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  1. Default Cleveland to Yellowstone

    We're planning going to Yellowstone in the summer. Any ideas of an itinerary would be most helpful. Mt Rushmore is an obvious stop. Badlands? Any other places that would be nice to visit that's near the route (I-90)? It will be me, my wife, and 3 kids, ages 7-13. I have at least 11 days to work with, Friday to the next Monday. That gives us 6 days of driving, 1 day for Rushmore, and 4 days at Yellowstone. But I could push it to 12 or 13 days if I needed to to get the most of the trip.

    For example, looks like we could divide it into 3 days. About 8 hours into Wisconsin, another 8 hours to Rushmore, then 8 more to Yellowstone. How much time should we expect to stay at Rushmore? Can we visit that and do 8 hours of driving in one day?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    If I were making this trip, this is what I'd do.

    Instead of trying to get through Chicago to I-90, I'd stay on I-80 through Iowa. I'd spend the first night in Iowa City/Coralville. Then I'd take I-80 to I-680 to I-29 to Sioux Falls to pick up I-90. I would spend the second night in Mitchell, where you could visit the Corn Palace. It's open from 8 to 5, so you may not get there in time to see it in the afternoon.

    Assuming you will be at the Corn Palace in the morning, I would head to the Badlands and take the SD-240 loop through the park to Wall. Visit Wall Drug and spend the night in Wall.

    The next day you can go to Rushmore, a couple hours should be enough. I would try to make it to Billings that night. If you can't make it that far, there's Buffalo or Sheridan. The 5th day you can head in to Yellowstone over the Beartooth Highway.

    You can deadhead the return trip in 3 long days. If you can take 4 days, you could spend some time in Cody.

    Note - try to schedule the trip around the annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis. Rally time is not a good time to be anywhere near the area unless you are actually going to the rally.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Two: Out and Back

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I-90 is certainly one route that will get you to Yellowstone and there are any number of great attractions along it besides just Mount Rushmore. But you should also be considering taking an entirely different route on the way home to maximize the number of new things that you get to see on this trip. One such alternate route would be essentially I-80 through Wyoming and Nebraska. You can, of course, do either route in either direction.

    Along I-90 highlights would include Wisconsin Dells and Circus World Museum in Wisconsin (particularly if you have young children), Great River Bluffs State Park along the Mississippi River, the falls and Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, the Corn Palace in Mitchell SD, Badlands National Park, and Little Bighorn National Battlefield. And those are in addition to the many sites near Mount Rushmore including Wind and Jewel Caves, the Crazy Horse Memorial and Devils Tower.

    Along I-80 highlights would include Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks on the Illinois River, the Amana Colonies near Cedar Rapids IA, the Lewis and Clark Trail Headquarters in Omaha, the many Oregon Trail sites and landmarks along the Platte River in Nebraska, the Wind River Range along US-287 up into Grand Teton National Park, and the Rockefeller Memorial Parkway from there up into Yellowstone.

    Note that all those sites are west of Chicago. Between Cleveland and Chicago I-90 and I-80 are duplexed, i.e. they share the same roadbed. Also You can choose to treat Chicago either as a great place to stop and explore its many fine museums or as a traffic nightmare to be gotten through or around as best as you can. Both attitudes are equally correct.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default time is good

    A trip like this, I'm always a fan as taking as much time as you can, simply because you are taking a lot of time to get there, and there are always more things you could stop and see.

    GLC has several good ideas. I will say in the Black Hills, there is so much more to see and do beyond Mt. Rushmore. You could see Rushmore in a couple hours, pretty easy, but while you're in the area, Custer State Park - specifically the wildlife loop - is a fantastic trip for kids. You've also got Jewel and Wind Caves, as well as Crazy Horse for some of the most popular stops in the area.

    You'd also have Devils Tower and Little Bighorn Battlefield on your way toward Yellowstone.

    I'm always a fan of taking different routes each direction, so on your way there, you could head into the park via Cody and leave via Beartooth, making your way to I-94 for the trip home across North Dakota. Teddy Roosevelt NP would be a worthwhile stop here for a couple hours.

    Another option would be leave to the south, heading out via Grand Teton and Jackson WY (places you should be including one way or another) and then make your way to I-80 for the trip home. Personally, if you were going to take I-80 all the way to Wyoming one direction, I would take I-90 the whole way the other, even if that means dealing with a bit more traffic in Chicago. You can always take I-294 or I-355 to bypass some of the traffic of the Windy City (although driving through the City itself is pretty neat if you don't hit it anywhere near Rush Hour, and don't mind the gamble of still hitting traffic).

  5. Default

    Thanks for all the help everyone. It's much appreciated.

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