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  1. Default Wisconsin to Yellowstone

    Hello - another newbie here. I am planning a road trip with my 10year old daughter and 80 year old Mom to Yellowstone next June 2010. We will be starting from west Madison Wisconsin and would like to hit Jackson Hole and Grand Tetons also along the way unless it seems like too much for one trip. We have a good amount of time over 10 days.

    Anyone have any ideas? I would love to hear them

    Thanks, Diana
    Last edited by dihause; 09-01-2009 at 10:27 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default within reason

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Its always good advice to make lots of short and frequent stops, but that is even going to be more true when traveling with an 80 year old and a 10 year old. I think you'll want at least 3 days to make the trip each direction, although you could easily take more time, especially if you spent some time at places like the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, or other parts of the Black Hills.

    Personally, I'd also look at traveling a different route each direction. I-90 is the obvious choice one way, but going the other way, you could either take I-94 across North Dakota or go down to I-80, take that across Nebraska and Iowa, cutting between Iowa City and Madison on US-151.

  3. #3


    We drove from Green Bay after a family reunion to Yellowstone on I94 then to Colorado and then home on I80. I agree with Midwest Michael to take one route out and another back. On I94 you will drive through N. Dakota which is sort of desolate but interesting topography west of the Missouri river. Bismark has Lewis and Clark north of there. West of Bismark the Badlands start heading into Theodore Roosevelt NP and Medora ND. Then Montana. You'll drive past Little Bighorn and Pompei's Pillar (significant Lewis and Clark site). We stayed in Bismark one night and then Red Lodge Montana. From there you can drive the Bear Tooth Highway, high elevations, to Cooke City and enter Yellowstone through the Northeast entrance. It's a great drive.

  4. #4


    I just traveled this route back to Madison a few months ago, and I would consider to include these stops in your trip:

    -Mammoth Site, Hot Springs, SD - I think a 10 year old would love to see all the bones.
    -Crazy Horse Memorial, Crazy Horse, SD -
    -Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Keystone, SD -
    -Wall Drug Store, Wall, SD - This is another place for a 10 year old to love, especially getting to ride a Jackalope.
    -Corn Palace, Mitchell, SD -
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 09-07-2009 at 11:19 AM. Reason: Preferred URL format herein

  5. Default

    Wow, thanks for the great info. How many days did it take you to get to Madison with all these stops? Any good/bad motels? Thanks!

  6. #6


    I'm in the process of writing up our three week road trip, but I'll give you a short preview of your section:

    We stayed the night in West Yellowstone and woke up early to take in Yellowstone in just one day (which is pretty impossible, but we enjoyed our full day). When we entered the traffic was terrible, stop and go, stop and go, but, a half hour in, we were able to see why the traffic was so bad. Thousands, and I mean thousands of buffalo were being herded and moved throughout the park. Some of them wanted to go back, so they kept walking accross the road, switching sides, and we were literally 3 feet away from buffalo and some points. We took the route in to see the paint pots, old faithful, geyser basin on lake yellowstone, sulphur culdron, and finally upper and lower yellowstone falls. We drove the beautiful N Fork Hwy 14 out, which went down huge hills, traveled through a state forest and land preserces, seeing antelope, buffalo and moose. We decided to drive late into the night to get to Cody to stay for the night. Since this was towards the end of our trip, we had pretty much just been staying in America's Best Value Inn due to its cheaper price, wireless internet, breakfast, and sometimes a pool or hottub. They are also friendly enough that if there is a problem with your room, they will move you to a better room with a fridge (we had a couple issues with non-smoking rooms actually smelling like smoke).

    The next day it was off to Mammoth Site, Crazy Horse and Mt Rushmore. Mammoth site was something so interesting that I could not believe I never heard of it before. It is the only dig site that actually keeps the majority of the bones where they were naturally found. It is also an active dig site as well. We stopped to see Crazy Horse, as I had not seen it for many years and wanted to know if anything had changed. It barely did, but it was still amazing to see, as it is soooo large in scale. Mt Rushmore we simply drove by, as we were upset to find out our National Park pass was not accepted there, as they charge a parking fee, rather than an entrance fee. We then stayed the night in Rapid City.

    We slept in late and drove to Wall, SD and stayed the night. We woke up early to check out Wall Drug. Soooo much had changed since I was there over 10 years ago. It is much more impressive. We then drove to the Corn Palace, and decided to take a long long long trip straight home to Madison, rather than staying another night. So, it was basically four nights total, but this was the end of our three week trip, so we were used to the daily driving already.

  7. Default

    Thank you very much for sharing your itinerary. All this help and advice is making me feel much more confident about the trip. I'm a Hawaii-raised girl and we pretty much never got off the "rock" so it's a big step for me! All that in just 4 days - very impressive!


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