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June 8 - June 19, 2013 trip help

Smyrna, Georgia
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June 8 - June 19, 2013 trip help

Grandparents with 17,13,12,10 year olds flying to Denver and then driving to Jackson Hole, Tetons, Yellowstone, Cody and back to Denver by noon 6-19. Trying to decide the best way to drive from Denver to JHole and back to Denver from Cody. Thought it would be good for children to maybe see the Oregon Trail stops; South Pass; Pinedale; and some of the Wy towns. I can't decide the best way to come and go. This is our itinerary so far:

June 8 - arrive Denver 7:30 pm

June 9 - drive

June 10 - drive and arrive in Jackson Hole - reservations to stay

June 11 - Jackson Hole - Mill Iron Ranch ride into GTNP; Dinner Bar T-5 Chuck Wagon Dinner

June 12 - morn available to see around JH - 2pm Raft trip

June 13 - Up early drive to Lake Jenny - sightsee -on to Old Faithful Inn Ranger programs that night

June 14 - Drive to Mammoth Hot springs - see YNP sights along way- 6pm ranger walk at Albright visitor center

June 15 - up early - drive to Lamar Valley - wildlife viewing - drive Bear Tooth Pass (need to go back to Canyon Lodge for that night - best way to drive - do we backtrack?) Would like to do the scenic cruise on Yellowstone Lake that evening. Maybe trying to do too much this day

June 16 - we have reservations that night in Cody with check out on Tuesday June 18 Have time to do things around Canyon and Yellowstone Lake and then onto Cody.

In Cody - Buffalo Bill Museum, Rodeo, gunfight - maybe the reservoir on the way

June 18 - Leave to drive to Denver with flight to Atlanta June 19 at 2pm. Need driving directions Denver with things to see on way

The Denver driving to Jackson Hole and from Cody is what has me puzzled. Your ideas are very welcomed. Also what to do at Mammoth and the Bear Tooth Pass and back into the park.

Thanks for help

June 15 -

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1. Re: June 8 - June 19, 2013 trip help

Here's a route from Denver that is both beautiful and rich with western history.

Go north to Laramie; then west on route 130 (the Snowy Range Scenic Byway; need to verify that it's open) over the Medicine Bow Mountains and north on 130 and 30 to Medicine Bow; then north on route 487; then west on route 220 toward Muddy Gap (or detour east into Casper to visit the wonderful Trails Interpretive Center). Watch for signs along the way that point out the Oregon Trail, which was used by half a million Americans moving west in covered wagons in the early 1800s. The signs identify several places along this road where you can walk a short distance and find wagon ruts left from 100,000 covered wagons. This was the largest unforced migration in human history. We have neighboring ranchers whose ancestors came across the country in covered wagons, and buried children along the way.

wyoshpo.state.wy.us/trailsdemo/graves.htm

Route 220 will also take you past Independence Rock, which is a giant rock just off the south side of the road.

…state.wy.us/trailsdemo/independencerock256k…

Charles Kuralt at Independence Rock: www.youtube.com/watch…

The Pioneers called it Independence Rock because if they reached this location by Independence Day, July 4, then they were on schedule to be over the mountains before winter set in; otherwise, they ran the risk of being caught (and dying) in the mountains during the winter. The Oregon Trail runs close by Independence Rock, and there are over 5,000 names chiseled into the rock by Pioneers. Continue on 220, pausing at Devil's Gate, a landmark along the Trail. At Muddy Gap, bear right on route 287, passing Split Rock, another Trail landmark, and The Parting of the Ways, where you can still see the deep wagon ruts where trails diverged:

…state.wy.us/trailsdemo/prtingoftheways.htm

At Sweetwater Station Jct (the highway rest area there has a display of detailed county maps showing where wagon ruts can be found), go right on 135 into Riverton; then left on 26 toward DuBois. 26 runs west of the Wind River Indian Reservation and east of the Wind River Range. It is quite beautiful, with numerous Chugwater Formations. 26 continues over Togwotee Pass (9,600') and then drops down into Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole (6,400'). There are stunning views of the Teton Range coming down from Togwotee Pass.

By the way, during your drive across Wyoming, you'll pass any number of old, abandoned wood cabins that are quite small. Many of these cabins were built by homesteaders seeking to improve the land and claim 160 free acres under the Homestead Act of 1862. The Act required a homesteader to build a house at least 12' by 14', and many of the abandoned cabins you see will be that size.

Wyoming is big and open. Sublette County, to our south, is a little smaller than the state of Connecticut, but doesn't have a single traffic light. So don't forget to fill your gas tank. In case you're interested, here's a link to some pictures of Wyoming outside the national parks:

…tripadvisor.com/tripwow/ta-0143-cb88-0f0e…

Edited: 06 May 2013, 22:00
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Snowy Range Scenic Byway
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2. Re: June 8 - June 19, 2013 trip help

I would probably stay in Lander and check out South Pass City before you head to Jackson. Riverton is also an option.

On the 15th I wouldn't try do to the Beartooth. I would head to Canyon, side trip to Lamar, and check out what area you can around the falls.

I think the 16th would be your best day for the Beartooth on your way to Cody via Chief Joseph Biway.

Not too many options on your way back to Denver, Cheyenne or Fort Collins would be best depending on how far you want to drive.

I definitely agree with TetonBill's advice. The Snowy Range biway is absolutely spectacular. I saw 5 moose the last time I went through, and 3 the time before that. You'll want your jacket, it can get cool and breezy that early in the year.

Highway 135 after Sweetwater Junction is also a favorite of mine, you can see for miles! There is a gravel road on your left before you go down hill. Take it back a bit and you'll come to a little parking area. The views are great. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php…

We also enjoyed taking a break at the Vedauwoo's east of Laramie. Neat rock formations a little ways off the highway. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php…

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3. Re: June 8 - June 19, 2013 trip help

We have done that trip from Denver and will be doing it again in September. From Cody come down thru the Wind River Canyon to Casper, Cheyenne and on to Denver. We have stopped in Cheyenne, Ft. Collins and Loveland for the night.

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4. Re: June 8 - June 19, 2013 trip help

For you folks who have done this Denver-Jackson route before, here's something to consider adding the next time you drive it. Drive route 132 from north to south. It's a little out of the way, but imo that drive south is one of the prettiest drives in Wyoming, with spectacular view of the Winds.

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Smyrna, Georgia
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5. Re: June 8 - June 19, 2013 trip help

Thank you for such a detailed, informative route. So now, how long do you think it will take if we do this route and take the detour into Casper and then back on the route? Also, where is a good overnight stop?

Where do I verify the Snowy Range Scenic Byway is open?

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Smyrna, Georgia
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6. Re: June 8 - June 19, 2013 trip help

Thanks for the inforamtion and great pics.

Moose, Wyoming
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7. Re: June 8 - June 19, 2013 trip help

From Denver to Jackson by this route, allowing a little time for stops along the Trail, will take one long day. If you detour to Casper, allow several hours to tour the Interpretive Center. You could overnight in Casper, or else in the Riverton/Lander area, but there's about nothing in between other than a couple of tiny motels in Shoshone.

For Wyoming road information, check the state map at:

http://www.wyoroad.info/

Edited: 07 May 2013, 03:41
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8. Re: June 8 - June 19, 2013 trip help

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