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  1. #1

    Default southwestern bc thru utah,vegas

    Hi I found this site last year, for our first road trip and loved it! we would like to in early sept.2011
    most confusing to me is beginning of trip to find interesting thingslast year we found the drive from salt lake city-kalispell quite boring. so looking for a different scenic route, does not have to be freeway.again more interested in natural wonders than cities. also interested in native american sites

    Day 1-southwestern bc,canada-kalispell mt (5hrs)stay overnite if we leave later afternoon
    Day 2- Kalispel Mt-Missoula-Helena-bozeman-west yellowstone 191?
    or what is there to see along 89 from columbia falls-browning-great falls-livingstone-gardiner
    Day 3- yellowston np-down thru wyoming or idaho?????what about ynp-vernal ut. via 191 is this scenic??? again really need help here
    Day 4,5,6,7,8-if we did 191 above- vernal- grand junction(139)-delta-montrose-ouray-durango-cortez(really want to see mesa verde) so is this best scenic route to get there(did thru moab last year so looking for a different way Cortez-4 corners-blanding
    torrey-boulder-escalante-tropic-rubys inn(bryce canyon)
    Day 9-Bryce canyon-via 89-mount carmel jct-kanah(pink coral sand dunes)
    Day 10- Kanah-glen canyon-page
    Day 11-powell lake-antelope canyon
    Day 12-page-marble canyon-jacob lake-north rim
    Day 13- North rim-fredonia-hurricane(zion np)
    Day 14- st george- las vegas
    Day 15-18 las vegas
    Day 20 on way home figure out route

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome back!

    If you want to go from Kalispell to West Yellowstone in 1 day, US-93/I-90/US-191 is the fastest way to go. This will take you 7 hours or so. If you want to go through Glacier on the GTSR and take US-89 all the way to Yellowstone, you should allow 2 days. If you do this, I'd recommend taking I-90 east to Laurel, then US-212 over the Beartooth Highway into the northeast entrance of Yellowstone.

    US-550 between Montrose and Durango is the Million Dollar Highway and one of the greatest scenic drives anywhere. So is UT-12 between Torrey and Bryce Canyon.

  3. #3


    ok how does this sound:
    Kalispell-Butte-Gardiner-Mammoth Springs-Canyon Village-Tower Rosevelt-Cooke City-Cody( could we be in Cody by 6:00 for gunfighter show??
    Stay in Buffalo Bill Park( camping at North Shore Bay)is this on lake is there swimming there??
    Buffalo Bill Park -tour Cody on Cable car tours(whatever they are called lol)visit old trail town-may spend nite again if to fit this a day before in is too much. Any other sites to see here??

    Buffalo Bill Park-Wapity-Fishing Bridge-W Thumb-Old Faithful( is there anything of big interest between old faithful & Madison) if not we will back track Then go 191 into utah-here another question- best route from here thru flaming gorge( is there any swimming here)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Time Needed

    Kalispell to Cody is 500 miles. If you plan to use 'scenic' two lane roads, you'll be hard pressed to make it by 6 unless you leave early in the morning and make no sizeable stops. If you plan to drive through Yellowstone Park, you simply cannot make it until well into the darkness of night.

    On a more general note, if you can afford the time (Such routes take considerably longer than your plan for Kalispell to Cody seems to indicate that you appreciate.), US-89 is a very worthwhile alternative to the Interstates down to Salt Lake City. And yes, swimming is permitted in Flaming Gorge Reservoir.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    SF Bay Area

    Default Some other options for consideration

    Some personal favorites in Montana:

    Helena: Last Chance Gulch, State Capitol & Gates of the Mountain boat ride on the Missouri

    Mining Museum in Butte

    Bannack State Park (ghost town) west of Dillon. This last takes you off the direct path to West Yellowstone, so unless you're a ghost town groupie probably not an ideal option. Also involves (if I remember correctly) some unpaved roads, so may violate a rental contract... but the neatest ghost town East of Bodie in my opinon.

    Someday I'll get around to scanning some old negatives....

  6. #6


    I really love this site, you guys give such great leads to routes, thank you! I looked more into it and yes that is too long a drive, are there "bear boxes" in yellowstone, yes I am from the Canadian Rockies, and yes we have Bears! But we do not have bear boxes and I know I was very uneasy in sequioa when we camped there, and b/c we were tenting and it was such a pain to unload our cases of water/drinks etc. Is there someplace outside yellowstone like would cooke city have places or is it really small, I haven't checked it out yet. Maybe stay around there then head to Cody in morning and spend nite Buffalo Bill park before heading back into yellowstone for geyser sites, etc.
    then i checked links you had and 89/191 Jackson Lake (tentons?)- Molan-Moose Junction-Jackson-Moran-Green River-Manilla-Vernal And maybe detour into Flaming Gorge for a drive thru,will figure a place to stay also. I did not want to do SLC highway. May return home by Bear Lake.We like the natural sites/old west/native sites.Not really into Ghost towns, but do I had better ask are these towns that are fixed up by gov. and ran as attractions or just towns you go to and nothing there(tourist wise)We live in the Rockies so that is something we see all the time, so looking for other beautiful sites. We have our own truck so unpaved roads are not a problem.The planning is almost as exciting as the trip!! Thanks

  7. #7


    how does this sound

    Day 1-southwestern bc,canada-kalispell mt (5hrs)stay overnite if we leave later afternoon
    Day 2-Kalispell-Butte-Gardiner-Mammoth Springs-Canyon Village-Tower Rosevelt-Cooke City-Cody(stay at Buffalo Bill State Park)
    Day 3-spend day in Cody checking out sites(stay at Buffalo Bill SP)
    Day 4-Buffalo Bill Park-Wapity-Fishing Bridge-W Thumb-Old Faithful- Jackson Lake (tentons?)- Molan-Moose Junction-Jackson-Pinedale(stay here for nite)
    Day 5-Pinedale-Green River-Flaming Gorge-Manilla-Vernal (Stay in area)
    Day 6-Vernal area-Duchesne-Helper-Price-Green River-Dead Horse Point SP(stay in area)
    Day 7-Dead Horse SP-Monticello-Howevenweep?monument-Cortez(stay in area)
    Day 8-Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellings(stay in area)
    Day 9-10-Cortez-4 corners-blanding-hankville(95)-torrey(24)
    torrey-boulder-escalante-tropic-(need to figure this out want to stay at Huntington SP)and maybe use as base camp for siteseeing for 2 days???
    Day11-12-above-Bryce canyon(stay at Rubys Inn)use as base for this area
    Day 13-Bryce Canyon-via 89-mount carmel jct-kanah(pink coral sand dunes)-glen canyon-Page
    Day 14-Page-antelope canyon(Stay 2 days)site see area
    Day 15- las vegas(if we dont do vegas may go around down to sedona area for these days)Is is dangerous around Tombstone??b/c of Mexican drug war??? or is that a myth???
    Day 15-18 las vegas
    Day 20 on way home figure out route

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Your Eyes Don't Work Northbound?

    Your southbound itinerary is already more developed than what we would usually advise. Not that it's too packed, it's just that we like to leave something to each traveler's imagination and own discovery. You are clearly beyond where you need much help from us. What I don't understand is why you pack it all into a one-way trip when you'll be going home by essentially the same basic route. Rather than rush for home in two (impossible) or three (rushed) days, why not spend about half your time heading south and seeing about half the things on your current list, and then spend the second half of your trip continuing that slow, relaxed, enjoyable pace northbound seeing the other half of your wish list? That's what I'd do.


  9. #9


    LOL I hadn't thought of it that way! But I do have some sites in mind(Bear Lake SP)? I guess my idea of going down is you can see what you want, nothing is booked so not set in stone, that we have to stick to the agenda. Then we can just come home, and anything on way home is a bonus. I see your point in that it seems like a one way trip, but not in my mind. what are your thoughts about around tombstone? is it safe to go down that way?? we are camping mostly,probably all in a tent. if we miss vegas we may just make a loop trip b/c already know what we want to see so agenda is easy to change.New mexico could also be on way home but is much different from utah scenery? i posted this as i like your different suggestions of out of way places/sites.thanks for input

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Tombstone and Safety

    I would have no hesitation in recommending a visit to Tombstone if you're of a mind to do so. The violence is almost entirely on the Mexican side of the border where the Federales have only nominal control while the various drug cartels fight it out amongst themselves for actual control of the streets. The concern on this side of the border is overblown, bordering on hysteria among some, considering the actual number and severity of incidents. Once on this side of the border, drug runners and other illegals have two main objectives: to stay out of sight of authorities and to get paid for the services they're providing. Neither of those objectives is advanced by having any interaction with you. There are certain corridors that are frequented by border crossers, notably he Tohono O'odham Reservation and the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, but a major border monitoring outpost is at Fort Huachuca Military Reservation in Sierra Vista, not far from Tombstone, and so that area is generally avoided.

    If you're going to be in the Tombstone area, then also consider Chiricahua National Monument, Fort Bowie National Historic Site, Kartchner Caverns, the Arisona-Sonora Desert Museum, and the Pima Air and Space Museum (including the Titan Missile Silo near Green Valley)


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