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  1. Default Minneapolis to Yellowstone to Dallas

    Hello Everyone,

    I'm planning a road trip from Minneapolis to Yellowstone national Park to Dallas around end of June (6/27-7/6). Trip duration is around 10 days and I understand I won't be able to explore much in this duration. However, in the limited time I have in this country, I'd definetely like to see some of it, than nothing. So guys, please pardon me :)

    Day 1: Start from Minneapolis around 4 pm and overnight stay in Mitchell, SD
    Day 2: Visit Badlands National Park, stay overnight in Rapid City.
    Day 3: Visit Mount Rushmore, drive around Needles Highway. Time permitting visit the Crazy Horse memorial. I plan to head towards Yellowstone, and stay some where in between, either Gillette, WY or Sheridan, WY
    Day 4,5: Reach Yellowstone, sight-seeing. I wouldn't be able to really explore Yellowstone, but will I be able to cover the loop and see major attractions in a day and half?
    I have been searching for budget accommodations, but looks like every place (Cody, West Yellowstone) is extremely expensive. Where would you suggest I stay, and any pointers for decent accommodations?
    Day 6: Leave Yellowstone, sight-seeing in Grand Tetons (loop). Start for Dallas. Overnight Stay in Rock Springs, WY
    Day 7: Rock Springs - Denver, CO
    Day 8: Denver, CO - Amarillo, TX
    Day 9: Amarillo, TX - Dallas, TX

    Any suggestion regarding the itinerary and accommodations in Yellowstone/Tetons would be really helpful.

    Thanks,
    Ashish

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Looks good.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    I'd say you have done a good job with your planning given the time you have available with each day having comfortable mileages and time for a little sight seeing each day. The thing that would be questionable and only if you have arrived after a long haul flight, would be the night drive to Mitchell.

    Lodgings are expensive around Yellowstone and all you can do is search for deals on your dates. You can look on the RTA travel page to the right of this one and have you checked out the NP lodgings ? It's possible they are booked up solid but it's worth it to keep checking as they do have a free cancellation policy which does seem to encourage people to book when not sure and then cancel later. Sometimes the difference in prices are not that different to the surrounding towns [depending on what's available] and as Yellowstone is so big you have to consider fuel costs and the fact you have limited time. It might be wise to use 2 different locations in Yellowstone, one to the north of the park and one to the south like Mammoth or Canyon and then Grant or Faithful.

    If you wanted a little more 'nature', you could look at Estes park as an alternative to Denver and spend a little time at Bear lake in Rocky Mountian NP during the afternoon / evening of your arrival day.

  3. Default

    It's feasible, but IMHO a bit rushed. Personally, I'd ignore Yellowstone on this trip and concentrate on the Tetons instead. Yellowstone is vast and needs more time to do it justice. Grand Teton is more compact but there is still plenty there to explore, for example on one day you could do the boat ride over Jenny Lake and hike up to Inspiration Point which if the weather cooperates would be magnificent.

    There's a pretty good range of accommodation options in Jackson, Wyoming (search on Google Maps to discover the possibilities). Another alternative if you don't mind being further away would be to stay in Driggs Idaho, on the western side of the Teton Pass. I know a lot of people prefer to stay inside parks or right next door to them and pour scorn on suggestions of staying in places further away - it's a personal choice.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Even a short drive through is 'worth it'.

    That looks like a great and well balanced trip. It is true that you will only get to see a 'bit' of Yellowstone. However, my first two visits to Yellowstone were no more than a drive-through, due to time limitations. Not only did it give me a feeling for what the place is, but it created memories and a burning desire to return. The latter never leaves, no matter how many times you visit there.

    Enjoy your trip.

    Lifey

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    I certainly wouldn't skip Yellowstone on your timeline, but also know that you won't have time to see all the major attractions there either. To really do even a quick tour of the entire loop road, really requires 2-3 days. If I were you, I'd focus on a couple areas and just accept you won't get to see everything.

    For example, on your half day, I might focus on the Canyon area, adding in the Sulpher Springs/Mud Volcano or Tower Falls areas if you have time. Then on the full day, I'd spend basically all day exploring the Geyser Basins around Old Faithful in the Southwest part of the park. That would mean basically skipping Mammoth Hot Spring, the Lamar Valley, and the Lake area. Now you could swap out areas, if one of those other areas is more appealing to you, but I'd be thinking along those lines.

    West Yellowstone is probably your best bet for lodging, that will be relatively cheap. However, nothing around there will be inexpensive as it is a popular area, with a short tourist season, and limited options. Gardiner MT or Cooke City would be options to consider, but less ideal. I would never consider staying as far away as Cody or Jackson as a base to explore Yellowstone. Both are an Hour+ from the gates of Yellowstone, and would be up to 3 hours away from some points of the park.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    In West Yellowstone, we found a good deal at the One Horse Motel. Others have recommended the Evergreen Motel. Either of these are a little more reasonable than other places in the area. Don't even bother with Jackson. Even the Motel 6 there runs $189.


    Donna

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,269

    Default

    I just checked Tripadvisor - out of 36 motels/hotels in West Yellowstone, the Evergreen is rated #2 and the One Horse is #6. #1 is the Alpine, and it also appears to be very reasonable.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default If you have the choice.

    I would start searching for available lodgings as soon as you can around Yellowstone, finding a good value, highly rated hotel in July could prove difficult.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    Dave is correct -- "finding a good value, highly rated hotel in July could prove difficult" for Yellowstone area. I started looking for our own trip (scheduled for July arrival in Yellowstone) back in January. For our dates, Alpine and Evergreen were already booked back then! That's why we felt fortunate to find the One Horse. However, you may be able to get into a cancellation. It's happened to us before!


    Donna

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