My fiancÚ and I just graduated from college and have a few weeks before we both start work. Long story short, we have about a 10 day window starting Wednesday 6-22 until Friday 7-1 during which we would like to take a road trip. This is totally last minute, which is why I would love to hear suggestions for the trip.
Though we are open to any and ALL ideas, here are the bare bones plans that we just brainstormed:
We both enjoy the outdoors and decided we wanted to go through the Rocky Mountains, including Denver, the Tetons, and Yellowstone. While we love the Great Plains, we want to put almost all of the emphasis on these areas, so we were thinking of driving straight from Chicago to Denver in one shot (~15 hours) where we will stay with family for a night. From there, we heard great things about the scenic drive through Estes Park westward from which we would head back north to I-80, and catch US 191 into Jackson. The rest of the trip would be a northward journey through the Tetons and Yellowstone. After the 8th day, we would then exit Yellowstone and spend the last 2 days travelling back to Chicago via I-90E with a stop at Mt. Rushmore along the way.
As I said, this is literally something we just brainstormed tonight. The backbone of the trip seems good but the details are where I am lacking. What should we do with the 7 days that we have between Denver and exiting Yellowstone? We have hiking and camping gear including a tent, packs, and a portable gas grill. Everything is fair game but I have no knowledge of that area and wanted to make this as memorable of a trip as possible. Where are some good camping spots along the way? Any good day hikes? One big concern that I had was finding camping spots in Yellowstone- is that even possible to do given how last minute this trip is? If you have any input or suggestions it would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks in advance,