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  1. Default Western MA to Denver (3 week trip)

    I recently got a new job in Denver, CO and I am planning a road trip out there from my current residence in Western, MA. The plan is to head out to Denver with my buddy and taking about two weeks to get there and then dropping off stuff and picking up my brother (who lives in Denver) and heading down to the Grand Canyon.

    The rough draft itinerary looks like:

    Day 1 - Drive to Niagara Falls
    Day 2 - Spend a day in Niagara Falls and then drive to Cleveland
    Day 3 - Spend the day in Cleveland
    Day 4 - Drive to Milwaukee
    Day 5 - Leave Milwaukee and head towards South Dakota - preferably staying somewhere halfway in between(central Iowa?)
    Day 6 - Complete drive to Badlands
    Day 7 - Explore Badlands
    Day 8 - Explore Badlands
    Day 9 - Drive to Grand Teton
    Day 10 - Explore Grand Teton
    Day 11 - Explore Grand Teton
    Day 12 - Drive to Denver
    Day 13 - Drive to Canyonlands
    Day 14 - Explore Canyonlands
    Day 15 - Drive to Grand Canyon
    Day 16 - Explore Grand Canyon
    Day 17 - Explore Grand Canyon
    Day 18 - Drive to Vegas (stop at Hoover Dam on the way)
    Day 19 - Vegas
    Day 20 - Head back to Denver

    We have the big ticket items on our list such as Mt. Rushmore, Old Faithful, Grand Canyon, etc. What I'm really looking for is advice on some off the beaten path activities or sights along that route, as well as must see sights at the national parks. I was also looking for advice on a place to stay and things to see between Milwaukee and the Badlands. I was also looking for advice on campgrounds around Niagara falls. I haven't been able to get a good feel about any of the sights there and we would prefer to stay on the Ontario side. Thanks in advance for your thoughts and contributions.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    Do you and your buddy both have passports? You will need them to go into Canada and come back to the US.

    If you take the most direct route between MKE and the Badlands, you won't be going through Iowa. I-94 to I-90 will take you through southern MN then into SD. Without sightseeing stops, that's a 1.5 day drive so you could essentially stop anywhere between LaCrosse and Mitchell. Mitchell has the Corn Palace, if this interests you.

  3. Default

    Yeah we both have passports. I've never heard of the Corn Palace, I'll have to look into it. Thanks for the advice.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default A Couple of Sore Spots Stick Out

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    In what otherwise looks like a good plan, there are two things that caught my eye as possible problems. The first is the inclusion of the Grand Tetons in this trip. You certainly have the time for it, but it is really off your general line of march. And why go that far out of your way and skip Yellowstone which is right next door. Perhaps a better alternative would be to come down through western Nebraska and check out some of the Oregon Trail sites along the Platte River, and then spend some time in Rocky Mountain National Park. I do realize that you'll be living in Denver and RMNP will be in your backyard, but then Grand Teton and Yellowstone will be within a day's drive as well.

    The other problem is your intention to drive from Las Vegas to Denver in a day. That's 750 miles, far more than is safe to drive in a day, especially at the end of a two week adventure where both your body and your mind are going to be worn out and just looking for a rest. You could easily solve both problems by taking a bit of the two days you would need for the drive to the Grand Tetons and back to Denver and instead use at least another half day of that time to give you more time to get 'home' to Denver.

    Your other concerns are all relatively minor by comparison. There are things to see and do in every state and along every Interstate. For camping in the Niagara area, check out Four Mile Creek State Park on the US side or Rock Point Provincial Park on the Canadian side.


  5. Default

    Awesome. Thanks for the great advice. I love the site by the way.

    When making the itinerary I realized that Western Wyoming was quite a haul and way out of the way, but I heard so many good things that I was just really anxious to try to make it on this trip. I chose Grand Teton based on advice from a colleague that has done both Grand Teton and Yellowstone and preferred Grand Teton. Also, when I looked into camping at Yellowstone all of the sites were already booked. Upon hearing your advice though I think that may make more sense to do RMNP and save Yellowstone/Grand Teton for a long weekend.

    We are actually planning on taking two days to drive back from Vegas and I just neglected to mention that in the itinerary.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California

    Default Spectacular Scenery Alert!

    On your Cleveland to Milwaukee day, you'll want to time it carefully to avoid Chicago afternoon rush hour. Chicago traffic at any time of the day isn't a lot of fun, but at rush hour, nobody's moving (much less rushing). Of course, if this is a Saturday or Sunday on your trip, this might be a moot point.

    On the two day return to Denver, if you take I-15 up to I-70, you will pass through some gorgeous scenery. First is the San Rafael Swell in Utah (between Salina and Green River), and then Glenwood Canyon and the "hanging freeway" just west of Denver. BTW, Green River UT would be a great place to stay overnight. It's 410 miles from Las Vegas, giving you a nice 340 miles drive the next day. Green River doesn't have a huge amount of motels to choose from -- a Best Western and a couple of others. The Westwind Cafe is usually a decent place for food, or at least, it has been for us on quite a few trips through Green River.


  7. Default

    Thank you Donna for the advice and that return trip sounds phenomenal.

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