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  1. #1

    Default Time table, whats to see.. (Colorado,Utah,Idaho,Montana&Wyoming)

    I need some help figuring out time frame and route. I have had this specific route in my head for some time, it starts in Denver (easy access from Europe),delta Utah doing the loneliest road in America, Fernley, Boise, Glacier National park, Yellowstone park ,Grand Tenton and then back to Denver. Then things started to change, as I will be going late May the going to the sun road will not be open and that I really wanted to do. I am going with another family member and she couldn’t not do more then 8-9 days and that made my whole plan go bust. Was hoping to have 14 days for this trip. Even when I drop going so high up as GNP the time table just looks too hard and that where I need some opinions. I dropped out GNP and made a round trip that had about 2500miles and that’s very doable if you look at the numbers but I feel I am miscalculating this some.

    Shorten route:
    Denver (start)
    Delta (delta-Fernley loneliest road in amreica ;) )
    Boise (idaho city,stanley on the road to butte.. Just small places and different scenery)
    West Yellowstone (The Park)
    Jackson (The Park)
    Denver (Home again)

    I am really open for suggestions to redo the whole plan, I need something to do for 8-9 days, love small roads and scenic view, the is possible more to see then I know.
    Have done trips before and 500miles each day a couple of days is no problem, but it would be nice to be able to stop along the way and take it all in from time to time.

    (Reason for Denver is what I said about easy access from Europe, have done LV and Minneapolis as access point before, so just chose Denver because I never had done that)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    How important is driving the Loneliest road to you?

    To me, that's the spot the really sticks out as really driving up your miles. As you noted, right now, you're at around 2500 miles, and while that's not impossible over 8-9 days, that would mean about 5 of your days would be spent on the road. Considering Yellowstone and the Tetons deserve at least 3-4 days of your time I think it would end up being a bit rushed.

    If you dropped the loneliest road, that would save you at least 1,000 miles, where perhaps you could spent that time looking at places like Arches/Canyonlands, Flaming Gorge, Rocky Mountain National Park, or Salt Lake City.

    Speaking of Salt Lake City, that might be another flight option, that would save you some driving miles, and would make it a bit easier to do loneliest road.

  3. #3


    When I started to plan this, I had a few highlights, The loneliest road, Idaho, GNP, Yellowstone area. I kind of losing my highlights for the trip, so I guess if I can replace that with others it would help.

    Yes, I see that the "loneliest road" kills the plan(just a fun thing to have done). If I take that away I am not sure how to put my trip together and still make it an interesting trip and still visit at least Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

    I have had the RMNP in the back of my head as a backup, but forgot all about the Flaming Gorge that looks interesting. Will look into the Arches/Canyonlands too..
    Trying to have a small balance between all the parks and what you can experience just driving to new places and some other fun stuff. Balance between not too much parks and not too much road, keeping it equal.. If that make sense ;)

    I have looked into flying to SLC but its just easier with Denver, shorter,less plane changes, cheaper.. :)

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


    With only 8-9 days and to get the balance right I think you could make a wonderful trip through Colorado, into Southern Utah and back on a more southern route through Colorado, there is just so much to see and do and there are some amazing scenic 'drivers' roads. I guess you could squeeze in the Grand canyon or parts of New Mexico to create a nice loop. With the time you have that's where I would be looking.

    Once you have decided what it is you want to do then we can offer meaningful suggestions, but Glacier NP is a long way out and to really see Yellowstone [which only fully opens late May into June] you would need to take at least 2 or 3 days to explore there.

  5. #5


    In my way of thinking you have two good Denver Loop options and the time of year may cancel out the northern option.

    1) Northern Option: Denver to Black Hills region; to Yellowstone via a couple of scenic routes; to Grand Teton; back to Denver possibly via Rocky Mtn National Park.

    2) Southern Option: Denver to Mesa Verde via scenic route (Ouray); then drive into NE Arizona/SE Utah where there are tons of scenic driving options and national park lands; continue onto Moab or Grand Junction; then to Denver. Rocky Mtn NP is also a potential add-on.

    These examples are just sketches of possible itineraries.

  6. #6


    Been doing some thinking and came up with this, still a few miles but should be doable in 8 days?!
    Please comment, I take every suggestions into consideration.. :)


    (google maps will not let me draw a line in the yellowstone park)

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


    Google won't route into Yellowstone as the roads inside the park are closed for the winter season to traffic. Your map is to small to read properly but it's more about what you want to see an do in the time you have rather than whether or not you can drive a certain amount of miles. What does your itinerary look like for this route ?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Plan with good maps.

    Quote Originally Posted by illusion View Post
    (google maps will not let me draw a line in the yellowstone park)
    this is one of the main reasons why maps are so valuable while planning. On maps you will see all the routes and roads and it will mention which ones are closed for winter. Unlike electronics, paper maps still show them, no matter the season. They will give you the information you need.

    If you do not already have good maps, it is high time you got some. You will need them when on the road. Don't be tempted to rely solely on your electronics. You have already experienced how unreliable they are. Some have lost their life following electronics without reference to good maps..

    Go to the RTA store link at the bottom of this page and get yourself a Rand McNally road atlas. Order it now and you will have it in a couple of weeks. It will answer all your questions.

    Last edited by Lifemagician; 01-31-2016 at 01:26 AM. Reason: correction

  9. #9


    How I usually build my trips is that I have a certain amount of driving and in the route have a few “hot spots”.
    I know some people don’t see the driving as part of the experience, but for me it is. It’s truly so much who can soak in while you are driving and when the time limit, as it always are.
    Then that just a way to experience more in a short amount of time.
    So trying to find those “hotspots” and a good route in between .
    How it looks at the moment:

    Day1 Land in Denver (first day always get used up by traveling into USA)
    Day2 Stay in Denver to get to experience a good old baseball game at Coors field
    Day3 Drive down to Moab/Arches (maybe stay there?)
    Day4 Maybe do the “Long Canyon Rd” up to Dead horse point (depends on car we will be driving and road condition) before going up to Twin Falls/Idaho
    Day5 Try to get so far as Wisdom Montana (sun valley, Stanley) but that’s all up to what’s to look at in that area
    Day6 Get to West Yellowstone (passing Alder, Virginia City)
    Day7-8 Yellowstone/Jackson
    Day9 Head back towards Denver
    Day10 Head back towards Denver and fly out…..

    It’s about 2000miles, very doable in numbers but real life is always different.

    But of course this is just on the drawing board for now 

    Before I have been to LV, Grand Canyon, Monument valley, Silverton, Oray, Zion, Black hills, Devilstower.
    That’s why I am trying to go between those points, see some of Idaho, Wyoming and maybe a little Montana on the way..
    I see that going into to Idaho kind of stretch it a little, just have hard time leaving it out. Seems to me there is much to see there too…

    Some other alternative would be to just go down to Moab and the drive up to Wyoming and Yellowstone, then find something in Montana before you turn around again and head south..?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default That's where maps have their place.

    Quote Originally Posted by illusion View Post
    So trying to find those “hotspots” and a good route in between .


    ... then find something in Montana before you turn around again and head south?
    That's exactly where good maps have their place. I am surprised that you have not taken any home from your previous trips. These maps have so many of the attractions on them, and once you find one and do some research you will always find a couple of other interesting things/places nearby. Check with your automobile club and see if they have a reciprocal arrangement with AAA. If they do, you can pick up some extra maps when you arrive in Denver. Sometimes you find something which is on one map, and not on another. Many of us travel with a Rand McNally atlas, AAA maps and free State issued maps, as well as our gps. Some of the specialists add even more detailed maps with topography on them.


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