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  1. Default Road trip to Western National me plan

    My husband and I would like to plan a road trip to celebrate his retirement. This would start in Louisville Ky with a stop in Racine WI to visit family. Interests are in nature with very easy hikes, small towns, and photography. We would like to see the following...Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Estes Park in the Rockies, then heading down toward Taos and Sante Fe NM. Taking back roads for any scenic portions would be our preference. Toyota Camry will be our ride and we have around a month to do this trip. We would appreciate any feedback on routes to take and other attractions along the way. What time of year would afford us access to all of these places without the threat of snow covered roads or cold temps? At this point we are quite flexible since retirement will be upon us.

    Thanks for any help.

  2. #2

    Default September is just about perfect

    Hello tealady,

    If I could plan a perfect time to make the trip you're looking at, and had a month to do it, I'd be looking to start just after Labor Day, not later than about Sept 15, and would start at Yellowstone in order to enter via the Beartooth Highway from Red Lodge, MT before it closes for the season. Don't dawdle but so much in getting to Estes Park/Rocky Mountain NP, as Trail Ridge Rd tops out at over 12,000' and can close on a short-term basis or for the season at most any time. I drove through RMNP on Monday of this week, and it's amazing how much snow there is above around 10,000'. The temperature at 4:30 pm up top was 60 degrees F under cloudless skies.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Utah ?

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    I would have to agree with Foy, September is a great time to travel as the main crowds for the season have gone. You will find a whole lot of useful info just browsing the forums with the search function, or by scrolling down this page where you will find 'Similar threads', Then you can repeat the sequence as many times as you want to. 'Upstairs' in the green tool bar you will find Lot's of planning resources, including the Map centre where you can create routes and look for attractions.

    Have you considered some of Southern Utah's incredible scenery and National parks ? With the time you have it is something worth considering doing between the Tetons and Colorado. Zion, Bryce canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches and Canyonlands are all possibilities with lovely scenic drives linking them.

  4. Default

    I also agree that after Labor Day is a great time to be in Yellowstone. The park starts closing some of the faculties in September but the major ones are still open.

    I would also encourage you to take a look online of all the national parks in Utah to see if there are any that will interest you. They make for some of the best photographs! Adding Utah might take more than a month to do your trip depending on how much time you devote to each area.


  5. Default

    Thanks for the replies. We did the Utah trip a couple of years ago and hit Zion, Bryce canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches and Canyonlands along with Grand Canyon and Sedona. It was indeed a great trip and thus prompted us to do another similar trip.
    The idea of doing Yellowstone first is interesting, but that would mean we would have to go right past the areas we wanted to see in SD or backtrack to pick them up. Any suggestions on how to best do this and still incorporate all the places we have on our list?
    I have done some looking around on this site, but have found nothing so far to really guide me on a route or timeline.

    Thanks again for the replies so far.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default A difficult choice

    Wanting to hit both SD and NM makes it a bit difficult. But I would definitely hit the jewels in the crown - Yellowstone and RMNP and Trail Ridge Road - first. Though, as mentioned above, the latter can close at anytime. On my various trips, I have found it closed by blizzards in July and August, finally got to drive it on my fifth attempt one September.


  7. Default

    Sounds like you've done Utah!

    If you could leave say a week to 10 days before the Labor Day weekend, then you would have plenty of time to get to Yellowstone after the holiday weekend and do WI and South Dakota first.

    You might check to see what is available as far as lodging in Yellowstone. You might have to plan your dates around that too.


  8. Default

    Thanks for all your help.

    I have since been working on the routing and am considering the return route from Santa Fe to St Louis with some time on Rte 66. Has anyone done this part of Rte 66 and is there anything worth seeing along there?

    Also, does 1 month time seem long enough for a trip of this kind?

    Thanks again.

  9. #9


    when you are at Mount Rushmore you aren't far from Custer Park and
    Crazy Horse Memorial, they are worth seeing,of corse in SD the Badlands are beautiful
    and Wall SD is interesting and at Mitchell SD is the Corn Palace,
    it is interesting and kinda of corny.We saw of herds of Buffalo and other animals
    in Custer Park. Google these places and see what I mean,it's all so beautiful

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tealady View Post
    Thanks for all your help.

    I have since been working on the routing and am considering the return route from Santa Fe to St Louis with some time on Rte 66. Has anyone done this part of Rte 66 and is there anything worth seeing along there?

    Also, does 1 month time seem long enough for a trip of this kind?

    Thanks again.
    If you are doing old Route 66 you will find that it's pretty much gone in a lot of areas, but the major cities along the route usually have some of the old historic buildings. Santa Rosa, NM is one of these towns. Here are some helpful websites.

    I thought you were planning this trip this year but I get the feeling this is for 2011. If it's for next year, then you have plenty of time to plan and get your reservations in and I would consider leaving in mid-August to start your family visit.

    Actually, one month seems kind of rushed to me with all the things you want to do. Places like Yellowstone really can use 3 - 5 days just to scratch the surface because it's such a large park with some many fascinating areas. I'd plan on a minimum of one month for the touring and then add however long you want time to spend on the family visit.


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