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Old 01-16-2015, 01:44 PM   #1
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Rocky Mountain Trip Advice

My wife and I are planning a trip out West to see the Rocky Mountains. We have half of the trip figured out but want some advice on the other half.

For the second half of the trip we plan to be at Rafter J-Bar Ranch in South Dakota. This should be around mid July 2015. We want to see Mt. Rushmore and several other attractions / sites nearby.

The week prior we want to find another campground with attractions / sites to see. We would want to spend about a week there. This could be in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, or North Dakota. Maybe... Utah. We are coming from Nashville, TN so we didn't want to go too much farther to the West than roughly the Colorado / Utah border if you look at a map and draw a vertical line up / down.

The problem now is that we cannot decide where to spend that first week. We would like for it to be close enough to Rafter J-Bar so that when we leave there it will take one day to relocate to Rafter J-Bar. For us, that can be as much as an 11 hour drive or so and still work out. I am thinking within 600 miles or so. We also want to keep it within about 2 days drive of Nashville, TN so that we are not spending all of our time just getting out there. As an example, Durango, CO would probably be about as far as we could go on that first week driving from Nashville, TN as it would take us about two full and long days.

Any thoughts? Our preference is to have a nice campground if possible... one where it isn't just a jammed up parking lot of RVs. And, of course, some things to go see and do. We are more interested in nature than cities and night life. I sort of envision old 1800s train rides, visiting historical sites, etc. ... stuff like that.

Hope to hear some good suggestions / ideas.

Thanks!
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Old 01-16-2015, 01:46 PM   #2
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I am thinking that to see the continental divide it's probably going to have to be Wyoming or Colorado in order not to have to drive too far. Does that seem right?
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Old 01-16-2015, 03:13 PM   #3
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If you want to be within a one day drive of your destination in SD, Durango isn't where you want to go. You need to be looking at more than just the miles between destinations, especially if you are dragging a trailer along behind you. If towing, it is a 7-8 hour drive from Denver to Durango, and a 6 hour drive from Denver to Custer, SD. I would suggest Yellowstone. That would put you within an easy days drive of SD.
Plenty to do in the Black Hills, including an 1880 train ride you can take.







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Old 01-16-2015, 04:26 PM   #4
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Right.

I think we are going to go to Colter Bay Village Campground in the Grand Tetons. That's about 500 miles from Rafter J-Bar Campground (Mt. Rushmore) and we can easily do that drive in a day. We are used to going beyond 600 miles in a day with the trailer in tow.

I think the Grand Tetons would be very scenic with things to do. Plus, Yellowstone is just a short drive from there as well.

Looks like we would be skipping Colorado but that's okay. I think we will see plenty between Wyoming and South Dakota.
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Old 01-17-2015, 08:15 AM   #5
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I think you would kick yourself to miss Colorado. Durango is a great place, but it is difficult to access while towing.

Look up the town of Buena Vista Colorado. It is in the middle of the state and is very accessable. My wife and I have kind of fallen in love with the area over the last few years.

There is a KOA that is pretty nice, and Chalk Creek RV resort is South of town and nice as well. You can soak in the warm pools of Mt Princeton Hot Springs, see the ghost town of St Elmo, visit the very scenic Taylor Park area, and access the continental divide on the paved Cottonwood Pass road.

The historic town of Leadville is close as well.

Enjoy!!
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