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  1. Default September 2008 Wyoming/South Dakota Road Trip


    My Wife and I are in the early stages of planning a Sep, 2008 road trip.

    We have two weeks, Sep 6-21, and are considering a loop comprised of Denver to Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Mt Rushmore and back to Denver.

    What other sights/locations/municipalities should we make sure we 'don't miss' in this loop?

    Anything else that would make widening this loop worthwile?

    We want to see as much as we can, so since we are live in Central Texas, we'll cut off 1800 (roundtrip) miles by flying to Denver and renting a vehicle of some sort to make the loop, returning to Denver for our flight home.

    Neither of us have ever been that far north that late in the year, so what should we expect (weatherwise) during that period? I realize weather can be unpredictable, but do we need to worry about getting stuck in a blizzard during September?

    Would it be worthwile to rent a 4X4 if we really don't plan to offroad?

    Any and all suggestions are sincerely appreciated!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Besides the Big Three

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Besides the Tetons, Yellowstone and Rushmore, just a few of the parks and places you should be looking at include Boulder, Rocky Mountain National Park, Dinosaur National Monument, Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, Jackson, Little Bighorn National Battlefield, Devils Tower National Monument, Wind Cave national Park, Badlands National Park, Sturgis, Agate Fossil Beds National Monument and the Oregon Trail, all of which could be included in a loop from Denver. September is not all that late in the season, and while you can certainly expect a nip in the air, I'd be surprised if the aspens had even changed color yet. There is absolutely no reason to get a 4x4 as even if you did, chances are extremely good that your rental contract would not allow you to take it off road in any case.


  3. Default Great Info!

    Thank you for the great info AZBuck!

    You've given us much to think about!


  4. Default Great Trip!

    I followed a similar route last year at the same time (mid-September) only I was travelling from Buffalo, NY and made stops in Cincinnati, Nashville, Memphis, and St.Louis before heading out to Denver. The autumn colors will be appearing during your trip, the weather should be highs in the 70's and low's in the upper 30's (we had a few snowflakes in the air on the 24th in Yellowstone, but I never felt that I needed all-wheel drive on the trip), and the crowds aren't bad at all in September (it is mainly the over-60 crowd in owned and rented RV's).

    I stated by going South of Denver to Pike's Peak, which you can drive to the top of for amazing views and I camped at Mueller State Park, a beautiful campground and park about 20-30 miles from the road to the top of the mountain. While in that area, I visited Cripple Creek (about 30 miles further South) a great old restored mining town. The mountain drives in this whole area are spectacular.

    The next day I headed Northwest to Breckenridge and then to Leadville and camped in the Twin Lakes, Colorado area. Again the mountain drives are spectacular and kind of tiring because of all the hairpin turns with steep dropoffs.

    I then headed West to Moab, Utah and Arches National Park for a different kind of surroundings, desert, rock formations, and the Coloradio River running through.

    I then headed North to Salt Lake City area before going through Logan, Utah (another beautiful area) and into Wyoming and up to the Tetons. Grand Teton is spectacular, but is more of a hiking park than a drive through park like Yellowstone. The mountain peaks in the Tetons are the most magnificent I saw the whole trip. I saw a family of moose on one hiking trail and deer and other animals on other hikes.

    Yellowstone is VERY spread out. I spent one whole day just on the roads between the main junctions. The wildlife is amazing as is the diversity of geography.

    The trip across Wyoming towards Mount Rushmore is rather bland compared to the mountains but Rushmore itself is magnificent. I was there early on a Tuesday morning and nearly had the place to myself righht after they opened. The exhibits and films at the facility are also excellent.

    I had a great time and I'm sure you will as well!!!!!

  5. Default

    Great information toddnick!

    Thank you!

  6. Default Might as well

    If you are going to Rushmore, you might as well check out Crazy Horse Memorial especially if you are into Native American art and artifacts. There is a nice museum there. Also, have you thought about making a quick trip to Devil's Tower, WY. It's kind of out there by itself and catching it with this trip wouldn't be too far out of the way.

    As for the Rockies and driving all those mountain roads in RMNP, hope you have nerves of steel because there are NO guardrails and I had a panic attack 1/2 way up and then we had to come back down. I literally thought we were going to meet God when we made one hairpin turn and an RV was coming the other way. Definitely, not for the faint of heart. If heights are a problem, then don't do it. I don't know what we would have done had both of us been afraid of heights. As for Pikes Peak, you can take a tram to the top if driving the mountains bother you.

    Have fun. We've done a lot of road trips and this area ranks up there in the top 3 of all time.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default I live for those twisty-bits! LOL

    Seriously, I search maps looking for those types of roads. Just goes to show we're all different.

    But if anyone would prefer not driving on those types of roads, you can take the Rocky Mountain National Park's shuttle bus system.

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