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  1. Default Indianapolis-Jackson Hole WY 2019

    Hello all!

    My husband and I are looking to plan a road trip next summer with two of our friends (four of us total) from Indianapolis to Jackson Hole. We're planning on going through South Dakota to spend a day at the Badlands and Black Hills. Ideally we'd like to spend about 6 days in JH to allow us plenty of time in Grand Teton National Park as well as a day in Yellowstone.

    It's been something I've always wanted to do, but I've never taken a long distance trip like this before, so I'm not positive on what to expect. I'd like to have an idea on how long we should anticipate it to take us to get to our first destination, knowing that we will be making bathroom/gas stops along the way. I'm not sure yet how much we'll be wanting to stop outside of bathroom/food/gas breaks until we get into the Badlands/Black Hills area either.

    It looks like from where we are to the Badlands it's about 1000 miles, then another 550 or so from the Badlands to where we'd be staying in JH. We'd have four people able to drive. Would it be unreasonable to think we could get to the Badlands early day 2 and spend the rest of the day there? Or even be close to there by the end of day 1? Could we feasibly make this trip in 3 days, knowing that most of day 2 would be spent not making mileage progress on our trip/making very little progress or should we plan on 4 days? I obviously don't want to push it in terms of safety, nor do I want it to be a miserable trip. We still have a year to plan if all goes well, so I want to make sure we know what to expect and have an approximation of how much time we need or if we need to tailor what we want to do to in order to have a fun trip, not a rushed stressful trip. Any advice or tips are greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,681

    Default Start out right.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    As you say you want to avoid taking risks and being miserable so you should plan on taking 4 days or abandon all thoughts of visiting Badlands. Simply put it's 3 days on the road to cover the 1500 plus miles you have to travel. The maximum we recommend on a multi day trip is 550 miles per day which is around 10 hours taking into account rest stops, eating, going to the bathroom and fill up the vehicle, but with no sight seeing. Having 4 people doesn't really help as no one in the car will get proper rest and will likely feel as tired as the driver if asked to take over (I actually get more tired as a passenger) and stops will take longer and toilet breaks may not all come at the same time.

    Basically start your trip on the right footing, you don't want to arrive at JH feeling over tired and tense, enjoy the journey and make it memorable for the right reasons.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,734

    Default

    As Dave said, no, it's not wise at all to try to drive nearly 1,000 miles on the first day, thinking it will leave you time to explore the Badlands on day 2. Starting fresh, with multiple drivers, you'd probably make it there ok, but at a huge cost. You'd be beyond exhausted, making it nearly impossible for you to enjoy what you'd be seeing in South Dakota, difficult for you to enjoy spending time together as friends, and would certainly compromise your safety to try and drive another 500+ miles the following day. Take at least 4 days, 3 for driving, and 1 for SD, to get there.

    I will also note that Yellowstone is a HUGE place and Jackson isn't a very good base to see it from. Even some of the relatively close attractions like Old Faithful will 1.5-2 hours away, and it's a solid 3+ hours one-way to the northern parts of Yellowstone. If it were me, I'd plan to spend at least 1 or 2 nights (even more if you have time) in Yellowstone, and try to fit it in between SD and Grand Teton to save you some driving.

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    As you say you want to avoid taking risks and being miserable so you should plan on taking 4 days or abandon all thoughts of visiting Badlands. Simply put it's 3 days on the road to cover the 1500 plus miles you have to travel. The maximum we recommend on a multi day trip is 550 miles per day which is around 10 hours taking into account rest stops, eating, going to the bathroom and fill up the vehicle, but with no sight seeing. Having 4 people doesn't really help as no one in the car will get proper rest and will likely feel as tired as the driver if asked to take over (I actually get more tired as a passenger) and stops will take longer and toilet breaks may not all come at the same time.

    Basically start your trip on the right footing, you don't want to arrive at JH feeling over tired and tense, enjoy the journey and make it memorable for the right reasons.
    Thanks so much for your response! It sounds like we'll need at least 12, preferably 14 days to be able to do all the things we want to do, spend at least 5 days in WY, and have a good time, otherwise skip the Badlands and Black Hills! That was what I figured. I think especially for the drive there (not so much the drive back) we want to have an actual road trip experience, and the flexibility to stop and sightsee if we want to without feeling too crunched for time vs just trying to get from point A to point B.

    My biggest thing was wanting to have a realistic timeframe for when we do start officially planning our trip so we can get vacation days in order, etc.

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    As Dave said, no, it's not wise at all to try to drive nearly 1,000 miles on the first day, thinking it will leave you time to explore the Badlands on day 2. Starting fresh, with multiple drivers, you'd probably make it there ok, but at a huge cost. You'd be beyond exhausted, making it nearly impossible for you to enjoy what you'd be seeing in South Dakota, difficult for you to enjoy spending time together as friends, and would certainly compromise your safety to try and drive another 500+ miles the following day. Take at least 4 days, 3 for driving, and 1 for SD, to get there.

    I will also note that Yellowstone is a HUGE place and Jackson isn't a very good base to see it from. Even some of the relatively close attractions like Old Faithful will 1.5-2 hours away, and it's a solid 3+ hours one-way to the northern parts of Yellowstone. If it were me, I'd plan to spend at least 1 or 2 nights (even more if you have time) in Yellowstone, and try to fit it in between SD and Grand Teton to save you some driving.
    We'd be staying in JH, and taking a day trip up to Yellowstone. Our friends haven't been to Yellowstone and want to see Old Faithful. We've made the daytrip from JH to Yellowstone before, which we would do midtrip. We much prefer the atmosphere of Grand Teton NP to Yellowstone, so that's where we'd like to spend most of our time and would really only like to spend a day there

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