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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default 2 Week Loop Yellowstone, Utah, Texas

    So I've decided I'm long past overdue for a big roadtrip out west so I decided to start sketching out an idea.

    Here's the basic outline:

    Long story short, it would probably be one night at each location except Yellowstone where I'm thinking 3 nights, and Moab where I'm thinking 2.

    I'd be leaving on a Thursday in mid July, returning home on Saturday 2 weeks later, but with the ability to spill over into Sunday.

    Just some general thoughts:
    Yellowstone is a priority, with a trip into Idaho, which is one of 4 states I need to cross off.
    Need to stop in Durango, to see the wife's college town.
    I'd like to catch a baseball game in Texas on the Thursday night before heading home.
    Possibly coming back through Tucson instead of Northern Arizona, to catch up with some old friends.
    Giving some consideration to Bryce/Zion/Vegas.

    Anyway, I'm really just at the thinking out loud stage. I don't have any specific questions, but certainly jump in if something jumps out to you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    If you need to check off Idaho, why not go through Driggs and see the concrete potato? I just submitted it as a RA. If you want some good BBQ in Durango, the Serious Texas BBQ is across the street (highway) from the Super 8. You taking the Beartooth into Yellowstone? Any idea where you are going to stay in or around Yellowstone? I can recommend a great little motel in West Yellowstone - the Evergreen. They take online reservations.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Random Possibilities

    Since you're in the preliminary planning phases, just a few places within reach of your current route that I've enjoyed: Little Bighorn National Battlefield, Great Salt Lake, Mesa Verde, Museum of Northern Arizona, Lowell Observatory, Petroglyph National Monument, Monahans Sand Hills, Nauvoo. If your route ends up coming south through Tucson, let me know and I'll have plenty more,

    AZBuck

  4. #4

    Default What glc said.........

    If you're coming off of I-90 west of Billings and starting over on US 212, by all means have a look at staying on US 212 past Red Lodge, MT, where it becomes the Beartooth Highway. That brings you into Yellowstone's Northeast entrance near Cooke City, and entrance is through the lush and wildlife-filled Lamar Valley. The Lamar Valley is rather less crowded then the main loop in Yellowstone.

    Foy

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default some certainty

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    You taking the Beartooth into Yellowstone? Any idea where you are going to stay in or around Yellowstone?
    I'd say taking Beartooth would be a near certainty.

    Where I'm going to stay is actually a pretty big question. I will be tent camping, that's the one thing I know, but where to camp is probably one of my biggest questions at this point.

    I like the Lamar Valley idea. I just took a look and the campgrounds in the valley seem about perfect, except that they don't take reservations. While it is rare when I reserve a site, I'm thinking that since I'd be arriving relatively late on a Saturday, a reservation is probably a must.

    I'm thinking Canyon Campground might be the best bet, although the tent only sites are already booked, so it would have to be a tent/rv site. Otherwise Bridge Bay seem like it has plenty of opening farther down by the lake.

    If your route ends up coming south through Tucson, let me know and I'll have plenty more,
    Little Bighorn is a likely stop, and Mesa Verde will almost certainly be be included too (my wife studied Anthropology in Durango, so I'm sure she'll want to show it off.). I 'll have to take a look at your other ideas. We used to live in Tucson, so if we go that way it will likely be to say high to some old friends, and maybe take a quick stop at the desert museum or sabino canyon. Of course, I'll have my SUV and I always wanted to drive up the backside of Mt. Lemmon, but I never had a suitable car when I lived there....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Million dollar opportunity.

    You have most likely driven it before as well, but the 'Million Dollar Highway' would still jump out at me if I were given another opportunity to drive it between Moab to Durango.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Back on Track

    After several weeks of not knowing, if or when this trip would happen, it finally looks like things are now actually a go.

    Here's the current plan, leaving in mid-july and tent camping most every night:

    Day 1 (Wednesday) - Leave home for Lake Itasca, Minnesota.
    Day 2 - Drive across ND, brief stop at Teddy Roosevelt NP, camp somewhere in Western Montana.
    Day 3 - Drive to Yellowstone via Little Bighorn and the Beartooth Highway.
    Days 4,5 -Explore Yellowstone
    Day 6 - Tetons
    Day 7 - Tetons to Moab
    Days 8,9 - Arches, Canyonlands
    Day 9 - Moab to Monument Valley via Moki
    Day 10 - Monument Valley to Durango Area, possibly via Canyon de Chelly
    Days 11,12 - Durango Area - Mesa Verde, Million Dollar Highway, rafting trip
    Day 13 - Durango to Carlsbad
    Day 14 Carlsbad to Arlington TX (Rangers game)
    Days 15,16 Drive home
    Day 17 Recovery!

    Question that I'm still working on:
    Camping in/near Yellowstone. Since we'll be in Yellowstone on a weekend, everything is booked up in the park (surprisingly, most places are still available midweek). Anyone have any recommendations for best places in the nearby national forests? It looks like there are a few pretty close to the park along US-14 heading towards Cody.

    Still working out exactly how much to do and how to work out the timing in the Moab/MV/Durango sections. Certainly, the so much to do, so little time aspect playing a role here.

    Of course, other suggestions are always welcome.

  8. Default

    Camping in/near Yellowstone. Since we'll be in Yellowstone on a weekend, everything is booked up in the park (surprisingly, most places are still available midweek). Anyone have any recommendations for best places in the nearby national forests? It looks like there are a few pretty close to the park along US-14 heading towards Cody.
    I'd keep checking & checking & checking for cancellations in Yellowstone. Even while on the road, I'd call! There's no fee to cancel camping in Yellowstone as long as you do it either a day or two (forgot which) before your date so people will cancel at the last minute!

    We haven't camped in the national forest campgrounds just outside the park, but my best guess would be that on a weekend, they will book early just like the park. Since you are coming in on the Beartooth Highway, you will have to go way out of your way to check to see if there is any camping on the road to Cody. If you can't get in on a cancellation, you might find something on the Beartooth Highway coming in, I'd grab it and then the next morning move VERY early to a first come, first serve campground in Yellowstone. There is a private campground in Red Lodge that in a forest setting and pretty nice if you have to resort to that.

    Utahtea

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Streets & Trips shows a few private and national forest campgrounds on the way in the Beartooth.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default San Juan skyway.

    Still working out exactly how much to do and how to work out the timing in the Moab/MV/Durango sections.
    If you visited Mesa Verde from MV you could then drive the 'Skyway' up through Dolores to Telluride to Ridgway and then make your way back down the 'Million dollar highway' to Durango making a circular drive. Didn't stay there, but I think there is tent camping available at Ridgway state park. In Ouray there is 4J+1+1 RV park that I think has tent sites by the river.

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