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  1. Default RV pick up in Forest Lake Iowa dropping of in Denver. Best route ideas please

    Hi
    My husband and I are picking up an Rv in Iowa and dropping off in Denver in mid May. We are familiar with driving RVs of various sizes so are ok with that aspect. What we are really after is suggestions for the best route....most scenic, trying to avoid major roads. We have 2 weeks to do the trip. We love mountain scenery, old cowboy towns, off the beaten track rv parks and local food restaurants rather than the big chains! We try to avoid large towns if at all possible. We would love to see Mount Rushmore and have some ideas for RV parks in that area.
    has anyone driven the Outlaw Trail? There seems to be a few different routes from Sioux city all offering different things but has anyone any suggestions please.
    We would like to spend at least a week in Colorado so suggestions on the best things to see would be appreciated.
    We are realistic and understand that its too easy to try and fit in too much in one trip (from past experience!)
    thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Westward Ho!

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    A route that includes Sioux City, Rapid City and Denver, and for which you have ample time, could include a number of both historic and scenic drives and stops. The Outlaw Trail would certainly qualify as a scenic route that avoids major roads. It then might make sense to continue on smaller roads through southern South Dakota and try to get a Native American perspective on local history. By taking US-83 north out of Valentine NE and then US-18 west from Mission SD, you'll be able to stop in St. Francis and visit the Buechel Memorial Lakota Museum, then continue on US-18 to Wounded Knee. The Big Foot Trail, BIA-27, would then take you up to SD-44 and bring you into the Badlands National Park area from the south. While in the Rapid City area, besides Mount Rushmore you should check out Wind and Jewel Caves, the Crazy Horse Memorial, and Devils Tower.

    For the run down to Denver I'll assume that you want to eschew I-25. I'd therefore suggest that you look at WY-585 and/or US-85 to New Castle WY and then WY-450 west and WY-59 south through Thunder River National Grassland to Douglas. Then a final wide-right west to Casper on US0-20/26, WY-220 to Muddy Gap, and US-287 to Rawlins would take you by all of the following: Fort Fetterman Historic Site, Ayers Natural Bridge, the Wyoming Pioneer Museum, Independence Rock Historic Site, Devil's Gate, and the Wyoming Frontier Prison Museum. From Rawlins, a short drive west on I-80 would bring you to WY-789 south which would allow you to use US-40/US-34 and enter Rocky Mountain National Park from the west. On exiting the park to the east through Estes Park, make a stop at the Stanley Hotel which provided the inspiration for Stephen King's "The Shining". CO-7, CO-72 and CO-45 then provide a 'back way' into the Denver area where you may want to make one more quick stop in Golden to visit Buffalo Bill's Grave.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 01-10-2014 at 09:36 AM.

  3. Default

    Hi
    Thank you so much for your prompt response. Very detailed too which has definitely helped us lots!
    We are very excited about our trip but part of the excitement comes in the planning process.
    Again
    Many thanks

  4. Default Possible route change Iowa to denver

    We may change the first part of our route from Forest Lake Iowa to Denver.
    Originally our plan was to drive down to Sioux City and take Highway 12 along the Outlaw Trail Scenic Byway with our destination being Rapid City. After further research we are not sure if it will worth the extra miles as we would need to stop overnight twice (we are in an RV)
    Apologies to people who live along this route but we feel that we could possibly drive straight from Forest Lake Iowa on I 90 stopping halfway overnight thus giving us an extra valuable night at Yellowstone.
    We are aware that this road is very long and boring but I feel there would be more to see and do at the Rapid city area.
    We are happy with our route/plans after Rapid City-Denver
    Anyone have any thoughts please?
    Does anyone know of any good campgrounds along this route (minus train noise if possible!)
    Thank you

    Moderator] Please keep all questions regarding this trip in one thread. Thank-you.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 01-15-2014 at 03:03 AM. Reason: Merged threads

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Boring is a state of mind.

    I'm a little confused by your start location, is it Forest City Iowa, or a location in Sioux City, or somewhere else ?

    In answer to your question, there is no wrong decision just the option that feels right to you and having an extra night in Yellowstone is not a bad thing. The one thing I would say which is also a common theme here, is that there are no boring roads, boring is just a state of mind. On I90 you can also take a break from the road and take a pit stop at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.

  6. Default

    Hi
    Our start point is Forest Lake Iowa.
    I think boring was the wrong word to use! I've read other posts and most seem to agree that I90 is a long trip without much variation in scenery. We have done long rv trips before and have used major roads just to get from A to B quickly. What I was wondering was anyone had taken the time to drive highway 20 and if they thought it was worthwhile doing? Nice bars/restaurants/scenery?
    We are keen to see more of Custer, Cody, Yellowstone and a bit of Colorado but don't want to whizz through Nebraska if there are any worthwhile stops.
    Thanks

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Long, but not boring.

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    On I90 you can also take a break from the road and take a pit stop at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.
    And Wall Drug, and any of dozens and dozens of other places of interest. Get out a good paper map (AAA or Rand McNally, etc) which will show you just how much there is.... and how much there is to see via only short detours.

    You may also find this article helpful.

    Lifey

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by katrina63380 View Post
    I've read other posts and most seem to agree that I90 is a long trip without much variation in scenery.
    Wow, I'm not sure where you read that about I-90, but I certainly wouldn't agree with it. There are lots of great stops and things to see right along I-90, especially in South Dakota. Sioux Falls, the Corn Palace, the Missouri River, the Badlands, and the Minuteman Missle Historic Site are just a few of the most popular things to do along that leg.

    Nothing against US-20, but if you are dismissing I-90 as boring or having bland scenery, then I don't think you'll find US-20 to be that much different.

    If you do want to go through Nebraska, then US-20 does take you right past the Nebraska Sandhills, which is something you should certainly look into.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default So much to see.

    Quote Originally Posted by katrina63380 View Post
    We are keen to see more of Custer, Cody, Yellowstone and a bit of Colorado but don't want to whizz through Nebraska if there are any worthwhile stops.
    In that case you might like to look into route 14 and Alt 14 from Ranchester to Cody, over the Big Horn Mts. It also takes you past the Medicine Wheel and Big Horn Canyon. You could then look at the east entrance into Yellowstone, if it is open. May is a wonderful time in Yellowstone, with all the young wildlife.

    Check out this thread for more information on the NE sandhills. Going through the sandhills you could enter the Badlands NP from the south. The road from Pine Ridge to Badlands, though not a major highway, is none-the-less a good road. It is all Badlands country.

    Lifey

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Where's that near ?

    Our start point is Forest Lake Iowa.
    Interesting. I did read this at the start of your thread, but I can't find a location match on Google, Google Maps, or Bing Maps as a town/City, which is most unusual. It doesn't really matter I was just trying to picture your route.

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