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  1. Default Denver to South Dakota

    Help me plan something to break up a long drive: We'll be leaving Denver and heading towards Custer State Park in South Dakota (very near Mt. Rushmore). We'll take I-25 North, then highways 18 and 89. We have all day for this not-quite 400 mile drive, so we won't be particularly pushed for time.

    Can anyone suggest any interesting diversions on this drive? I don't want to get too far off the interstate, but I'd be interested in any museums, places of cultural interest, parks, etc. that might be fun. I see that our route'll take us by Fort Collins, Greeley, Cheyenne. Even just a fun lunch spot would be appreciated. Our family includes two girls: one a teen, the other a tween.

    And another question about this area of the country: While we're in the Mt. Rushmore area we want to visit either Jewel Cave or Wind Cave national park. We don't have caves where we live, so we definitely want to see one, but we probably don't want to see both. They both seem to be conveniently located. Does one have any benefit over the other? Better tours? Better sights? Adjacent features?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Why not take 85 all the way from just north of Cheyenne?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Agreement and Agenda Items

    I agree with glc on using US-85 as your main route north. Just two highlights would be the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum and the Fort Laramie National Historic Site. Once you get a bit farther north either US-18/SD-89 or US-16 would bring to the Jewel Cave area and a connection with the various loops of the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway.


  4. Default

    85 . . . hmmm . . . my map program shows me that my original route choice is only 11 miles longer than using 85. So you guys aren't suggesting it as a shorter route -- okay, okay, 11 miles IS shorter, but in a trip of 400 miles 11 isn't significant. Why then is 85 better?

    My computer defaulted to I-25, and I-25 is a fat blue line (whereas 85 is a thinner brown line), and fatter lines usually move faster than thin lines.

    Does 85 move better than 25?
    Is this route more scenic?
    Does it have better stops? (Obviously, if I'd found much of interest along 25 I wouldn't be asking this question.) The Old West museum and Fort Laramie do sound like things we'd like.

    I'm too tired tonight to investigate further, but I will certainly do so tomorrow. Thanks.

  5. #5


    When I travelled this route from Cheyenne to Custer travelled 1-25 to 18 and then onto Hot Springs via Lusk. Much of it was big sky country as I recollect. It seemed better than the alternative routes – but just a personal choice really.

    The reason for including Hot Springs was to visit the Mammoth Site to see the world’s largest mammoth research facility - you can tour an active dig site and view exhibited Ice Age fossils.

    Not everyone’s forte but it is not everyday you get the chance to see this snap shot into the past. Would think younger travellers would also be interested.

    An hour or so of time well spent in my opinion.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I haven't traveled 85 in about 35 years. At that time it was a pretty desolate road, only one town of any size between Cheyenne and Lusk (Torrington). The speed limit should be 65 most of the way - the Interstate is 75.

  7. Default

    Thanks for the advice!

    After investigating, I think we'll stick with the I-25 route. I like the idea of moving faster, and the distance is about the same. We love the Mammoth Site and had no idea it existed! That'll be a fun stop for us. We might do the old west museum too.

  8. Default Moab, UT to Denver, CO

    Okay, y'all were helpful with the Denver to South Dakota leg of our trip, now here's another question . . .

    We'll be leaving Moab, Utah and traveling to Denver, CO on I-70 East essentially the whole trip. It looks like a healthy half-day's drive (352 miles), but it's largely through the moutains -- going through Vail and near Breckenridge -- is it an easy drive, or a tough one? We're probably not going to leave Moab 'til after noon; I'm thinking it's realistic that we'd hit Denver before dark? It'll be July, so the days'll be long.

    Being an East Coast girl, I remember being fascinated by the Rockies; they're so different from our soft, tree-covered mountains at home. Will we have good views from the interstate, or should we plan to stop off at some of the many parks and national forests on the way? Any particular ones that are best? We're hoping not to prolong this portion of the drive too much but to keep fairly close to the interstate.

    Any stops of interest along this route? Museums? Cultural spots? Just good places to eat?


  9. Default Yellowstone/Tetons back to Vegas

    So I'm planning details for our trip, and I'm loving knowing that it's almost here! Y'all have been very helpful with other details, and I'm hoping you can help with this road question:

    We'll be leaving the Yellowstone National Park / Grand Tetons National Park area and heading back to Vegas. We've allotted two days for this portion of the trip, and it's going to be a loooong drive. Close to 700 miles. I can't say I'm really excited about this. Maybe ya'll can change that.

    Two choices:

    Stick to the smaller highways: 189 to 26 to 89 to 16 back to 89 to 189 to Interstate 15 and into Vegas. This takes us through some national forests in the Wyoming area, then seems to avoid all large cities (which is neither good nor bad, in my mind). The computer defaults to this option and says it's 693 miles.

    Or take 22 and 31 into Idaho Falls (113 miles of small highways), then pick up Interstate 15 allllll the way to Vegas. This ups the mileage by 50 miles, and it route us a little farther west and means we hit larger cities on the way, most noteably Salt Lake City. I suspect that traveling on I-15 would mean a higher speed limit and a faster overall drive, and I think I prefer this route.

    As I've asked in my other posts, is there anything we should particularly try to see on either of these roads?

    I'm tempted to say that we should stop at the Valley of Fire -- my brother and sister-in-law raved about it -- but I know we won't. By the time we're that close to done with this two-day straight drive, I suspect we'll all be ready to be finished with it! Also, we'll have visited a number of other parks with similar geography, and I think we'll be skipping this oft-tauted spot.

    Finally -- and I know this question is a long stretch for this board -- I'd like to stop in one of the big, famous scrapbook stores in Utah. Anyone who enjoys this craft knows that it originated in this area, and the stores there are supposed to be Meccas of paper products. My family probably wouldn't put up with more than one stop of this nature, so I want to know which is THE STORE to visit. Any advice?

    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 03-08-2009 at 09:04 PM. Reason: Merged Multiple Threads - Please keep all of your questions about one trip in the same thread

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Do you like Mead?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrsPete View Post
    It looks like a healthy half-day's drive (352 miles), but it's largely through the moutains -- going through Vail and near Breckenridge -- is it an easy drive, or a tough one?
    It's fun, the Interstate highway is rolling and well-designed -- there are really great rest/viewpoints. One of my favorites is just past Glenwood Springs.

    If you are hungry when you reach I-70, 25 miles to the west is Ray's Tavern in Green River -- really, really good burgers. But if you are in a hurry to get east -- the first off-ramp at Grand Junction (just past the bridge) (Business Route 70) has several wineries on it -- and one of them bottles Mead (made from Honey) I always stop when I head through there.

    Buffalo Bill's grave is right near Denver -- even if it is dark when you get there -- the views are great.

    Enjoy the Rockies!


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