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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    AUCKLAND, New Zealand
    Posts
    23

    Default Yellowstone National Park, WY, and nearby states

    My wife and I are planning a circuit through Wyoming, Montana, S Dakota, Colorado, and Arizona in May 2012. Our initial thoughts are to fly in to Salt Lake City and then by road to Jackson Hole, Yellowstone, Cody, Billings, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Custer, Mt Rushmore, Fort Laramie, Denver, Royal Gorge Bridge and Park , Pagosa Springs, Southern Ute Cultural Center , MYellowstone National Park esa Verde National Park (U.S. National Park Service), Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, AZ, Rainbow Bridge National Monument , then drive to Sedona for a few days, depart from Phoenix.
    Any suggestions on what to fit in on the basic loop above would be appreciated.
    As background, we visited the Grand Canyon (west and south rims) and Sedona (Pink Jeep Tours are great) this year and found the area fantastic. We are very interested in American Indian history and the founding of the USA, natural and man made wonders, and photography. Followed a tip from postings on this site we called in at Julian CA in April this year, on our way to San Diego...and yes, the Julian Pie Company was well worth a visit.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    How much time are you planning to spend on the road?

    A couple suggestions that immediately stand out:

    First, doing a complete loop in and out of SLC, rather than ending in Phoenix will likely be much cheaper both for car rental and airfare.

    You'd also probably be best off reversing your trip, so that you do Yellowstone near the end of your trip. May is still borderline winter, and the longer you can wait, the more services and more parts of the park that will be accessable.

    Personally, I'd skip royal gorge bridge/park. IMHO, one of the worst, most insanely overpriced tourist traps I have ever been too. The area is decently scenic, but the bridge was truely built just to lure in tourists. There are some train tours, and other ways to enjoy the area that I'd at least look at if seeing the area is a priority.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default On the other hand....

    I am not much into touristy sites, much prefer the natural wonders. But on my last trip I enjoyed a trip on the Royal Gorge Train and a visit to the bridge, and all the other attractions. I had a train/bridge combo ticket, which was good for a week. Did the train journey one day, and spent another on the bridge, going down the mountainside rail into the gorge, the bus tour, the threatre and the wildlife park and more.

    Doing both in one day you'd have to take the early train. I took the middle of the day train. It is a 12 mile journey each way, and takes around two hours. You can also have lunch on the train.

    And the commentary on the train was most informative, not just about the train, but the history of the area. It may not be for everyone, but I'd say, go and enjoy it.

    The springs at Pagosa Springs are something not to be missed. But I don't see the Great Sandunes NP - near Alamosa - on your list. Another favourite of mine. As is route 160 west from there.

    May 2012? Might see on you on the road!

    Lifey

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    AUCKLAND, New Zealand
    Posts
    23

    Default

    Kia Ora (Hi)
    Thank you guys. We had planned on about two weeks which is probably a bit short.
    Michael, we will reverse the direction as you suggested. I was wondering about how early in the season it was as accommodation was looking difficult to book!
    Lifey, thanks for lead on "Great Sandunes" now on our wish list. I chose Pagosa Springs on Google maps because it was on the way....good to have a recommendation.
    We may be being over ambitious with only 2 weeks so mag have to settle for less!
    Any thoughts on a vehicle for this trip? Any off road recommendations. I was thinking of hooning it up with a Mustang but not if we need 4WD. My son tells me I am too old for a Mustang!
    Cheers, Don

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Only for cheese and wine!

    Quote Originally Posted by DonW View Post
    My son tells me I am too old for a Mustang!
    Don, tell your son, that since you are neither a cheese, nor a wine, age is irrelevant!

    My kids have been telling me for a long time that I am too old for this and that. I think they have now given up, and reconciled themselves that their mother has lost her marbles. lol

    If you are renting a vehicle, there is no point in renting a 4wd, as you will find that in the small print of the contract it is likely to state that you will not be able to take it on unsurfaced roads.

    Hope it is a nice day at the Sand Dunes. You can hike to the top. Quite a feat in sand, but a good feeling. First though, you have to wade through the creek.



    May is a wonderful time to visit Yellowstone. My last visit there was in late May, and there was lots of wildlife with young by their side. In one case, a moose just hours old.

    Lifey
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 07-01-2011 at 08:28 PM.

  6. Default

    I agree with Midwest Michael that reversing your trip would be wise if you are coming early to mid May. If it's at the very end of May you might be alright with Yellowstone first...but the weather could still be pretty iffy and you could get some snow.

    What ever you do, please avoid Lake Powell (Glen Canyon National Recreational Area over our Memorial Day weekend which will start late afternoon on Friday, May 25th and will go though Monday, May 28, 2012.

    Two weeks will make it hard to spend much time in each location but please try to plan on at least 2 - 3 days for Yellowstone and at least one full day at Mesa Verde.

    Utahtea

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default A good example

    Quote Originally Posted by Utahtea View Post
    ... try to plan on at least 2 - 3 days for Yellowstone and at least one full day at Mesa Verde.
    This is a perfect example why we encourage people to design their own trips, to their own likings. If I were to give recommendations, as in this quote, I would probably recommend roughly the opposite. That's not to say it is not a good recommendation. But then, neither would the opposite be. Everyone has their favourite places, and the length of time they like spend there.

    On Memorial weekend, almost all places are packed. I was caught out some years ago, at probably the worst of all, the Grand Canyon South Rim. Have since made sure I am nowhere near a NP or tourist attraction, over that weekend.

    Enjoy the planning.

    Lifey

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    AUCKLAND, New Zealand
    Posts
    23

    Default Memorial Day

    Good advise thanks. Jeanne and I ended up at Yosemite on Earth Day in 2010. What a traffic jam!!!! At least it was free entry!
    Our planned trip commences Sat. May 12th after a conference in Indianapolis May 7-9

    Cheers, Don

  9. #9

    Default Don't forget Crazy Horse Memorial

    You will be very close to Crazy Horse Memorial, there is a cultural center there and it is very interesting,it is at Black Hills, South Dakota if you think Mount Rushmore is big, wait uintil you see Crazy Horse Memorial.
    Monty

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    AUCKLAND, New Zealand
    Posts
    23

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by monty View Post
    You will be very close to Crazy Horse Memorial, there is a cultural center there and it is very interesting,it is at Black Hills, South Dakota if you think Mount Rushmore is big, wait uintil you see Crazy Horse Memorial.
    Monty
    Wow, what a project! Just cheched out their website
    I guess most of us will mot see it completed.
    This is a MUST for us.

    Don
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 07-02-2011 at 08:14 PM. Reason: fixed broken link

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