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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    18

    Default Denver to Seattle - 6 Weeks - Any ‘Must See’s’ Missed?

    Hi there.

    I posted about 18 months back asking for advice on a loop trip we were starting to plan from Denver to Yellowstone and back again.

    Obviously time has passed, COVID arrived, borders closed and plans got messed up.

    But it has meant that we’ve been able to save up plenty of leave, and we’re looking to do a solid 6 week road trip in August/September 2022 as we think it likely borders will have reopened by then.

    With the luxury of time, I’ve mapped out a reasonably exhaustive trip itinerary. You can view it in detail in map form here : https://trips.furkot.com/board/w9NKvn

    For anyone familiar with the route - is there anything on or close to our route that is a ‘Must See’ that I haven’t included? And anything I have that is a bit ho-hum and should be skipped?

    As always appreciate any and all advice.

    Thanks! Daniel.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 03-01-2021 at 06:06 AM. Reason: Linked to previous thread

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,725

    Default for best results

    Welcome back to the RTA Forum!

    Most of the previous advice you were given still applies to this trip. In terms of general advice to get more out of your time on this forum, I can offer two things.

    We generally don't much believe in "must sees" because what's a must see for one person could be a must skip for someone else. It's also an impossibly open ended question which makes it difficult to give specific advice.

    I would suggest laying out your trip on this site - as expecting others to go elsewhere to see your map (which itself doesn't have a lot of detail or context) doesn't make it easy for people to respond. You don't have to give step by step maps like you did in your previous post, but at least writing out a rough sketch of the places you plan to go, and preferably about how much time you plan to spend at easy place, will go much farther to making it easy for people to provide helpful advice.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    10,114

    Default We Don't Know!

    Unfortunately, the link you provided shows only a map with dots on it. We do not have access to what those dots mean. For example, there is a dot in Idaho Falls, but what is it about that town that makes it a 'must see' for you? Or is it just a marker to make the route go over the highways you want to drive? We don't know.

    The same could be said about any ‘Must See[s]’ that [you] haven't included. Since we don't know what you have included, we don't know what you haven't. Besides, everyone's definition of 'must see' is different. My wife would consider a garden a 'must see' whereas I would (and have done so) drive 50 miles out of my way to see a particular rock. And you would....? We don't know.

    Referring back to your previous thread, the most meaningful statement there was: "As a general rule, my wife and I are 'explorer' types, so we are happy to take back roads, staying in small towns, etc. Tourist hot spots and big crowds are definitely not our thing. However, it is likely that given the distance and cost, this may be the only time we will visit most of the stops, so if there are 'Must See's that aren't on our list, we'd love to know them." That's a help, but your route has changed considerably in the 2½ months since the. You did get considerable help then, both general and specific. Which suggestions have you incorporated and which have you chosen to discard? We don't know.

    We'll be more than glad to help you. That's why we're here. But we need more than an unlabeled map and a request for generic 'must see' attractions.

    AZBuck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    18

    Default

    Thanks for the feedback folks. Unfortunately I thought the map link displayed more than it does, so my apologies there.

    In short, what's changed since the last thread is mostly extending it out to 6 weeks, adding detours to see side attractions rather than taking main highways, and changing the backward leg from Yellowstone to Denver to instead carrying on up through Montana to visit Glacier Natl Park and then on to Seattle.

    The itinerary is :

    - 4 nights in Denver, with a visit to the Wild Animal Sanctuary about 40m NE of Denver.

    - 2 nights in Colorado Springs, visiting Pikes Peak, Manitou Springs and Garden of the Gods.

    - 2 days driving to Grand Junction, staying in Salida and visiting Royal Gorge, Skyline Drive, the Gunnison and the Ute Indian Museum.

    - 2 nights in Grand Junction, visiting the Colorado Natl Monument.

    - 3 nights in Moab, visiting Arches and Canyonlands, and the Colorado River Road.

    - 2 days driving to Salt Lake City via Dinosaur, Vernal and Park City, stopping to see Dinosaur National Monument on the way.

    - 3 nights in SLC, no fixed plans.

    - 3 days driving to Jackson, staying at Montpelier and Idaho Falls on the way and visiting Bear Lake, Soda Springs and Lava Hot Springs on the way.

    - 2 nights in Jackson, with a daytrip loop to view Grand Teton via Snake Overlook and Jenny Lake.

    - 1 day driving to West Yellowstone.

    - 2 nights in West Yellowstone, visiting Old Faithful and Grand Prismatic Spring.

    - 2 days driving to Billings via the Beartooth Highway, staying at Cooke City and visiting Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and Red Lodge.

    - 2 nights in Billings, no major plans, just visiting Pictograph Cave just down the road.

    - 2 days driving to Great Falls, staying in Bozeman and visiting the Museum of the Rockies plus detouring to see the start of the Missouri River and Helena.

    - 2 nights in Great Falls, visiting Giant Springs State Park and the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Centre.

    - 1 day to drive to East Glacier Park Village.

    - 1 day to drive Going To The Sun Road, finishing in Whitefish.

    - 1 day to drive to Missoula

    - 2 days in Missoula, no plans.

    - 2 days driving to Spokane via a night in Coeur D'Alene, stopping at St Regis and the Buck Knives factory shop in Post Falls (big Buck Knives fan here! :))

    - 2 nights in Spokane, no plans.

    - 1 day's driving to Seattle, stopping at Moses Lake and Ellensburg (and that running horses monument next to the Columbia River whose name I can't remember right now).

    - 3 nights in Seattle, no plans.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    18

    Default

    As for the 'must see's' question, I guess half the problem is 'you don't know what you don't know'. It's easy to look on TripAdvisor et al for popular things to see, but you tend to often miss the interesting attractions that only regulars or locals seem to know about. So I'm really just interested if there are any glaring omissions, as well as any glaringly obvious wastes of time.

    If we're not spending enough time in Yellowstone (which was a suggestion last time and likely one this time) we can always rob a day or two from Denver, Seattle, Missoula or Spokane if the consensus is we'd be best to do so :)

  6. Default

    September 5 is Labor Day and you could find it impossible to find lodging/campsites available in many places without a reservation. People make reservations for hot areas many months or even a year ahead of time. Lucky for you, you HAVE plenty of time to deal with that!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by travelingman View Post
    September 5 is Labor Day and you could find it impossible to find lodging/campsites available in many places without a reservation. People make reservations for hot areas many months or even a year ahead of time. Lucky for you, you HAVE plenty of time to deal with that!
    Good feedback. I'd forgotten about that. And if the dates I have penciled-in stand, we'd be in... Cooke City, Yellowstone! Might be better shifting back a week as that would put us in SLC and I doubt Labor Day in SLC is hotly contested :)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,672

    Default

    It's easy to look on TripAdvisor et al for popular things to see, but you tend to often miss the interesting attractions that only regulars or locals seem to know about.
    You can find much more info by searching the RTA site by way of the tool bars at the top and bottom of each page. The Maps have attractions marked out that have been checked out by RTA contributors and there are road trip routes and Field reports you can search.

    - 1 day to drive to East Glacier Park Village.

    - 1 day to drive Going To The Sun Road, finishing in Whitefish.
    You aren't giving yourself time to explore Glacier NP really and personally I would opt for more time here then I would Missoula or SLC, but that's just me. Worth considering though.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Central Missouri
    Posts
    5,676

    Default

    Looking at your schedule, I see some things that jump out at me:

    * Not nearly enough time in Yellowstone.

    * Billings: it's just a city. The petroglyphs can be seen pretty quickly, almost as a "pass through".

    * Missoula: ditto. Not much around there that can't be seen as a pass-through. Allot more time to Yellowstone.

    * Spokane: the thing that comes to mind here is the Grand Coulee Dam. You could stay a lot closer to the Dam, though. Moses Lake comes to mind.

    * From experience, Great Falls to East Glacier Village is only about a half day drive. Use the rest of the day to go up to see the Two Medicine region of the park.

    * Start EARLY on the day for the Going to the Sun Road. If you start later than 9, you'll be in traffic jam after traffic jam (even after Labor Day, I'm told) and a lot of the best scenic view parking lots, including Logan Pass Visitor Center, will be full.

    * If you like wineries, Grand Junction CO has a few.

    * What are you planning to do in Denver besides the Wild Animal Sanctuary?


    Donna

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,725

    Default

    I actually think you may be ok with the amount of time you've got in some of these places, but how you've laid them out makes it look like you've got less time than you do.

    For example, on the surface it looks like you've only got 2 days in yellowstone - but if you've got a day to get from Jackson to West Yellowstone, that's a full day that could be spent in either Teton or Yellowstone - you'd drive right past old faithful on the direct route. And while you are talking about spending 2 days getting from west yellowstone to Billings, you're spending the night in Cooke City, which means you've got another full day for Yellowstone there.

    Similarly, it won't take long to get get from Great Falls to Glacier, so that's really 2 days at Glacier - and while you could certainly do more, for example, if Canada is an option Waterton Lakes and taking a boat trip back into Glacier at Goat Haunt, Montana is a fun trip - you can see a lot of Glacier with the time you have.

    But that said, I do agree with others that you've got a lot of "down" time. 2 days in Missoula, 2 days to get to Spokane, 2 nights in Spokane is quite a lot of time for that relatively small segment. When you add that to the relatively large amount of time you're also spending at places like Salt Lake City, Denver, Billings, etc you might want to give some of that time "back" to the national parks. Although, I'll also note that there's a lot to see for nature around Seattle, places like Mt Rainier, the Cascades, and the Olympic Peninsula, which could also deserve some time yet are farther away than you'd want to do just as a daytrip from Seattle.

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