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Old 12-03-2015, 11:04 PM   #11
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If your traveling anytime from June thru August I would have reservations. Very busy at that time of year. Devils tower is an interesting. Tetons and Yellowstone are only a hour or two apart. I would stay in one place and do both, not waste half a day breaking and setting up camp.
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Old 12-03-2015, 11:16 PM   #12
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We're planning our first big trip with the 31RLDS. Planning about two and a half weeks. So far this is what we have:

Buffalo NY - Custer State Park (taking about 3 days to get there, about 350 miles per day): staying in Game Lodge in Custer for two nights.

Custer to Grand Tetons (taking two days to get there): Need advice on campgrounds in Jackson/GTNP area! Staying two nights.

GTNP to Yellowstone: Four nights at Fishing Village.

Yellowstone to Cody: two nights.

We're sort of at a crossroads on the return trip. One thought is to add in a two night stay at Theodore Roosevelt NP in ND. We've never been or talked to anyone who has been. Would it be worth the side trip? Any ideas on what to see/do on the way back would be appreciated!!
We were in Yellowstone and Grand Teton this past August. We spent three days at the Ponderosa Campground in Cody. Then on to West Yellowstone, MT and two days at Colter Bay in Grand Teton on the way home.

If you're so inclined have the Cedar Plank Salmon at the Wyoming Rib and Chop House in downtown Cody. It's pretty incredible.

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You might want to look into the Beartooth Hwy between approximately Yellowstone and Red Lodge, Montana. You wouldn't want to drive your trailer on it, but you can stop and camp, and then take a day trip on it. It's quite amazing.
To say the Beartooth Highway is amazing is a gross understatement. It's one of the most intense drives I've ever taken. During one of our stops on the way up, a guy told me you'll see something you think is amazing, stop to take pictures, then you'll go around the next bend and see something better. He was right!

The Beartooth would be a great day trip while in Cody. You can go north on 120 out of Cody to Red Lodge. Drive the Beartooth west then take the Chief Joseph Highway back to Cody. It's an all-day trip, but one you'll never forget.
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Old 12-04-2015, 06:25 AM   #13
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Wow! Thank you all for such great replies! I'm now thinking of adjusting the schedule to add a couple nights to Yellowstone and do a day trip from Fishing Bridge to GTNP, instead of breaking camp. That's a great tip. and as for the Beartooth, that will be added as a day trip from Cody .

We are staying right in Custer State Park itself, hitting the badlands before we get there, and doing Rushmore/Crazy Horse, etc.,, from one spot.

We're actually leaving Buffalo on August 30th in the hopes that we will both avoid the crowds and get it all in before closures start. Hopefully!

I'm also thinking we'll keep the ND swing in there.

Thanks again for the excellent ideas! Keep 'em coming !
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Old 01-06-2016, 06:15 PM   #14
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DeeBee is right on about the Big Horns and Bear Tooth. They are as scenic as going thru YNP and way less crowded. Also when you go through WY make sure to do the HWY 14/14A (Big Horn Scenic ByWay) just off of I-90 at Ranchester west thru the BigHorn Forest to Lovell than south to Byron. A must see with beautiful scenry, as good as Y/Stone and not near the crowds. Also a number of National CG's not modern but few C/sites where occupied which made it nice. The drive after that is also scenic especially the drive from Cody West, past Buffalo Bill reservior to the Park.
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Old 01-06-2016, 06:41 PM   #15
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OK, everybody just stop it! You're driving me crazy.
I want to go to those places sooooo bad.
That would be such an incredible trip.
Enjoy!!!
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Old 01-06-2016, 06:58 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by drewandkarri View Post
We're planning our first big trip with the 31RLDS. Planning about two and a half weeks. So far this is what we have:

Buffalo NY - Custer State Park (taking about 3 days to get there, about 350 miles per day): staying in Game Lodge in Custer for two nights.

Custer to Grand Tetons (taking two days to get there): Need advice on campgrounds in Jackson/GTNP area! Staying two nights.

GTNP to Yellowstone: Four nights at Fishing Village.

Yellowstone to Cody: two nights.

We're sort of at a crossroads on the return trip. One thought is to add in a two night stay at Theodore Roosevelt NP in ND. We've never been or talked to anyone who has been. Would it be worth the side trip? Any ideas on what to see/do on the way back would be appreciated!!
Having driven both directions several times, you need to add 2 days to your first leg if you want to stick to 350 mi per day. You're looking at 500 per day if you want to make it in 3. And you'd be missing SD Badlands and Wall Drug (I think it is a SD law that you have to stop there)! We usually budget 3 days from Minn. to New York, especially depending on when you hit Chicago. 2 full days from Minn. to Black Hills, with a camping night and morning in the Badlands, lunch at Wall, and then on to the Black Hills. As it is, you'll hit some slowdowns in the Hills, so may not arrive at Custer SP until later.

Devil's Tower is cool, but it is a fair detour off the main highway, and only worth an hour or so, unless you plan to camp one night there. We skipped it due to time for many years, finally had the time last year. Glad we did it, but not at the expense of other places if you have a time budget.

We love the Big Horns - driving is slow (15-25 mph in many places), but worth it.

TR Park is nice, and we plan to go back and explore with more time - but it is essentially similar to the SD Badlands, which are far more scenic.

Bear Tooth is a must drive - but NOT while towing anything.
Be well rested - every time all the occupants in the car have fallen asleep (or fought it!) when coming down from the Bear Tooth. Blame it on lack of oxygen because you get up so high!

You may want to plan in the Battle of the Bighorn monument on your way back. That's worth 1/2 day in itself.

And, of course, you'll want to add another day for the return time. By then, we are usually "sceniced out" and decide to just push it to get home, so a longer day or two is worth it.

Ohio and Indiana are really, really boring to drive across. At least they accept EZ-Pass! (as does Illinois)
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Old 01-06-2016, 07:05 PM   #17
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I like staying in Custer SP. We always stay in the CG on the western edge of the park. Really like it.

The drive out of Custer towards Yellowstone is slow, it think the speed limit was 40ish, for a long ways, and was all curvy mountain roads. It took a lot of time to get onto a main road and pickup speed. So plan accordingly.

As a kid (30+ yrs ago) I stayed in Theodore NP. Really liked it. As I recall it was a lot like Custer SP.
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Old 01-06-2016, 10:28 PM   #18
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We absolutely loved Theodore Roosevelt NP; enough to keep you for at least 2 days. The town of Medora is nice too.
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Old 01-07-2016, 05:24 AM   #19
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This thread makes me glad we are going to try for 6 weeks when we go out there! Because we want to see from the North (Glacier NP) to the South (Grand Canyon) and a lot in between, we will need every bit of it. I'll be saving this thread for my planning...
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Old 01-07-2016, 08:32 AM   #20
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OK, everybody just stop it! You're driving me crazy.
I want to go to those places sooooo bad.
That would be such an incredible trip.
Enjoy!!!
+1! Seriously! This thread makes me crazy!
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