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  1. Default Road Trip from Portland to Yellowstone Area with Two Teen Boys

    We are planning a road trip in late July with our 15 year old son and one of his friends. We will likely drive straight through to Yellowstone by way of Spokane, through No. Idaho into Montana. We currently have reservations in Gardiner, MT for a few days of exploring Yellowstone and a then a couple days in Cody, WY. Heading home we will probably go south through the Tetons and Jackson, WY and then make our way back to OR through Southern, ID and Boise.

    We are late in planning this so I know reservations will be hard to come by (which is why I just grabbed what I could at the locations above) but what I would love to get suggestions of what we might do in/around the above areas or along our route that will be of interest and fun for the two teen boys. They will appreciate Yellowstone and all the sightseeing but we want to throw in some "fun teen stuff" as well to keep them interested. Water parks, amusement parks, day raft trips, ghost towns, etc. I would also love recommendations for some great, local places to visit that may not necessarily be listed in the guidebooks - local hole-in-the-wall restaurants, attractions, strange sights, etc.

    Also any "must sees" and "don't bothers"??


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Let's start by saying that trying to drive from Portland to Yellowstone/Gardiner "straight through" is an incredibly bad idea. At nearly 850 miles, that's going to take you a minimum of 15 hours once you factor in just the basic stops like fuel, food, etc. As a one day trip with multiple drivers, you might be able to make it safely, but it is going to wipe you and your family out, and will make it difficult for anyone to enjoy the trip for a couple days afterwards. It would be much better to plan a more reasonable first day, aiming for someplace like Missoula, where you would have a good 10 hours on the road, but could also stop or two and enjoy the drive. At the absolute farthest, I'd look to stop at Butte.

    As far as water parks and amusement parks, Yellowstone and nature is the attraction of the area, and I'm not aware of any sort of man-made parks like you are talking about. That said, there are lots of ways to enjoy that nature beyond siteseeing. There are several whitewater outfits in the area. We loved our rafting trip on the Snake based out of Jackson, but there are also outfitters for the Yellowstone River in Gardiner. You could also look at horseback trips, and there are some places both in Yellowstone and the Tetons where you can do some swimming.

    Make sure to check out the RTA Map Center and other parts of this site for specific ideas about places and ideas for things to do both around Yellowstone, and for your trip both there and back.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Straight Through?

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I hope that when you say that you will "drive straight through to Yellowstone by way of Spokane", that you don't really mean that you plan to do it all in one sitting. That's over 800 miles and will take over 14 hours even using all Interstate-quality highways once you factor in normal stops for food, fuel, bathroom breaks and the like. You really need to plan on two days for the drive to Yellowstone with an overnight anywhere between Spokane and Missoula. The same applies for the drive home, where you should plan on stopping somewhere between Boise and Baker City.

    If you give yourself that two days in each direction, then you'll have the time to make some amazing off-the-wall stops on both the outbound and inbound legs. On the way to Yellowstone, look at possible stops at the WWI memorial outside of Maryville WA which is modeled on Stonehenge and Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site outside of Deer Lodge MT. On the way home, Bruneau Sand Dunes and Bruneau Canyon in southwestern Idaho are both definitely worth a stop, as is Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, And if that sort of history appeals to you, and you don't mind a modest detour, then the Experimental Breeder Reactor #1 (EBR-1) is open to the public as part of a National Historic Landmark between Idaho Falls and Butte City.

    Within Yellowstone itself, be sure to get to some of the thermal springs, such as Grand Prismatic Spring and Fountain Paint Pot, that support some unique and colorful forms of life. And by all means, sign up for any and all (free!) ranger-led talks and hikes.


  4. Default

    Good information, thank you!

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