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  1. Default Summer 2016 road trip (CO, UT, YSNP, SD)

    Hello all in this great forum 
    I am from Oman (Middle East country), did my first USA trip July 2015, and loved it so I decided to do my 2nd trip. My plan is to fly to Denver (No direct flight from Oman, so I ve to stop in Chicago). Hopefully end of May 2016 or beginning of June 2016 for 2 weeks.

    Main attractions:
    1- Denver (or not? )
    2- RMNP ( not sure if it is open by beginning of June)
    3- Salt Lake City
    4- Yellow stone NP ( 2 nights)
    5- South Dakota (Rapid city) ( depend on your advises)

    I m not big fan of big cities, and I love Driving, I like always to stop in small cities and take it easy no rushing drive and no staying in one place for more than one night. I also tend to skip the boring highways and I prefer those hidden interstate roads.
    I will need your kindness advises:
    1- What do you think about my plan?
    2- What small cities or stops you advice to do?
    3- Is the south entrance is the best for YSNP?

    Thank you all in advance for your help, and you are all welcome to Oman

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default A map will show it all.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    Denver is actually a good place to fly in and out of for the area you are planning to travel.

    My question is: Did you by any chance bring home a map or road atlas from your last trip? If not, I would highly recommend that you purchase a Rand McNally road atlas from the RTA store via the link at the bottom of this page. If you order it now, you will no doubt have it in a couple of weeks.

    RMNP will be mostly open in June. However, the Trail Ridge Road - the highest continually paved road in North America - may not be open. This great road is actually subject to blizzards at a moment's notice and can be closed even in the middle of summer. It is something to check when you are in the area.

    The other great drive on your trip is the north east entry to Yellowstone - Beartooth Highway. Depending on how much snow fell in winter, this usually opens around the end of May or early June. It may only be about 200 miles, but it can take up to 9 hours to drive, especially if you like to stop at the many outlook and photo opportunities.

    Your plan is great and definitely doable. When you look on the maps you will see what other NPs and attractions, as well as scenic routes and smaller towns are along the way.


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

    Default Slc ?

    Unless you really want to visit SLC I wouldn't go there on your time scale as you could save quite a few miles on the road. Instead you could go from RMNP to South Dakota and across to Yellowstone, which really is a minimum of 2 nights and 3 would be better. I would look more towards June for this trip as Yellowstone takes a long time to get out of winter mode is only just opening up fully early June. Then you could head south through the Grand Teton's to Jackson and Steamboat Springs which would give you the choice to visit RMNP at the end of your trip with more chance of the Trail Ridge road being open.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default On the other hand.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    I would look more towards June for this trip as Yellowstone takes a long time to get out of winter mode is only just opening up fully early June.
    When I visited Yellowstone in late May, a few years ago, it was the very best visit ever. It seemed as if the baby animals were all on show. Absolutely spectacular. No matter what time you visit these great national parks, there is always another equally spectacular time with its own seasonal attractions. I have visited Yellowstone at a few different times, and it is always amazing in its own way. Late May and early June are definitely great times to visit..


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default I agree.

    No arguments from me Lifey, I was just mentioning the fact that May is more at risk of feeling wintery with a higher chance of freezing temps and snow than during June. We know the weather is as predictable as rolling a dice anyway, but at least the OP can be better prepared if they were not already aware of the possible weather issues.

  6. Default

    hello all,

    Thanx allot for all those great advises :)


    sure i will buy that map , it will be great to have the old fashion detail map instead on depending blindly on GPS devices. i heard about the Beartooth highway and i think i will take it on my way to South Dakota .

    Southwest Dave;

    well i coming from the other side of the world, so it will be good chance to check some cities, plus i will take the chance to check some small towns on my way to SLC ( any suggestions in Colorado or Utah? ) . i am looking forward visiting those nice places you mentioned (very helpful).

    i m coming alone, so i hope till that time, i will be able to find a traveler (or two) who can join me in this trip . i was lucky last July to share the road trip with a German guy i met in SF.
    one last q, what kind of car shall i rent for this trip?

    thanx again :)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    ( any suggestions in Colorado or Utah? )
    There are hundreds of options through these States. As suggested previously, you need to check out the maps and do a little research and once you have filled some gaps and have more idea of which routes you will drive, we can make suggestions. You could check out the small towns of Ouray, Silveron and Durango along US550 in Colorado, search for the 'Million Dollar Highway' and not to far away from Durango is Mesa Verde NP. In Utah there are many National parks, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce canyon and Zion Arches to Bryce can be linked using the very scenic UT24 and scenic Byway 12. You would have to pick and choose carefully with your time available, however you could compare spending time here against going to Rapid City and seeing that area, Badlands, Mt Rushmore and the Black hills etc.

    what kind of car shall i rent for this trip?]
    This is a personal choice but for the best combination of comfort and budget you can't go wrong with a mid-size Sedan.

  8. #8


    Southwest Dave hit upon some good routings and sites to visit.

    As others often have suggested, if you plan to visit a number of national parks then buy a one-year pass, $80.

    Are you camping or staying at motels? That in part might dictate the type of vehicle you wish to rent. At least a mid-size sedan for comfortable highway driving. If camping, then a standard 4-door or large car. A minivan at the right price if you are camping.

    Plan on at least 3 nights at Yellowstone National Park. You won't regret it as there is so much in this very large park and once summer season kicks in there are numerous ranger-led activities. Also plan on two nights at Mesa Verde National Park so you can take time for a couple of ranger-led tours (registration required, small fee).

    In addition to maps, visit the national park web pages for orientation. Also suggest picking up a good travel guide (book) that covers the national parks in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah, or individual guidebooks for those states (Moon and Lonely Planet are good, but others such as Frommers and Fodors, etc., can shine). The travel books will provide an idea of the scope of the parks.

  9. Default West Road Trip advises?

    Hello all 

    I am Ahmed from Oman (cool country in the middle east) I am planning for my 2nd road trip in USA starting mid of June 2016 and it will last for 16 days. I did my 1st road trip last year at south west coast and loved it. This time, I am going to do the west,
    1- I am flying to Chicago cause no direct flight from MiddleEast to Denver , I will take it as chance to check the city
    2- Starting from Denver (Colorado) on 12th June and driving to UTAH, highway I 70. I will try to spend my first night close as I can to Arches NP
    3- Driving to Salt lake city and spend night there
    4- Then to north to Jackson following the highway 89 (no big fan for fast highways) to Jackson
    5- Camping in Teton and Yellowstone national parks 4-5 days.
    6- Hopefully if I am lucky I will use the north entrance of YS to get out going to Billing in Montana
    7- Heading later to South Dakota (mountain Rushmore and NPs near it),
    8- Back to Colorado and will try to check rocky mountains NP and then spend 2 or one night in Denver.

    Your comments and advises are most welcome, and specially about any interesting places like old west towns, good BBQ restaurants , any rout that can take me out of boring highways . thank you again for great help

    With love from Oman

    Moderator Note: Please don't create multiple threads about the same trip

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