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  1. Default Mountain Scaredy-Cat L.A. to Mt. Rushmore

    I am planning to drive from Los Angeles to Mt. Rushmore (South Dakota) early summer. I know I have to travel through the mountains, but I would like to avoid the scariest for me -- narrow, winding, edge-of-the mountain roads. Apparently, the main route is the I-15 to the I-80, and a number of shorter highway drives. Would appreciate input from anyone familiar with these roads.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The Long and the Short (and the Flat and the Straight) of It

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    As you note, the majority of your trip will be on Interstate Highways. What you need to know is that the Interstate Highway System is all built to standards that preclude narrow roads, single lane roads, steep grades, or sharp curves. They are built to allow large tractor-trailers, the "eighteen wheelers", to drive safely at speed. At no point while driving these superhighways should you experience any of the conditions that frighten you. But you will still get glorious views of the mountains!

    Now, the shortest route does indeed use I-80 to cross the Rockies and then US-287/WY-220 to cross from Rawlins to Casper. Now while I wouldn't classify those last two roads as "clinging to the side of a mountain" since they both follow flat valleys between mountains, they are two lane roads and I can't vouch for every inch of their length. If you want to avoid even these roads what you should do is, instead of using I-80 to cross the Rockies through Utah and Wyoming, take I-70 across through Colorado to Denver. Once you reach Denver the mountains are behind you and you can drive northeast on I-76 out onto the flat-as-a-pancake Great Plains to Sterling CO and use CO-113/NE-19 north to Sydney NE and then US-385/US-18/SD-79 up into the Mount Rushmore/Rapid City area. Going through Colorado rather than Wyoming will only add an hour or so to your 2½ day drive - hardly worth mentioning.


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