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What would you do first-Tetons or Black Hills?

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What would you do first-Tetons or Black Hills?

I am doing early planning for a trip in 2008 from Nashville to Yellowstone, so we are still over 13 months out. I plan to start making reservations in late fall/ early winter.

We are planning to drive, but I will make reservations in a way where if a really good airline deal from Nashville to Denver comes up next spring, we could change plans, fly and maybe add in a couple of days in RMNP. (While I dread the drive, I really want my kids to experience the change in the landscape between our home in Tennessee through the plains and into the mountains.)

We will have 14 days. I am planning for 6 days of driving. We plan to spend 2 days in the Badlands and Black Hills, 4 days in Yellowstone and 2 days in the Grand Tetons.

Here is my question. Which order would you recommend?

Plan A

1. To Black Hills

2. Then to Yellowstone via Cody

3. Last visit GTNP

4. Home


Plan B

1. To GTNP

2. Then to Yellowstone

3. Last visit the Black Hills via Cody

4 Home

The practical part of me prefers plan B. It gives us a shorter trip home after our last stop.

The other side of me would prefer to have GTNP as the last leg of the trip (I think Jackson Hole is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. It has been 35 years, and I can still see the mountains reflect off of Jackson Lake in my mind), but we would be looking at a 3 day drive home.

I have been to GTNP and Yellowstone when I was 12 and can't wait for my kids and wife to experience them.

Any comments would be welcome. I've got plenty of time and am just fact gathering at this point. I have learned so much from this site. Thanks to everyone for sharing your experiences.

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11. Re: What would you do first-Tetons or Black Hills?

One more thought - particularly in regards to kids and geography. Bringing them into the planning process with the AAA books is a great idea; I remember doing that myself when I was a kid on one or our cross-country trips. When we took our kids in our mini-van, we taped to the ceiling a large map of the US and every day they drew the route that we had followed. They could lean the seats back to nap, but they were also looking up at the map. I didn't realize how much they were absorbing until one night at dinner when we were talking to our six year old about cattle drives and asked if he could tell us what route a cattle drive might take between Texas and Montana, and he accurately gave us a couple of alternatives, including going through the panhandle of Oklahoma! The map still hangs on our office wall as a reminder or this memorable trip.

Nashville, TN
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12. Re: What would you do first-Tetons or Black Hills?

We are planning the exact same trip around Memorial Day and early June. I just love planning long trips. What route will you take? We did a long road trip to SW Colorado last summer via I-40 and back home I-70 last year and my kids did suprisingly well on the long trip. One thing we did that helped break up the drive was to leave after work on the first night and drive 4-5 hours and stay in a cheap place to get a little head start. I am having trouble deciding the best route from Nashville to Black Hills, and also where to stay near Yellowstone. I would love to hear more of your ideas/plans.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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13. Re: What would you do first-Tetons or Black Hills?

You may get more responses if you post a new thread. Staying near Yellowstone you have a number of options. Inside the park and outside the park in the surrounding towns of West Yellowstone, Gardiner, Cody etc. Visit www.nps.gov/yell to get more info on the in park lodging.

We are also planning a June 2008 trip to Yellowstone and Tetons.

Black Hills area is great. Visit Custer State Park, Wind Cave Nat Park, Jewel Cave Nat Mon and of course Mt Rushmore! We stayed in Custer SD at a small motel. Inexpensive and small, but just fine for my then 9 year old son and me!

Enjoy planning.

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14. Re: What would you do first-Tetons or Black Hills?


In late July, I ran across a great deal on Frontier Air for a non-stop round trip from Nashville to Denver, so we reserved the tickets and are going to fly in and out of Denver. We are going to go to the Black Hills from Denver, then spend 8 days in Yellowstone and Jackson (staying at several locations) and then go back to the Estes Park and Denver area for 3 days before we fly back to Nashville.

If we had driven, we had planned to drive to the Omaha area on Day 1, and then to Wall S.D. and visit the Badlands. After that, we would spend a few days in the Black Hills before heading to Yellowstone. We would then go to the Tetons for a few days and allow 3 days to drive home from Jackson, Wy.

Good luck with your trip planning. If you haven't already booked Yellowstone lodging, I would do that soon. We didn't get our first choice of dates or locations, and I made reservations in early July for a trip next June. We were able to switch around some of our plans and everything will fit together nicely.

15. Re: What would you do first-Tetons or Black Hills?

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