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  1. #1

    Default Seattle to Denver


    We (parents+our kids aged 21 and 17) are planning a trip from Seattle to Denver in July 2015. For the moment the route looks like this:
    July 9: seattle, wa - seattle, wa
    July 10: seattle, wa - sequim, wa
    July 11: sequim, wa - sequim, wa
    July 12: sequim, wa - lake quinault, wa
    July 13: lake quinault, wa - longview, wa
    July 14: longview, wa - yakima, wa
    July 15: yakima, wa - post falls, id
    July 16: post falls, id - whitefish, mt
    July 17: whitefish, mt - choteau, mt
    July 18: choteau, mt - gardiner, mt
    July 19: gardiner, mt - gardiner, mt
    July 20: gardiner, mt - west yellowstone, mt
    July 21: west yellowstone, mt - west yellowstone, mt
    July 22: west yellowstone, mt - jackson hole, wy
    July 23: jackson hole, wy - cody, wy
    July 24: cody, wy - sheridan, wy
    July 25: sheridan, wy - custer, sd
    July 26: custer, sd - custer, sd
    July 27: custer, sd - custer, sd
    July 28: custer, sd - denver, co

    We are very interested in the wonderful national parks and nature, wildlife, etc. Visits to Olympic, Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Teton are on our 'to do' list. My husband wants to visit Boeing and/or Ellsworth Air Force Base and our son is more into 'active' things (rafting,...)

    I'd like to hear from you what you think of the route. Any suggestions for things to see or do on our way are welcome too.

    Still have to book a car too: van or suv? Pros an cons? We prefer the suv (I think), but the van has much more space (a must for 4 adults+luggage?). What do you experts think would be our best choice?

    Looking forward to your reactions.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    I think I'd lean more towards a van. It will have more interior space than a SUV, and will get better gas mileage than a large SUV, which you would need to be comfortable.

    The itinerary looks good, when you are in the Custer area you should include a visit to the Badlands and Wall Drug. I'd also look at possibly spending a bit more time in Glacier. US military bases are not open to the public, but you may be able to arrange a tour of Ellsworth through the South Dakota Air & Space Museum which is outside the base and open to the public. Tours of the Boeing facility are available.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Choosing routes.

    You have several choices of routes from Cody to Sheridan, but I would highly recommend Alt14 over the Big Horn Mts and through the Big Horn Forest. This route passes by Big Horn Canyon and Lake as well as The Medicine Wheel, a short walk from your vehicle. Up on the high plains the wildlife is prolific, especially if you are there early in the morning, or late in the day.

    First time I drove across there a huge moose stood in front of my vehicle with an attitude that he was boss, and I could move when he saw fit to get out of the way. It was unbelievable. I had never seen a moose before. I was so stunned, I did not even think to take a photo.

    From Jackson you could visit the Tetons on your way to Cody. You could also choose to drive from West Yellowstone direct to Cody through the park and exiting via the Beartooth Highway over Beartooth Pass to Red Lodge. Unless of course Jackson is a must see for you.


  4. #4

    Default Thanks for the reactions so far!

    During the 3 nights in Custer we are planning to visit Badlands, Black Mountains and (maybe) Mount Rushmore. Is Wall Drug a must see/do? I'm not sure the boys will like it. ;)

    More time for Glacier means that I have to take away a day somewhere else. That will be a hard choice, maybe a night less in Custer? Or leave Jackson Hole out, but we really wanted to see Grand Teton.

    Visiting Ellsworth would be through the museum and if security permits. That's why we start with Boeing, that is most of the time no problem, I was told.

    OK, alt 14 it will be! I'm counting for the moose to be there... ;)

    Beartooth would be nice too, will be looking for a way to fit that in.

    Pfffffff, very difficult to choose, wish we had a 2 months holiday. But that won't be long enough either, I guess. :D

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I don't think I'd take any time from your stop in Custer, based on what you want to do.

    Keep in mind, the Badlands are about a 2 hour drive from Custer, so that trip will take up most of your day. If you're going out to the Badlands, then it's worth a stop at Wall Drug, even just to say you've been there. If you and your kids aren't interested after looking around for a couple minutes, you can get back on the road. If you're going out that far, and considering your interest in Ellsworth, you might also make time for the Minuteman Missile Historic Site. There is a small visitors center right on the road from I-90 to the Badlands on the east side of the park, although the actual missile sites are about 10 miles away, and reservations are needed for guided tours.

    While in the Black Hills, also make sure to visit Custer State Park, especially the Wildlife Loop Road, and you might enjoy a tour of Jewel and/or Wind Caves.

    If you're interested in seeing Moose, then I'd also recommend keeping Grand Teton on our list. We never saw a moose at Yellowstone, but we saw several of them in the Tetons - including a mom and baby walking through our campground.

    I know... too much good stuff!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    Was there any reason to stop over in Post Falls ? You could get from Yakima to Whitefish same day, or at least Kalispell to give you a little more time in Glacier. From either town you could explore the west side of Glacier the following morning and then drive the 'Going to the Sun Road' and spend a second night near St Marys Lake, the Rising Sun Motor Inn is in a lovely location and offers cosy lodging. The following day you could visit the 'Many Glacier' rea of the park before continuing to Choteau.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    If you'd like, you can access the Trip Report from our trip this summer. Scroll down on that page and you'll see it starting on post #47. We went from the Badlands to Wall Drug to Custer City, all in the late afternoon. The next day was Mount Rushmore and Iron Mt Drive, and the following day was Wind Cave and the Wildlife Loop.


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