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  1. Default Early Planning Denver , Sioux City, Yellowstone, Sat Lake, Las Vegas

    Hi again all,

    Early planning our next trip for late summer 2016.

    I have an outline itenary and wondered if you could cast an eye over it to see if its at all possible to pack this much in to 3 weeks.

    So the plan is to fly to Denver, rent a car and then attempt, Cheyenne, Omaha, Sioux City and Falls, Rapid City, Crow Agency, Buffalo, Yellowstone, Jackson, Targhee area, SLC and then end in Vegas. Timing would be early September as i think the roads and weather would still be ok?

    I know there would be a one way rental fee on the car and i know its a huge amount to take in, but is it possible?

    I have used this site for the last two trips and have always received sound advice, so what do you think, have i missed anything 'special'.

    Any advice on stopovers appeciated. By the way (sad i know) i dont do long hikes, 60mins tops so no need to allow days in the wilderness .

    Thanks in advance,

    All the best


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Ft. Collins, CO.


    September is an excellent time of the year to do road trips. There can be snowstorms but they are usually short and melt off quickly.

    The thing is that the run from Cheyenne to Omaha is a long way across not-so-scenic territory. One can only imagine wagon trains and indian attacks for an hour or so before it gets really boring. But if you take 2 lane highways you may find quite a few local museums and things.

    3 weeks is a pretty good chunk of time though it might feel kind of minimal unless you keep a close eye on your schedule.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Considered the loop ?

    Cheyenne to Rapid City is just under 300 miles, heading out to Omaha and Sioux Falls is a little over 1000 miles so it's quite some detour. Only you can decide if it's worth it or not, but I would look at the possibility of leaving the detour out of it and completing the loop back to Denver. From SLC or Las Vegas back to Denver there are just so many great attractions and scenic drives you could consider that might be more rewarding and you would lose the one way drop fee.

    Even without hiking you should look at spending at least 3 days in Yellowstone and a day in the Tetons. September into October is my favourite time of year to travel and we have always been extremely lucky with the weather.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Some Random Comments

    As noFanofCB pointed out, you have plenty of time for your proposed itinerary. You'd only need to spend roughly the equivalent of five days on the road driving, with the rest of your three weeks allocated to actually experiencing the many sites you'll be getting to. Which raises the question: Why not close the loop and save yourself some considerable money. You could drive back from Las Vegas to Denver in a bit over a day, so if you could book a return flight from Denver leaving in the afternoon or evening you could, for the 'price' of one more solid driving day and a little bit the next morning, return the car in Denver avoiding the one-way drop off fee and perhaps saving some money on the airfare with a simple round trip rather than an open jaw ticket. That route (I-15/I-70) is also one of the most scenic drives there is.

    On a slightly smaller scale, note that it makes more sense to go from Rapid City to Buffalo first and then Crow Agency (Little Bighorn), although I suspect you already are doing this.

    Having visited Yellowstone in late September/early October I can tell you that it is perhaps the best time of year to see the park. The crowds will have mostly gone home, the air will be crisp, the animals will be on the move to their winter grounds, etc., etc. For example - when I went to see Old Faithful, there were literally only a handful of other people, no screaming children, no jostling for the best camera angle, just nature at its best.

    I don't know how far your planning has progressed, but keep in mind that I-80 through Nebraska (and US-30 which runs parallel to it) follows the route of the old Oregon Trail. There is far more to do in the Rapid City area than just visit Mount Rushmore including Wind and Jewel Caves, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Badlands National Park, and Devils Tower National Monument. Also be aware of the many worthwhile stops on US-89 between the Grand Tetons and Salt Lake City.

    With all the national parks and monuments you'll be driving past (and presumably visiting) be sure to buy an annual pass ($80) at the first one you come to.


  5. Default

    Thanks for the suggestions, will look back at the map and track them. One thing I hadnt realised is that Vegas to Denver is doable in that time frame. We did Reno to Vegas this year via Death Valley/Lone Pine in a day and it seemed never ending, totally misjudged that.
    I get the impression that Sioux Falls / Sioux City are not that well thought of, is that the case or because of my Detour? If so would I be better starting Chicago or Milwaulkie(apologies for spelling)
    Apologies also for so many questions, plenty of planning ahead I think
    Thanks for all your help, much appreciated.

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


    I have not been to Sioux Falls/City so not judging it, I was basing my opinions on the length of detour v the amount of other great options if you drove back to Denver through Utah and Colorado, Arizona perhaps. With 4-5 days from Vegas back to Denver you could see so much, but perhaps you have seen this area before ?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Vegas to Denver is 750 miles - can be done in a day and a half. However, there is so much to see in southern Utah that it warrants several days. I'd much rather see places like Zion and Bryce Canyon than Sioux Falls and Sioux City.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I lived in Sioux Falls for 5 years. It's a perfectly nice small city, but not someplace that's typically thought of as a big tourist destination. I guess it depends upon what you are looking to get out of your trip/your reasons for heading there. If you just want to see/get a feel for what farm country of the American Midwest is like, I think you could accomplish that just by going as far as central Nebraska and then make your way north to the Badlands, perhaps via Nebraska's Sand Hill country, rather than going all the way to Omaha/Sioux City/Sioux Falls.

  9. Default

    We did Zion, Bryce Canyon a couple of years ago but i'm sure we missed quite a bit.
    I think i may have misunderstood what Sioux City and Falls are. I thought (and please forgive my naivity, i am English, lol ) that it was going to be historic Cowboy and Native American country.
    We have spent a lot of time over the years doing road trips in California, Nevada , Utah and Arizona and thought that this time we would 'ride the range' in a 4x4.
    Some of the highlights in previous years for me were Monument Valley, Tombstone (yes i know), North Rim GC, Yosemite and Lake Tahoe. We always try to end in Vegas, we enjoy it for the contrast.
    We really want to see the area where the Battle of the Little Big Horn was assuming perhaps incorrectly that the Dakotas and Nebraska are 'Cowboy Country'
    Sorry for the ramble and thanks for all the suggestions so far.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Your maps will help you.

    I take it from your comments above that you have good maps from previous trips? or perhaps a Road Atlas. As you will no doubt know these are invaluable for planning a trip.

    I too saw the detour as rather odd. Last trip I went via Sioux City. Spent a little time there and found it a neat place, without anything particularly outstanding. If you were to drive as far as Grand Island and then took NE2 west through the centre of NE, you'll get a very good feel for the country. It is magnificent - wide open fields with very few buildings, a beautiful and serene drive. Then take either NE27 or US 385 north to the Badlands, Wall, and Rapid city with all its other attractions. It will have taken you through the very best NE has to offer, including the sandhills country. (If you have the maps, you will see that most of those roads are marked as 'scenic'.)

    As you head back from LV to Denver, you might like to leave a little time to drive via those routes and national parks not yet visited. UT is such a spectacular place. You could take UT12 east to Capital Reef, and if you have not yet visited, Canyonlands and Arches, as well as Moab. Then take UT128 back to I-70. The rest of I-70 is a very scenic drive. For an extra scenic detour you could take the drive over Loveland Pass (US6), which will take you over 11000 feet with magnificent views. (It could just be the right time to see all the Aspen in their golden glory.)


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