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  1. Default best way to get from Chicago to LA stopping by badlands

    Hi, I'm a 25yo on my first roadtrip after law school and am driving my car back to LA. My two younger siblings are flying out to drive with me, and I want to show them the Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, and go through Custer Park

    I've heard the fastest way is to go from I80 to I15, but the Badlands are on I90.

    (1) Therefore, from Chicago should I just travel on I-94 to I-90 until I hit the Badlands and then go south on I-25 to get on I-80?
    Should I start on I-88, then go to I-80, north on I-29 to hit I-90 in Sioux Falls, SD just before the badlands?

    Also, speed is a bit of a factor because we don't want to drive more than 500 miles a day and want to spend 1 day in Vegas and 1 day in the Badlands and make it to LA in 6 days.

    (2) After SD, what is the fastest way to get back on I-80 from the tiny highway 16A that goes through Custer Park?

    Should I take 16A up to I-90 and then I-25 south?
    Should I stick to the smaller highways and take 16A to 85 and then meet up with I-25 south to get back on I-80?

    Hopefully someone can shed some light on this. Thanks so much!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Barely

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    If you're only going to cover 500 miles a day (and we only recommend about 550 at most anyway) then it's a solid 4½ days from Chicago to Los Angeles by way of the Badlands. So that only leaves you a day and a half to spend in the parks of South Dakota and in Las Vegas. If you can live with that, then your best bet is to just take I-90 west to the Badlands. After visiting Custer State Park, head south on US-385 to Pringle, SD and pick up SD-89 to US-18 west. Follow that to I-25 north to Casper. At Casper, use WY-220/US-287 to cut over to Rawlins and I-80 west. Another short cut-off on US-50/US-189 around the east of Salt Lake City will bring you to I-15.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Leaving Chicago

    I agree with what Buck said, but to elaborate the start a bit, if you are starting from Chicago itself, then you won't want I-88 or I-94, you'll want to just take I-90 through Rockford and all the way onto South Dakota. I-94 through Milwaukee would only make sense if you are starting in Lake County or elsewhere in the far northern Suburbs, and you'd only want I-80 if you were starting far out in the southwest suburbs like Joliet.

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