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  1. Default Colorado, Wyoming, Utah trip July/August 2016

    We are in the early stages of planning a road trip for next Summer (2016). We are looking to fly in and out of Denver and hire a car.

    We are a pretty outdoorsy family and love US National Parks. Mum and Dad are also CJ Box fans and would like to follow in the footsteps of Joe Pickett! We have a few fixed dates that we need/want to be somewhere - Frontier Days & Rodeo in Cheyenne, Saturday night rodeo in Jackson & catching a Colorado Rockies game at the end of the trip.

    The tentative plan is fly to Denver - either 3 or 4 nights in Denver, with a possible night in Fort Collins - not sure about that one. Then:

    Cheyenne - 2 nights (hotel booked)
    Thermopolis - 1 night
    Sheridan - 1 night
    Yellowstone - 2 nights (cabin booked)
    Grand Teton - 1 night
    Jackson - 2 nights
    Salt Lake City - 2 nights
    Moab - 2 nights
    Glenwood Springs - 1 night
    Aspen - 1 night
    Boulder - 4/5 nights

    I would welcome some thoughts on the itinerary and how long we are spending at stops. We are thinking of maybe another night in Yellowstone, although accommodation is expensive there, and then cutting a night in Jackson (also looking pretty expensive!). Accommodation in GTNP is pricey too - we would have one night there, and it looks like Jackson is the nearest place just outside the park. We were unsure about 2 nights in SLC and wondered about 2 or 3 nights in Moab - assuming it is a good base to explore both Arches and Canyonlands? We've got around 23 to 24 nights to play with.

    We need to end up in Boulder/Denver at the end of the trip and would love to catch a pre-season NFL game if that works out but I don't think fixtures come out till later on. Definitely want to see the Rockies at home though.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default A nice plan.

    Hi, welcome back to the forums !

    Two nights in Yellowstone is just about the minimum you need although combined with a night in the Tetons and arriving from Sheridan you should be in good shape. I would look to enter Yellowstone through Red Lodge and Silver Gate, that way you get to drive the spectacular Beartooth highway on 212. Unless there is a reason for you wanting to spend 3 or 4 nights in Denver, I would consider a night or 2 in Estes park and explore some of Rocky mountain NP from there. Perhaps you are planning to drive through RMNP on the way back to Boulder ? If you have some spare time you could visit the Colorado National Monument near Fruita and a detour from I70 at Dillon, that won't cost much time, is driving over the continental divide at Loveland pass. Great views at the top. As for SLC, that is a personal choice, I would consider heading south from the Tetons past Flaming Gorge and Dinosaur NM or using that time to head further into Utah and visit Bryce canyon and Capitol Reef NP while driving scenic byway 12.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Yes, Jackson is expensive, especially during the summer months. We faced the same problem, and ended up spending the night on the backside of the Tetons, in Driggs, ID. You could also look at Alpine, WY. Neither will be as beautiful or in the touristy areas, but that's why they're less expensive. Both are about 30-40 miles from Jackson. From Driggs, you see the backside of the Tetons. We stayed there because we simply could not afford almost $200 for a room in Jackson -- at Motel 6.


    Donna

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    Hi, welcome back to the forums !

    Two nights in Yellowstone is just about the minimum you need although combined with a night in the Tetons and arriving from Sheridan you should be in good shape. I would look to enter Yellowstone through Red Lodge and Silver Gate, that way you get to drive the spectacular Beartooth highway on 212. Unless there is a reason for you wanting to spend 3 or 4 nights in Denver, I would consider a night or 2 in Estes park and explore some of Rocky mountain NP from there. Perhaps you are planning to drive through RMNP on the way back to Boulder ? If you have some spare time you could visit the Colorado National Monument near Fruita and a detour from I70 at Dillon, that won't cost much time, is driving over the continental divide at Loveland pass. Great views at the top. As for SLC, that is a personal choice, I would consider heading south from the Tetons past Flaming Gorge and Dinosaur NM or using that time to head further into Utah and visit Bryce canyon and Capitol Reef NP while driving scenic byway 12.
    Hi Dave - thanks for your response - gives me more to think about while I wait for a flight sale!

    We hadn't thought too much about RMNP for this trip, wondering if it was for another time, but now I'm wondering about stopping off at Estes Park on the way back to Boulder. Husband is a keen fell runner, so Boulder is a bit of a pilgrimage for him! However, we could add in a night or two at Estes Park perhaps.

    We were going to spend a few nights in Denver to acclimatise as much as anything - plus the kids are keen on a visit to Waterworld.

    Thanks for the suggestion about Flaming Gorge and Dinosaur NM - hadn't considered them. We went to Bryce on a previous West Coast trip - we hadn't expected to like Utah so much, hence wanting to see a bit more of it this time. Also hadn't considered a detour to Fruita - great idea.

    Thanks again

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    Yes, Jackson is expensive, especially during the summer months. We faced the same problem, and ended up spending the night on the backside of the Tetons, in Driggs, ID. You could also look at Alpine, WY. Neither will be as beautiful or in the touristy areas, but that's why they're less expensive. Both are about 30-40 miles from Jackson. From Driggs, you see the backside of the Tetons. We stayed there because we simply could not afford almost $200 for a room in Jackson -- at Motel 6.


    Donna
    Hi Donna

    Yes, Jackson is pushing our budget too! I wasn't too sure about where else we could stay - thanks for the suggestions! We could also add Idaho to our list of states visited as well!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    If it were me, I think I would try to add one more day to Yellowstone. You could get by with 2 nights, but it's a huge place and more time is never a bad thing there.

    RMNP fits so logically in with the rest of your plan, it would almost seem strange to leave it for another trip.

    Another idea to consider, after Moab, you might consider going south along the edge of Utah through Natural Bridges, to Monument Valley, then head back up the Colorado side through Mesa Verde and the Million Dollar Highway. Of course, there are so many things you can do in this great part of the country, there are always too many great options!

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    If it were me, I think I would try to add one more day to Yellowstone. You could get by with 2 nights, but it's a huge place and more time is never a bad thing there.

    RMNP fits so logically in with the rest of your plan, it would almost seem strange to leave it for another trip.

    Another idea to consider, after Moab, you might consider going south along the edge of Utah through Natural Bridges, to Monument Valley, then head back up the Colorado side through Mesa Verde and the Million Dollar Highway. Of course, there are so many things you can do in this great part of the country, there are always too many great options!
    Hi Michael

    Thanks for your reply. The more I look at it, the more it makes sense to include RMNP, especially as it fits so well. I'm not sure why we have been leaving it out, so there is definitely going to be a rethink.

    Monument Valley is really tempting. We didn't make it on our West Coast trip but my sister has been and found it wonderful so it would be good to add it in if we can. It's hard - there is so much to see in this area!

  8. Default More time for Yellowstone

    I second the idea of spending more time in Yellowstone. We were there in the fall and we spent 1 1/2 hours driving 10 miles because of a bison jam and terrible traffic. You would be hard pressed to see the whole park in one day. Two days is even pushing it.

    Utahtea

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