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  1. Default summer roadtrip to yellowstone

    Hi everyone, I am planning on taking my 10-year old son on a 4 week camping trip. I was thinking of Yellowstone NP as our destination. Neither of us have ever been out west. Maybe stay a week in Yellowstone if that is not too long? We would also visit The Grand Tetons. Don't know if there is enough to do there for a few days camping? We would like to see Mt. Rushmore, if possible, and take a different route home than we went. Trying to make this fun for him so looking for things he will like along the way. I have visited many websites but would like some personal advise. Maybe see other National Parks along the way. Suggestions on ANY part of this trip will be greatly appreciated. I have already called Yellowstone and there are availabilities in the reservable campgrounds so need to figure this out soon. We will be going second half of July-August. Thanks again everyone.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Let's Get Started

    I'm going to assume that you are starting out from Virginia as you were when you posted last year, and I'm just going to lay out the barest outline of a possible loop trip that would let you see much of what there is to see between there and Yellowstone. I'll describe it going counter-clockwise, but you are free to go either way or to do something completely different, of course. You'd start by heading up to the DC area and then taking I-270 to I-70 through western Maryland to join up with the Pennsylvania and subsequent turnpikes on I-80/I-90 through Chicago and westward on I-90. Highlights of this would be Cuyahoga National park south of Cleveland, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in northwestern Indiana, the Field Museum in Chicago, the Circus Museum in Baraboo WI, and the Corn Palace in Mitchell SD. starting in western South Dakota, there are a ton of venues near I-90 including Badlands National Park, Mt Rushmore, Jewel and Wind Caves, the Crazy Horse monument, and Devils Tower. On the way to Yellowstone via Billings MT stop by at the Little Bighorn National Battlefield.

    After working your way down through Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons start home on US-26 east through northwestern Wyoming and then US-287 through central Wyoming to I-80, Laramie and Cheyenne, a couple of quintessential western towns. Then head south on I-25 with a stop at Rocky Mountain National Park on the way to Denver. Start back out across the plains on I-76 to western Nebraska and I-80 which follows the Platte River and the old Oregon Trail. At Lincoln, take a shortcut on NE-2 to I-29 south to Kansas City. It may not thrill your son, but I really enjoyed the tour of Harry Truman's home in Independence. I-70 will take you on to St. Louis where there are two great museums, the Museum of Westward Expansion under the Arch, and the Museum of Transportation in the southwest suburbs. Finally, I-64 will take you all the way back to central Virginia with possible stops at the Falls of the Ohio and the Louisville Slugger factory in Louisville and Carter Caves State park in eastern Kentucky, and Shenandoah national Park as a last fling before home.


  3. Default

    Unless you're the type who wants to hike EVERY trail, a week is enough for both Yellowstone AND Grand Tetons. (By the way, I like Grand Tetons better.)

    If you want to set up camp just once and stay put, there's a campground in between the two -- I can't remember the name. However, that would mean that you'd have a long drive to . . . well, everything. Personally, I'd move mid-week to be closer to the various activities in the park.

    Are you thinking of THIS SUMMER? If so, you should make reservations yesterday.

    I've just been looking at national park entrance fees (and I'm a little put out over the increases). Be sure you realize that once you've paid $25 to enter Yellowstone, that ALSO allows you to enter Grand Tetons for the week.

    Look into Custer State park for the Mt. Rushmore portion of your trip.

  4. #4


    I was in the Tetons and Yellowstone this summer and had little problem finding a place to pitch my tent. I had pre-booked to stay at Flagg Ranch (the site mentioned by MrsPete) but was driven out on my arrival by huge swarms of bugs which did their best to eat me alive. I would avoid that place like the plague and stay in the parks themselves. You're best off to book in advance if you know your plans but the people on the campgrounds in Yellowstone are uber helpful if you arrive early and will almost certainly find you somewhere if you arrive early enough in the day. It might not be where you want to stay though!

    I loved the Tetons too... at the time I liked them far more than Yellowstone but, looking back, that was probably due to the crowds at the latter. Both are spectacular in their own right

  5. #5


    I am planning on visiting Yellowstone again this May with my boyfriend! I had planned on checking into Cheyenne on our way to the park since there are about 10 gigantic boots that are scattered throughout the city. Also, Cheyenne has geocaching sites-so if your son is interested in treasure hunting, you all may find that fun. There's also the National Glacier Park to the north in Montana that seems really beautiful, but unfortunately I have not been.

  6. Default thanks so much

    thanks for all of the information. AZBuck, took most of your suggestions and started planning my itinerary. Just trying to figure out how much I can comfortably do in 4 weeks. Calculating miles each day to see what we can accomplish. I am making my reservations today for Yellowstone. Thanks again so much, you are a wealth of information

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I would recommend you do no more than 550 miles per day - that would be point-to-point on Interstates and have you in the car for 10 hours. Off the Interstates and/or sightseeing will reduce that.

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