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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    southwest lower Michigan

    Default Chicago to Seattle in 5 days

    A friend and I are headed out to visit family in Seattle in May, and want to make as nice as possible road trip out of it both ways. Our time is flexible in the 5 day +/- target. I know it doesn't give us much time for long stops (I'd like to go trout fishing in a mountain stream!) but...are there some things along the way that we shouldn't miss? We'll probably go the "northern" route one way(as undefined as it is...looking at the Google map currently) , and "southern" route the other. We know of things like Badlands, MT. Rushmore, Corn Palace...would like to get into Yellowstone (which route??). Definitely appreciate your input. Thanks in advance. Z

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Each way, right ?

    Hello and welcome to R.T.A.

    Do you mean 5 days each way for your trip or in total. With a bit over a 4000 mile round trip you will be on the road for about 9 hours a day for 8 days with short stops so you will have the evenings and a couple of days to do some short detours along the route.

    We generally recommend covering 500-550 miles a day max [9-10 hours] for multi day trips so it would be a good start to see what area this will put you each night and what around there appeals to you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    southwest lower Michigan

    Default Yes, ~ 5 days each way...

    Sorry . Yes...we can really only afford 5-ish days each way. Gosh, I wish it weren't so far to Seattle. Do you know of any "compact" road trips :-) ???
    Thanks, Zorra

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Maybe More Time than You Think

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Since the drive from Chicago to Seattle (roughly 2100 miles) can be made in 4 days of a little over 500 miles each. And since driving at that pace would still leave time to spend a few hours each day sight-seeing. Having 5 days would leave you more time to sample the places you'll be driving through and by. The trick is not to think in terms of 8 hour days (This isn't work, after all.) but 14 hour days (You're on vacation, use the whole day.) That still gives you an hour to wind down each evening, an hour to get packed up and back on the road in the morning and a full 8 hours sleep each night. I tend to drive for just 2-3 hours at a time and then take a break either for a meal or to visit an attraction. I can usually make, say, 4 'drives' and 3 or 4 'visits' each day. Such a pace keeps the days interesting and rewarding.

    My 'northern' route (Your's might differ.) would use I-94 through Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana and would include Mall of America, Fargo, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Little Bighorn Battlefield, and a detour up through Glacier National Park. My 'southern' route would use I-90 through southern Minnesota, South Dakota and northern Wyoming, then US-14/US-20 to connect to I-84/I-82 and would include most of the places you mentioned as well as the Snake River Valley and Devils Tower.


  5. #5

    Default Fisherman, you're in luck

    Hello Zorra,

    For a world-class flyfishing spot almost directly on your route, consider Rock Creek (RC), just east of Missoula, MT. RC is a designated "Blue Ribbon" stream which occupies a 60 mile long virtually undeveloped canyon and empties into the Clark Fork River around 20 miles east of Missoula, right on I-90. The lower 8-10 miles are private for the most part, but the pavement ends and the Lolo National Forest begins right at the 10 mile mark, and from there, the next 30 miles are as nice of a forested canyon as you could ever want to see. The road is never far from the creek, so hopscotch fishing is readily available. Both the Lolo NF (closest to I-90) and the Beaverhead-Deerlodge NF (starting around mile 35) offer campgrounds along RC.

    Inasmuch as it's the only road for many miles, RC Road is well-maintained. It's gravel and a bit bumpy, making for 10-15 mph travel in places, but most any vehicle can manage it.

    For a "drive through", consider leaving I-90 at Anaconda in favor of MT-1 "The Scenic Route". MT-1 takes you past the beautiful Georgetown Lake, the delightful town of Philipsburg (be sure to stop for ice cream in the historic downtown ice cream shop), and from Philipsburg, a well-marked road hops over the John Long Range to the Rock Creek canyon, some 10 miles west of P'burg. The point at which that road intersects RC is some 40 miles from I-90.

    For up to the day before fishing reports, go to the website of Rock Creek Mercantile ( where Doug provides daily reports in season. He'd appreciate it if you were to buy your MT license and some flies, I'm sure, and a stop at his shop near the mouth of the creek is pretty much a requirement for fishing visitors, regardless.

    Have fun planning and taking your RoadTrip!


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