywhere in CSP.

The day you go to Deadwood you might want to add Spearfish Canyon to your itinerary. A beautiful canyon with some very pretty waterfalls and some nice hiking trails as well. You could drive through it after your Deadwood stop and on your way to Devil's Tower.

As to your thought about adding Bear Country, I would not if you do not have the time. You will see plenty of wildlife on your trip and should see bears anywhere, other than in SD.

You do not mention the dates you will be traveling. If you are going to be in South Dakota the 27th of September, I would highly recommend taking in the Buffalo Roundup in Custer State Park. It is truely a wonderful experience and has been listed by the ABA (American Bus Assoc., a travel tourism organization) as one of the top 100 events to see and do in the US.

Have a wonderful trip. Please write some reviews once you are back. I look forward to hearing about your adventure.

Sydney, Australia
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483 posts
9 reviews
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2. Re: Please comment on new Itinerary

Thanks mountainmama52

Firstly I have lots of time to plan our trip. We will be flying out of Sydney 7th May and returning home on the 24th June.

I have already added a day in South Dakota as per comments made by Tet on a previous post, not to miss the Badlands NP.

The original plan was to see Mt Rushmore and Yellowstone in April 2009. Once I started researching on trip advisor, I realised the problems we could encounter apart from most of Yellowstone being inaccessible and Tetons being closed. We ended up driving through the national parks of southern Utah instead. I think I fell in love.

Back to this trip. It has taken on a mind of its own with all the wonderful places to see. It may be a long long time before we head to the USA again.

I hadn't considered hiking in Custer SP. The only hike I had heard mentioned was Sylvan Lake. Hubby will hike so much, prefers shorter hikes and lots of rest stops. I on the other hand love the challenge of the longer hikes. Probably need to find somewhere in the middle to satisfy both of us. He wouldn't do Delicate Arch last time. I have convinced him it will be okay, and I am more than happy to do it on my own if he pikes. I am probably pushing it with the Alpine Lakes Circuit so don't want to push my luck.

I will check out the Mammoth site at Hot Springs. Hubby was already aware there were woolly mammoths found in South Dakota.

Once again thanks for the input. I will keep on refining the itinerary. J

Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
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3. Re: Please comment on new Itinerary

Hello again Julie!

Wow..this is a totally amazing trip! Do you have any extra room in your suitcase? LOL! I hadn't seen the whole trip until now.

I will comment on the SD leg..

I like the revised plan a lot. My one worry is the amount of driving you will do from RMNP to the Badlands/Wall. You are talking close to an 8 hour drive. I don't think I'd include much in Cheyenne/Ft Laramie, as it will already be a long day. Another possible option might be to add a night to your stay in Custer and do the Badlands as a daytrip from there. It would be only around 6 hours from RMNP to Custer. If you did it this way, perhaps you could do Bear Country on the way back from the Badlands.

You've gotten some great suggestions from Mountainmama. Spearfish is worth adding to your Deadwood day, and the Mammoth site is great for dinosaur lovers. Depending on time, you might be able to add this to your day 27, but you'd probably not be able to enjoy as much time at Sylvan Lake, and I think you will want plenty of time here.

On day 29, I'd opt to stay in Buffalo or Sheridan to get you closer to the battlefield.

I'm so glad you're planning 2 nights in Cody! Great town, and you will really enjoy the museums.

I think you are going to have an amanzing time. Let us know if we can help with anything else.

4. Re: Please comment on new Itinerary

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