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  1. Default Summer trip from PA to Yellowstone and more

    I am trying to plan a 16 day trip for my husband and 2 adult children. We are not rver's, so we will be needing lodging along the way. Mt. Rushmore, the badlands, Yellowstone and Grand Tetons have made the list of destinations. However, I am trying to get as much in as possible since we are out that far. I suggested Glacier National Park, is that too far out of the way? Would it be better to head to points south of Yellowstone when we are done there. Also, how much time to allow for Yellowstone. We will need to drive out of the park for lodging each day since I am told lodging in the park is booked at least one year in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Where you should stay and which route you should take will depend a bit on where exactly in PA you are starting from and exactly when this trip will take place. If this trip is happening in early August, you'll have to keep in mind the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally that brings thousands of people to Western South Dakota.

    I would say that I would probably skip Glacier, as it is probably too much for the time you have.

    Generally speaking, you're going to need 4 days each way just for the drive, so that's half of your trip. I'd give at least 3 days for Yellowstone, a day for Grand Teton, and at least 2 days for the Badlands and Black Hills. That still gives you a couple days to play with, either for stuff to do along the way, or for a little more time at your main destinations.

    I wouldn't immediately give up on the idea of finding a room inside Yellowstone - check frequently as there can be cancellations. If you can't find a room in the park, West Yellowstone is generally the most centrally located area outside the park.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default It depends.

    Hello and welcome to RTA !

    You should check the Yellowstone website for lodging options and if non available you can keep checking as cancellations do come up due to their free cancellation policy. West Yellowstone has lodging options if you have no luck. I would recommend at least 3 days to explore the park and the nearby Tetons and as it's so big you could choose different bases to do so. With close to 4 days driving each way that will only leave 5 days 'free' for sight seeing as you go. Glacier isn't too far out of the way, you just need to prioritise where you would like to spend your time.

  4. Default

    We are in Central PA near Harrisburg. I was hoping to leave in early June but am a bit concerned about snow in Yellowstone when we get there: not the snow but the road closings that result. Any extra stops along the way would probably not be until a few states away from us as we can do that on another shorter trip. Any thoughts?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Everything in Yellowstone is usually (but not always) open by Memorial Day. From the NPS site:



    2016 Spring Road Opening Dates

    April 15: Mammoth to Old Faithful; Madison to West Entrance; Norris to Canyon.
    May 6: Canyon Junction to Lake; Lake to East Entrance (Sylvan Pass).
    May 13: Lake to West Thumb, West Thumb to Old Faithful (Craig Pass), and South Entrance to West Thumb; Tower Junction to Tower Fall.
    May 27: Tower Fall to Canyon Junction (Dunraven Pass); Beartooth Highway
    Highly recommend you either enter the park or leave the park via the Beartooth Highway if possible.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    June should be a fine time to make this trip. Snow is a possibility, but unlikely to cause you any serious problems.

    If you just want to focus on getting west to start, then I'd plan to take I-70/I-74/I-80/I-680/I-29/I-90 out to South Dakota. That will keep you off of the toll roads and avoids Chicago traffic. Your first two overnight stops on this route would be the west side of Indianapolis/Crawfordsville, and then Sioux City, Iowa. That would set you up nicely to see the Badlands at the end of your 3rd day.

    On your way back from Yellowstone, leaving through Grand Teton and then south back to I-80. It's possible that you'd have time to make a quick detour down into Rocky Mountain National Park for a short stop on your way back.

  7. Default

    Thanks for all the info. It is tremendously helpful. Your insights make me feel better about planning this trip.

  8. Default

    Another question regarding my Yellowstone/Teton trip. Aside from the amazing scenery, do you suggest anything like a river float or guided tours or other activities that might cost money?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default If it works for you............

    That's a matter of personal opinion really, but the pure natural beauty is enough for me, although as an example you can take a boat tour on Jenny lake[ I think it is] in the Teton's.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    The boat trip across Jenny Lake at the Tetons is one I would recommend, as it takes you to a very nice set of trails and overlooks in the mountain on the other side of the lake. You can also walk around the lake, but that would take quite a bit more time.

    I also did a Float/Whitewater trip with Mad River Rafting in Jackson, and I would highly recommend them if you want to try a little whitewater. The float trip was nice too, but not something I would necessarily do again.

    But as Dave said, something like that really is optional, there is so much to do inside the parks that you could easily fill up your entire trip, and more.

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