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 > Western US Itinerary Help

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wtmtnhiker

New Hampshire

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Posted: 08/28/20 09:33am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi all,
Planning a months long trip out west from NH starting in March next year. Looking to visit Yellowstone and Grand Tetons and giving that at least two weeks. Also we'd like to visit Custer State Park possibly Mount Rushmore. Planning to get to Yellowstone late May/Early June knowing that there might be weather issues with snow. Likely we'll be making our way up from Texas Panhandle. Any ideas on itinerary or places to make sure we see on the way from Texas would be appreciated. We'll have plenty of time. Also any recommendations on RV campgrounds near Grand Teton N.P. would be helpful.


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enblethen

Moses Lake, WA

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Posted: 08/28/20 10:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We stay at Gros Ventre. Electric on some sites. Close to many activities.
You didn't say what kind of campground features.
I would not be too concerned over weather. Just change routing or stay an extra day!


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Dick_B

Palos Heights, IL USA

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Posted: 08/28/20 10:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Look at the Adventure Caravans itineraries for their western tours


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dedmiston

The West

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Posted: 08/28/20 11:22am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That sounds like a fun trip. Just a warning though that winter goes very late into the year in Wyoming. My kids went to university there and it snowed every year during finals week. We got completely snowed in with closed highways when we were there for graduation in May. It was already in the 90s at home, but Wyoming didn't care. I'm convinced that somehow I made Wyoming mad and the state is trying to kill me (kidding). Last fall we got caught in some heavy wind and it blew a window out of our bedroom. We had to finish the trip with plastic duct taped where the window used to be. It's a gorgeous state, but full of surprises.

It wouldn't hurt to have a strong Plan B in case the weather doesn't cooperate at all. I don't know if you've spent much time in the west, but I highly recommend visiting the Indian country based in the Four Corners area. There's so much to see and most Americans don't know much at all about our ancient civilizations. Between Mesa Verde, Taos, Chaco, Monument Valley, and Canyon De Chelly, there's more than enough to keep yourself busy and fascinated on a trip like that. The weather will be more forgiving further south too.

I don't know if you're a reader or if you listen to audiobooks, but we've always loved reading stories set in areas before/while we visit. If you're going to Wyoming, check out C.J. Box's Joe Picket detective series. Picket is a Wyoming game warden and the stories are pretty good.

Likewise, if you're visiting the Southwest, check out Tony Hillerman's old detective stories. It's fun to picture the stories set in the towns and POIs that you're driving through.


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dedmiston

The West

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Posted: 08/28/20 11:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sorry to turn this into a Book Club, but another amazing book if you're visiting Yellowstone is "Death In Yellowstone". It's a non-fiction account of all the ways dumb people have met their ends in the park, with each chapter dedicated to a specific manner of death. It's a gruesome topic, but loaded with teachable moments.

bukhrn

Lanexa, Va

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Posted: 08/28/20 11:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

if doing Custer State park, I would absolutely do Mount Rushmore, it's like right next door, I would also do the Badlands and the rest of the Black Hills area, then up for a quick tour of Devils Tower, then over to Cody, good for a few days, then on into the east entrance of Yellowstone.


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Lwiddis

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Posted: 08/28/20 11:26am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You didn't mention the Little Big Horn Battlefield. Very sobering experience.


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bukhrn

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Posted: 08/28/20 12:22pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lwiddis wrote:

You didn't mention the Little Big Horn Battlefield. Very sobering experience.
I thought of it, but didn't really know what the OP was looking to see, I agree, it's a place that should be seen by all, you'll learn a lot that you never saw on TV.

wtmtnhiker

New Hampshire

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Posted: 08/28/20 01:21pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks this is a great start. I have been to the Four Corners and most of the southwest. Yellowstone etc was next on the bucket list.

rvshrinker

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Posted: 08/28/20 01:51pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It’s a big trip covering half the country so a bit open ended.

In Yellowstone we stayed at the rv park in fishing bridge. Packed in like sardines but avoiding driving in and out of the park every day was completely worth it. Yellowstone is easily worth a week if you do any hiking or outdoor activities. It’s big, driving distances are long, varied topography.

Grand Teton we stayed in Colter Bay. Good location. GTNP is worth half a week unless you are into alpine touring or climbing. It’s much smaller than YNP.

Glacier is spectacular. Weather can be quite unpredictable, I’ve gotten snow there in August on the continental divide and had to end a backpacking trip early. Another trip I got eaten alive by mosquitoes. Another trip I got hypothermia in a sleet storm. In fact I have yet to spend any time in Glacier and not have terrible weather. I would spend a week in Glacier, but I’m a hiker. Note that the eastern entrance is closed this year because the Blackfeet reservation is closed to visitors. Maybe that’s not an issue next year, but with that entrance closed you can’t access some spectacular sites like the Many Glacier area. I’ve never RV camped in this area, but anything near Many Glacier would be my choice.

In S Dak we really enjoyed the Badlands. Surprisingly interesting hiking. We saw a ton of sheep there. Camping options are limited, the KOA White River is a little old, pool was closed, golf is really run down, but it’s quiet and shaded. IN contrast the campground in the national park is baking in the sun. I’d pick the KOA and I don’t like KOAs.

Custer SP is amazing. Definitely worth several days. Mt Rushmore was open. The two caves (Wind Cave and Jewel Cave) were closed but the hiking was open. Deadwood was boring, We liked Keystone better.

Devil’s Tower is cool and worth a day.

We really liked Little BIghorn and were disappointed not to be able to see the Wounded Knee site (all Indian reservations are closed to the public).

Depending on your route, There is a ton to see in Colorado. RMNP is gorgeous, worth several days. The San Juan skyway scenic drive is very pretty, not sure taking a large rig on it is ideal but I think it’s doable. Much gorgeous scenery in the national forests, etc. Tons of mosquitoes in early summer. Bring headnets and potentially bug jackets.

Coming home through eastern Utah and Western Colorado you can stop at Flaming Gorge, Dinosaur NM, Arches, Canyonlands, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and Mesa Verde and Durango CO. All of them are amazing, especially Arches and Canyonlands.

In both Glacier and Yellowstone you absolutely need bear spray if you do any hiking at all.

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