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  1. Default Yellowstone 5 day trip

    Hello to all,

    My friend and I are planning a trip to Yellowstone in July (4th-6th start date). It will be around 5 days or so, and we are planning to fly from Chicago (where he lives) to Salt Lake, Denver or somewhere closer to Yellowstone to use as a starting point. Does anyone know of any routes that will take in great scenery and natural wonders/parks that will take us to Yellowstone and back to one of the close by cities in 5 days? Ideally we want to do a loop instead of driving back the same roads so we see something different each day. We can do camping and/or motelling for stop off points.

    Cheers in advance!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default There Are Always Choices

    Your closest major airport is Salt Lake City, but at 350 miles away, it would require the better part of a day to get to Yellowstone from there. Considering that your flights are unlikely to arrive first thing in the morning and depart late in the evening, you are looking at using 2 of your 5 days just to get to and from the park. That might suit you just fine. Your other option is to fly into a smaller airport much closer, say Jackson Hole (JAC). The tickets would cost you more, on the order of $100-150 extra per person, but you'd get some of that back in gas savings (around $100) and more time in the park.

    If you're going to use Salt lake City as your arrival city, then you do have your choice of a few routes between there and Yellowstone. The fast route is to just head up I-15 to Idaho Falls and then use US-20 up to West Yellowstone, MT. A somewhat slower way, but a bit more scenic (all roads between Salt Lake and Yellowstone are knock-your-socks-off gorgeous!), is US-89 north across the very southeast tip of Idaho and the western edge of Wyoming to approach Yellowstone by way of Grand Teton National Park.


  3. Default

    We don't want to just arrive there using the motorways, but by using the most scenic routes we can find. I will research the US-89 route you are talking about, sounds interesting. We will probably start at Salt Lake City and go from there. If you have any more info that might help, that would be great. I know nothing about US roads or routes. Never been to the US before, and my friend only moved there 8 months ago.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default The Definitive Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by gman1979 View Post
    We will probably start at Salt Lake City and go from there.
    There are a couple of resources that you might wish to include in your research. The first is an audio book written by Tim Cahill, a gifted American writer who lives on a ranch a stones throw from Yellowstone -- actually I would suggest you purchase this and listen to it as you drive up there -- Tim's writing makes me laugh out loud and he always has some insider tips to share. The other book, which is actually a gazateer, that I use when travel in Wyoming and Montana is this one edited by Michael and Heidi Pfeil Dougherty. Michael's books are excellent for folks who are unfamiliar with traveling on western roads, because he provides a near mile-by-mile description of attractions and points of interest along the routes. I have discovered little-known places on every trip to Wyoming and Montana from using these books.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default US-89 is Your Ticket then

    Quote Originally Posted by gman1979
    We don't want to just arrive there using the motorways, but by using the most scenic routes we can find.
    By all means then, try US-89. I have driven it and I think it will suit your needs. Along the way you'll be driving through Cache National Forest, along the shores of Bear Lake, down the Star Valley of Wyoming, and along part of the Wyoming Centennial Scenic Byway through Jackson Hole on your way to Grand Teton National Park - all before reaching Yellowstone.

    If you find that, after taking that drive north, you still want a different road south, I'd recommend that you try this. Leave Yellowstone to the west on US-20 and go as far as Idaho Falls. Here, pick up US-91 south. This will occasionally share alignment with I-15, but in most cases, the old non-motorway US-91 will still be there, marked as Business-91 or Business-15. US-91 will eventually return you to Logan, UT where you would join US-89 for the remainder of the way back to Salt lake City.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 04-04-2016 at 10:20 AM. Reason: Updated Links

  6. Default

    What about landing in Billings, MT? This would allow you to enter the park via the Beartooth Pass. I grew up in Red Lodge, which is just at the base of the pass, and it's breathtaking. There's a tiny gas station/ souviner shop at the top called Top of the World Store, and it really looks as if you were on top of the world!!!
    I believe the drive from Billings to Yellowstone would be around 6 hours. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
    You won't be disappointed if you should choose this route!!

  7. Default

    We have booked return flights to Denver instead of Salt Lake (a bit cheaper).

    We will probably do a loop from Denver to Yellowstone to Salt Lake City back to Denver so we will use the US89 route on the way back from Yellowstone. Does anyone have any recommendations of campsites or hotels in Yellowstone? I'm sure we will have to book some before we leave.

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