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  1. Default 6 week roadtrip - Colorado, Nebraska, S. Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Nevada, Utah.

    Hi all,

    I wasn't sure how to name this trip since we plan to cover so much in 6 weeks, but I'm hoping from your experience that you'll tell me it's not too much to attempt. We plan to fly out from the UK in mid-September and fly back towards the end of October. From what I've read this means Yellowstone could be less busy than the Summer months, but still ok weatherwise? I've tried to keep the schedule fairly relaxed so it doesn't have the feeling of rushing from one place to the next. I've also tried to incorporate several 'bases' where we stay for 3 or 4 days at a time, so we can concentrate on the sights in an area and not worry about finding places to stay as much. So here goes :

    Day 1 - Fly from London to Denver direct. Pick up car and stay near airport.
    Day 2 - To Idaho Springs, CO. See Boulder Mountain Park, Golden Gate Canyon SP.
    Day 3 - To Estes Park, CO. See Rocky Mountain NP.
    Day 4 - To Cheyenne, WY. See Cheyenne.
    Day 5 - To Scottsbluff, NE. See Scotts Bluff NM, Chimney Rock National Historic Site.
    Day 6 - To Chadron, NE. See Agate Fossil Beds NM
    Day 7-9 - Rapid City, SD. See Buffalo Gap National Grassland, Badlands NP, Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, Wind Cave NP, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse memorial.
    Day 10 - To Spearfish, SD. See Jewel Cave NM, Deadwood.
    Day 11 - To Hardin, MT. See Devil's Tower NM.
    Day 12 - To Powell, WY. See Little Bighorn Battlefield NM.
    Day 13-15 - To West Yellowstone, MT. See Yellowstone NP.
    Day 16-18 - To Jackson, WY. See Grand Teton NP.
    Day 19 - To Ogden, UT. See Fossil Butte NM.
    Day 20 - To Provo, UT. See Antelope Island SP.
    Day 21-23 - Las Vegas, NV. Mid holiday relaxation - Venetian or Palazzo.
    Day 24 - To Mesquite, NV. See Valley of Fire SP.
    Day 25-28 - To Kanab, UT. See Zion NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Moqui Cave, Grand Staircase Escalante NM.
    Day 29 - To Page, AZ. See Grand Canyon North Rim.
    Day 30 - To Mexican Hat, UT. See Monument Valley.
    Day 31 - To Blanding, UT. See Valley of the Gods, Natural Bridges NM, Moki Dugway.
    Day 32 - To Cortez, CO. Mesa Verde NP, Canyons of the Ancients NM.
    Day 33-36 - To Moab, UT. See La Sal Mountain drive, Dead Horse Point SP, Canyonlands NP,
    Arches NP.
    Day 37 - To Grand Junction, CO. See Colorado NM.
    Day 38 - To Aspen, CO. See Colorado NM, Aspen.
    Day 39 - To Canon City, CO. See Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, Skyline Drive.
    Day 40-41 - To Colorado Springs, CO. See Seven Falls, High Drive, Pikes Peak NP, Garden of the Gods.
    Day 41-43 - To Denver, CO. See Denver and fly back to London.

    And that's it! We only plan to book motels for the first night in Denver and the 6 nights in West Yellowstone and Jackson ahead of time. I'm hoping we'll be fine to book the rest on the road via the internet or just by rocking up on the day. I'd love to hear from anyone who has any advice about where we plan to go, any other possible sights on the way and also any pitfalls to be aware of.

    Thanks in advance. Adam.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default So much to see, so little time.

    Hi Adam, and Welcome back.

    Phew! I got tired travelling your route. Great trip, so much to see. A couple of things jumped out at me.

    Day 32, Mesa Verda alone is worth more than a day. You could be cutting yourself short if you want to do more on that day. To really appreciate Mesa Verda, you need to do at least one, but preferably two of the rangers' guided tours. It helps you get an understanding of how those early occupants of the area lived, and just what a significant site this is in North American History. Besides, the most significant sites are not accessible, other than on the tours. The tours fill up fast. I would call them before hand to book into them.

    Day 39, Royal Gorge Bridge. There is also the train which goes in the gorge along the Arkansas River. Great trip, with infomative commentary. You can actually get a Bridge Train combo ticket.

    It would be very interesting if you could keep some notes, take some photos and give us a report of how the trip goes in our RoadTrip Field Reports Forum. This can be done while you are on your trip, or at the end of the trip. I for one would look forward to reading it. I know for a fact that there are others who would, as well. Not to mention the great benefit it will be to future roadtrippers.


  3. Default

    Thanks for the reply Lifey.

    That's what I'm afraid of...if it tires you out just reading it, I'm concerned it's too much to do for real!!! I'll definitely heed your advice about Mesa Verde...funnily enough, I only added it as a late addition after realising how close it was to the Moab to Kayenta route. I realise there might be some parts of the trip that I might have to alter or miss out completely, but I'm sure that's normal for any trip of this size and length.

    As for a trip report, I'll have the laptop with me and fully intend to keep a log of everything we encounter with plenty of photos, so yes I'll definitely put something together for sure!!

    Again, thanks for the interest in our forthcoming trip!!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Less or More?

    Quote Originally Posted by AdamUK View Post
    That's what I'm afraid of...if it tires you out just reading it, I'm concerned it's too much to do for real!!!
    Adam, That is the dilemna we all face, and it is what keeps us coming back again and again.

    Ask yourself what the object of the trip is. Do you want to hit as many places as you can, to be able say that you have been there? Or do you want to go home with memories of fewer places which may have given you greater experiences. Both are legitimate, but only you can decide which is right for you.

    Sometimes less is more.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default For your consideration

    Having had a second look, here are a couple of suggestions for your consideration.

    Day 10 - To Spearfish, SD. See Jewel Cave NM, Deadwood.
    Day 11 - To Hardin, MT. See Devil's Tower NM.
    Day 12 - To Powell, WY. See Little Bighorn Battlefield NM.
    Day 13-15 - To West Yellowstone, MT. See Yellowstone NP.
    It is not completely clear why you chose Hardin and Powell as destinations. But if there are no particular reasons, may I suggest...

    Day 11 - From Spearfish you could take I-90 to exit 185 and then take route 24 (Devil's Tower) back to Belle Fourche (the Centre of the Nation). Then 212 to Little Bighorn Battlefield, and onto Hardin. The distance is much shorter than I-90, though it being a single lane road, will take about the same time, and you will see some of rural MT.

    Day 12 - Go south on I-90 to Ranchester WY (exit 9) then take route 14 and alt 14 over Bighorn Mts. A beautiful area full of wildlife. This is where I had a moose stand right in front of my vehicle, and would not move. (Medicine Wheel Nat. Hist. Site.) And Bighorn Canyon. If Powell is of no special significance, may I suggest you go north on 310, back to 212.

    Day 13 - Head towards West Yellowstone via the Beartooth Highway (212), Beartooth Pass and through Yellowstone NP. Not a speedy trip, but a most spectacular drive you will not quickly forget. Be sure to stop at the Top of the World Store. And you will be entering the NP through a less visited corridor. (Check beforehand that an early snowstorm has not closed Beartooth Pass.)

    [Am reliving the trip as I type. lol]


  6. Default

    Thanks for that Lifey. I've just been looking at pictures and video of the Beartooth Highway and it looks simply amazing, so that's definitely the route we'll take across to Yellowstone!! Probably look at staying overnight at Red Lodge beforehand and check the conditions before travelling as advised. Thanks very much again for your advice!!!

  7. #7


    Wow! Your itinerary sounds fantastic!!! We are planning a roadtrip this September that encompasses just a portion of what you have planned. We are driving from Chicago and heading into South Dakota (Mt. Rushmore, Badlands, Custer Park, Deadwood and a few other places). As of about 30 minutes ago I found some great information on Beartooth Highway as well, so we may have to try to add that to our trip.

    Adam, I hope you have a fantastic time!

    I only have one question......what type of weather can we typically expect the 2nd week of September? Shorts and tshirts, or sweatshirts and jeans? And fall foliage? Is this something we can look forward to during this time? I'd assume this info would be helpful to AdamUK as well.

    Thanks so much!!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Unpredictable

    At atltitudes you have to be ready to expect anything. Dressing in layers is always the best idea.

    I have been in Yellowstone in May, and worn short sleeves and shorts, and another visit in July was definitely sweats and jeans.

  9. Default

    Thanks xpreciousp, I can't express how much I am looking forward to this trip. Just hope i'm not building it up too much in my head!!!

    Certainly we'll be packing for all eventualities weather-wise. A few years back we drove from 103F in Corona, CA when the wildfires were raging, then a day later we were crossing the Sonora Pass north of Yosemite and it was 47F with 10ft banks of snow by the roadside, so we're well aware of how changeable and diverse the weather can be. In fact, that's always a good game to play on a roadtrip - guessing what the lowest/highest temperature will be when crossing a mountain range or through somewhere like Death Valley. I never cease to be amazed how much it can fluctuate based on height above sea-level!

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