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Rocky Mountain NP, Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone, Jackson tour

Commerce, MI
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Rocky Mountain NP, Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone, Jackson tour

We are a family of four (16-yr-old daughter, 13-yr- old sports-nut son). We are looking to take in the "Great Out West" July of 2008. Within 14-16 days, we would like to fly into Denver and leave out of Salt Lake City. In between, we will drive to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, Tetons, Jackson and maybe Salt Lake. I could really use some help with a proposed itinerary: best route, hotels, how long at each stop, best to do's! Any input would be GREATLY APPRECIATED!

Catlin, Illinois
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1. Re: Rocky Mountain NP, Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone, Jackson tour

Hi fourcalls,

My friend, prac1, has just planned this exact trip on the Wyoming forum. Head over there and check it out!

Genesee, CO
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2. Re: Rocky Mountain NP, Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone, Jackson tour

I have never done that whole route at one time, but have done each part of it several times.

Here are my suggestions as far as itinerary:


Denver - 1 Night

Estes Park- 2 Nights

Rushmore - 3 Nights

Stop between Rushmore/Yellowstone- 1 Night

Yellowstone- 3 Nights

Tetons/Jackson- 2 Nights

Salt Lake- 2 nights


If you get in on your flight in the afernoon, maybe stay in Downtown Denver, just to see it (might be a Rockies game for your son, if timing works out). Or stay somewhere along I-70 like Golden.

1st Full day: Get an early start and head west on 1-70 to The Winter Park exit. Go north to Granby and enter RMNP park from the West. This will give you some nice views of the Rocky Mountains on I-70 and then take you over Trail Ridge Road through RMNP so you don't have to go over it twice. (also, we usually go that way and notice in Summer that route seems to be going against most traffic, since most people are coming over the other way from Estes Park earlier in the day).

This is about 150 miles and will take about 4 hours straight driving unless traffic is bad. With a few stops/pull overs/short hikes it would stretch into about 6-7 hours or so.

You could get into Estes Park late afternoon for dinner and a place to stay.

Day 2: Spend day around the Eastern side of the Park. Hike a few trails, horseback ride, do a campground program, etc. Spend night again in Estes Park.

Day 3: Drive to Hill City/Custer/Keystone area. Stay in one of those towns. (or at a lodge in Custer State Park) Any of them are central to most attractions. If have time see the night lighting ceremony at Mt Rushmore. It is about 6.0-6.5 hours from Estes Park to there.

Day 4: Do Custer State park doing the wildlife loop, Needles Highway, and Iron road. Maybe horseback ride in the park if your kids are into that, or throw in wind or jewel cave. Night do Mt Rushmore if didn't already do it. Stay in same place as night before.

Day 5: Consider taking a day trip out to the badlands, or daytrip around Rapid Cities to see the kids attractions (bear country, etc.).

Day 6: Drive Spearfish Canyon. Then head west to Devils tower. Spend an hour or two walking around base and watching climbers. Then get as far as you can toward Yellowstone. Maybe Cody?? (I have never gone to yellowstone on this route, since we always go up from Denver, but others maybe can tell you what is more realistic for this day).

Day 7: Get an early start and enter East side of Yellowstone (They did have bad construction on that side, so might want to double check that isn't still going on next summer. If it is might switch and enter northeast corner ... I have never been through that though) Maybe stay at Yellowstone Lake Lodge if enter East this first night. Enjoy the lake, maybe do some kayaking.

Day 8: Yellowstone park- Mammoth Hot Springs Area (north)

Day 9: Yellowstone park- West Yellowstone/Old Faithful area (might want to switch where you stay as you go and stay at Old Faithful lodge this night since it is a large park and can be congested in July).

Day 10: Head out of Yellowstone into Teton Park, Spend day in Tetons. Stay at cabins or lodge there.

Day 11: To Jackson area. Spend afternoon and night here.

Day 12: Drive to SLC.

Day 13: SLC sights

Day 14: Fly out.

If you have an extra day or two, might add another day to Yellowstone and/or another day around spearfish/deadwood area of black hills.

Have fun!!

P.S. I would plan out your Yellowstone part early, because it might be hard to get lodging within the park!

Uden, The...
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3. Re: Rocky Mountain NP, Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone, Jackson tour

Great options by Izziblizzy. If you have an extra day maybe try to drive Beartooth Hw(212) and or Chief Joseph Hw (296) from Cody into the NE entrance of Yellowstone. And maybe try to add some time for Cody itself.

Commerce, MI
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4. Re: Rocky Mountain NP, Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone, Jackson tour

Thank you for your time and input...I have spent hours trying to accomplish what you have offered so generously! Curious about Cody. What is the highlight there?

Catlin, Illinois
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5. Re: Rocky Mountain NP, Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone, Jackson tour

There is the Buffalo Bill Historical center(Cody is named for him) and rodeo every night durning the summer. We also liked the shops downtown.

Here is a TA link on thing to do in Cody. All of the reviews are writen by TA members. tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g60442-Activitie…

Cody is also a nice stop before you go on to Yellowstone.

Bay City, Michigan
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6. Re: Rocky Mountain NP, Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone, Jackson tour

I also highly recommend the Beartooth Highway. You could visit the Billings area and see Custer's Last Stand Monument area ( I know that is the incorrect name...)!

West Palm Beach...
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7. Re: Rocky Mountain NP, Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone, Jackson tour

Hi. This is Prac1 that rwdw was referring to. Below is the topic to look for in the Wyoming forum if you want to see an itinerary and discussion where you include Cody and Beartooth Hwy. Must sees IMO. I have copied it here to look at.

I have had Yellowstone Reservations for awhile. Just got plane tickets, check out Southwest Airlines, best price for me. Still working on some other hotels and refining what to do at each place now. I use the TA search under hotels and Kayak.com for that. Routes are referred to often in Wyoming forum. Put info. you need in the search option once you get to the Wyoming forum. Lots of great information from travelers there. Have fun.

Itinerary RMNP-Mt. Rushmor/Badlands-Cody-Beartooth-YS-GT-SLC

Many thanks to members Tet, recently and Casa, earlier, for helping with my June itinerary, which continues to be adjusted. Here is my newest. Comments and/or suggestions welcomed.I do want to see all of these places.

Day 1- Arrive Denver mid-day Drive to Estes Park

Day 2 RMNP

Day 3 RMNP to Custer/Hill City SD to see Mt. Rushmore

Day 4 Visit Mt. Rushmore/ Custer State Park/Needles Hwy (this day or next day)/Maybe Jewel or Wind Cave

Day 5 Badlands during day. Stay at either Deadwood? or Hill City? overnight.

Day 6 Drive from Hill City? or Deadwood? to Cody. Maybe museum or rodeo at night.

Day 7 Loop of Cody-Red Lodge-Beartooth Hwy-Chief Joseph Scenic Hwy-Cody. See museum/rodeo if missed it day before.

Day 8 Drive to East Entrance of Yellowstone and on to Old Faithful. (Made these reservations awhile ago, before I had time to do much research.)

Day 9 & 10 Canyon

Day 11 Roosevelt

Day 12,13 Tetons

Day 14 Drive to SLC

Day 15 Fly out of SLC

8. Re: Rocky Mountain NP, Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone, Jackson tour

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