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Touring American - what are the absolute must sees?

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Rugby, United...
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Touring American - what are the absolute must sees?

We are planning a 15 night tour of the Rockies, flying into and out of Denver. Apart from the obvious Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone Park areas, what are the other must sees and how long should we allow at each place? We toured California last year including,Palm Springs, Scottsdale, Grand Canyon,Monument Valley, Bryce, Las Vegas & Yosemite (into and out of San Francisco) about 3000 + miles which was amazing, so we don't mind clocking up the miles.

All suggestions gratefully received- thanks

Atlanta, Georgia
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1. Re: Touring American - what are the absolute must sees?

With 15 nights you will be seeing a lot because Yellowstone is huge and there is much to see and do. When are you coming? I am assuming it will be in summer.

We've done that trip and here is what you can do-

Day 1- fly into Denver

Day 2- drive to Mt. Rushmore/Black Hills- stopping in Cheyenne

Day 3- Black Hills- here is an online travel guide- www.travelsd.com

Day 4- Black Hills

Day 5- drive to Cody- stopping at Deadwood and Devils Tower

Day 6- Cody- Buffalo Bill museum and rodeo

Day 7- Yellowstone NP- Call Xanterra or go online and get reservations in the park for Old Faithful 2 nights and Canyon or Lake area two nights- if no in park then we prefer West Yellowstone

Day 8- Yellowstone NP

Day 9- Yellowstone NP

Day 10- Yellowstone NP

Day 11- Grand Tetons NP

Day 12- Grand Tetons NP/Jackson Hole

Day 13- drive back toward Denver

Day 14- Rocky Mt. NP/Estes Park

Day 15- fly home

If you have more questions please let us know.

Rugby, United...
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2. Re: Touring American - what are the absolute must sees?

thanks for the speedy response- and yes we are due to arrive late May. I should have called this Touring American ROCKIES- we are coming from England. We want to fit in as much as possible yet still allow time to actually enjoy the experience. What about Moab & Mesa Verde - are they worth trying to fit in if it means less time in Sth Dakota & Yellowstone do you think?

Atlanta, Georgia
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3. Re: Touring American - what are the absolute must sees?

You might be able to fit in Moab/Arches NP but not Mesa Verde NP. Mesa Verde NP is in the southwest corner of Colorado.

Here is what you can do fitting in Arches NP. It will mean a lot of windshield/driving time imo.

Day 1- fly into Denver

Day 2- drive to Black Hills- Mt. Rushmore late afternoon/night program

Day 3- Black Hills- Badlands NP, Custer SP, Crazy Horse

Day 4- drive to Cody- rodeo at night

Day 5- Buffalo Bill museums in morning, drive to Yellowstone NP

Day 6-7-8- Yellowstone NP

Day 9-10- Grand Tetons/Jackson Hole

Day 11- drive to Moab/Arches NP

Day 12- Arches NP

Day 13- drive to Rocky Mt. NP

Day 14- Rocky Mt. NP

Day 15- fly home from Denver

Pitman, New Jersey
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4. Re: Touring American - what are the absolute must sees?

Welcome to the forums!

For the most part, I like Peach's 1st plan for you. I would not attempt to include Moab on this trip. Although an amazing area, it needs time to see. 15 nights is a great amount of time, and I personally could make a 15 night trip out of the Tetons, Yellowstone and SD alone. With Peach's itinerary, you are really only getting 2 full days in SD, and I'd love to see you gain more time there. But since you are saying about touring the American Rockies, I'd assume you'd probably want to add Rocky Mt. Natl Park.

Using the plan that Peach listed, I'd make the following plan for SD:

Arrival day: (1/2 day) Upon arrival to your home base, head to Mt Rushmore and see the monument by day and evening. I recommend staying in Keystone or Hill City so you are central to the sights.

Day 2: Take a daytrip to Badlands National Park. You can make a stop at the infamous tourist trap, Wall Drug and possibly the Minuteman Missile Site if time permits. In the early evening, if your energy level allows, you could drive the Wildlife Loop, which is part of Custer State Park.

Day 3: Focus on the rest of Custer State Park. Drive the Needles Hwy and have a picnic at Sylvan Lake, weather permitting. You can walk around its shore, which is not to be missed. Drive Iron Mountain Rd. from south to north to see the best views of Rushmore framed in tunnels. If you have interest, you would probably also have time for a cave tour. I'd focus on Jewel Cave as my 1st choice. Wind Cave is also excellent and would make a great 2nd choice.

I'd personally skip Deadwood and make stops at Spearfish Canyon and Devil's Tower enroute to Cody. Two nights in Cody are a must, as you will need a full day to see the museum complex. IMO, next to the Smithsonian, it is the most impressive museum complex in our country.

I'd recommend posting on the Yellowstone forum for advice on that area as well. If you are looking to stay inside the park, contact Xanterra ASAP, as lodging fills fast. You may be trying for a cancellation at this point. If you are looking for a few more amenities such as tv, internet, and pools, you may want to stay outside the park in a gateway town such as Gardiner or West Yellowstone. I like West over Gardiner also, but a split between the 2 will make traveling around the vast park a bit easier. You can stay in Jackson to see the Tetons. I personally like the quiet and more reasonable Buckrail Lodge.

Please feel free to let us know how else we can help. You are going to have a great trip!!

Atlanta, Georgia
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5. Re: Touring American - what are the absolute must sees?

Great advice from slrtravelplanner as always. We both post on the Yellowstone forum. If you have other questions though about lodging, etc. then yes post on the Yellowstone NP forum- link here-

tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g60999-i481-Yellow…

Edited: 13 January 2013, 04:18
6. Re: Touring American - what are the absolute must sees?

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