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  1. Default Need HELP planning trip from Sussex, WI to Yellowstone!!

    Planning a trip in late August with the family from Sussex, WI to Yellowstone. I really need some help figuring out: how long to drive each day and then where to stay; what stops to see along the way and how long to stay at each, once in Yellowstone where do you start??? Route to take in Yellowstone, where to lodge (don't want to camp). We have about 9 days for this trip. Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    Sussex to Yellowstone is about a 3 day drive, depending on which route/s you take. It's about 1500 miles. That's just one way. Then it's the same, or more, to return, hopefully with a different route. That leaves you three days in Yellowstone, which is "just about right". Frankly, with that much driving to do in each direction and only 9 days total, you don't have much time to stop anywhere on the way. You could probably get by with a drive-through of the Badlands NP and a quick stop at Little Bighorn NBP on the way in.

    Attacking Yellowstone -- if you came in via I-90, drop down on US-212 shortly west of Billings MT, and come into the park via the Beartooth Highway. You will NOT regret it. It's a gorgeous route! The "Grand Loop Road" of YNP is actually in a figure 8. One day, you could do the northern portion of the loop, and the next day, do the southern portion. Or vice versa.

    As for where to stay -- figure out your arrival and departure days, and start looking for somewhere that still has an opening. Places in the park run by Xanterra are very popular and book quickly. Don't be afraid to take 3 different places for 3 different nights, etc. If you strike out, try to get something elsewhere and then keep trying back. West Yellowstone MT is probably the closest to the park without being inside the park. There are all sorts of places in West Yellowstone to fit all budgets.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Well, to start, you need a bare minimum of 2.5 days each way for the drive - and you really need at least 2-3 days just to see the highlights of Yellowstone, so you don't have a lot of extra time to work with.

    Going there, I'd probably stop in Fargo the first night, and then look to get possibly as far as Billings for night 2. However, you could take a quick tour through Teddy Roosevelt National Park, and stop a bit shorter that day, likely around Glendive or maybe Miles City, MT. Day 3, I'd drive into Yellowstone via the Beartooth Pass.

    Once inside the park, everything is laid out in a nice figure 8. You really need to spend some time researching the park, looking at the park website, etc as there is far more information about the park and lodges than we could ever list on a forum post. I will say, with your limited time, you might consider breaking up your stay at different spots within the park to save on driving a bit. However, it could be tough to find any lodging in the park at this point - you could be forced to look for cancellations or look at some places outside the park, like West Yellowstone.

    For the return trip, I'd head out via Cody and towards South Dakota. Spend the night in the Western Black Hills, like Deadwood or Spearfish. Do a quick tour of Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands Loop Drive and make it to Mitchell for the night, setting you up for a full day drive back home.

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


    Booking lodgings at different locations in and around Yellowstone can actually be an advantage, the park is huge and the going slow. You should try and save a little time to visit the Grand Tetons just south of Yellowstone.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Timing.

    If you take the Beartooth Highway into Yellowstone, be aware that it takes something like three hours to drive plus any time you spend on the summit to admire the view and stops to take photos. It is not a fast run.

    On top of that, if you have to take accommodation outside of Yellowstone, it can take a few hours to get from the northeast entry to West Yellowstone. The speed limit in the park is slow. Wildlife gets right of way and tourists stop to photograph them, creating both animal jams and tourist jams. So it is a good idea to start from Red Lodge well before lunch.


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