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Rushmore to Yellowstone NP ..trip report

Atlanta, Georgia
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Rushmore to Yellowstone NP ..trip report

We just returned from an early September trip that followed, independently, the routes of established tour companies closely. Denver to Denver 12 nights 11 days. Two couples.

1. Pick up rented car at Denver airport. And drive to Torrington, WY, visiting the Oregon Trail Ruts near Guernsey and a stop at the Fort Laramie historic site. Overnight in Torrington.

2. Drive to Rapid City (stay 3 nights) visiting Wind Cave National Park (tour the cave) and Custer State Park (see buffalo, donkeys etc) on the way. Check in and drive to Rushmore for night ceremony (quite nice)

3. Drive thru Bear Country Park. (Lots of bears, elk and other local animals close up. Well done park). Rushmore by day. Walk the base trail , Then Crazy Horse.

4. Drive to Minuteman II decommissioned site take tour (very good for we who lived thru the deployment), see Wall Drug (could have spent more time here) and drive thru the Badlands (desolate, no trees, and spectacular. See Robert’s Prairie Dog village)

5. Off west to Devil’s Tower. Pass on I-90 a coal seam being mined. Should have allowed time to visit one of the mines outside Gillette WY. Devil’s Tower is quite a sight. We walked the base trail looking up at climbers, marveling at their daring. Arrive in Sheridan WY for one overnight.

6. Off to Custer’s Last Stand on the Little Bighorn River. This was quite interesting. The park shows with markers where the troops met their end. Clusters of markers are scattered along the barren hillsides. No place to hide. No place to run. Wow!. Continue long drive to West Yellowstone for first of 3 nights.

7. After breakfast next day we visit Yellowstone NP. Drive the North loop, Norris basin, Mammoth terraces, Lamar Valley buffalo.

8. South loop today. Firehole River drive. Old Faithful area, visit Old Faithful Lodge, see Daisy geyser, Old Faithful… of course, Morning Glory pool. See Yellowstone Canyon and falls.

9. Leave Yellowstone this AM On way to Grand Teton stop at West Thumb basin at edge of Lake Yellowstone. Do a short hike at Jenny Lake in Grand Teton NP and walk the wooden walks in western styled Jackson. Overnight in Jackson.

10. Off this AM to Steamboat Springs for an overnight. It’s another long drive across Wyoming. Lots of sagebrush and pronghorn antelope, but… too much sagebrush.

11. Today we leave Steamboat and head to Rocky Mountain National Park for a lot of great scenery. On the way we took a scenic detour to go thru Gore Pass and see lots of aspen changing to Fall colors. In RMNP we walked a bit at the high altitude (11,000 feet or so) above the treeline, catching sight of marmot and pika. On way out of east end in Estes Park we encountered handfuls of elk along the roadside. Tonight we stay in Loveland

12. Today we drive to Denver and catch our flights home.

We got to see a lot of great scenery at our own pace, at what we consider to be less cost, and more leisurely, than an organized tour. I would suggest spending an extra overnight in Rapid City and another in Yellowstone to allow additional time in each of these areas.

Mount Washburn
Mountains, National Parks
Gibbon Falls
Geologic Formations, National Parks, Nature & Wildlife Areas, Waterfalls
Atlanta, Georgia
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for Road Trips
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1. Re: Rushmore to Yellowstone NP ..trip report

Thanks for posting your trip report- so glad you had a nice trip!!

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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2. Re: Rushmore to Yellowstone NP ..trip report

Thanks for sharing Steve.

I'm curious about staying in W Yellowstone and how you felt it may have affected your experiences visiting Yellowstone NP. Do you feel you got to see as much as you had hoped . . . and just how early did you get up and out; and then back home at night?

I/we travel a lot by timeshares and I'm contemplating a week in W. Yellowstone so your experiences would be helpful to gauge how it might impact such a plan.

N. Idaho
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for Yellowstone National Park
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3. Re: Rushmore to Yellowstone NP ..trip report

Thanks for the trip report! It sounds like you all covered a lot of territory.

Von, I usually stay in West Yellowstone. Next time I am there when Roosevelt is open, I will try to stay there, but otherwise I really like West. Lots of options for food (well less in the AM because most places don't open as early as I want to leave!) and I enjoy walking around town in the evening. Terrific Indie bookstore. I can often use Frequent Flier miles for hotel, so free is always a plus.

Sorry to divert your thread, Steverinoh!

Pam

Atlanta, Georgia
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4. Re: Rushmore to Yellowstone NP ..trip report

WestYellowstone was OK. It is a short drive to the split to do either the nort loop or south loop.(Madison Junction). Each evening on return to WY we encountered many elf at dusk. Rangers directing traffic. Folks in lawn chairs and tripodded uopscale cameras snapping away. Quite a sight!.

We were on the road by 9:00AM from WY. Back a little after dusk.

It took a full day to do each loop... with stops. Adequate? Subjective. We saw a lot of stuff, sure. BUT I'd have rather had two more full days. We saw Old Faithful spout, but the other predictable geyser times didn't cooperate. We couldn't wait for the predicted time and still complete our planned loop circle.

Consider that you "lose" about 45 minues per day going back and forth to WY..over the same paths.

All in all. I'd stay there again IF I couldn't get lodging inside.

We also are TS people.. but didn't have the time for a week in one place. A TS week in WY would be pretty good I'd say!

Edited: 21 September 2012, 21:24
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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5. Re: Rushmore to Yellowstone NP ..trip report

Thanks Pam & Steve. I'm hopeful that we'll do a full week by timeshare in the future . . . maybe 2014!

6. Re: Rushmore to Yellowstone NP ..trip report

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