Great idea, Lifey! Appreciate the fun suggestion.
A "shake down cruise" or two would also be helpful to ensure that you have it packed with all the essentials, and correctly. It's such a pain to get into a campsite 35 miles from the nearest discount store, to find out that you "need" a certain item. Take one weekend and go close to home, close to a discount store. Take another weekend, go a little further. Then take it into the Appalachians and see how it tows.
Henry Doorly(so?) Zoo is the BEST zoo I've ever been. Also, If you like baseball I suggest you check out the new college baseball stadium. I don't know if they'll let you in but maybe it's worth a look.
Estes Park is beautiful! I'm a bit of a city boy from a rough area. I was blessed to be able to get out unscathed and see things this country has to offer. I went to the Zoo a couple of times. Once the College World Series was going on. That was a nightmare because back then the Zoo was next to the stadium. I went back when it wasn't crowded and had a lovely time.
I used to live in Rapid City and used to go to Denver for entertainment and happened to stumble on Estes Park. I couldn't believe how beautiful it is. I even bought an Estes Park t-shirt!
FYI be careful in Omaha. Don't go off the beaten path and STAY AWAY FROM AMES AVENUE!! There are gangs there and I unknowingly wore the wrong colors and it could've cost me harm. Besides that ENJOY YOUR TRIP!!!
We just completed a road trip from Chicago to Yellowstone. Although it is a shorter distance, we did purely enjoy camping at Cedar Pass campgrounds in Badlands. Hike the Notch and Door trails; both awesome and doable. We did see a snoozing rattle snake on the nature trail there.
Eat a Pizza Ranch in/around Rapid City for great chicken!(we stopped at the one in Spearfish at exit 14 off US 90)
Ellsworth (free) museum outside Rapid City definitely worth the hour or so exhibits (in the AC!)
We didn't camp at yellowstone (some family not into that but stayed at Shoshone ranch just outside East entrance. Lovely. Gas up at Pehaska outside East gate to save 20 cents off in-park gas prices.
I would avoid towing trailer in Miami area unless you plan to camp outside and leave trailer at camp site.
Estes Park is beautiful! I remember seeing prairie dogs as a kid when my family visited for a few days. My family and I actually took a horse back trip trough some pretty amazing and breath taking sites. Enjoy!
Yellowstone! So fun! So much to see and do. Here are a few of our favorites:
Grand Prismatic Spring. For the best views and to really see its colors take the Fairy Falls Trail about a mile-ish. You will be able to see the spring off to right. Climb up the hillside for a spectacular view. The only thing is this is not a good option when it's cold. When the warm spring air hits the cold air it creates a lot of steam cutting doe on visibility significantly. But if you get a sunny day it's worth it!
Norris Geyser Basin has lots to see and can easily take a couple hours. But it's a great way too see hot springs and geysers.
Old Faithful. If it's raining head to the Old Faithful Inn, grab a hot beverage, sit on the deck, and watch it from a distance under the overhang. Morning Glory pool is also a good one in this area. It has lost some of its color, but is still very pretty.
Mammoth Hot Springs. Park at the lower lot and walk up to Minerva Terrace. That's the highlight of this area. There's not a lot of water in the terrace anymore, but I still found it to be quite beautiful.
Yellowstone Grand Canyon. One of the park's prettiest features! Lower Falls is the bigger of the two falls. Twice the height of Niagra! Inspiration Point and Artist Point have great photo ops and views. Grand view Point and Lookout Point are also stops that are worth it in scenic views of the canyon. Take the 0.75 mile trail to Brink of the Lower Falls to stand right where the Yellowstone River tumbles over the rocky edge. The power and roar of the water is insane! We also loved Uncle Tom's Trail. It's a workout, 500feet down on a staircase of 328 stairs. Not good if anyone has a fear of heights or has heart problems. I think you are close to 8,000 feet in elevation which definitely takes a toll.
Lamar Valley is just intensely pretty in a different way. Lots of bison and fields for days.
We did the cowboy cookout in Roosevelt Country and felt it was worth the expense. The food was good (don't expect five star), but the experience is what made it special. We got lucky and had a moose visit behind the porta-potties (which have soap and sinks outside).
I bought Lonely Planet Yellowstone and Grand Tetons guidebook and it has been our go-to resource for all of our trips there.
You mentioned not being used to mountains. I think your Chevy will tow your travel trailer fine. Our Toyota 4Runner (it's a V8) can tow our trailer which is about 4,200 or 4,500 pounds. This summer will be our first trip to Yellowstone with our new trailer, but we've done a lot of other passes a-OK. And Chevys were built for towing much more so than Toyotas👍🏻. The biggest things to be cautious about in the higher elevations are sunblock (even on cloudy days), staying hydrated (everything dries out so much faster), and prepared for weather. In Yellowstone we've had snow and hail in June and massive thunderstorms and rain in August. It can also get very very cold, even in summer. In every campground there is a small room with a sink attached to the bathrooms. This is for dish washing. Bring dishwashing gloves! The water is so cold your hands it actually begins to hurt. The gloves are a decent barrier so you're not so uncomfortable. I also have a broom, dustpan, and swiffer mop stored inside.
For your trailer...congratulations! So many fun family memories coming your way! We've learned it's good to have a tool box with a basic set of tools for the trailer. We also keep a power drill, duct tape, and work gloves for setting up. You never know what kind of weird situation you may end up in so good to be prepared lol! I also have a broom, dustpan, and swiffer mop stored inside. So much dirt gets inside the trailer, especially with kids.
Have a great time and enjoy your new trailer!
It is great to see you share your detailed knowledge of the area. But if you read the thread closely, and see the dates, you will see that this trip was summer 2016.
Not only an old thread, but Uncle Tom's Trail was under rehabilitation for awhile. I'm not sure what its status is at this point (in case anyone else comes across this thread) so be sure to check the Yellowstone website and then again with a ranger before setting out on ANY trail, especially one where you use one trail to connect with another.
That was great information, YTourte!