Mt Rushmore to Yellostone Help
I just came across this site. I think it is a great resource. Anyhoo I live in NJ and I was thinking about coming out West for the summer. As being a typical easterner my knowledge of the West is limited. I only have a week. Here is my plan. I am very open to suggestions. I was thinking from flying from Philadelphia to Denver.( I live an hour from either Newark Airport or Philly). From Denver drive up to Rushmore which looks like a 5 hr drive. Stay overnight a day or two and then drive out to Yellowstone. Then back down to Denver. How far is it between Yellowstone and Mt. Rushmore and what is the best route? What else is there to see on the way? Also what is the driving time from Yellowstone back down to Denver? . The reason I picked Denver is that flights from either Philly or Newark are about $22O a roundtrip.
If you can think of other cites as a base to fly into from the above cites that would be a help to. Thanks in advance.
One full day in Mt. Rushmore area - either one night or two max.
Everything there is very close together to see lots in a short time.
You'll need all the time you can spare at Yellowstone / Grand Tetons. It is huge. Lots to see and walk to and wait for timing of geysers, etc.
At Custer (Mt. Rushmore area) - see
Custer State Park - about 2-3 hours drive through amongst the buffalo
Crazy Horse Memorial - a work in progress mountain sculpture that is very interesting to see how it is being done & will be bigger than Rushmore figures when finished.
Mammoth Site - archaelogical dig - good guided tour about it
Towns of Deadwood & Lead - interesting "wild west" type touristy little towns. Re-enactment "street shootouts", the cemetery of Calamity Jane and Wild Bill is in Deadwood, etc.
I think it will take longer than 5 hours from Denver to Mt. Rushmore. Online maps going right up I-25 put it at 6-3/4 hours.
From Mt. Rushmore to Yellowstone comes up at 9 hours.
Yellowstone to Denver is 10-1/2 hours.
Other options to fly into (but probably not nearly as cheap as Denver for you):
Jackson Hole Wyoming
Rapid City South Dakota
Denver to Mt. Rushmore 400 miles and 7 hours driving time.
Mt. Rushmore to Yellowstone (Old Faithful) 500 miles and 8 1/2 hours driving time.
Yellowstone to Denver 565 miles and 10 hours driving time.
That's a lot of driving for a week vacation. If you're talking 7 days, then 3 of those 7 will be in a vehicle driving. Mt. Rushmore will take an hour or two to see. There is a lot of other things to see in the area, but if you spend two days here and need 3 days for traveling, then that only leaves you about 2 days for Yellowstone and IMHO, that isn't nearly enough time. There is a lot more to Yellowstone than just Old Faithful!!!!
My best advise would be to forget Mt. Rushmore and just concentrate on Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. There is a LOT more to Yellowstone than just Old Faithful. I would break the visit down like this:
Day 1 Geyser Areas around Old Faithful
Day 2 Other geyser areas between Old Faithful and Norris.
Day 3 WestThumb area, Yellowstone Lake, Hayden Valley, Mud Pots and Canyon
Day 4 The Falls, Roosevelt area and the Beartooth Highway.
Day 5 Grand Tetons
Just take a look at all there is to do and see in Yellowstone!
Yellowstone National Park Web Site
I would fly in and out of Salt Lake City to minimize the driving. Salt Lake City to Old Faithful is only 350 miles and approx. 6 hours driving time. You can take different routes in and out of the park for different scenery.
If you haven't made reservations yet for in Yellowstone then I would start calling now to see if you can get in on someone elses cancellation. I'm sure the park is booked by now. If you can't get lodging in the park, then I would try West Yellowstone just outside the park. This would be the best location for seeing the park. If you are into camping, then you shouldn't have a problem getting a camping reservations. We've just shown up at the campgrounds and have gotten camping sites.