Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1

    Default Chicago to San Fran via Seattle and Pacific Coast

    Hi all,

    First off must say thanks for all the info that is on both the website and the forums. Very inspirational!

    This summer looking to spend 4 weeks over in the US, 2 of which will be doing Route 66. Ideally I would like to combine Route 66 with a journey along the Pacific Coast and across the northern mid-West states to make a circular route of some sorts. The Route 66 part is pretty much sorted, but I'm looking for suggestions for places to visit during the other two weeks.

    A basic idea will be starting in Chicago in late August or early September. A few places I would like to visit are Milwaukee, Green Bay, Mt. Rushmore, Seattle and Portland, then down the Coast to San Francisco. Ideally I would like to avoid the Interstates (I94 and I5 etc.) to see more of the scenery, and also some of the National Parks. I am a big baseball fan so will be hoping to see at least one game in Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Seattle and San Francisco.

    The 2 weeks doing Route 66 will be with two others but will probably be doing this half of the trip alone - therefore will not have the advantage of having a second person to share the driving. A quick look on Google Maps shows that 2 weeks should be enough (say 8/9 days to go from Chicago to Seattle, then 4/5 down the Pacific Coast). Doing the circular route also has the benefit of picking up and dropping the car off in the same location, so no one-way fee.

    I'd appreciate any advice and tips on routes to take and places to visit on the way, and anything else to take into consideration.

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by sam77; 01-16-2015 at 12:41 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    To clarify, you are going to be doing the northern part and the coast first, then returning from LA to Chicago via 66?

    2 weeks could get a bit tight to do Chicago - Seattle - LA, especially if you avoid Interstates, plan carefully. Even on Interstates, it's 4 full days from Chicago to Seattle, and 2 full days from Seattle to LA. Major national parks along the route are Yellowstone and Glacier - and Crater Lake and Yosemite.

    If you use Google Maps to estimate drive time, add 20% to account for delays and stops.

  3. #3


    At the minute, yes that is the plan. For the whole trip (Route 66 plus the route across the north and the Pacific Coast) I have based the estimates on 4 weeks, although in reality can have an extra week if needed as a contingency. Ideally 2 weeks for Chicago - Seattle - San Francisco/LA, then 2 weeks for Route 66 itself.

    For the first section between Chicago - Seattle - San Fran I will be the only driver, so will factor in the additional time for rest stops.

    As a guide, I came up with the following:

    Day 1 Chicago - Milwaukee. Milwaukee - Green Bay

    Day 2 Green Bay - Minneapolis

    Day 3 Minneapolis - Sioux Falls

    Day 4 Sioux Falls - Mt. Rushmore

    Day 5/6 Mt. Rushmore to Yellowstone. I'll aim to stop somewhere overnight but to be decided.

    Day 7/8 Yellowstone - Washington State (again a stopover)

    Day 9 Washington State - Seattle

    Day 10 Ideally drive from Seattle using 101 around the Olympic National Park. Overnight stay in the Astoria area

    Day 11 Astoria - Portland

    Days 12-14 Portland - ?

    Aiming to keep the driving to under 400 miles per day, with the longest being Sioux Falls - Rushmore. The section between Portland and San Francisco or LA is TBD as can add an extra few days onto this section if needed, and this I hope will also cover any delays/stops on route.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default The 'Beartooth'.

    You should look at entering Yellowstone NP via Red Lodge and through Silver Gate by way of the scenic 'Beartooth Highwy'. It's an outstanding drive. To do Yellowstone any kind of justice you would need 3 days to get around the main sights and then of course there are the Tetons just south of the park.

  5. #5


    Thanks for that Southwest Dave. Red Lodge looks like a good point for a stopover on Day 5/6.

    For the trip I'm hoping to try and get a decent enough look around whilst not staying in one area for too long - possibly in the future would look at doing a road trip over a smaller area (such as Utah/Colorado/Wyoming/Idaho), but in the same 3-4 week time period to see a lot more. Hopefully if I enjoy certain areas on this road trip, it will be a good base to go back to for future ones (as I'm sure will no doubt happen!)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Driveing through Yellowstone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    To do Yellowstone any kind of justice you would need 3 days to get around the main sights and then of course there are the Tetons just south of the park.
    Whereas I agree with Dave, if you just want to drive through you can 'see' a lot. You won't have time for the boardwalks, or the hikes to the many geysers and waterfalls.

    The drive from Red Lodge to West Yellowstone, will take you through Lamar Valley and past Mammoth Hot Springs area. It will be slow, with regular animal and car jams, as well as stops for photos, etc. (That drive alone took me most of a day.)

    If you plan to go to the south entrance and into the Tetons as well, it would also take you past Old Faithful. That would take quite a bit longer.

    But it is a beautiful, albeit a slow drive, even if you can't stay to explore the park. It will whet your appetite for a future visit.

    All this is assuming you will not be tempted to stop and watch a wolf and grizzly fight across the lake somewhere.... as happened when I was there. Before you know it, there's another hour gone.


Similar Threads

  1. San Fran to Yellowstone (Round Trip) -Yellowstone to Pacific Coast?
    By kiwi_j in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 08-17-2011, 09:55 AM
  2. Advice for Seattle to Atlanta by way of Pacific Coast for early Dec.
    By variable in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 10-10-2010, 01:33 PM
  3. Seattle to San Diego - the Pacific Coast Highway
    By Intrepid_Englishman in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 12-31-2008, 12:00 PM
  4. MN>Montana>Seattle>Napa>Pacific Coast>Albuquerque>Home
    By shopgirl78 in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 02-08-2008, 03:59 PM
  5. Chicago to The Pacific Coast
    By oxcart in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 05-29-2006, 08:49 PM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name