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  1. Default Denver to Yellowstone

    Hello RTA. I am a rookie here (I can't even figure out how to post a new thread). I am coming from the East Coast next summer (July or August) and would like to land in Denver and do the loop with Yellowstone being the mid point. Maybe hit Laramie, some hot springs and Cody. How long should I plan for this trip? (Maybe a ghost town too). Also, do you suggest an RV (a class) or a van?
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 10-15-2017 at 02:05 PM. Reason: Moved post to its own thread

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default how much do you have?

    Welcome back to the RTA Forum!

    I'm a little confused as to how you couldn't figure out how to start a thread, when you already started one last year, but long story short, you start a new thread the same way you reply to a new thread, except you hit the 'start new thread' button from the menu of whichever forum topic best fits (summer trips, spring trips, etc). Having said that, at this point, please keep all questions about this trip here, in this thread.

    As far as your questions, for a fly and drive trip, I'd say you'd want at least 10 days to two weeks - but it really depends mostly on how much time you can take. You're looking at at basically a day each way for flights, least a day or so to drive each way from denver to Yellowstone, at least 3-4 days minimum for Yellowstone itself, plus some extra time to see things in between Denver and Yellowstone. Of course, if you can get more time, there's just that much more you can add to the list.

    For transportation, an RV is a lifestyle choice that can be a great one, but it generally is more expensive than a car and motels. You mentioned van - so perhaps you're thinking camper van? There are fewer of them available, and in your previous thread you mentioned traveling with children, so there probably isn't enough size with something like that to work very well for you.

  3. Default

    Thank you, I was able to post, but didn't know if it would be its own thread. 7 days seems legit to me. The RV would be a rental and allow us to stay in a campground inside the park and hotels when we want. IF 7 days is the does this sound:
    Day 1. - PHL to Denver rent a vehicle (van, sprinter van, rv)
    Day 1 - Drive to Laramie (spend the night, do a Rodeo)
    Day 2 Drive to Carbon County do the hot spring
    Day 3-4 Do Yellowstone
    Day 5 Cody
    Day 6 Do the Dino stuff in Thermopolis
    Day 7 return to Denver

    Is this too much?

    PS Thank you soooo much for any and all help and ideas. We are wide open on suggestions.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    Your trip is doable but you really need to adjust it so you have 3 full days in Yellowstone as the park is huge and there are many highlights. I t would also allow for a little time in the Tetons as you head into Yellowstone. Actual camper vans are not easy to find and an RV is expensive but it can be good fun. I would either camp the whole way or do Motels and a car, but I wouldn't pay for an RV and sleep in a Motel some nights. It would be a lot nicer if you could get another 2 or 3 days to allow a more relaxed trip but I also appreciate it's not always possible.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I think you're pretty strongly underestimating how much time you actually need to see and do things.

    Thinking you're going to be able to fly to Denver, rent an RV, and make it to Laramie the same day is quite unrealistic - especially getting there in time to see a rodeo. It's not a case where you just hop off the plane, walk over to your vehicle, and hit the road. The RV rental place won't be right at the airport, and it takes time to check out an RV, especially since you'll have to learn how to operate it. Once you're on the road, it takes time to set up an RV at the campground too.

    Similarly, the idea that you could go from Thermopolis, drive to Denver (more than 400 miles, as basically a full day on the road all by itself), drop off the RV, and fly home in the same day is beyond unrealistic.

    As I previously mentioned, 3-4 days really is about the minimum amount of time you need to see Yellowstone. Right now, you're giving yourself less than 2 days, and are apparently not giving any time at all for Grand Teton. Yellowstone is a huge park, travel is very slow - even slower in an RV - and you're planning to be visiting in the middle of the peak season where traffic will be an even bigger issue.

    If 7 days is all you can do, you could probably make a trip to Yellowstone work, but that will take up nearly all of your time, especially as an RV trip. You'd pretty much have to cut out many of the other stops you've got listed. You should also strongly think about flying into Salt Lake City instead, since that would cut your drive time to Yellowstone roughly in half.

  6. Default

    You guys are great. So, I've nixed the RV. I agree that hotels would be easier. I could maybe get another day or two. Is there another town I should hit on the way from Thermopolis? Shout I cut any of the towns off the list? (We are Yankess and this is our first trip out west other then skiing in Breckenridge. We are not big hikers. What big things should I not miss in Yellowstone, other than OF.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    There are a lot of things to see in Yellowstone, which (as others have mentioned) is huge. Old Faithful is just a part of a huge geyser basin called Upper Geyser Basin. Within that basin alone there are over 5 miles of boardwalks to see many types of geysers. Waiting for Old Faithful to blow may take 60-90 minutes, depending on when you arrive in relationship to when she 'may' blow again. There is also Midway Geyser Basin, with Grand Prismatic, and Lower Geyser Basin with the Firehole Lake. There is Norris Geyser Basin, too.

    There are the Artist Paintpots, which is bubbling mud -- really interesting to us, about a 1-1/2 mile walk. You say you're not big hikers, but you will need to do some walking to see things.

    Going further north, there's the Mammoth Hot Springs Area, and over toward the northeast there is the Tower Falls-Roosevelt area. The whole northeast area is where the wolves and bison are.

    There's Canyon Village, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. There are short hikes to the brinks of the Falls, both Lower Falls and Upper Falls. There is a mud volcano.

    Then there's Yellowstone Lake -- really lovely, and especially to see West Thumb Geyser Basin located right on the edge of the west thumb of Yellowstone Lake!

    Driving around Yellowstone, there is a 30 mph speed limit. But in many areas, you'll be amazed to be able to do that speed. There are "animal jams", where entire streams of traffic stop to watch bears at the side of the road, or gaze at a bison off in the distance. There is supposed to be construction through 2019, between Norris and Mammoth Hot Springs. They can only work during the summer so it is a slow replacement of the road. There are two major passes in the park: one is Craig Pass between Upper Geyser Basin and West Thumb, the other is Dunraven Pass between Tower-Roosevelt and Canyon Village.

    My husband and I did 3 days in the park, about 3 years ago, and really wished we'd done 4. We missed Grand Prismatic and the entire Midway Geyser Basin, and would have enjoyed spending more time in Lower Geyser Basin and the drive out to Sylvan Pass, another major pass in the park.


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